Winter activities you can enjoy on a budget

Kaleia Lawrence, Editor in Chief

Thinking of fun things to do during the winter can be hard. No one wants to go outside because it’s cold but being inside can become repetitive after some time. Activities that can be done outside of the home usually mean having to shell out a decent chunk of money. Being a broke college student doesn’t allow for frivolous spending on frequent activities, so that’s why I’ve compiled a list of things to do for little to no cost.  

Go outside – I know, I know. This sounds like a lame suggestion but there’s more to it. Even though it’s freezing cold and sometimes miserable, wait for a day that’s not too icky outside, preferably after a fresh snow. Then head to a nature area and enjoy the views. Something about seeing nature covered in snow brings a sense of nostalgia and wonder.  If there’s room to do so, build a little snowman! That might not be an option at all nature areas, but there are some where there would be space to do so.  

Ice skating – Even if you don’t have skates, you can rent them sometimes. Even if that’s not an option, hit the ice with some normal shoes. While the experience won’t be the same, there’s still some joy in slipping and sliding around. When I was little, I used to do this. Even though there was a lot of falling and not a lot of mobility, it was still fun. Even just looking at the frozen water below is pleasing.  

Stargazing – There are a couple ways to do this one. While the traditional setup of a blanket in the grass might be a little too cold given the season, it might be feasible if you’re bundled up and before it gets too cold. 

However, you can stargaze from your car! Bring a blanket and some hot chocolate and get cozy in your car. You could even make a playlist of winter music to match the vibes of a chilly, starry night.  

Window shopping – This might not sound like fun, but given the time of year, there are some perks. Many shops are going to have cute, unique decorations in their windows and on their doors. A great place to do this is downtown Madison, although any area with walkable distance between shops will work! Even if you don’t end up going into the stores and buying anything, it can be fun to compare and pick the decor you like the most. Sometimes, though, you might spot a good deal while doing this so you can get something you need or something to commemorate the journey you took.  

Don’t let winter and money keep you from doing anything fun this winter. Most of these options are cheap, fairly COVID safe and provide something other than inside activities to do.