Nothing says winter in Chicago like ice skating outdoors. When
there's a nip in the air, there's just something special about
whizzing around a frozen oasis and warming up with a cup of hot
chocolate. Chicagoland has no shortage of outdoor ice skating
rinks. We couldn't list all the amazing rinks, so we just picked
four-all of which have a little something extra.
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark Street, Chicago
An ice skating rink is opening for the first time this year at
the Farm in the Zoo near the crop garden. Kids and adults will love
skating around the rink with views of the farm, Nature Boardwalk,
and at certain angles, the city skyline.
"The zoo is always looking for new, fun and exciting offerings
for families," says Sharon Dewar, spokesperson for the zoo. "We
thought an ice skating rink would be an excellent add-on to the
extremely popular ZooLights holiday experience."
The rink will be open daily from Nov. 29 to March 2 (closed on
Dec. 24 and 25). Prices are $5 to skate all day and $5 to rent
skates. Bathrooms are located nearby in the main barn.
MB Financial Park at Rosemont
Skating in the Park
5501 Park Place, Rosemont
Skating here is akin to skating in a miniature city. With
restaurants, an upscale movie theatre, a bowling alley and the new
outlet mall, there's no shortage of entertainment. And, the outdoor
rink is in the center of it all, surrounded by festive lights
during the holidays.
"You have the luxury of everything downtown, but you're just not
dealing with downtown," said Brittany Stephens, athletic manager
with the Village of Rosemont. "There's so much going on over there,
and it's all within walking distance."
Skating is free, but rentals are $8. The rink opens for the
season Nov. 29. Hours are 4-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m.
Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday.
1130 Midway Plaisance, Chicago
Skaters can zip around the rink, located on the site of the
World's Columbian Exposition, while giving kids a history lesson
about the world's first Ferris wheel (built in 1893 for the
Exposition). From the rink, skaters can view the University of
Chicago campus, as well as Midway Plaisance Park.
"It sits in a historic park with great views," says Zvezdana
Kubat, spokesperson for the Chicago Park District. "It's a
different experience when you're out there."
Bathrooms and concessions are available. The rink usually opens
the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but rates for skating and rentals
had not been finalized at press time.
Eclipse Lagoon Ice Skating
1354 North Second Street, Rockford
If you're looking for a back-to-nature ice skating experience,
this is the place. And it's free. Located behind the Nicholas
Conservatory and Gardens, the rink offers views of the Rock River
and Rockford's Festival of Lights. Bring your own skates because
rentals aren't available. Hockey fans can bring their gear because
nets are placed on the ice every day.
"You will just be surrounded by Mother Nature and it's
beautiful," says Laura Gibbs-Green, public relations manager for
the Rockford Park District. "You can see the Christmas decorations
at the conservatory and across the street are the holiday
Bathrooms are nearby. The rink opens whenever Rockford Park
District staff deem the water frozen and safe to skate, says
Gibbs-Green. The rink is open 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
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