Sharpen your ice skates, Chicagoans. It’s time to enjoy some entertainment and leisure on the ice. Ice skating offers an engaging, pleasant activity for families and friends. You don’t have to be an Olympic professional to experience the enjoyment of time spent on the ice. Discover some of Chicago’s best places to go ice skating.
Fifth Third Arena
As a community ice rink and the official practice home for the Chicago Blackhawks, Fifth Third Arena makes an attractive venue for ice skating. This 125,000-square-foot arena opened on Nov. 21, 2017. Inside, you’ll discover the facility’s two NHL-size 200-by-85-foot ice rinks. These rinks support community programming, beginner hockey classes, adult hockey leagues, and public skating.
Public skating sessions are ideal for adults and children of all ages and skill abilities. Admission for public skating sessions is on a first-come, first-served basis. Fifth Third Arena offers fun skating-based programs for Chicagoans during the year, including cosmic skating, family fun skate nights, games, raffles, and more. Visit the arena’s website to view the current schedule of special programming.
All individuals going onto the ice must sign a waiver, which is available on the facility’s website.
Here’s a fun fact about the Fifth Third Arena: The facility houses an ice hockey equivalent of a baseball batting cage. A skills studio room gives Blackhawks players space to perfect their shooting, passing, and stick-handling techniques.
Location: 1801 W. Jackson Blvd.
Admission: $10 per skater (daily admission); skate rental $5; skate admission punch pass (10 visits) $60; rental skate punch pass (10 visits) $30
Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon
It’s not your grandparents’ ice skating rink. The Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon offers skaters an unforgettable experience. Glide along a ribbon of ice that wraps its way through a rolling landscape with Chicago’s skyline as the backdrop.
According to The Magnificent Mile Association’s website, unlike typical ice skating rinks, the Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon traverses a path that’s twice the length of a lap around a traditional skating rink. Noted design firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates designed the infrastructure for Maggie Daley Park, including the quarter-mile-long skating ribbon. The park connects to Millennium Park (see below) via the Anish Kapoor BP Bridge.
Operating hours during the winter are Monday through Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday, noon to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: 337 E. Randolph St.
Admission: Skate rental $16; ice skating with your own skates $5; season passes $25; skate aids and locker rentals are available with additional fees
Note: In 2020, the Chicago Park District required skaters to make reservations for ice skating times as part of Chicago’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Please check the park’s website for updated information for the 2021 season.
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park
If you had to pick one must-visit spot for ice skating in Chicago, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park would be it. While the ice rink was closed last season due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts, this outdoor ice skating venue typically attracts more than 100,000 skaters. During the holiday season, the ice rink transforms into a winter wonderland with scenes of downtown Chicago’s skyline, the Chicago Christmas tree, and holiday lights reflecting off the city’s iconic landmark, Cloud Gate, aka The Bean. The extraordinary sights capture skaters’ attentions at every turn on the ice.
The skating season generally starts just before Thanksgiving and runs through early March. Exact seasonal opening and closing dates vary based on weather and other factors.
Bring your ice skates with you or rent skates at the rink for a nominal fee. Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events offers free public ice skating lessons to the public on weekends, select public holidays, and throughout the winter break for Chicago Public Schools.
Location: 201 E. Randolph St.
Admission: Free; all skaters must pick up wristbands at the rink entrance.
McFetridge Sports Center Ice Rink
Offering year-round competitive and recreational ice skating, hockey, tennis, and other sports programs, the McFetridge Sports Center is the Chicago Park District’s premier indoor sports complex. Located within California Park, the McFetridge Sports Center features an NHL-size ice arena with seating for up to 1,200 people and a half sheet studio ice rink.
The facility offers the following ice skating activities for adults and children:
- Package (freestyle) ice skating: Figure skaters and their coaches can take to the ice during designated package ice times. Skaters must be ISI Freestyle 1 level or above or the USFS equivalent to participate in these sessions.
- Rat hockey and open skate: Individuals interested in participating in rat hockey (similar to a pickup game of basketball) and open skate sessions can register in advance. All participants must wear face masks while on the ice.
- Synchronized skating: McFetridge Sports Center serves as the home ice rink for the Chicago Skates Synchronized Skating teams. More than 30 years of tradition make up this team sport that emphasizes character development, cooperation, and skating skills training. Synchronized skaters learn to perform a program in unison, incorporating jumps, spins, and other movements into their routine. The organization offers four USFS teams with opportunities for youth of many ages and ability levels to participate.
In addition to the above programs, the McFetridge Sports Center offers private and group instructional classes for skaters ages 4 and older. Check the schedule on the center’s website.
Note: The center has temporarily suspended public skating due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Location: 3843 N. California Ave.
Regardless of what activity you’d like to pursue on the ice, Chicago won’t disappoint you with its availability of ice rinks. At Gunzo’s Hockey Headquarters, the only full-service pro shop in Chicago, we have the gear and equipment for all your ice hockey sports needs. Visit us in person at 1501 W. Madison St. in Chicago, call us at 312-586-9658, or email us at [email protected] We’ll be happy to assist you.