Looking for fun indoor and outdoor activities for autumn and winter? Then keep reading as today we bring you thirty great ideas to keep you busy during the cold season.
Autumn is a period of rest for many people after a busy summer spent outdoors. But if you like to live an adventurous life as much as me, you make the most of every season of the year.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a list of cool things you can do and not waste time searching for them?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
This guide gives you 30 fun activities for autumn and winter. Whether you’d like to stay indoors or go outside, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s jump right in!
1. Eat roast chestnuts
Delicious street food is made of Asian or European chestnuts and smells heavenly. While you can find them at street vendors in big cities, they’re a popular treat at Christmas markets. You can easily find chestnuts in the supermarket and roast them at home in your oven.
2. Play conkers with friends
Conkers might be a traditional child’s game in Great Britain, but I’ve seen plenty of adults enjoying it. You play with conkers/chestnuts, drill a hole in the middle, pull a thread through, and while you’re holding the thread in one hand, you’re trying with the conker to hit your opponents’ conker. There’s also The World Conker Championship if you’d like to see what it’s about.
3. Enjoy a walking tour
Walking tours are very popular among travelers when they first visit a new destination. It’s one of the best ways to learn about the history and current events in the city. But how about taking a walking tour of the city you live in? You can learn something new about a place you call home and rediscover your neighborhood.
4. Watch an adventure movie
Some days are colder than others, and your energy is low. It’s the perfect time to watch an adventure movie or host a movie night with your friends. I like watching adventure movies and documentaries at Banff Mountain Festival. They offer rental of two bundles of different movies you can watch anytime. Their website also has locations for the World Tour.
5. Walk barefoot
Have you heard of grounding or earthing? It’s about reconnecting to the earth while being barefoot. Electrical charges from the earth have numerous positive effects on your wellbeing, such as reducing inflammation, decreasing pain, improving sleep, and more. You can practice grounding year-round, and I can tell you from experience that walking on autumn leaves is a calming and fantastic sensorial activity.
6. Learn a new winter sport
Are you a skier or snowboarder? That’s the most asked question regarding winter sports. But how about trying something new to expand your comfort zone? Ice climbing, ice skating, or cross country skiing are a few sports I’ve tried and liked. If you’re worried about safety, ask your local outdoor store, they should be able to direct you to a guide or a course.
7. Take a brewery tasting tour
It has never been trendier to pen a brewery than now. It seems like breweries are popular and people love tasting new craft beers. Grab your friends and sign up for a brewery tasting tour. You get to taste a lot of different beers and learn about the process of making them, too.
8. Make a DIY wall hanging
Another idea for a cozy evening at home is making a DIY wall hanging. Macrame wall hanging is beautiful and relatively easy to learn. You can order a macrame kit from Etsy to make your own. If you’d like to decorate your home for autumn or winter/Christmas, make a wreath. YouTube tutorials and dollar stores or craft stores are your best friends.
9. Go for a road trip
An Autumn road trip has many more benefits than a summer road trip. The biggest one is crowds. You won’t see them. Popular destinations are incredibly crowded over the summer. But if you choose to travel in autumn, you get many places all to yourself, the weather is more bearable, and accommodations more affordable.
10. Visit new coffee shops
Coffee shops are one of the coziest places in winter. Whether you like coffee, hot chocolate, or tea, you can enjoy it with good music by the fire. Some cities also host hot chocolate festivals over the winter, the best indoor winter event.
11. Find new murals
Slowing down in the winter season made me appreciate my home even more. While there are a lot of adventurous activities in the mountains, chances are you can do fun things in the city as well. One of my favorite things to do in winter is walking the streets with hot chocolate in hand, searching for new murals. We have a mural festival with new wall art every year.
12. Make DIY Christmas cards
If you have family or friends living far away from you, make them feel extra special this year and let them know you’re thinking of them. Even though sending a digital note is easier and quicker, nothing says Merry Christmas more than a handmade Christmas card.
13. Go wildlife watching
What wildlife lives near you? And when was the last time you saw any? Take a walk in a nearby forest or a meadow, and you’ll surely find some animals. I love running in the park in the morning or dusk and always see several deer roaming around. The last time I saw a coyote and a porcupine. Can you believe the porcupine was climbing a tree? What an incredible sight to start the day.
14. See the Northern Lights
While you can see Northern Lights year-round, with nights being longer in winter, that’s the best chance to see them. Green dancing lights above you are a true wonder of nature. Travelers usually flock to Alaska, Norway, or Iceland for Northern Lights, but you can also visit Russia or Canada. And the most surprising thing I’ve learned, you can see the Southern Lights in New Zealand.
15. Make a vision board for your dream trip
You know that trip you always dreamt about visiting? It’s time to move that from a dream to a plan. One of the best things you can do to be committed and start saving money is seeing your dream trip right in front of you. Research the places you’d like to, print them, and create a vision board. If you’d like some inspiration, check out these adventure quotes to get things started.
16. Learn to paint at the Paint Nite event
Painting might not sound like fun for many people, but imagine sitting in a bar with a glass of wine and learning to paint with a teacher while chatting to your friend. How good does that sound? Paint Nite events are in many cities worldwide, and if your city is not on the list, invite your friend to your home and join their virtual event.
17. Explore a new culture
If you’d like to visit a new country, why not get a taste of their culture at home. Get in the mood by watching a movie or listening to the local music artists. Then cook a meal or mix a traditional cocktail. Learn their language with Duolingo or the Memrise app. This might be an evening or weekend program, and I’m sure you’ll have plenty of ideas for your vision board by the end.
18. Meet new friends through social groups
I have the best experience with meeting new people in hostels while traveling. But what if you just moved to a new country? The website meetup.com is perfect for this. You can join as many groups as you’d like based on your interests and meet new friends. Learn a new language while talking to native speakers, go on hikes, meet up for a beer, or find like-minded people to have fun at local events.
Read more: How to meet new people
19. Learn a new skill
A long cold evening might call for more time indoors, and it’s a great time to brush up on your skills or learn something new. Websites such as Skillshare or CreativeLive offer on-demand classes on anything under the sun, literally. Photography, cooking, design, music, marketing, writing, blogging, investing, and much more. You can buy a monthly pass for $12 and choose any courses you like.
20. Dance in the snow
When was the last time you went outside first thing in the morning when you saw fresh snow without thinking about it? And without thinking about it, I mean dressed as you were without any shoes. Let me tell you; nothing wakes you up more than walking barefoot in your pajamas in the fresh snow. Blast your music, dance around, and let the child’s spirit inside of you take over. Afterward, you can have an at-home spa day, what’s not to love?
21. Visit a Christmas market
Is it even a Christmas season without visiting a Christmas market? Christmas songs, twinkling lights everywhere, and the smell of hot chocolate or mulled wine. Do I need to say more? Christmas markets are also usually filled with artisans selling their crafts where you can do some last-minute Christmas shopping.
22. Try fat biking on snow
If you know how to bike, you know how to ride a fat bike. Fat biking is mountain biking with wider (fat) tires. It’s a fun winter activity, and the falls are much more fun. The tires slide way too easily on turns, and diving headfirst into the deep snow is more hilarious than it sounds.
23. See a new play in the theatre
Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a favorite play to see at Christmas time. Another great one is The Nutcracker’s ballet, which truly puts you in a holiday mood. Visiting the theatre with the big stage and incredible sound and visual effects is unforgettable. But if you prefer, you can see many plays online at home.
24. Declutter your home
Nobody has time for cleaning in summer when there’s so much stuff to do in just a few short warm months. When autumn arrives, and you spend a bit more time at home, it’s time to declutter your home, which causes your mind to declutter. Rent a self-storage unit or try the KonMari method created by the Japanese Marie Kondo, a bestselling author of books on organizing.
25. Stay in a cozy cabin in the mountains
Sipping coffee by the fireplace is not only possible in coffee shops but at even cozier mountain cabins. You can have a real crackling fire going on in the cabin, unplug from the online world, and enjoy a staycation time with your family or friends. While you can have snowball fights or cross country skiing trips during the day, switch watching movies for good old board games at night.
26. Visit hot springs
Hot springs – like those they have in Banff – are a good idea any time of the year. But after a winter activity in the snow and freezing temperatures, it’s what you probably crave the most, just rest. Whether you visit hot springs or a sauna and cool down in the snow, your body will thank you for it.
27. Try a new workout style
Hiking, biking, and all-day adventuring might be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay fit. If you’re unmotivated to go to the gym, search for the best workout videos on YouTube and call a friend to join you at home. It doesn’t have to be intensive, but it must be fun.
28. Make handmade Christmas gifts
When people go crazy in malls and on Amazon, try to think about a truly unique present that your loved ones can’t buy themselves. A handmade soap or a candle goes a long way, and luckily there’s a YouTube tutorial for anything you’d like to make. The effort will be highly appreciated no matter the outcome.
29. Go tubing or sledding
Speeding down the hill is not just for skiers or snowboarders. You can have a lot of fun tubing or sledding. Traditional sleds are one option, and the other would be – take whatever you have at home and try to sled down the hill. It would be even more fun to turn into a contest of who gets to ride the coolest random thing.
30. Bake a dessert
Whether you were doing a winter sport or just went for a walk outside, there’s no better feeling than coming home to a homemade pie or mouth-watering dessert to enjoy with your favorite movie. My recommendation would be an apple crumble. You’d want it for breakfast, dessert after lunch, and dinner as well.
Is there anything that caught your eye? I hope this list gets you excited about autumn and winter and you enjoy the seasons to the fullest!
Maya is an adventure athlete and world traveler. After her trip around the world, she returned to the Canadian Rockies. Apart from adventure sports, she loves traveling to places beyond the beaten path which are not often visited. She shares her travel stories and comprehensive adventure travel guides on Instagram and her blog Travel with the Smile.