We learned how to protect the frosty winter in Ankara, but we didn’t talk much about what is there to be done in this city during the icy weather. Let’s face it, our winters are mostly spent in the cinema-theater-shopping triangle. There are also warm cafes to meet friends. However isn’t it important to enjoy every season? To make winter in Ankara more enjoyable, we gathered small but delightful tips that will make your time in the city beautiful.
Every year when it snows, Seymenler Park turns into the scene of legendary snowball battles. You may find events on Facebook to follow it. But it is more like a non-verbal agreement that everyone knows. It is traditional to gather friends and visit the park when it snows. After a challenging and wet struggle, you can enjoy a warm cup of chicken soup in Zeynel Restaurant at Tunus Street.
Yes, maybe ice skating is not a traditional sport in Turkey. But it is not like we all do oil wrestling every day! The idea of sliding on the ice for the first time is perhaps a little daunting, but easier and more enjoyable than you think! At first, maybe the steps are timid, but after a while, it feels like flying! It’s important to dress appropriately when you’re going on the ring and keep in mind that you can borrow the skates from the facilities.
Belpa: Akdeniz Cad. No: 57 Bahçelievler / Çankaya- Ankara / 0312 223 35 13
Lozanpark Buz Pisti: Birlik Mah. Kahire Cad. No:3/A Lozanpark Çankaya / 0549 440 8181
Atatürk Buz Pateni Spor Tesisleri: Kurtuluş Parkı, Çankaya
Tips to Warm Up # 1: Mulled Wine
One of the best activities during the dreadful cold weather is drinking mulled wine while chatting in a dimly lit place during the winter in Ankara. Our city has so many spots for mulled wine: Sardunya, Botanica, Don Kişot, Ekşi Maya, Aylak Madam, and Cafe des Cafe. You can also try to make it at home by following an easy recipe. Instead of going out, you can have a good time at home with gathering friends at home, having mulled wine together, and enjoying a nice movie or a good playlist. Check out the recipe of Lavarla author, Eliçe.
Sliding with Plastic Bags
Maybe you don’t have a slide, but that doesn’t mean that you can have fun in winter in Ankara! Traditionally, the best plastic bag slides were the old school ones, that are used by Turkish mamas for different reasons like preserving knitting materials of house shoes. Nowadays, supermarket bags, sturdy washcloths, and garbage bags are new favorites. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to aim a point (pole, tree, etc.) that will stop you before it slips.
The Beauty of the City under the Snow
When the snow is new, gazing at the city from a high point connects you a little more to Ankara. Under the evening lights, you can forget about the frosty air and the cold weather. Some of our favorite spots are 50. Yıl Parkı, top of any hilly street in Ayrancı district, and Teleferikler district in Yenimahalle. You can enjoy the view with a thermos of tea or coffee!
Tips to Warm Up # 2: Heating Stove
Heating stoves are very popular in our city and help you to enjoy the winter in Ankara. The best linden tea is made on top of the stove at Gramafon Cafe, and one of the best coffees can be enjoyed in Kirit Cafe. You can also enjoy the chestnuts that are cooked in the stove at Nostalji Cafe. If you decide to discover the historical center of the city, you can visit Dantel Cafe protects from the cold of the region.
In winter, you can find chestnut kebab vendors in the city everywhere, from Tunali to Bahçeli; and from Kızılay to Ulus. The price of a paper bag of chestnut is usually around 5 or 10 Liras. Keep in mind that the price may increase slightly towards Tunalı. It is also a way to warm hands in the winter in Ankara as well!
Enjoy New Things
Instagram has entered our lives with the input not only clothing but also the food, decoration, even the music we listen to have to be as fashionable as possible. How many of us didn’t decorate houses with cactuses and tiny lights we bought from IKEA because they were fashionable, or how many of us didn’t even look at the coffee machine in the house and went to the third wave shops because they are instagrammable? We are all guilty! Nowadays, clean eating is fashionable. That brings making sour own almond milk, fermenting your own yogurt, and drinking pumpkin soup to our attention! But we are including it to our list to intrigue you to try. If you can’t do it at home, Elvan does the best for you; Bonapple in winter is a good spot to stop by. Note: You can also enjoy Crab Soup there as well.
Take Care of Stray Animals!
Townies who taught that animals would not experience cold because of their tick furs started to realize that indeed they can! That way, we started to see cat houses, blankets over dogs and food for them outside during the winter. This might be not everyone’s cup of tea, but you can also support this cause by showing some empathy! Here is a guide to make a cat house for your friendly neighbors.
Enjoy a Bootee
One of the most beautiful things to do in Ankara in winter is to stay at home. Wear the bootees while you are waiting for the tea to boil, and enjoy your favorite book or binge watch the series that you love!
Cover Photo: Taner Ekici
Translated by Jeyan İdil Aslan
This article is also available in Turkish. Click here to take a look.