Millennium Park Ice Rink, Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon Opens Friday

Rob Hart
November 16, 2018 - 10:25 am

WBBM Newsradio/Rob Hart

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Two more holiday traditions are now open for business. 

The sounds of cold steel on ice mingle with rhythm of rush hour traffic on Michigan Avenue. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park is now open for its 18th season and the kids from Figure Skate Chicago were the first skaters of the season.

It was 31 degrees Friday morning as a shivering Clay Harkins stepped off the ice.  She shared her tips for staying warm.

"Going inside, taking breaks," she said.

Marlow Rosen had been skating for two hours.

"It's really fun and you get warm quickly if you are doing a lot of stuff, so I am not really cold right now," he said.

Despite the early blast of cold weather and snow, the long term forecasts call for a mild winter.  Erin Harke of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is looking for average temperatures.

"We are hoping for the best weather possible. The skating rink is open, weather permitting. As many days as we can get out, then we are happy to do that," Harke said. 

Just a few steps away from the ice rink, stands Chicago's official Christmas Tree, which is the star of Friday's tree lighting ceremony. The city will light the tree at 6:30 p.m.  Friday. The event will feature performances by Miguel Cervantes from "Hamilton" and Disney Channel star Cozi Zuehlsdorf. Santa Claus and a fireworks display will also be a part of the celebration. 

WBBM Newsradio/Rob Hart

Harke said the 60-foot-tall norway spruce from Elmhurst is festooned with 40,000 lights.

She said the early blast of winter got people into the holiday spirit.

"Everyone is really excited and ready to celebrate the holidays with us here," she said. 

Skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park is free and open to the public. The rink will be open Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m.; Fridays, noon to 10 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Nov. 16 to March 10. Skate rentals are available for $13 Monday–Thursday and $15 Friday-Sunday and holidays. Lockers are also available to rent for $1. 

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events will present Winter Workouts with free skating lessons on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, one hour before the rink opens. Additionally, lessons will be offered during Chicago Public School’s Winter Break, Dec. 22 – Jan. 6, one hour before the rink opens, except for Dec. 25. For more information visit the rink's website. 

The Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon also opens Friday and free and open to the public. The rink will be open Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m.; Fridays, noon to 10 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sundays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Nov. 16 through March, weather permitting. Skate rentals are available for $13 Monday–Thursday and $15 Friday-Sunday and holidays. The ribbon also offers a $40 Fast Pass that allows you to skip the skate rental line and get skates and locker for one person. Limited quantities available at select times. Only available 72 hours in advance. There is also a $90 package that includes skates for two, lockers for two, two cups of hot chocolate, and fast passes. More information can be found on the ribbon's website.