Want to take the kids ice skating? These family-friendly outdoor ice skating rinks in Chicago are perfect for beginners

Sock skating on a wooden floor might be fun (have you ever tried it?), but there’s nothing like feeling the cool breeze on your face as you glide across a real ice rink. It’s time to lace up your skates for an essential winter activity. Keep reading to find great places to ice skate in Chicago. Many are free, some are new—and most offer loads of other activities in the same location. So after attempting a few figure eights (or, you know, just making it from one side of the rink to the other), you can cozy up with Santa or warm your bellies with a cup of hot cocoa.

best ice skating in chicago


1. Parkway Bank Park

In the wintertime, Parkway Bank Park in Rosemont offers skating in the park, where The Chicago Wolves ice rink takes center stage with the perfect ticket price: free! You're allowed to bring your own skates, but if you need to rent a pair, they're available on site for $8. Easy parking and plenty of dining options round out the seasonal fun. After untying your skates, head over to the Sugar Factory and warm up with over-the-top hot cocoas.

Between Nov. 18 and Jan. 1, make it a full day of wintry fun by visiting the Sparkle Light Festival at Impact Field. You'll be treated to tubing, a holiday market, festive food and beverages, Santa's workshop, a train ride, and holiday crafts, all amongst an immersive display of more than one million holiday lights.

Dates: Nov. 19-Jan. 29

5501 Park Pl.
Online: rosemont.com

2. Millenium Park

Spectacular city skyline views will be your backdrop when you take a spin at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Reservations are required for 90-minute skate sessions. Once again this year, the rink will offer free ice skating lessons on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 to 10 a.m. (Skate rentals are extra.)

Dates: Nov. 18-Mar. 5

201 E. Randolph St.
Online: chicago.gov

3. Maggie Daley Park

The Maggie Daley Park ice skating ribbon is one of the best spots in the city to skate a figure eight. Meanwhile, the railing that lines the loop is the perfect pick-me-up for wobbly skaters, young and old alike. Tickets are released on a rolling basis at 12 p.m. on select dates. Check their website for the release date schedule.

Pro Tip: A skate assist sled is available for use by skaters with physical disabilities and their companion skater.

Dates: Nov. 18-Mar. 5

337 E. Randolph St.
Online: maggiedaleypark.com

4. Winterland at Gallagher Way

New this year, the ice rink at Gallagher Way will be moved into Wrigley Field as part of their Winterland attractions. It's open for skating and bumper car riding. Admission into Winterland is $5. Skating is additional. Visit prior to Dec. 31 and shop Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville, Chicago's take on a traditional German Christmas market. Shop, eat, enjoy free entertainment, shop some more, and even say "guten tag" to Santa Claus. Admission to Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville continues to be free.

To learn more about Christkindlmarket's two locations, read our review here.

Dates: Nov. 18-Jan. 8

3650 N. Clark St.
Online: gallagherway.com

5. Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo's Holiday Magic is Chicagoland's largest and longest-running lights festival featuring over a million twinkling LED lights, and it's best enjoyed on ice. Take the family to circle the skating rink on the East Mall.

Dates: Nov. 25-Dec. 31

3300 Golf Rd.
Online: czs.org

6. Navy Pier

Although not outdoors, Navy Pier's Light Up the Lake ice rink provides all the holiday feels that make it worth mentioning. This indoor, temperature-controlled experience features a sprawling light garden of large-scale sculptures comprising more than 600,000 twinkling lights, a massive Alpine ice rink, authentic beer garden, kiddie train rides, Santa's Merry Main Street and gift market, and other family friendly and date-night activities.

Dates: Nov. 25-Jan. 7

500 E. Grand Ave.
Online: navypier.org

7. Watts Center at Watts Park

Double the fun! Watts Center boasts not one but two outdoor ice rinks. Tucked away in north suburban Glencoe, this gem offers figure skating lessons, ice hockey and recreational skating. When the conditions allow, you can also play on the sled hill. Check their calendar for themed skate sessions, like Glow Skate, Skate & Create, Holiday Skate, and more.

Dates: Nov. 25-Feb. 26

305 Randolph St.
Online: glencoeparkdistrict.com

8. Midway Plaisance

Feel the history in the air at Midway Plaisance ice skating rink, the original site of the world-famous Chicago's 1893 World's Fair. Skating is free and skates are available to rent. You can request sled-assisted skating, which allows people of all abilities to skate together, by calling 312-442-2194. Skate trainers are also available at the rink, first-come, first-served, for children new to skating.

While you're in Hyde Park, visit the Museum of Science & Industry's Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light and be enchanted by the trees and displays decorated to represent the rich multicultural heritage of Chicago.

1130 Midway Plaisance North
Hyde Park
Online: chicagoparkdistrict.com

9. Peninsula Chicago

Located above Michigan Avenue, the Peninsula Sky Rink is the only hotel skating rink in the city, now in its 10th year. Surrounded by skyscrapers and the glow of twinkling lights, the synthetic rink is tucked into a winter wonderland with festive music and dazzling snowflake lighting. Warm your bellies on a selection of hotel beverages and snacks at the Chalet.

Skates are available to rent with proceeds donated to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and Hephzibah Children's Association.

Dates: Nov. 25-Feb. 28

108 E. Superior St.
Near North Side
Online: peninsula.com

For up-to-date information on ice rinks operated by the Chicago Park District, check out their dedicated Skate in the Parks page. 

—additional reporting by Debra Flanagan

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