The below freezing temperatures and annual whompings of lake effect snow that fall well into April and May have long given winters in Cleveland a bad rap, but this six-month season is actually one of the most wonderful times of the year, and not just because of the holidays. Don't believe us? We've got 50 reasons to prove it to you.
50. Weather-Related Excuses
No Cleveland-based boss will fault you for being late to work if you claim your car was stuck in the snow. Chances are, he or she, too, knows what it's like to be knee deep in a pile of icy slush trying to differentiate jumper cables. We say screw it! Head back to bed.
49. Awkward Family Photos
Who doesn't love wearing matching sweaters and standing in a height line for 30+ minutes while mom and dad try to figure out the "timer" setting on the new digital camera? These are family memories in the making, folks.
48. No More Embarrassing Tattoos
What's your biggest regret? Is it that ugly ass tattoo of your ex-girlfriend in bobble-head form etched into your right tricep? Good thing you've got six months of long shirt wearing weather ahead of you, buddy.
47. Practical, Not Fashionable, Footware
Cleveland is one of the only urban centers in the U.S. that doesn't give a damn about fashionable footwear in the winter. Pull on your Cabela's boots and head to work, dinner, or to the club. There's three feet of snow out there for cryin' out loud.
Did you know that an eight-pack of Gillette razor blades costs upwards of $15? That's at least three Happy Dog hotdogs right there. Thanks to winter, you can spend your money where it really matters, plus you earn an extra layer of facial insulation. Win.
45. A Real White Christmas
Just think of those suckers in L.A. and Orlando who have no idea what a white Christmas truly means. Only a Clevelander can love and appreciate shoveling his or her driveway for an hour on Christmas morning before relatives come over.
44. The Days of Yore
Remember when department stores used to go all out for the holidays with one-of-a-kind shopping bags, light displays, and ornament arrangements? We don't really either, but that doesn't mean we can't appreciate some vintage holiday cheer at Holidays at the Higbee.
43. Photo Ops
If you're at all interested in photography, then winter in Cleveland is your perfect backdrop. There's a plethora of great spots to photograph, whether you're into landscape, architecture or portrait work.
42. Ethnic Holiday Eats
Cleveland is a warm, bubbly multi-cultural melting pot and that means we have a whole variety of traditional ethic eats right at our fingertips. If you've been itching to try some latkes or Kwanzaa bread, now's your chance.
41. Polar Bear Plunge
Who would have thought that jumping into Lake Erie in sub-freezing temps could be fun? But for four consecutive years, Clevelanders have gathered at Edgewater Park to take the plunge to help raise awareness for Parkinson's disease and juvenile diabetes. This year, join the masses.
4 0. Wintertime Driving
We all could use a little more vehicular excitement in our day-to-day lives. Thankfully, during the winter months, that's exactly what we get. From dodging downtown potholes to sliding down the slippery slopes of Mayfield, winter driving in this city is almost like being in a video game.
39. Pasty White Skin
Let's toast to our Midwestern roots and ditch the whole Jamaican-Me-Tan charade by making a pact to whole-heartedly embrace our pasty white skin for the next six months. Bonus points if last year's farmer's tan fades completely.
38. Lake Erie
We may be the Burning River City, but there's nothing cooler than a frozen Lake Erie in the winter. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate and some leftover holiday cookies, and head out for an afternoon picnic on ice.
37. Winter Famers Markets
Who says farmers markets are just for fair-weather folks? Cleveland boasts several indoor markets that are open during the colder months. Our favorites include the Shaker Square Market and the Kamm's Corners market.
36. Scuba Claus
If you've never before seen a scuba diving Santa Claus, then you're definitely missing out. Scuba Claus is just as hilarious and as awesome as you'd imagine: Santa, scuba gear, Cleveland Aquarium. Go. Now.
35. Bye Bye Pit Stains
Are you a heavy sweater? If so, winters in Cleveland are pretty much paradise. With temperatures dropping into the single digits, you can put your clinical strength deodorant on reserve.
34. A Christmas Story House
Tourists—ha! They clamor to Tremont to visit Ralphie's real Christmas Story House under sweltering July suns, but you, fair Clevelander, can go during the holiday season when it's actually relevant.
33. Water Cooler Chit Chat
If your usual mid-morning water cooler subjects of Brandon Weeden replacements and Cleveland councilmen toupees are feeling a bit stale, fret not. For the next few months, you can occupy your breaks with conversations about Cleveland's five-day forecast.
32. Warming Up
Gawd- don't you just hate when you're over-heating like a 55-year-old menopausal granny? We do too. Warming up is so much better than cooling down, especially when it's accompanied by a simmering hot toddy.
31. Soup. Soup!
If you've ever tried eating hot soup in the summer, you know it just doesn't satisfy in quite the same way.
30. Stingy Bastards (Post-Holidays)
Did you just blow through your rainy day fund with one four-digit tab at Barley House? Well once the holidays are over, you officially have permission to be a stingy bastard until summer rolls around.
29. Gaining 10 or 20 Pounds
Winter is the one time of year when nobody cares if you're not beach bod ready. So indulge in that entire tray of Christmas cookies, why doncha? Summer's a long way off.
28. Snow Angels
Snow angels aren't just for tots. Head on over to Public Square and try your hand at making the perfect angel. Remember not to step in your imprint when you stand up!
27. The Lake Erie Monsters
They may not receive as much hype as the Browns or the Cavs, but if you've never been to a Lake Erie Monsters hockey game, this winter is your chance. Grab some friends and head on over to the Q for a little ice action. But do remember to dress warmly: Those games are cold.
26. Weather-Related Excuses (Part II)
Don't feel like going out tonight? No problem. Blame your lack of social enthusiasm on that 25% chance of scattered flurries that's headed our way.
25. Stan Hywett Hall Tours
If you haven't yet explored the 65-room Tudor-style mansion that is the Stan Hywett Hall, then head on down to Akron this December for your tour. For the holidays, the house has been transformed into a winter wonderland and truly a spectacle.