Winter. It’s the season for snowmen and sleigh bells and fur-lined parkas.

However, if you’re not a big fan of outdoor exploring in wintry weather, there’s still plenty in Western Massachusetts to keep you busy and active, without braving too much chilly weather.

Western Massachusetts is home to a host of museums, shopping and dining experiences– no cross-country skis required (unless that’s just your thing, and then… enjoy!).

Where to Explore

Enjoying the many museums and cultural centers of Western Massachusetts is enough to keep you busy for weeks without stepping out into a snowbank.

Yiddish Book Center
The Yiddish Book Center provides a heartwarming look into the community’s efforts to keep Yiddish literature– and the rich legacy of Eastern European Jewish culture– alive for generations to come. The center has a mission to recover, celebrate, and regenerate Yiddish and modern Jewish literature and culture; it houses thousands of books and is also home to the Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library’s more than 12,000 titles.

The Yiddish Book Center is located at the edge of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., and offers free guided tours and a full slate of cultural and educational events. Popular activities include the kinder-vinkl’s (children’s corner) pretend restaurant, where guests can practice ordering in Yiddish, and a re-created Yiddish print shop.

Hours: Sunday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission: $8 for adults; $6 for seniors (suggested donation). Free for members, students and children.

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Nothing feels better on a cold day than snuggling up with a well-loved book. At the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, your family can relive treasured memories by rediscovering childhood favorites, including Carle’s famed The Very Hungry Caterpillar and much more.

Museum activities include daily programs in the art studio; story times where you can enjoy beloved picture books and discover new favorites; and theatre and film interpretations of children’s literature.

Hours: Tuesday- Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, 12 noon – 5 p.m.
Admission: Adult- $9; Youth (1-18), Student, Teacher, and Senior- $6; Family (2 adults and 2 youth) $22.50

Springfield Museums
If you’re looking for all day experience when it comes to fun and learning, add a few more museums to your list. The great thing about the Springfield Museums? You can you can enjoy a full range of world-class exhibits and artifacts. From the Springfield Science Museum to George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum to The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, there’s so much to see. Anyone brave enough to brave the cold and step outdoors for a moment will be unable to stop themselves from “awww”ing over the fantastic Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden (just make sure you grab a coffee from onsite Blake House Cafe to fight the chill!).

Hours: Tuesday–Saturday: 10 a.m to 5 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; Monday: Closed
Admission (one ticket covers admission to five museums): Adults- $25; Seniors (60+)- $16.50; College Students- $16.50; Youth 3–17- $13; Children Under 3- Free

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Nothing gets the blood flowing like a good old-fashioned game of basketball. At the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., you can enjoy all the fun of immersing yourself in basketball lore, without breaking a sweat.

The hall boasts more than 40,000 square feet of basketball history, including sculpture, interactive displays and more. Compare your shoe size against some of the greats, test your vertical and spend some time shooting around on the regulation-size court.

Hours vary by season
Admission: Adults- $24; Seniors (65+)- $18; Youth (5-15)- $16; children (up to age 5)- free

Where to Eat

The way to the heart is through the stomach, or so they say. If that’s true, and we’re betting on it, Western Massachusetts definitely has enough fired-roasted, hearty goodness to go around.

Cal’s Wood-Fired Grill and Bar
Cal’s Wood-Fired Grill and Bar offers casual American fare with enough variety to appeal to any diner. The restaurant typically offers a prix fixe menu on Sunday and Monday, and their flavorful wood-fired pizzas are available any day. The pizza menu includes creative options like the gorgonzola pear, as well as classics like pepperoni and cheese.

Hot Table
Grilled sandwiches keep us going in the winter; we can’t get enough of their toasty goodness. Hot Table gives you all the panini customization your heart desires, and then ups the ante with their artisan bread. With multiple locations in the area, Hot Table offers an easy, delicious way to stave off hunger and the cold.

Where to Have a Little Fun

Top Golf Swing Suite
If you want to perfect your swing, or if you’re just looking for a chance to play a round with friends, let’s be honest– an outdoor course in mid-winter is probably not the place for you. Great news, though: the Top Golf Swing Suite at MGM Springfield is available as a great way to scratch that golf itch.

Get together a group of up to eight of your closest friends to golf your heart away on Top Golf’s theatre-style screens, and enjoy their excellent menu of gourmet snacks and cocktails. Reservations are encouraged to ensure a bay is available for your group.

Yankee Candle Village
Warm up with Yankee Candle Village’s signature candles and wax blends. While your candle’s tiny flame may not be quite enough to keep you warm throughout the season, the brand’s Christmas Wreath, Candy Cane Lane and Winter Garden scents will warm your heart with a nostalgic glow.

And, if those scents don’t appeal to you, take a gander at the Perscentality Board and find the perfect scent match to complement your personality traits.

One of those annoying little inconveniences that come along with winter weather? Dry and chapped skin. Renew.Calm, in West Springfield, Mass., offers the opportunity to be good to your skin, and your whole body, with luxurious skincare, massage and body treatments.

The spa specializes in facials, including classic organic treatments and those that incorporate leading-edge technology like photobiostimulation and radio frequency.

Don’t let winter weather make you feel like staying home is all you can manage. After all, once the snow melts, you want to have memories that involve more than your favorite comfy couch, Netflix and a Snuggie. With so many fun activities around Western Mass, you have all the tools at your disposal to have fun and stay warm with or without your trusty parka.

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