Shake Up Your Weekend: 25 Ways To Beat Winter Doldrums and Have Unmitigated Fun

What do you have before you this weekend? Maybe you have to take down the tree and put away holiday decorations. You probably have things to clean and organize, bills to pay, errands and other mind-numbing, boring tasks to take care of. It's the start of the year, so of course you have to get started on that to-do list. Chop, chop! Time's a-wasting.

Well, here's a bold idea. Screw all that! Let's go have fun this weekend.

It is the weekend after all, and you have the rest of the year to work on those tasks. They'll  keep on reproducing like bunnies anyway. I know these are strange words coming from a coach, but I firmly believe that fun is way underrated for us high-achieving, goal oriented grown-ups. Fun is essential for a balanced, healthy life. And you have to make it happen because work is a greedy, insatiable creature if you don't tame it.

OK, so carve out a few hours to get the “must-do” stuff done. But this weekend, don't let those tasks  grow wild  like kudzu and overtake a perfectly good opportunity for having some soul lifting, body shaking, mind bending fun. This is the weekend — let's rejoice and be glad in it!

Here are 25 ideas for fun things to do to shake up your weekend. Come on now! Pick at least one of them and go have good time.

1.  Go out dancing. When was the last time you did that? It's great exercise and loads of fun. If your man won't go with you, get a group of women together and you'll have a blast.  If your woman won't go with you, um . . . maybe pick something else on the list. Here are the top 100 dance clubs in the U.S.

2.  Take a hike. If the weather is decent, put on your hiking boots and spend some time in nature. Winter hikes provide an entirely different vista with the leaves off the trees. The stark beauty of winter is incredible. Here's a list by state of some great places to hike.

3.  Go to a museum, planetarium, aquarium, or exhibit. If you live in a reasonably-sized city, you have plenty of options. If not, make a day trip out of traveling to the nearest city for some educational adventure. Here's a list of U.S. museums. Scroll down for a list of planeteriums, aquariums and other attractions.

4.  Have a pajama party brunch. Invite some friends over for brunch — but they have to wear their pajamas! No make-up or showers allowed. Build a fire, put on the coffee, turn on the jazz, and enjoy a relaxing morning with friends.  Try out this recipe for Baked French Toast. Yum!

5.  Go on an antiquing adventure. It's time for a treasure hunt. Find some local antique stores or better yet, go for a drive into the country where finds are cheaper and the scenery is different. Take some cash so you can barter!

6.  Play a marathon game. Set up a game on Saturday morning and keep it going all weekend long. Our family loves a game that has lots of strategy and a bit of luck called The Settlers of Catan.

7.  Go to a jazz or blues club. Get dressed up and go with someone special to hear some great music. Buy a jazz CD after the show, and play it the rest of the weekend. Here's a list of jazz clubs in the U.S.

8.  Get a massage. OMG!! This is the total indulgence. Do this toward the end of the day. Otherwise you will be a boneless slug and get nothing else done.  There is only one thing I can think of that is better than a massage. 🙂

9.  Do that one other thing mentioned above. Why not? You have all weekend. What could be more fun, more relaxing, or pleasurable? And it's free.  Before the jazz. After the massage. Out in the woods. So many options.

10. Take a bike ride. Fill a thermos with hot soup, coffee, or hot chocolate.  Grab a water bottle and a blanket. Shove it all in your backpack and hop on your bike. Bring a friend. Take a long ride, then stop for a warm snack before you head home.

11. Build a fire and roast marshmallows. You can do this inside or outside. You might as well make s'mores while you're at it. Why waste a good roasted marshmallow?

12. Make a huge pot of chili or soup and watch the game. There must be games on this weekend, right? Make an occasion out of it. Buy some beer and invite a few friends over. Now you have a party.

13. Book a hotel room for a night. Get away from the house entirely. No temptations to do chores. Just you and your hotel pal practicing number 9 and getting room service.

14. Have a wine tasting — or go to one. Hosting one at your home is easy and a great way to get people to bring you wine! Or you can go out to a wine tasting dinner.  Here are some ideas on hosting a home wine tasting.

15. Go to the theatre or ballet. Haven't you had enough football and sitcoms? Time for a little cultural infusion. Performing artists are struggling right now in this economy, so go support the arts!

16. Rent a cabin in the mountains for the weekend. This is the cheapest time of year to go. Be sure it has a hot tub. Take a bottle of champagne. Nothing like sitting in the hot tub in freezing weather, drinking bubbly in the mountains. Take a good book.

17. Go to a pet store. But do this only if you aren't tempted to buy tiny, cute, fluffy, furry, wide-eyed puppies or kitties. It's still fun to look and play with them even if you can't take them home.

18. Organize a touch football game with the neighbors. Get outside and play. Just like you did when you were a kid.

19. Have a movie marathon. Rent some movies at home or pick a few at the theater, and immerse yourself in fantasy. A great choice for a rainy weekend.

20. Plan a vacation for the summer. Start thinking about an amazing dream vacation you can take this summer. Get on the internet and start your research. Here are 1001 vacation ideas.

22. Paint, draw, write, create. Go to a craft or art supply store. Find something that interests you and spend the afternoon in the flow of creative pursuit.

23. Test drive your dream car. Go to a car dealership and take a spin in that Porsche or Maserati you've been eying for years. OK, so you can't buy it, but at least you can say you've tried it.

24. Organize a potluck dinner. It doesn't have to be complicated or formal. Everyone brings something and just hangs out for the night.

25. Read and rest. Go climb in your coziest chair. Get a blanket and a cup of tea. Grab your book and spend a few hours reading. If you fall asleep, no worries. You've got all year to catch up.

What will you do to shake up your weekend? Share some fun things you have done during winter weekends to beat the doldrums and bypass your to-do list!

Similar Posts:


  1. Christopher Lovejoy says:

    What an interesting coincidence. Moments before I read your post, I was planning some fun for this weekend.

    Mmmm, some great ideas here, Barrie. I’m stoked! I starred your post in my reader for future reference.

    And yes, you are so right. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy – or Jane a dull girl 🙂
    .-= Christopher Lovejoy´s last blog ..Your Life- A Dream =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Christopher,
      So what did you decide to do?? Share your fun!

      • Christopher Lovejoy says:

        In a few hours, my sweetheart and I will be skating on a newly discovered ice trail running along Lake Ontario, and with a fresh fall of snow last night, it’s gonna be a winter wonderland! 🙂
        .-= Christopher Lovejoy´s last blog ..Your Life- A Dream =-.

  2. I just love this post. It’s good to be reminded that simple, spontaneous little ideas can sometimes spark the most fun and best memories.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      So glad you liked it Betsy! Now I need to follow my own advice. It’s Saturday morning and I just cleaned the kitchen, and now I’m at the computer. It’s a beautiful day, so I’m off for a walk in a few. 🙂

  3. A lovely (and lively) list Barrie. I was rather taken with the idea of going to a pet store. I love animals. We don’t have one of our own (I get by petting other people’s dogs, and there’s no upkeep involved). But it really would be fun to check out some critters at the nearest pet store. Be well Barrie with the lively spirit.
    .-= Christopher Foster´s last blog ..100 steps to grace for 2011 =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Christopher,
      I have been wanting a puppy for a long time, but I know how much time and “parenting” is involved in having one. So I get my fix with other people’s animals too. It sure is hard to walk out of that pet store without something furry though. But my lively spirit wants to travel and do other things that aren’t compatible with small animals.

  4. Hi Barrie,

    Our to do list is endless and if we try to finish them all over the weekend, we end up feeling unrested and too tired to get through the next week. Rest and fun is essential to stay sharp and productive. This is why I love your 25 Ways to have fun! Even though there is no winter here in Singapore, it just shows how your ideas that withstand the seasons. 😉 Here are my thoughts on some of them.

    3. Go to a museum, planetarium, aquarium or exhibit.

    This is a great idea and we can learn and see a lot from such a visit. I would probably enjoy a trip to the planetarium since space fascinates me.

    5. Go on an antiquing adventure.

    I love antiques and unique artifacts, especially if they have a long history behind it that I appreciate. And if I can get them cheap, they would make great display pieces.

    19. Have a movie marathon.

    This is a cool idea especially since I have heaps of DVDs to choose from. It’s good to just stay in from time to time and just have a movie marathon. It is better still with family and friends.

    25. Read and rest.

    This is probably my favourite. There is nothing like a good book to bring me to another world and keep me occupied.

    Thanks for sharing these great ideas. They are perfect for a fun weekend!

    Irving the Vizier
    .-= The Vizier´s last blog ..The 7th Step of the Vizier =-.

  5. Hey Barrie,
    GREAT list!
    Exactly what I tell people to do — mix it up, have fun, move more, get outdoors, make it social.
    Thanks for inspiring people!

    .-= Marsha Stopa´s last blog ..20 Minutes to Winter Wellness =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Marsha,
      Yes, these are good ways to combat the winter blues, right? Get moving, in one way or another! Thanks for commenting Marsha.

  6. I’ve been sick this week, no doubt as a result of not listening to my body’s need for rest. I’ve been hanging out in bed a lot. Usually I would bring my computer and books but these past few days I’ve been knitting and that’s what I still feel like doing, so I will. The tree is still up, etc.
    .-= Purplume´s last blog ..FEEL GOOD FRIDAY =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      That’s great Purplume. Follow your body’s guidance — it generally knows what it needs. Hope you are feeling better.

  7. Well, since fall and winter are my favorite time of year, winter doldrums aren’t an issue for me because I delight in cold and rain and snow and hail. I love cozy evenings by the fire. I love walking in the cold and rain.

    But one of my husband’s and my favorite rainy day activities is board games. We love all sorts of games. Great music on the stereo and a long game of Scrabble (we play the deluxe version that has quadruple squares) is a fun way to spend an afternoon AND it’s a form of learning, which you pointed out a couple days ago is good too. 🙂
    .-= Ande Waggener´s last blog ..The “See- Leap- Paddle- Get- And Repeat” Way To An Awesome Life =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      That all sounds lovely Ande. How nice to enjoy winter so much. There is beauty in every season, and winter provides so many opportunities for getting closer to family and friends. Hope you enjoy a fun weekend.

  8. You are so creative & resourceful Barrie 🙂 I so want to have a grown up pajama brunch or a cabin in the mountains!!! I bookmarked for future weekends and trips (and shared it too). Everyone can use a little fun 🙂

    Instead, we went to open day at our local rec center. I checked my son into childcare and my daughter into her first zumba class. Then, I walked, listened, to music, and got a free chair massage. Then, I picked up my son, as I watched with joy, him racing around the track. They were so thrilled to share this with me, as they usually have to stay in child care the whole time. I’ve been working on finding fun ways to be active in the winter as a family. You should see the things we’ve tried, some flop and some soar.
    .-= Marci´s last blog ..7 Guilt-free Ways to Create Energizing Goals =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Why not rent the cabin with friends and have the pajama brunch there?! You may have way too much fun Marci! Sounds like you and your family know how to have fun. Maybe all of you should take a zumba class together. If you do, take some video and post it on your blog. 🙂

  9. I like suggestion #1 the best, and in fact, that’s what I will be doing tonight.

    Thanks for the reminder. 🙂
    .-= givejonadollar´s last blog ..Jons Business Ideas- The Super Electric Snow Melter 5000 =-.

  10. I love the whole idea of coming up with your own (virtually free) ways of having fun. For the past few years I’ve done relatively little as I fell into that way of thinking; ‘you need money to have fun’. But then I took it upon myself to change all that. To realise that when I went out I didn’t HAVE to drink. That there were plenty of events I could attend (dragon boat racing is amazing!), and free jazz and open mid nights.

    I’ve also come up with a new game, so we head out in the car, with no destination in mind, and use some rules I came up with to doctate where we do (woman on the radio; turn left, man on the radio; turn right). Eventually you usually come across something that looks fun, so pull over and see what’s happening!

    Also, I’ve been collecting a few little extreme sports equipments so that whatever the weather I will have something to do;

    Bad weather: indoor climbing
    Windy; power kiting
    Calm weather: bouldering or x-boarding
    Warm and calm: kayaking.
    Don’t want to go out weather: a game of risk.

    This way, I can never sit at home and proclaim my boredom! 🙂

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      The best things in life are free, right?! Great ideas Rob. Thank you for sharing. We are supposed to get snow in Atlanta tonight and tomorrow, and we will probably be trapped in our hilly neighborhood. A game of Risk sounds like the ticket.

  11. Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice says:

    Some awesome ideas there Barrie. I actually like getting into the feel of winter so I often try winter activities like Ice Skating or perhaps visiting Ski centres and having a go at snow boarding or something just as much of an adrenaline rush! (p.s. I’ve challenged you in my latest post!)
    .-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last blog ..Welcome To The School Of Un-Edited Thinking And Writing =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Amit — long time no talk to!
      I don’t get to do much snow boarding here in Georgia, but it sounds like a blast. I’m going to take my 17-year-old son snowboarding in February in North Carolina. Maybe I’ll give it a try . . . Or maybe I’ll sit by the fire with a warm beverage! Glad you liked the ideas.

  12. Tess The Bold Life says:

    I love the 1001 vacation link, something for everyone. If people only planned there would be so much more traveling.

    Today I’m going to the movies with two friends. The weather is in the mid 60s and it feels like spring:)
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..50 Quotes to Inspire the Dreamers of 2011 =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Lovely Tess. What are you going to see? I just saw The King’s Speech. Awesome movie. One of the best I’ve seen in ages.

  13. Lots of good ideas here, thank you! Playing board games is another great way to pass the time in winter and have fun with family/friends!
    .-= Lindsay´s last blog ..Burn your boats =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Lindsay,
      I love board games too — if I can drag my kids away from the TV to play them! Once I do, they always have fun. 🙂

  14. I love your list!

    I keep a “menu” of ideas a bit similar to that. If I am lacking motivation and feeling inclined just to lie on the sofa and wallow in being pathetic, I make myself choose something off the menu. The “starters” are quick activities like reading a book for half an hour or writing an email to someone I’ve not contacted in ages, the “mains” are longer activities like choosing a new recipe, going out and buying the ingredients and then learning how to cook it, or going on a long hike and the “desserts” are more indulgent – things that I might need to splash a bit of cash to do!

    I’m glad that you have dancing on your list! I didn’t really dance much till I was 35 when I got divorced. Going to Ceroc classes (I’m in the UK – do you have Ceroc in the States?) really got me through. It provided an instant social life and somehow concentrating on the steps makes you forget everything you’re worrying about. I also lost loads of weight – it’s brilliant exercise! I now do tango and salsa too!
    .-= JenP´s last blog ..Befriending =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Jen,
      I’ve never heard of Ceroc. What kind of dancing is it? I’d love to learn more. You are a dancing queen. 🙂 (Remember that ABBA song? Now that’s a great song to dance to!)
      Thanks for your comments.

  15. Tanner Fowlie says:

    A signature always reveals a man’s character – and sometimes even his name

  16. Instead of going to a pet store why not go to your local animal shelter. Get your fix by taking a dog for a walk or playing with the kitties. Not only will you have fun, you will also be doing a wonderful service.