No holiday bucket list is complete without a lap or two around the best ice skating rinks in Chicago. Lucky for us, most of the top Chicago Christmas events have built-in skating features, so you can lace up at Millennium Park, Winterland at Gallagher Way and Navy Pier's Winter WonderFest. No skates? No problem—many of the rinks on this list offer low-cost rentals for littles ones and adults. Once you're done dancing on the ice, drive around in search of dazzling Christmas lights in Chicago or warm up at one of the city's best bars with a fireplace.
Don't forget: Rink hours may vary based on weather conditions. We suggest calling ahead before lacing up your skates.
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Ice skating rinks in Chicago
Skate under the Chicago skyline and within eyeshot of the Chicago Christmas Tree at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Admission to the rink is free, and you can rent skates for $13–$15. The most popular time to hit the rink is in the evening, so show up earlier if you don't feel like waiting in line for your chance to slide around. Take advantage of free skating lessons on Fridays at 11am and Saturdays and Sundays at 9am. If it seems too warm to skate, call ahead—this rink is open through March 8, weather permitting.
The Cubs may be hibernating for the winter, but Gallagher Way provides some excellent reasons to hang out in Wrigleyville during baseball's off-season—including an 8,000-square-foot ice rink, open November 22 through February 16, weather permitting. Kiddos 12 and younger skate for free, and anyone 13 or older will pay $6; you'll pay an extra $12 to rent blades on-site. Semi-private six-week skating lessons begin on January 4 and cost $100.
Situated in the heart of downtown Chicago, with the city's sweeping skyline as a backdrop, the Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park is a winter attraction unlike any other. Skaters can lace up and wind around a winding ice-covered path that's twice the length of a lap around a traditional rink. Admission to the Skating Ribbon is always free, and skate rentals are available for $13–$15. The Ribbon stays open through March (weather permitting) and even offers limited hours on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
Too cold outside? Navy Pier brings all of the winter fun indoors, filling its gigantic 170,000-square-foot Festival Hall with carnival rides, a tubing hill, oodles of holiday decor and a massive ice-skating rink. The festive event runs from December 6 through January 12, with hours varying daily. Priced at $10–$14 for kids and seniors and $20–$28 for adults, general-admission passes give you access to all of the holiday fun inside.
During the World Columbian Exposition of 1893, Midway Plaisance Park was filled with amusement park rides and attractions. Today, the park serves as a connector between Jackson and Washington Park, featuring paths for biking, walking and jogging. When the temperature drops, the green space makes way for a sizable ice rink with free admission. Stop by on Saturday and Sunday for Pond Hockey sessions or Monday through Friday for open skate.
Want to watch planes fly out of Midway while you glide across the ice? Wentworth Park is your South Side destination. If you're looking for something to do after your fingers are frozen, consider heading south for a beer at the 5 Rabbits Cerveceria. The park's website has the upcoming season's ice rink hours.
This year, the Brookfield Zoo teamed up with the Chicago Wolves and the Chicago Zoological Society to debut a temporary, energy-efficient skating rink that's made of heat-pressed layers of polymers (so, no ice involved).
Skate on an NHL-sized indoor rink at one of the Chicago Park District's two indoor ice rinks. McFetridge Sports Center offers sports experiences for athletes of all ages. The facility regularly hosts competitive and recreational ice skating, hockey and tennis programs, as well as special events. Open skate is only available Friday 3:30–4:45pm and 9:40–11pm, Saturday 4:40–6:10pm and Sunday 4:30–6pm. Admission is $5, and skate rental is $3.
This Chicago Park District facility on the far Southwest Side offers a year-round, NHL-sized indoor ice rink (with programs in hockey and figure skating as well as open skates), a gymnastics center and a fitness center with yoga classes and a jiujitsu school. Parents: Keep an eye out for classes for little ones, like Baby Blades, Toddler Crawl and Snowplow Sam.