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The days are shorter and the air (freakishly) colder. We all go from, “yes, snow!” to, “why the heck do I live in the north?” We’ve learned that, to fight the seasonal blues, one must be sure to do more than settle for Netflix (I’m a Hulu person) marathons every spare evening.

A phenomenal question to ask as you’re touring prospective colleges and universities, is “so what is there to do on campus and locally?” After all, college is so much more than classes. The question is especially important when considering winter! So we’ve assembled a solid yet non-exhaustive list of some fun ideas for getting out of your res hall on the cold winter days.


1. Sledding

No, you’re not too old for sledding. Slide into some winter time fun with friends at our favorite sledding spot in Oshkosh: Red Arrow Park’s Garbage Hill.


2. Shred The ‘Gnar

With so many great ski hills nearby, such as Nordic Mountain and Granite Peak, it’s easy to hit the slopes for even a few hours. Both Granite and Nordic have deals for students or small groups, so it’s very affordable to grab lift tickets for you and your pals. Additionally, the Student Rec and Wellness Center’s Outdoor Adventure Center schedules ski/snowboarding trips each year.


3. (Theatre)Flix

Our local chain theatre, Marcus Cinema, is only a few minutes from campus and has $5 movies on Tuesdays with an additional $5 night for students on Thursdays. You can also catch a fan-favorite classic movie at the downtown Oshkosh Time Community Theatre, where a new film plays weekly. If you’re studying Radio-TV-Film, you’ll be able to attend the debut of the springtime student films here.

Want to stay in? No sweat. You can rent movies for free from Polk Library or stream to your heart’s content in your res hall room.


4. Coffee Shop Getaway

You can grab a cup of Starbucks coffee at Mi Taza in Reeve Union, but sometimes it can be good for the brain to get off campus and hang or study at a local coffee shop. Kick back, relax, and enjoy some delicious coffee at some of the best cafes around Oshkosh. I have a few personal favorites. New Moon Cafe, which is in the heart of downtown, has (in addition to coffee, of course,) incredible peanut butter brownies in the shape of moon crescents and a variety of mealtime options. The Cafe at The Howard serves expertly roasted coffee from Ruby Coffee Roasters in Nelsonville, WI, along with many healthy food options, smoothies, and baked goods. Planet Perk has a couple locations in Oshkosh, where they serve a variety of drinks brewed with Intelligentsia-roasted beans, and a variety of bakery items. And for Starbucks fans, we have locations on each side of town too! Want to get out of Oshkosh? (I know, this blog is about places in Oshkosh, but bear with me…) Timshel Cafe in Neenah and Tempest Coffee Collective in Appleton are also favorites of ours.


5. Volunteering

Warm up hearts during the cold season by volunteering at some of the local organizations around town. There are many places you can volunteer, such as the Oshkosh Area Humane Society, Christine Ann Center, the farmers market, or even then the community pantry. If you’re looking for the perfect place to contribute your time, visit How can you be giving back this winter?


6. Deer-Themed Basketball

Everyone loves a good Bucks game in Milwaukee. But don’t forget to check out Wisconsin’s newest addition to the Milwaukee Bucks’ franchise, the Wisconsin Herd. Herd games can be found at the Menominee Nation Arena near downtown Oshkosh. Tickets are inexpensive and there’s not a bad seat in the house. It’s a great way to get out with friends and have a good time!


7. Cheer On The Titans

What is a Titan without school spirit? Making it out to our sporting events is a great way to support Titan athletes. And with championship-winning women and men’s teams, our basketball games are especially a blast. Plus, games are FREE with your TitanCard. Can’t beat free, right?


8. Learn 100 Ways To Cook An Egg

I guess this is random, but I love eggs. Oh nice, you too? Well, it might be the right time to look into the variety of dishes you can make with eggs! Pick up some eggs at the Corner Convenience Store in Reeve Union, check out cooking utensils from you residence hall, and head to the kitchen in your hall, and click HERE for a self-guided egg-ucation.


9. Menomonee Park

Throughout the month of December, catch the Celebration of Lights. You can walk or drive through the park to see an amazing light show that brings people from all over the city. If you’re an avid ice fisher, you’ll find yourself at home on a frozen Lake Winnebago as well.


10. Game Night

There are a plethora of board and card game options to check out at Polk Library or your res hall. So get those cards ready and your game face on because a game night is always a great way to hang with friends.


11. Build A Snowman

You can’t go wrong spending some time enjoying some classic winter fun building snowmen. Get some other students in the residence halls to join and make a competition out of it.


12. Student Rec & Wellness

  • The Rec – Definitely a campus hotspot, especially on those days where you want to de-stress in a constructive and healthy way. Here’s a few things that you can access there as a student:


  • RecPlex – No place like dome. This facility features a full indoor football field with synthetic turf. It might look like a 7-story burrito, but with daily open hours for students this place puts the “Rec” in “RecPlex.” Grab some friends and go play on some nice new turf fields.


  • Work out – A great way to fight the winter blues is to stay active. A good workout releases endorphins in your brain, which improve mood and reduce stress. And since it’s a bit tougher to be active outdoors, having a beautiful Rec center to take advantage of is a game-changer!


  • Golf Simulators – Fore! Even when it’s 4 degrees. For only a few bucks you can rent out a golf simulator to keep that swing in top shape for spring.


  • Rock Climbing – New heights await. Rock climbing is a fun time with friends, and a great upper body workout. The SRWC has open climb hours weekly, so don’t miss out!


  • Outdoor Adventures – Get out and play. Take ski/snowboard trips to Nordic Mountain and Granite Peak, or even to Blackjack and Indianhead in the Upper Peninsula. Or take part in the Wisconsin Indoor Climbing Series at campuses across the region.


  • Pickup volleyball/basketball games – Shoot some three’s, or play three-on-three. Checkout basketballs, volleyballs and other recreation gear at the front desk of the SRWC and get a game going!


  • Intramurals – Make new friends and compete at a variety of levels. Winter intramurals are a great way to stay active and compete with (or against) your friends.


13. Photography

Take a day to visit an area of Oshkosh and use your camera to capture a unique perspective of the city. Don’t have a camera? Well, the Student Technology Center in the basement of Polk Library has your back with several Nikon DSLR cameras available to check out!


14. Short Film Fest

Grab your friends and your smartphones or DSLRs to see who can make the best short film. You could even make a competition out of it and invite others to vote on who’s was the best. The possibilities are endless with when you have a camera and an eye for imagination.


15. Read up

Sometimes the simple things can be the most enjoyable. Head to Polk to check out a book that isn’t required for class! You can also find magazines and graphic novels in Polk. Speaking of graphic novels, travel to the world of heroes and villians at House of Heroes, a comic book and game shop guaranteed to have some new adventures.


16. Check Out A New Campus Club

Winter is a great time to try new things and seek new experiences, and a great way to do that is to consider joining a new club or organization. Browse the full list here and see if there’s a new group or event that looks interesting!


17. Hit the Mall

Shopping can be a fun stress reliever (if you stick to a budget!). Visit The Outlet Shoppes at Oshkosh for a great selection of retail stores and restaurants. Titan transit is a great way to get there or around the city,  but if you have a car you might want to check out the Fox River Mall in Appleton!


18. Bowling

My favorite spots are Rev’s. Rev’s is your traditional bowling alley, with food options and cosmic bowling nights.


19. Oshkosh Public Museum

Explore the history of your city, and check special exhibits that come through from time to time. There are tons of exciting events such as the spooky “Cemetery Tales” exhibit or the classic “Dressed to Play” exhibit that showcases tons of summer fun. There is always something new and exciting to learn at the museum.


20. The Paine Art Center

If you’re a fan of great art, you’ll enjoy the Paine. A 1920’s Tudor Revival-style house inspired by English country estates, the Center is a beautiful place to visit. With featured exhibits and lots of history, you don’t want to miss this staple of Oshkosh.


21. Escape Oshkosh

No, we’re not referring to getting out of Oshkosh… that would be antithetical to this blog… we’re referring to our great local escape rooms! Escape rooms are a blast. Nothing brings friends together like being “locked” in a room with puzzles and riddles to solve! If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re in an Indiana Jones movie, you can have that experience right here in Oshkosh.


22. Try Local Restaurants

Foodies, rejoice. Oshkosh has so many awesome local restaurants, you’d be amiss to miss them. Mahoney’s, The Ruby Owl, Los Jaripeos, Lunch Box, and of course, Culver’s are great options that are close to campus for you to dine in at. What you might not have known is that Craig Culver, the founder of Culver’s, is originally from Wisconsin and graduated from UWO with a degree in Biology!


23. Saturday Farmer’s Market

Missed a chance to check out the farmers market during the summer? Downtown at the Menominee Nation Arena, you can still check out the indoor market for fresh food, plants, and more.


24. Ice Skating

This classic winter activity can be readily enjoyed at the 20th Ave YMCA, for free if you’re a member or for only a few bucks if you’re not. For outdoor skating, the new riverside rink behind the Oshkosh Convention Center will soon become your favorite spot.



It may be cold outside, but enjoying life in the city of Oshkosh doesn’t have to suffer as a result. We hope you’re feeling inspired to get out and make the most of these chilly days!