This week's beautiful 70-degree weather has a lot of Chicagoans forgetting that winter is right around the corner. The next five months are set to be filled with miserable weather, a lack of sunlight and Seasonal Affective Disorder, but they're also the only time of year when you can slap on your skates and slide around an outdoor ice rink for free. Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon, the city's coolest and newest rink, is set to open on Saturday, November 14 at 10am, weather permitting. That's one day after the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park is set to open.
Maggie Daley Park's long-awaited ice ribbon opened last December to a lot of hype. The sloped quarter-mile loop is unlike any other rink in the city. According to the park district, it can hold up to 700 skaters at any given time (and you can bet that it'll fill up quickly on weekends). Skating along the ribbon is free, and you can rent skates for $12—the same price as Millennium Park's rink. The line for skate rental at Maggie Daley Park last year was painfully long, so if you want to beat the crowds, consider picking up a pair of secondhand skates before heading out for your slippery excursion.
When the skating ribbon opened last year, Maggie Daley Park wasn't even close to being finished. Most of the fields didn't have grass and the playground was still in the works. Now that it's complete, the park is part of the city's effort to create a "winter campus" that will also include Cloud Gate and Millennium Park (also the new location of the city's official Christmas Tree).
Winter is upon us, Chicago, whether we like it or not.