Best Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks for Chicago Kids and Families
One perk of the long, cold winters in Chicago is the chance to glide across the ice at the many beautiful outdoor skating rinks throughout the city and suburbs—many of them FREE. Not all ice skating rinks need polar-vortex temperatures to stay open—some refrigerated rinks are available for skating as long as the temperature is less than 40 degrees. Families can also find a skating rink that matches their mood, from skating on a rooftop at the Peninsula Hotel to sliding across a frozen pond in Glen Ellyn. Many rinks offer hockey, broomball, figure skating, or speed skating programs. And not all rinks are your standard oval, either—Maggie Daley Park’s Skating Ribbon lets figure skaters enjoy a different kind of figure 8.
For all the details on where to strap on those ice skates this weekend, read on.
Most rinks on this list offer a website or app for skaters to check conditions before they head out to the rink. Families should also check to make sure skate rental is available if needed and obey all rink safety rules.
Take a spin on the ice during the 18th season of the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, a Chicago winter tradition. Photo courtesy of Millennium Park
Downtown Outdoor Skating Rinks
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink — Chicago Loop
Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison Streets
Open November 15, 2019 through March 8, 2020
Families can skate amidst Chicago landmarks during the 18th season of the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park. With a view of the Cloudgate Sculpture, Michigan Avenue, Lake Michigan and more, the park offers free skating with a fee for skate rental and skating aides for skaters of all ages. The rink also has DJ nights on the first and third Thursday of each month and Winter Workout ice skating lessons for all ages and skill levels on select dates. Kids can warm up at several nearby Millennium Park buildings.
Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park— Chicago Loop
Maggie Daley Park
337 E. Randolph Street
Open November 15, 2019 through March 8, 2020
The Skating Ribbon offers a change from a traditional oval rink with a rolling landscape and figure-eight shaped path. Along the ribbon, skaters can find a skate rental booth and a hot chocolate vendor. Skating is free, but skates are $13 to rent from Monday through Thursday and $15 on weekends and holidays. The ribbon also offers free holiday events including a skate with Santa.
Meet Clark the Cub at the Park at Gallagher Way at Wrigley Field. Photo courtesy of Gallagher Way
Gallagher Way at Wrigley Field — Wrigleyville
3635 N. Clark Street
Open November 22, 2019 through February 16, 2019
Clark the Cub greets little Cubs fans for skating at Gallagher way next to Wrigley Field this winter. The 8,000 square foot ice rink offers figure skating performance on select Tuesdays throughout winter and skating and curling lessons in January and February. Children 12 years and younger are free, while admission for those 13 and older is $6. Skate rental costs $12.
Wicker Ice — Wicker Park
1425 N. Damen Avenue
Opens December 7, 2019; follow the rink on social for operating hours
This community-funded and community-maintained non-refrigerated outdoor rink is open to anyone as long as the ice is frozen. The 60-foot by 120-foot rink has skating lessons for children ages 5-12 on Saturdays from December through March. Lessons are free as long as parents sign up for one hour of volunteer time. Big kids may enjoy a game of hockey on the rink, but must volunteer to help maintain the ice when they are finished.
Warren Ice Rink — Rogers Park
6601 N. Western Avenue
Opens November 29, 2019
For simple skating in a friendly environment, this far north side park is ideal for Chicago families. Warren Ice Rink has a warming house and skate rental along with designated times for kids to take lessons and play hockey. Small children can also rent skate trainers and walker to help them learn to skate. Admission is free and skate rental is $7.
The Peninsula Sky Rink — River North
The Peninsula Hotel
108 E. Superior Street
Opens November 23, 2019
Kids don’t have to be able to do a triple axel to enjoy skating in the air at the Peninsula Hotel’s 2,100 square foot Sky Rink. The rink is located on the hotel’s terrace and boasts a selection of treats including hot chocolate and hot cider at its Chalet. Skate rental is $20 for adults and $10 for children, which benefits the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hosptial and the Hephzibah Children’s Association. Families can also rent the rink for private parties.
Midway Plaisance Ice Rink — Hyde Park
Midway Plaisance Park
1130 Midway Plaisance
Opens November 29, 2019
Located on the grounds of the 1893 World’s Fair Columbian Exposition, this Hyde Park Rink offers fantastic views of the city. Skaters can get on the ice for free and rent skates for $7. Skate trainers and walkers are available for those learning to skate and sled and sled-assisted skating devices are available for disabled individuals.
Little skaters can skate or play hockey at one of Watts Center’s two ice skating rinks. Photo courtesy of Glencoe Park District
Suburban Outdoor Skating Rinks
Watts Center — Glencoe
305 Randolph Avenue
Open November 29, 2019 through March 1, 2020
Little skaters can skate or play hockey at one of Watts Center’s two ice skating rinks. The main rink is a regulation hockey surface with times scheduled for open hockey, adults only hockey or recreational skating. The smaller studio rink offers times for broomball, open skating and hockey by specific age group. Admission fees are $6-$10 per day, while skate rentals cost $4. Amenities include a mini-pro shop, recreation room, and program room.
Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink — Orland Park
15600 West Avenue
Open December 2019 through February 2020
This family-friendly south suburban ice rink offers free skating for all. Skate rental is just $3 and helmets are free. The warming house offers a chance for skaters to take a break from the cold. While skate rental is only available during warming house hours, those with their own skates may begin skating at sunrise. The rink does not allow hockey and figure skating jumps are only allowed when 30 skaters or fewer are on the ice.
Chicago Wolves Ice Skating Rink at Brookfield Zoo — Brookfield
8400 31st Street
Open December 1, 2019 through January 31, 2020
It doesn’t have to be freezing for skaters to glide among the animals at Brookfield Zoo. The Chicago Wolves Ice Skating Rink is made of a synthetic material called Glice that requires no water and does not need to be kept below 32 degrees. Admission to the rink is $7 and skate rental is $5. Located on the Zoo’s East Mall, refreshments and warming shelters are nearby.
Families can skate in the middle of Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park Entertainment District. Photo courtesy of Parkway Bank Park
Chicago Wolves Ice Rink at Parkway Bank Park — Rosemont
Parkway Bank Park
5501 Park Place
Open November 29, 2019 through February 23, 2020
Families can skate in the middle of Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park Entertainment district on most days in December, January and February. Admission to the rink is free, with skates available to rent for $8. On Sundays in December, kids can skate with characters such as Anna and Kristoff or Santa and Mrs. Claus from 9am-11am. Plenty of entertainment and dining options are available for little skaters if they want to go inside to get warm.
Lake Ellyn — Glen Ellyn
Lake Ellyn Park and Boathouse
185 Spring Avenue
Warming house open mid-December through February 25, 2020
The Glen Ellyn Park District has added lights to Lake Ellyn so skaters can enjoy the ice until 9pm each night. Skating is only permitted when the ice reaches a thickness of eight inches, but visitors can check the park district's website before heading out to the ice. Because the Lake isn’t always frozen enough to skate, west suburban skaters can check out Newton Park in Glen Ellyn as a back-up. A warming house is open from mid-December through late February so that skaters can take a bathroom break or warm up from the cold.
With three rinks there is always plenty of space at the Centennial Park Ice Rinks. Photo courtesy of the Naperville Park District
Centennial Park Ice Rinks — Naperville
500 W. Jackson Street
Open December 15, 2019 through February 15, 2020, weather permitting
Three lighted ice skating rinks invite skaters to Naperville’s Centennial Park. The boarded rinks allow hockey and broomball while the third rink is for free skating. Rinks are free and open until 10pm each night.
Bobby Hull Community Ice Rink is an affordable skating option, especially if you multiple kids! Photo courtesy of Bobby Hull Community Ice Rink
Bobby Hull Community Ice Rink — Cicero
Cicero Community Park
3400 S. 53rd Avenue
Opens December 1, 2019
Cicero residents can skate for $1 and rent skates for $1, while non-residents pay just $5 for open skate and $3 skate rental at this community rink. Check the rink’s Facebook page for designated hockey times. Skating lessons are also offered weekly throughout December.
Central Athletic Complex Ice Rink — Wheaton
Central Athletic Complex
500 S. Naperville Road
Open late November 2019 through March 2020, weather permitting
This free skating rink offers staff-supervised hours weekdays starting at 4:30pm and weekends starting at 11am. The facility has portable restroom trailers on site and is located on the grounds of the Central Athletic Complex, which includes the gyms of the former Hubble Middle School, so kids can warm up their cold fingers and toes. The rink does not offer skate rentals.