My Favorite FREE Things to Do When It’s Cold Outside

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Coat | Sweater | Pants | Bag | Shoes | Earrings | Photography

Over the past year or so, I’ve really striven to transform Glitter & Spice from a fashion blog to a lifestyle blog / destination. Let’s be real: it’s more interesting to read (and write!) a post about free things to do when it’s cold outside or fun day trips from London than reasons why I love a certain sweater.

Even writing that makes me want to yawn, y’all.

One of my goals as a lifestyle blogger is to provide you with actionable ideas you can incorporate into your own life (and travels!). That may come in the form of skincare regimens. Or budgeting techniques. Maybe recipe ideas. Or even – in the case of this post – free things to do when it’s cold outside.

Yes, this post is going to focus on Dallas places and Dallas activities. But don’t feel like you can’t incorporate my ideas into your own life in another city. Because nobody wants to sit inside all winter, no matter where you’re based.

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What I’m Wearing:

Coat: Badgley Mishka | Sweater: Halogen | Shirt: Brooks Brothers

Pants: Ann Taylor | Shoes: Aerosoles, c/o | Earrings: BaubleBar

Sunglasses: Le Specs | Bag: Clare V | Scarf: Ann Taylor

When I was in undergrad at Cornell, I spent months each year without seeing the sun. I had never lived that far north or in that cold of a climate (upstate New York). As I walked home from class in the afternoon at around 4:30PM, it’d already be dark outside. The only daylight I saw was on my walk to class in the morning. The worst part? Typically, I was too bundled up to even notice if it was a sunny day or a cloudy day.

Long story short, I quickly realized that staying cooped up in my apartment wasn’t sustainable for my mental health. Despite however much I might love binge-watching Game of Thrones. And it definitely wasn’t helping my social life. So I started to shake things up in my routine.

Over the past 7 years, I’ve picked up a few tricks. I can fill endless days with all of my fun and free things to do when it’s cold outside.

My Favorite Free Things to Do When It’s Cold Outside

Free Things to Do When It’s Cold Outside: Go to a Museum

So in case it’s not obvious from the photos I included in this post, one of my absolute favorite things to do when it’s cold outside is visit museums. In fact, I frequent museums in the summer too – especially when it gets miserably hot outside. Museums can be a great activity… and it can be so fun to play tourist in your own city!

In Dallas, I like to go to the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) – it’s free and it has such an extensive collection, I can wander for hours and not get bored.

If you tend to like more natural history-style museums (but don’t want to battle a small child for use of the earthquake simulator), keep an eye out for late night events. Most major museums have “late-night” (aka till like 10PM) adults-only events; these can be great activities to get you out of the house for a date night (or night out with friends!) and can even be useful networking opportunities. Note that most of these events aren’t free, but sometimes you might luck out!

Finally, another fun (and free!) option is to gallery hop. Go to an artsy part of town and check out all of the galleries in that area. In Dallas, I love to explore the galleries in Bishop Arts District. It’s like window shopping, but warmer.

Free Things to Do When It’s Cold Outside: Host a Game Night

In college, my main weekend social activity was drinking. Drinking with friends at bars, drinking with friends at house parties, or drinking with friends at fraternity houses.

Now that we’re older and wiser (hah), my friends and I like to do game nights. We’ll all congregate at one of our friends’ houses, open up a bottle (or a few!) of wine, and play a variety of games. My personal favorites are the card games, Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, and The Voting Game, and the digital games, Quiplash and Drawful.

While these games do cost money to purchase, keep in mind that once you have them, you have them forever. Those who want to participate in the game(s) will participate, and those who want to stand around and chat will chat.

Another fun idea (especially if you have a particularly “extra” group of friends) is to do a murder mystery party. My friends and I did a murder mystery party last Halloween and it was such fun. I loved that it forces everybody to be creative and adopt a character… but it definitely requires more work and planning than your average game night!

PS a similar (paid) idea would be to go bowling or to an arcade with your friends. In Dallas, I love the Cidercade in Design District (a cider bar / arcade) and Bowl & Barrel at the Shops at Park Lane.

Free Things to Do When It’s Cold Outside: Movie Night in a Home Theater

As much as I didn’t want to advocate a day spent horizontal on the couch, binge-watching Netflix, it does keep you warm!

Also I’m not talking about having a home theater. Instead, I mean turning your home into a theater!

To elevate your movie watching experience (while still saving $$), pull your couches together or bring in an ottoman to create a bed. Or, if neither of those is an option, try moving your couch out of the way and making a mountain of pillows and blankets. Finish the experience by making a large bowl of popcorn and turning on Netflix!

Want to really elevate the experience? Y’all know I love the opera. The Metropolitan Opera actually has a streaming portal, through which you can watch all of the taped operas. Instead of watching a movie, I like to sometimes turn on one of these operas and enjoy the wonderful music.

Free Things to Do When It’s Cold Outside: Go For a Walk

If it’s not miserably cold outside, I love to go for walks. In Dallas, I love walking around White Rock Lake, up and down the Katy Trail, or even from my house to Highland Park Village. In London or New York, I tend to just walk aimlessly and discover different parts of town. Walking costs literally nothing and it’s a great activity to do with a friend.

Free Things to Do When It’s Cold Outside: Volunteer!

Last but certainly not least, go volunteer. Find a soup kitchen and serve or sort foods. Head over to your local SPCA and socialize with the animals. Volunteer with your local school district or go join Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Feeling stumped? Many major cities (including Dallas!) have official volunteer program portals. Search on your city’s portal for the right program for you.

One Last Thing!

Before I forget: big news bears. The Shopbop sale (aka one of my favorite major sales of the year!) launched. And it’s so so good.

The general gist of this sale is buy more, save more. You can score both full-priced and sale-priced items for up to 25% off. AKA literally everything you can find on Shopbop. AKA it’s the perfect opportunity to score pieces like my new favorite earrings, beach-ready looks, basics like jeans, or even designer pieces.

Tap through the widget below to shop more of my picks. As always, please tag me if you buy anything I recommend – I’d love to see how you style it!