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Five Places To Skate Outside In Chicago That Aren't Millennium Park

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 11, 2012 5:00PM

The Rink at Wrigley. (Image Credit: Erin Nekervis)

I'm not the best ice skater and tend to spend most of my time on a rink falling ass over teakettle as preschoolers skate backward past me, laughing. Chicago's mild winter has made for some sloppy outdoor ice skating the couple of chances I've managed to take advantage and lace my skates, and I try to stay away from Millennium Park when I do.

The skating rink at Millennium Park has become arguably the most popular rink in the city, and with good reason. It's centrally located and offers skaters one of the most amazing views of the city. But Chicago is a city of neighborhoods and there are outdoor rinks that, while they don't offer the skyline view afforded at Millennium Park, are worth a trip to put cold steel on ice. Here are five of my favorites. Check them out soon: most of these close Feb. 26.

1. The Rink at Wrigley: Even this White Sox fan can admit that there's something magical about having an ice skating rink outside the home of the Chicago National League Ballclub. Now in its third year, the Rink at Wrigley is a full-sized skating rink that gives skaters the opportunity to spread out and work on their skills.

2. McKinley Park Ice Rink: Probably my favorite rink in the city is nestled in the northwest corner of this Southwest Side park along where Western Avenue becomes part of the city's boulevard system. McKinley Park's rink gives skaters a wonderful view of the skyline in the distance, while freight trains and the CTA Orange Line passes nearby. Admission is free, but they do offer a $6 skate rental for those without blades. (2100 W. Pershing Rd., 12:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.)

3. Riis Park: I may live on the South side, but I'll always be a kid from the Northwest side at heart. Riis Park's rink is located near the shadows of Brickyard Mall, so if you want to get some shopping done, you can. (6100 W. Fullerton Ave., 12:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.)

4. Midway Plaisance Ice Rink: Hyde Park comes correct with an Olympic-sized rink for both regular and inline skaters and easily the most beautiful rink of this list. Midway Plaisance's rink features a rooftop observation deck, concession stand, warming center and a winter garden all framed by Lorenzo Taft's Fountain of Time sculpture and reflecting pool. (59th Street at Woodlawn Ave.; Monday - Friday, 12 - 7 p.m.; Saturday, 1 - 9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 - 7 p.m. )

5. Warren Park: This West Rogers Park rink is popular with casual skaters and, curiously, hockey buffs. Warren park is also one of the more beautiful parks in the city, which makes skating here a must. (6601 N. Western Ave., 12:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.)