Ice Skating in Chicago: Outdoor Rinks Serve Up Frozen Fun

(fensterbme / Flickr)(fensterbme / Flickr)

Bundle up, strap on those blades and hit the ice at Chicago's citywide outdoor ice rinks. No matter what your skill level, from old-school to the cutting-edge, we’ll have you gliding gracefully into the long winter season at these gleaming downtown and neighborhood offerings, including a new option in Wicker Park.

Wicker Park, 1425 N. Damen Ave.

An artist's rendering of Wicker Park's new outdoor skating rink. (Design by Culliton Quinn Landscape Architecture)An artist's rendering of Wicker Park's new outdoor skating rink. (Design by Culliton Quinn Landscape Architecture)

The Wicker Park Advisory Council has partnered with the Chicago Park District to open an outdoor ice rink on the park's softball field.

The rink was scheduled to debut Dec. 5 but will now open Jan. 17, weather permitting.

Located a stone’s throw from the CTA Damen Blue Line station, the rink–which is funded, installed and maintained by the community–was spearheaded about a year ago by WickerICE Committee Chairmen Nick Gecan and Brian Culliton, who earned support for the project from the Wicker Park Advisory Council, Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno (1st Ward), the park district and the neighborhood itself.

“We sent out a survey to approximate 1,000 people in the Wicker Park community and we asked them, ‘Do you think an outdoor ice rink in the park is a good idea, bad idea or a poor idea?' It came back as an overwhelmingly outstanding idea,” Nick Gecan said. “We also asked in that survey, ‘Would you be willing to volunteer to contribute funds and volunteer your time to maintain the rink?’ And, once again, the response was overwhelmingly positive.”

With the park district's approval of the plan, the committee secured money through fundraisers and donations from an online GoFundMe campaign, which raised $31,472 in three months—exceeding the project’s $30,000 goal.

“I think it’s going to bring a little magic to the neighborhood.”

–Nick Gecan

The 120-foot-long, 60-foot-wide rink is non-refrigerated and will therefore only be open when temperatures are cold enough to freeze the ice naturally.

“Every now and then you come across an idea that is pure and that is just simply good—and I think this is one of them. It’s just fantastic for the community and in this day and age, with all of the negative news, it’s nice to see something positive,” Gecan said. “This is a great place for an ice skating rink—we’ve got these beautiful buildings, we’ve got the park—I think it’s going to bring a little magic to the neighborhood.”

• Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m.-8 p.m., weather permitting, through March 1. A schedule of programs and activities that includes free skating, adult skating, family skating, ice hockey and kids-only sessions will be available at the rink and online.
• Fees: Admission is free, skate rentals are not available this season.
• Amenities: The park’s field house provides restrooms and a respite from the cold.

(Courtesy of Parson's Chicken & Fish)(Courtesy of Parson's Chicken & Fish) Parson’s Chicken & Fish
2952 W. Armitage Ave.

This Logan Square dining and drinking establishment is living the dream and serving up “chicken fried ice” for a second season on its humble, yet sincere, patio-sized rink. Summer picnic tables and umbrellas have been moved aside in favor of a glistening sheet of slippery madness. With a solid menu of food and drinks–including hot spiked concoctions–the scene is set for an indulgence you may or may not remember for the rest of your life.

• Hours: Rink opens daily at 3 p.m. For complete information about hours, click here.
• Fees: Admission is free and limited skate rentals are available.
• Amenities: Get happy hour specials from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. According to Parson's Facebook page, there's also "free dogsled parking" in the front.

The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
McCormick Tribune Plaza, Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St.

(Courtesy of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events)(Courtesy of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events)

Skate under the reflection of Cloud Gate with views of the Michigan Avenue skyline and a backdrop of the park at this 15,910-square-foot outdoor rink. Take advantage of free skating lessons one hour before the rink opens on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The rink has been drawing 100,000 skaters annually for the past 14 years.

• Hours: Open noon-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon-10 p.m. Fridays. Weekend hours fluctuate. For complete information, click here. Open through March 6, weather permitting.
• Fees: Admission is free, skate rentals cost $12.
• Amenities: Warm up with hot chocolate and snacks from the Park Grill Café.

(Courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo)(Courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo) Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St.

Skaters of all ages are welcome to the rink at the Farm-in-the-Zoo. Be sure to take advantage of all the wildlife in the city and greet the animals along the way. Lace up during the annual ZooLights event through Jan. 3.

• Hours: Hours fluctuate. For complete information, click here. Rink is open through Feb. 28.
• Fees: Admission is $5, skate rentals are $5 and locker rentals are available. Plan on frequenting the rink? An $85 pass is available for skating and skate rentals.
• Amenities: Take a break and warm up inside the main barn with refreshments and concessions.

Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon
Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St.

Now in its second year, the ribbon offers a new twist to the traditional sport of ice skating as the path winds through a rolling landscape with the Chicago skyline as its backdrop. Part ice rink, part racetrack, the ribbon trail dips and bobs with the ebb and flow of the city on this quarter-mile, 20-foot-wide course. Get out there.

[Take a ride on the Ice Ribbon Zamboni with "Chicago Tonight's" Jay Shefsky]

• Hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon-10 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays (open until 9 p.m. after Jan. 2); 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sundays. Open through March, weather permitting.
• Fees: Admission is free, skate rentals are $12 and locker rentals are $2.
• Amenities: Pit stops along the course offer hot chocolate.

Chicago Park District Outdoor Community Ice Rinks

In addition to the skating ribbon, the Chicago Park District offers outdoor ice skating at seven other neighborhood facilities across the city. Sponsored by the Chicago Blackhawks, each rink offers open skate times and a variety of events and programs, including pond and rat hockey, sled-assisted skating, the annual Silver Skates speed-skating competition and free Hawks-sponsored ice hockey clinics.

• Hours: Hours fluctuate. The rinks will remain open, weather permitting, through Feb. 27. Rink schedules, program hours and open skate hours, are on the park district's website
• Fees: $4; $2 for seniors and members of the military; free for kids ages 17 and under and for students with ID. Skate rental costs $6, but adults can save $2 with a combo on admission and skate rental. Family admission is $10 on Fridays from 6:30-9 p.m. and includes skate rentals.

The park district's rinks are listed alphabetically below, with open-skate hours for each location. (Images Courtesy of Chicago Park District)

McKinley Park Ice Rink
2210 W. Pershing Road, 312-747-5992
• Neighborhood: McKinley Park
• Hours: 3-7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 1:30 to 9 p.m. Fridays; 1-5 p.m. Saturdays; noon-6 p.m. Sundays.

Midway Ice Skating
Midway Plaisance Park, 1130 Midway Plaisance North, 312-745-2470
• Neighborhood: Hyde Park
• Hours: Noon-7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 2-5 p.m. Saturdays; 1-6 p.m. Sundays.

Mount Greenwood Ice Rink
3721 W. 111th St., 312-747-3690
• Neighborhood: Mt. Greenwood
• Hours: The rink is undergoing repairs and is expected to open later this week. For more information click here.

Riis Park Ice Rink
6100 W. Fullerton Ave., 312-746-5735
• Neighborhood: Belmont Cragin
• Hours: 3-7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 1:30-9 p.m. Fridays; 1-5 p.m. Saturdays; noon-6 p.m. Sundays.

Rowan Park Ice Skating
11546 S. Avenue L, 773-646-1967
• Neighborhood: East Side
• Hours: 3-7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 1:30-9 p.m. Fridays; 1-5 p.m. Saturdays; noon-6 p.m. Sundays.

Warren Park Ice Rink
6601 N. Western Ave., 773-761-8663
• Neighborhood: West Ridge
• Hours: 3-7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 1:30-9 p.m. Fridays; 1-5 p.m. Saturdays; noon-6 p.m. Sundays.

Wentworth Park Ice Rink
5625 S. Mobile Ave., 312-805-3936
• Neighborhood: Garfield Ridge
• Hours: 3-7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 1:30-9 p.m. Fridays; 1-5 p.m. Saturdays; noon-6 p.m. Sundays.

Below, a map of Chicago's outdoor ice skating locations:

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