Add a twirl to your sightseeing itinerary this winter. Take one of these Chicago ice skating rinks for a spin and you'll also be stopping at some of the city's top attractions.
SEE: Millennium Park's famous Cloud Gate sculpture, "The Bean"
GREAT FOR: All ages
Whether you're a pro on skates or a still a bit clumsy on the ice, the iconic skating rink in Millennium Park is a must-stop. Now in its 13th season, skating remains free with open admission to the public. Also free are the incredible views of the downtown skyline and "The Bean" above. Each year more than 100,000 skaters twirl here every beneath a surround of twinkling tree lights. One tip: given its popularity, try to visit during off-times to avoid the big crowds and long lines for skate rentals.
Open November 13, 2015 - March 6, 2016 | Skate rental $10 | millenniumpark.org
SEE: Chicago's newest downtown skating rink and park
GREAT FOR: More experienced skaters given the inclines/declines and longer distance
This stunning new skating ribbon curves through Maggie Daley Park with gentle bends that wind around pine trees and towering climbing walls. The new neighbor to Millennium Park, it made its debut in 2014. Its path is twice the length of a lap around a traditional skating rink — which also means you should check the Zamboni schedule to avoid the lengthy ice resurfacing times! Another tip would be to bring your own skates to skip the rental line.
Open November 2015 - March 2016 | Skate rental $12 | maggiedaleypark.com
SEE: Navy Pier, the #1 attraction in Illinois
GREAT FOR: Kids and families
Winter WonderFest is a fantasy-like playground at Navy Pier filled with hundreds of trees, twinkling lights, all sorts of fun and a warmer alternative for the ice skater — the indoor Chicago Blackhawks Ice Skating Rink. Upgrade from General Admission to an Activity Ticket for access to over 25 rides and activities, plus ice skating with rentals.
Open December 4, 2015 - January 10, 2016 | Activity Ticket $17-25 | navypier.com
SEE: The world-class zoo nestled in Chicago's historic Lincoln Park neighborhood
GREAT FOR: Kids and families, as well as beginner skaters
Located in the Farm-in-the-Zoo area, this square skating rink looks out onto the big red barn and sits below strands of string lights. Time your visit to also see ZooLights, a spectacular showcase of holiday lighting displays. And be sure to visit the animals, from the lions and tigers to the new snow monkeys in the Macaque Forest habitat.
Open November 27, 2015 - February 28, 2016 | Admission $5 | Skate rental $5 | lpzoo.org
SEE: Elevated skyline views from the terrace
GREAT FOR: Couples
Check into the luxury four-star hotel Peninsula Chicago and then check out the views while you skate away on the 2,100 sq. ft. rink up on the fourth floor terrace. Available for overnight guests — as well as restaurant and spa guests — this charming option is perfectly perched above the hustle and bustle of Michigan Avenue. Bonus: The outdoor "Chalet" has an array of winter warmup, from warm cider to fresh beignets.
Open November 21, 2015 - March 1, 2016 | Skate rental $15 | chicago.peninsula.com