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Top Three Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks In Chicago

Top 3 Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks
(credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)

by Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

'Tis the season for ice skating. Chicago's winter is here to stay. Well, for a few long months anyway, so get out and enjoy it. There are a plethora of outdoor rinks (10 to be exact) within the city limits, open November 28th-February 28th. Most offer free skating if you bring your own gear, reasonable rental fees, and music through loud speakers for your skating pleasure.

If you want to drop some cash (2010 prices were $10 adults, $6 kids plus an additional $10 skate rental), you can skate in the parking lot of Wrigley Field. In years past, Chicago has even gotten creative and built a rink right inside the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, and near the top floors of the John Hancock! You can check out our guide to the John Hancock center.

Here are our current favorites for families, date night, atmosphere and parking ease. Oh, and did I mention admission free?

12.31.11 - Top 3 Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks - Midway Window-Kenaz-Mara
Photo Credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Open Skate Hours:
Mon to Fri.: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday: 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. - 7 p.m.
$6 skate rental; admission free.
Food concessions are available.

Midway is our ultimate favorite rink with plentiful street parking, concessions, an indoor warming house, and a laid back community vibe. We love to pack a picnic, a thermos of coffee and one of hot chocolate. The warming center tables are perfect for snacking or for parents to watch their older offspring on the rink, through the giant windows. Check out special events like movie nights or join a hockey league.

Kids love to play on the hill created when the Zamboni smooths the ice and dumps the shavings at the southern end of the rink. Bring toy shovels and digging toys to create ice tunnels and hideouts during skate breaks. Midway Plaisance Ice Rink is located on Chicago's south side, near Hyde Park.

Top 3 Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks
(credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)

Open Skate Hours:
Wednesday to Sunday: 12:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
$6 skate rental; admission free.
No food concessions are available.

Warren Park has plentiful free parking, a sizable rink, and music. Best of all, the rink is rarely crowded. This gorgeous expanse of 90 acres is the north side's largest park. Ice skaters can trade off with sledding during snowy weather, as Warren Park boasts one of flat Chicagoland's few, great sled hills. They also offer hockey.

12.31.11 - Top 3 Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks - Blackhawks Kid-Kenaz-Mara
(credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara)

Open Skate Hours:
Monday to Wednesday -1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Thursday: 1 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Friday: 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 3:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
$7 skate rental; admission free.
No food concessions are available.

The ice rink at Millennium Park is the most visible rink in the heart of the city. Its location is extremely romantic – but very crowded. And while it's easy to get to by public transportation, it's not kid friendly and it's easily the most tourist-ridden of all the city rinks. Hop over to Grant Park to get your urban skate fix without the long lines.

Check out Chicago Park District's Website for details.

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara explores adventures in urban-odd ball-off the wall-alternative-eco-punk parenting in Chi, IL. at
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