Skating figure eights is always fun, and Chicago sets the skating stage by offering a wide selection of wonderful outdoor skating rinks. From a sky high rink to a lazy river-like ribbon of ice, there's an ice skating rink to fit your every whim. Grab your mittens, scarf, sweetheart and a thermos of hot cocoa and enjoy fun night of ice skating.
Here are our picks for Chicago's best ice skating rinks, plus a few tips on nearby food and drink spots.
Enjoy ice skating all winter long at Lincoln Park Zoo's Farm-in-the-Zoo. Visit with the animals then head to the red barn where an icy rink awaits. Bring your own skates or rent them at the Farmhouse. Lockers will be available for rental, too. Admission is $5; bring your own skates or rent them for $5. Save $15 on 20 visits and/or skate rentals by purchasing an $85 pass at the Farmhouse. Open Fridays to Sundays, and select dates, through February 28. lpzoo.org
Insider Tip: The spicy chicken wings at R.J.Grunts (located just across from the zoo at 2056 N. Lincoln Park West) are great for warming up post-skating. Or go the healthy route and dive into the vast salad bar.
Surrounded by the twinkling lights of Chicago's skyscrapers, the luxe Peninsula Hotel's Sky Rink is perhaps the tallest skating rink in Chicago. Tucked into a pine tree filled winter wonderland, skating here is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Suggested donation of $15 per adult and $10 for children 12 years and under. Open Fridays to Sundays. chicago.peninsula.com
Insider Tip: Take an indulgent skating break at the Peninsula's onsite Chalet, where a fine selection of hot beverages and snacks including hot chocolate, cider, glühwein (a German, warm spiced wine), warm pretzels, funnel cakes and apple fritters await hungry skaters.
Parson's Chicken and Fish in trendy Logan Square recently transformed their patio - a beloved summer spot - into an ice skating rink. Enjoy seasonally-inspired food and drink menu either indoors or on the ice, and truly, what pairs better with ice skating than luscious fried chicken and hot spiked cider? Bring your own skates or rent them; admission is $5. parsonschickenandfish.com
Insider Tip: Nearby Logan Square chocolatier Katherine Anne Confections (2745 W. Armitage Ave.) offers likely the most decadent hot cocoa in the city, making for a perfect stop after a skate at Parson's. The Salted Caramel includes chunks of toffee and an extra dash of sea salt; Mexican includes a spice blend of cinnamon, cayenne, habanero, and guajillo chiles. You'll want to take an extra bag of the housemade marshmallows to go.
Insider Tip: Check out the skaters from a different angle, the 13th-floor rooftop terrace and restaurant Cindy's (12 S. Michigan Ave.) which overlooks the park. Continue the sporting trend with a warmup in the Game Room (also in the new Chicago Athletic Association Hotel) with a few rounds of billiards, bocce, shuffleboard or checkers.
The ice skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park, located on the north end of Grant Park at 337 E. Randolph St., is perhaps one of the most beautiful spots for skating in Chicago. Skate around the loop - twice the length of a lap around a traditional skating rink - then warm up with some hot cocoa in the warming house. Admission to the ice skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park is free; skate rentals cost $12. Open daily through March. maggiedaleypark.com
Insider Tip: Start with a morning meal from either of the two breakfast spots right across the way. Both are open daily: Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe (130 E. Randolph) or Eggy's Diner (333 E. Benton Place).
Located in the Hyde Park community, Midway Plaisance (1130 Midway Plaisance North ) is a large skating rink featuring a cozy warming center. Skaters can participate in ice skating lessons, Rat Hockey (pickup games), or just skate at leisure. Open skate admission is $4 for adults and free for children ages 17 and under; skate rentals are available for $6 - check the website for specials including a Saturday Family Skate deal. Open through February 28. chicagoparkdistrict.com/facilities/ice-rinks
Insider Tip: Enjoy a post-skating lunch at Plein Air Cafe (5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.), located near the rink on the University of Chicago Hyde Park campus, next door to the historic Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House. This French atelier-inspired café and eatery offers warm coffee and simple, comforting dishes.
Take a look at these 9 ways to celebrate the season or this winter wish list for more Chicago winter itinerary ideas.