At this point, we’ve learned to never be surprised about Pittsburgh weather.  Whether we have a string of 60-degree days in January or six-plus inches on the second day of spring (cough, cough), the unpredictable weather is just a quirk that we’ve learned to accept (or at least tolerate). When a serious snow catches you off guard, skip the Pittsburgh standard of complaining about the weather and get outside!

Our favorite winter activities around Pittsburgh might add some much-needed charm to your otherwise cold and slushy afternoon. And hey, even if winter’s not exactly your favorite season, you can’t deny that a hot chocolate (or a hot toddy) make anything a little bit more fun.

Walk somewhere unexpected. Okay, hear us out — there’s nothing fun about driving on unplowed, snow-covered roads, so you might as well embrace the snow and face it head-on! Slip on your favorite all-weather boots, some thick socks and your best down jacket and take to the streets to explore your neighborhood on foot. Find a new neighborhood lunch spot if you usually drive to the tried-and-true standards, or bring a bottle of wine over to a neighbor’s house. You can even set out into the park to see the difference that a foot of snow makes.

Soup it up. Snowy weather equals soup weather to us.  But where to go?  A chowder at Merchant Oyster?  Or spiced up shoya ramen from Ki? Corn and conch chower at Kaya? Rich, decadent French onion soup from Poulet Bleu? Dill covered beet borscht at Apteka? Okay, maybe just do a soup crawl and get them all.

Go sledding. When was the last time you went sledding? A snow day is the perfect excuse to act like a kid (hey, you can’t drive anywhere, which basically means your errand list is null and void), to get outside and to have fun with your friends. If you don’t have a sled on hand, go old-school and use a garbage can lid! We hear the best spots are in Frick Park, on Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park and near the pool in Highland Park.  And maybe pack some snow beers too… sledding is harder than you might remember.

Take in a movie. The Manor Theater and Row House Cinema are both great places to hole up on a snowy afternoon or evening. If you haven’t seen Black Panther yet (where have you been?!) or you’re looking to round out your Oscar nom viewing list with The Shape of Water, there’s no better time than the cold, snowy present.

Make yourself a cocktail. It’s easy to grab a bottle of wine when you don’t have much time to make drinks for a party, but on a snow day you have nothing but time. Expand your home bartending horizons by learning to make a classic Hot Toddy or an Irish coffee. Or leave it to the experts and head to Ace Hotel or Butcher and the Rye for a perfectly balanced cocktail.

Emerald – jameson | dolin rouge | orange bitters ?

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Binge watch a new show. Okay, if you’re really just not a winter person, that’s cool, too. Lucky for you, Beaux Arts put together a guide to this season’s best shows to help you plan the perfect snow day on the couch with takeout and a blanket.