Though Christmas may be over, winter is just starting in the Midwest. Don’t hide from it – enjoy it. Learn how to survive a Chicago winter by getting outside and twirling around an ice rink with family and friends. It’s a perfect way to get a little exercise, work on your balance, and take in the local sights. Participate in the most classic winter tradition at one of these top-notch city ice rinks.
You may have to fight off a hoard of tourists, but the atmosphere is worth it. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park is the most picturesque place for a skate in Chicago, so long as you’re prepared to wait for it. Weekends draw large crowds and big lines, so try to come at off-peak hours. Even after the Christmas decorations are gone, nothing beats skating in the shadows of the skyline.
If you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge but still don’t mind a touristy spot, the Maggie Daley Ice Ribbon is the place for you. Its winding and twisting path offers a more intriguing excursion than simply skating around in circles. Beginners and those who hug the wall may find it a bit daunting, but if you have any previous ice skating experience, it’s sure to be a fun and unforgettable adventure.
Wicker ICE in Wicker Park is a community-funded and maintained ice rink open for free to the public. There’s no refrigeration or skate rental system. Come when it’s cold and with your own skates. Volunteers monitor the rink on the weekends, and it’s available for hockey games provided that you come at the allotted times. It typically opens at the beginning of December and is removed March 1st.
In the Hyde Park neighborhood, the Midway Plaisance Park is a year-round community destination for events. In the winter, it’s overrun with skaters, as the full-service rink offers open times, hockey games, and even lessons. Come to sharpen up your skills or bring the entire family for an afternoon of winter fun. Just south of the University of Chicago campus, it’s in the perfect location to hit all of Hyde Park’s other highlights.
The Mount Greenwood Ice Rink is another family-friendly outpost of the Chicago Park District for all kinds of winter fun. The park includes playground areas, a basketball fieldhouse, an outdoor pool, and, of course, the skating rink. Strap on some blades for a spin around the South Side and take advantage of the off-Loop prices – skate rentals are just $6. Check their weekly schedule before you go, and bring the family.