Whether you’re teaching the next generation one of the greatest ways to zip around a floor, picking up a fast-wheeled trick or two, or simply reliving your own glory days (neon leg warmers, anyone?), here are four Chicagoland rinks definitely worth taking for a spin. Hand-holding is optional.
Even if you aren’t the sturdiest thing on two wheels, Chicago mainstays like The Rink (now celebrating its 40th anniversary) will make you want to lace up and give it a go. (Especially if you’ve recognized the rink from the 1997 film Soul Food.) Groupons are frequently offered, so keep an eye out! All-ages skating classes are followed up by Saturday afternoon family skates, but if you feel like leaving the kids at home, The Rink features skate times for the 30 and over crowd—the kind who’ll appreciate the Old School Hour and Throwback Tuesday’s hip-hop greatness. (Don’t make me shake my cane.)
1122 E. 87th St., Chicago
While we’re on the topic of famed movie rinks, Lynwood Sport Center’s space took a star turn as the Sweetwater Roller Rink in the ‘70s coming-of-age (and disco-tastic) film Roll Bounce. When your wheels need a break from that beautiful new hardwood floor, take advantage of the 18-hole mini golf course (complete with a waterfall and fountains galore), the rock climbing wall or the sweet birthday party packages. Whether you’re a little rusty or just starting out, Lynwood’s all-ages skating lessons are taught by national champs. (Not feeling the scrutiny of the public eye? No worries; they offer private lessons, too.)
2030 Glenwood-Dyer Road, Lynwood
Don’t even pretend you’re not easily thrilled by black lights. Orbit’s Cosmic Skate every Friday night adds that little something extra to its already terrific roster of family skates almost every single day. (The retro nights feature a blend of music from ‘60s on up, and their DJ takes requests!) Additionally, for about 20 minutes during each Cosmic Skate, participants will be skating in sheer black light and clutching glowsticks like their very lives (or balance) depend on it. No judgments here.
615 S. Consumers Ave., Palatine
“Family owned and operated” is more than a tagline; it’s a way of life for the Quitter family. Between their two rinks (the other one’s in Glenwood), this family has been in business for more than 50 years. Day-to-day operations are run by Carey Westberg-Quitter, but his parents Marge and Ray—a famous pairs skating couple, now in their 80s—are still extremely active in the business, including tearing it up on the rink floor. Many of the rink’s events and open skates are family-focused, and a strict adherence to clean lyrics—even during Teen Nights—ensures their stellar reputation will continue for years to come.
17658 S. Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park