At this time of year, with winter in full swing and Christmas behind us, it can be easy to stay cooped up inside, with rare nights-out typically involving dinner and a movie. The thing is, if you do a little digging, you’ll find that there are some awesome activities out there that can help you power through the winter. The good news? I’ve done that digging for you.
Fancy yourself an artist whose talents have yet to be discovered? What about someone who just loves to go out with friends, enjoy some vino and laugh your butt off? Whichever category you fall into, Paint Nite is for you. Very simply, you register online by choosing which venue, date or painting you want to paint. (Each painting has a difficulty level attached to it.) You show up at the venue - which could be a bar or gallery or restaurant - and everything is provided for you including a canvas, a smock and a paintbrush. Spend 2 hours painting the night away and indulging in whatever beverage you fancy. And yes, your masterpiece comes home with you. Paint Nite is currently operating in 15 Canadian markets and 100 markets worldwide.
Deep down, I want to be Katniss Everdeen, I really, really do, and the closest I’ll ever get to being the Hunger Games’ leading lady is by playing archery tag. The game is a combination of paintball, dodgeball and archery. For almost an hour, you play against another team, trying to hit them (or their targets) with foam tipped arrows. This is one of those “feel like a kid again” activities, plus (added bonus) it’s a serious workout, just way more fun than the elliptical. The trend has caught on in a big way in the US and is slowly making its way into Canada, with indoor archery tag centres in Richmond, BC
It’s likely that you’ve heard about escape rooms because they are extremely trendy right now. The first rule of escape rooms is not to talk about escape rooms, but I’ll tell you what I can. When you arrive, you are locked in a room full of clues and puzzles. For the next 45 minutes to an hour, your goal is to find the clues and crack the puzzles in order to escape, and you are not allowed to leave under any circumstances – not even for a pee break. (Pre-escape room bathroom stops highly encouraged!) Some escape rooms are theme-based and involve escaping from a lab, a library, a prison cell – and others are ranked by difficulty. This is a heck of a lot of fun and will get your adrenaline rushing! A quick online search for “escape rooms Canada” will elicit a ton of suggestions. I can personally speak to Real Escape Game Toronto
, which was a total blast.
BOARD GAME CAFES
It’s tough not to smile when you’re in a board game café. It could be the colourful walls of games, it could be the steaming lattes, or the refreshing beers. Most likely, though, it’s the thrill of being somewhere where humans are connecting with other humans face-to-face, not screen-to-screen. For $5 (in most cases) you can select a game and play for as long as you want. The café staff are trained in all of the games, almost like board game sommeliers, so they’re there to lend a hand if you haven’t quite figured out how Cards of Humanity works. It’s the perfect way to spend a lazy winter afternoon. Here’s a great list
of some of the board game cafes across the country.
This is another one of those “feel like a kid again” activities. Indoor trampoline centres, with thousands of square feet of wall-to-wall trampolines, seem to be popping up everywhere, and although you might be inclined to think they’re only for kids, they’re not. Sure, they’re great places to let the little ones burn off some steam, but they’re fantastic for adults too. You can visit to just jump around or to play organized sports like trampoline dodgeball or trampoline basketball or to participate in trampoline aerobics classes, which reportedly burn off 1,000 calories an hour and work the core in a big way. Bottom line, it’s really fun to feel like a kid again. Two prominent chains include Sky Zone
and Extreme Air Park
, who have locations in various Canadian cities.
And even though Jess didn't hit the bullseye, don't forget axe-throwing! Battegrounds
has three Toronto locations with a fourth on the way.
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