Chicago gets really cold in the winter so having an outdoor ice rink is no problem downtown. Millennium Park’s ice skating rink opened in 2004 after Skate on State was closed down to accommodate a new building being built across from what was then Marshall Fields.
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park is located at N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago, IL 60602 Phone: 312-742-5222
Millennium Park’s Ice Skating Rink is smaller than a usual ice arena rink but it is plenty of fun for kids and the family to go skating all winter. The rink is right next to the bean (cloud’s gate) in Millennium Park and it is free to ice skate there. (Skate Rental is not free, $10) Both figure skates and hockey skates are allowed on the ice rink. The ice rink is open from 10 am to 10 pm from Thanksgiving through March 15. The main benefit of the rink is some exercise for most of us that sit behind desks all day long and it is also a pretty picture to see people skating at holiday time.
The Millennium Park Outdoor Ice Skating Rink is a fun thing to do for free downtown if you own your own skates. (or if you want to rent skates) The public is welcome to try out their ice skating skills anytime of the week and have some fun. No lessons are currently available but many local ice skating rinks offer lessons if you want to learn to skate from a professional. Millennium park is a great place for a cheap romantic date though and after you skate you can go to dinner at the Park Grill restaurant there.
If you go skating in Millennium Park remember a few tips:
1. Always ice skate in the same direction as traffic. (far less people get hurt this way)
2. If you are not confident of your ice skating skills stay close to the boards.
3. Bend your knees and keep your butt under you for balance while skating with your feet shoulder width apart. Push outward with the insides of the blades rather than pushing with the toe pick of the skates. Or swizzle your feet in and out while doing a 2 foot glide.
4. If you feel yourself start to fall, letting yourself sit down naturally without struggling usually hurts less than trying to save it. You may want to bring extra gloves or extra pants for kids if they get wet falling a lot. You can change the kids for the ride home in the washrooms after they are done mopping up the ice.
5. They don’t resurface the ice often so expect it to be bumpy, full of snow and basically slow ice because of all the blades cutting it up in traffic. If you do know how to skate this is not really the place to practice or show off. Plus it is kid of rude to cut people off doing all your USFSA stuff when you are on a public skate.
And that is my best Millennium Park Ice Skating advice since I haven’t taught ISIA (ISI) lessons in about 15 years or skated USFSA in even longer. Have a great time skating and getting some good cardio exercise. If you are more into hockey style skating, get out your custom hockey jerseys and come enjoy the skating rink!