Chicago, the “Windy City,” knows how to embrace winter. While icy blasts might whip through the streets, they also create a magical landscape perfect for one quintessential winter activity: ice skating. And what better way to experience this frozen wonderland than while surrounded by the city’s breathtaking skyline?
This article will guide you through some of the most stunning ice rinks in Chicago, offering panoramic views of the iconic skyscrapers and unforgettable winter memories. Buckle up (or lace up!) as we explore these glittering oases:
1. McCormick Tribune Ice Rink: A Classic with a View
Nestled in the heart of Millennium Park, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink is a winter staple. Skate alongside “Cloud Gate” (affectionately known as “The Bean”) and capture its dazzling reflection on the ice. The surrounding skyscrapers, including the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), add a majestic backdrop to your glide. This iconic rink offers free admission (reservations required) and skate rentals, making it a budget-friendly and accessible option.
2. Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon: A Twist on Tradition
For a unique skating experience, head to Maggie Daley Park. The ribbon-shaped rink winds around the park’s landscape, offering mesmerizing views of the city skyline at every turn. This innovative design allows for both leisurely skating and challenging loops, catering to all skill levels. Enjoy stunning vistas of Buckingham Fountain and the surrounding cityscape as you carve your way around the ribbon.
3. The Peninsula Chicago Sky Rink: Luxury on Ice
If you’re looking for a luxurious winter escape, The Peninsula Chicago’s Sky Rink is the answer. Perched atop the fourth-floor terrace, this intimate rink offers panoramic views of Michigan Avenue and the Magnificent Mile. Skate amidst twinkling lights and festive music, creating an unforgettable winter wonderland experience. While admission and skate rentals are pricier, the exclusivity and ambiance make it a worthwhile splurge.
4. McKinley Park Ice Rink: A Hidden Gem
For a more traditional rink experience with city views, McKinley Park Ice Rink is a hidden gem. Situated on the Southwest Side, it offers stunning panoramas of the city skyline in a relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere. Take in the sunset over the cityscape while enjoying affordable admission and skate rentals. The rink is also known for its lively atmosphere and frequent special events, making it a perfect choice for a fun-filled outing.
5. Midway Plaisance Ice Rink: A Slice of History
Step back in time at the Midway Plaisance Ice Rink, located on the site of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. This historic rink offers a charming atmosphere and picturesque views of the surrounding park and the University of Chicago campus. Enjoy affordable skating under the stars and soak in the unique historical charm of this timeless location.
Beyond the Rinks: Pro Tips for Your Chicago Ice Skating Adventure
Plan your visit: Check rink websites for hours, admission fees, skate rental options, and reservation requirements.
Dress warmly: Layer up! Chicago winters can be chilly, so dress in warm clothes and comfortable shoes for walking to and from the rink.
Bring essentials: Gloves, hat, and sunscreen are recommended, especially for sunny days. Consider bringing hand warmers for extra comfort.
Be prepared for crowds: Popular rinks, especially during peak hours and weekends, can get crowded. Be patient and respectful of other skaters.
Embrace the experience: Relax, have fun, and enjoy the stunning visuals! Capture memories with photos and videos, but be mindful of others.