Ice skating is to winter as pumpkin patches are to fall. Ice skating is the ultimate choice for date night or a fun place for a family adventure with the kids, or grabbing a few of your closest friends and show off your skills on the ice. But, you don’t have to be a figure skater or hockey pro to enjoy this winter tradition, so break out your skates and test your skills at some of America's coolest urban ice skating spots.
Opened in 2014, Maggie Daley Park is the hottest skating rink in Chicago and (we think the coolest in the country). The park itself is a haven for adults and kids alike year round; the playground is in the heart of Chicago and comes complete with a suspension bridge, multiple giant slides, rock climbing walls, and a lazy river-shaped path that is magically transformed into a skating rink in the winter. Come winter, the rink is the star of the park. It’s a quarter-mile loop that holds up to 700 people at a time. That’s a lot of eyes watching each time you fall—no pressure!
Aside from the size, the location is incredible. You’re on the edge of Lake Michigan, beside Millennium Park, and in front of Chicago’s most impressive skyscrapers. The only downside is that every two hours, the park has to resurface the ice, which takes about 60 minutes. Don’t worry – there's plenty to do across the way at Millennium while you wait patiently.
While you’re touring the country checking out city skylines during the holidays, you need to add The Depot Minneapolis’s skating rink to your list. It’s a train station-turned-indoor arena with floor-to-ceiling windows boasting a gorgeous view of Minneapolis. The Depot was constructed in 1899 and remains one of the last long-span, truss-roofed sheds in the nation.
And about nine hours south, you’ll find the rink’s outdoor twin— Steinberg Skating Rink. It’s the largest outdoor skating rink in the Midwest and they offer skating all day, every day—even holidays. And post-skate, cozy up at the bonfire and have a beer from the concessions—you’ll need one after a few wipeouts.
For a different type of experience on ice, there’s honestly nothing like the Apostle Islands Ice Caves. Millions of years ago large rivers deposited layers of sand that formed sandstone at Apostle Islands. Then, just thousands of years ago, glaciers formed the sandstone into cave-like cliffs over Lake Superior. If you’re lucky to visit when the temperature is cold enough, the ice freezes and tourists can hike through the sandstone cliff caves. Since the thickness of the ice is unknown at all times, you hike at your own risk... but the view and the photos you can capture are worth it.
Whether you’re into ice skating or just looking for a new place to spend time with the family, bundle up and bring your skates to some of these ice skating rinks around the country.