Soar Above The City At The Peninsula Sky Rink

Shannon Blum
December 20, 2019 - 7:31 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – Soar above shoppers on the Magnificent Mile and take in the sights at Sky Rink at the Peninsula Chicago, all while donating to a good cause.

The Peninsula Sky Rink returns for its eighth season at the hotel’s outdoor terrace, offering guests views of the city and its twinkling lights. It debuted in November 2012 and is the only hotel skating rink in Chicago.

“In the summertime, we have this beautiful oasis in the city right on Michigan Avenue about four floors up and it opens up to our Shanghai Terrace restaurant, but in the wintertime, of course, the weather is a little chillier, not a lot of people wanting to hang out and dine on the terrace, so our general manager actually came up with the idea of making it into a Sky Rink,” said Max Schroeder, Hotel Manager. “Her point was to utilize the space – so something that was large and could fill the space, but also to give back to charities, so all of our proceeds that are raised on the Sky Rink go to our two children’s charities.”

The Peninsula Sky Rink
The Peninsula Chicago

Since 2012, the Peninsula Chicago has raised over $120,000 for two Chicago children’s charities: Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Hephzibah Children’s Association. All proceeds from the rink, including skate rentals and food and beverage purchases, are donated to the charities.

When guests walk out to the terrace, they are greeted by a pine tree winter wonderland. The rink is surrounded in décor and glows with snowflake lighting, and there is also a chalet offering guests a selection of hot beverages and snacks including hot chocolate, hot cider, and other treats. You may even be lucky and see Santa, Elf on the Shelf, and Peter the Bear.

“We have to make it look very festive, because we want to be the most festive place in the city, so lots of trees, lots of décor, and of course out chalet, which also serves hot chocolate and hot toddies for the adults,” he said. “The Peninsula Chicago really prides itself in being one of the most festive places in Chicago.”

The Peninsula Sky Rink
WBBM Newsradio/Shannon Blum

But the 2,100-square-foot rink, is not technically an ice rink, but a hybrid rink.

“So it is not actual ice. The surface is kind of like a cutting board, if you have ever had a plastic cutting board, so it is really forgiving,” Schroeder said. “If you are a first-time skater, it is a great place to practice and learn how to skate. The surface is a little softer than ice, and of course, a little bit warmer, too.”

The turnout at The Peninsula Sky Rink, the only Chicago hotel skating rink, continues to grow each year.

“It only gets busier and busier every year, as people hear about it and learn about it,” Schroeder said. “We did purchase new skates this year, so they are performing really, really well, super smooth and the response has been very positive.”

The Peninsula Sky Rink
WBBM Newsradio/Shannon Blum

The Peninsula accepts group and private event reservations for the Sky Rink. Guests can contact the hotel or go online to make arrangements. The Sky Rink is also a popular place for proposals.

“It is not only festive, but it is also very romantic up here,” Schroeder said. “I just think it is something unique and different, and Christmastime is one of the most popular times to get engaged, so we have a lot of nervous gentlemen calling and wanting to propose. It is really cute.”

Individual reservations for the Sky Rink are not mandatory, guests can just walk in. Skate rentals are available for $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12. The Sky Rink is open Monday-Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at noon. Hours are subject to change and are weather permitting. The Peninsula recommends that guests call ahead, as there may be a scheduled event.

In addition to the Sky Rink, the Peninsula also offers holiday afternoon teas, a special menu for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in The Lobby restaurant, an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party, a New Year’s Eve celebration, and a New Year’s Day brunch.