Where to Go Ice Skating in Chicago This Winter

From outdoor park rinks to iconic spots decked out for the holidays.

Ah, winter in Chicago. Sure, it may not be as action-packed as summer, but it has its merits. There’s a palpable, heartwarming camaraderie that comes with a season so stark it’s basically just survival at its most primal. It’s also prime time for unapologetic comfort food, hibernating for months on end, and honing your skills for game night. And let’s not forget the sheer adrenaline rush of gliding over sheets of ice on blades of carbon steel, like the winter god that you are. Indeed, a city like Chicago, with its extended winters, knows how to make the most of the chilly season and keep things fun year round. Both indoors and out, ice skating rinks come in all different sizes and shapes—from standard ovals to not-so-standard “ribbons”—all over the city. As you brace for another classic Chicago winter, here’s where to lace up and embrace your inner Michelle Kwan.

Maggie Daley Ice Skating Ribbon
Maggie Daley Park | Photo by Abel Arciniega

One of the most unique ice skating experiences in Chicago, the ice skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park is a far cry from your run-of-the-mill oval. Rather, it’s a roving pathway that meanders through whimsical landscaping and around seasonal climbing walls, like a frozen-oven lazy river with the downtown skyline as your backdrop. Reserve your 90 minute session ahead of time to guarantee your time on the ice.
Cost: Tickets and skate rental prices vary (more information here)
Hours: Open daily; hours vary (check the calendar here)

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
Millennium Park | Photo by Abel Arciniega

If you’re looking for a centrally located place to skate complete with stellar views and tasty snacks, look no further. McCormick Tribune Skating Rink sits in the heart of Millenium Park, while nearby Momentum Coffee will be serving up warm drinks and eats to keep you sated. Snag a reservation for a 90 minute session before you head out, and remember that this is the most visited tourist destination in the entire Midwest— so the rink tends to fill up fast.
Cost: Admission is free (reservations required); skate rentals start at $13 each
Hours: Open daily; hours vary (check the calendar here)

Gallagher Ice Rink

Wrigley Field

In the summer months, Wrigley Field is hallowed ground for one of America’s most storied baseball teams. Come winter, though, and the turf transforms into a full-blown winter wonderland, complete with a German-style holiday market, Santa’s Workshop, and an ice rink located literally inside the ballpark. Along with kid-friendly rides and attractions, like the Wintertube ice slide, ice bumper cars, and Hot Cocoa Cups, which are basically theme park-like Tea Cups, but merrier, ice skating is a star attraction at the aptly dubbed Winterland.
Cost: $5 admission to Wrigley Field, plus rink access costs three tickets for $12
Hours: 3 - 9 pm, Monday - Thursday; 11 am - 10 pm, Friday - Saturday; 11 am - 7 pm, Sunday

From its birch tree maze to its interactive LED displays, Light Up the Lake at Navy Pier is always popping this time of year, but the heated indoor alpine skating rink decked out with a twinkly curtain of lights is worth the trip alone. In addition to rink access, your ticket includes a ride on the legendary Centennial Ferris wheel, a visit with Santa (if he’s around), and the opportunity to marvel at more than 600,000 holiday lights. Another great perk? Navy Pier boasts some of the most Instagram-worthy waterfront panoramas in the city.
Cost: Tickets and skate rental prices vary (more information here)
Hours: Open daily; hours vary (check the calendar here)

Parkway Bank Park at Rosemont
Photo courtesy of Chicago Wolves Ice Rink at Parkway Bank Park

Along with an NHL-sized public ice rink in the park’s great lawn, Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park also offers upscale dining, live entertainment, bowling, a movie theater, indoor skydiving, and a comedy club. And if that isn’t enough, the nearby Fashion Outlet of Chicago is filled to the brim for a little post-skate retail therapy. Come for the ice and stay for the winter wonderland experience—masked and distanced, of course.
Cost: Admission is free; skate rentals run $8 each
Hours: Open daily; hours vary (check the calendar here)

South Side staple Midway Plaisance Park is a Park District-run rink outfitted with a warming center plus ski rentals for adults and kids. A full roster of additional activities include skating lessons, stick and puck games, rat hockey (a pick-up style game for adults that requires players to bring their own equipment and not body-check each other), pond hockey, broomball and more—just make sure to register online before hitting the ice.
Cost: Admission is free; skate rentals run $7 each
Hours: Open daily; hours vary (check the calendar here)

Sky Rink

Peninsula Chicago

Not only does the swanky Peninsula Chicago sports Chicago’s only hotel ice rink, it just so happens to overlook all the hustle and bustle of Michigan Avenue from its frosty perch on The Terrace. The hotel’s Chalet is stocked with warm beverages and food, and if a private experience with just your family and friends sounds like a plan, you can even request to rent out the entire 2,100-square-foot rink.
Cost: Admission is free; skate rentals run $20 each ($10 for kids 12 and under)
Hours: Days and hours vary (check the calendar here)

Warren Park

West Ridge

A neighborhood favorite, Warren Park houses a well-kept outdoor rink stacked with activities via the Park District, from stick and puck games to ice skating lessons. Pro-tip: The park is conveniently located near Little India, so a post-skate samosa or two is never far away.
Cost: Admission is free; skate rentals run $7 each
Hours: Days and hours vary (check the calendar here)

Don’t let the big guys intimidate you at this massive indoor facility. McFetridge Ice Rink is a year-round sports center that attracts figure skaters, synchronized skaters, and hockey players from all corners of the city. Public skate hours are limited and require registration, and if you’re interested in getting a little more involved, be sure to look over their online schedule for group activities, lessons, leagues, and more.
Cost: Tickets run $5 per adult (discounts available); skate rentals run $3 each
Hours: Open daily; hours vary (check the calendar here)

One of the Blackhawks’ practice sites, this community ice rink hosts a wide variety of organized activities and lessons in addition to public skating hours. An added bonus? Order food at Fifth Third Arena Concessions and drinks at Fifth Third Arena Bar for a ready-made date night. Hockey fans should also check the calendar to see when they can catch the pros practicing their moves.
Cost: Tickets run $12 per person; skate rentals run $5 each
Hours: Days and hours vary (check the calendar here)

Elanor Bock is a contributor for Thrillist.
Matt Kirouac is a travel writer with a passion for national parks, Disney, and food. He's the co-founder and co-host of Hello Ranger, a national parks community blog, podcast, and app. Follow him on Instagram.