For more than a decade, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink has cultivated an open-air expanse of ice between the skyscrapers of Michigan Avenue and the twinkling walkways of Millennium Park. Open seven days a week, the rink generally stays frozen from mid-November until mid-March with the help of a high-tech refrigeration system. Admission is free, allowing those with their own skates to hit the ice without delay, and rentals let visitors lace up within minutes. After taking off their skates, guests can practice learning how to walk on land again by ambling across the plaza to the Park Caf? for hot chocolate and snacks.
Click above to buy a Sky High annual adult membership to John Hancock Observatory for $39 ($79 value). Buy here for a Sky High annual membership for you and a youth (ages 3–11) to John Hancock Observatory for $29 ($59 value).
Each year, dozens of acrophobes overcome their fear of heights by building their own skyscraper by hand. Today's Groupon to John Hancock Observatory lets the height-averse breathe the heart-starting thin air of extreme altitudes without the hassle of scraping their own skies. For $39, adults get an annual membership with unlimited Fast Pass entries for you and a guest ($79 value), plus a 10% discount at the Espression by Lavazza café, at the observatory gift shops, and on Fun Photos. Get a similar deal for you and a youth for $29. Activate your membership in person at the ticket desk no later than March 31, 2010, to get unlimited access to the 100-story exemplar of structural expressionist style.
To prepare for life after your PhD, practice looking down on others from the open-air skywalk, where you'll feel the winds 1,030 feet above ground level while protected by a super-strong screen. From the observatory deck, a soundscope amplifies and zeroes in on sounds all over the city, so low-budget spies can get vague approximations of what's happening in Lincoln Park on any given day, or hear how the Sox game is going without turning on a radio. In addition to high-tech spy gear and meshed windwalks, you'll get access to tons of history and maps, as well as an audio guide narrated by former Friend and dinosaur lover David Schwimmer.
For those who are frequently out a'wooing, John Hancock Observatory's breathtaking nighttime views can turn a friendly evening out into a wind-swept romance—the observatory is open until 11 p.m. Before you impress your date with gorgeous views of four states (Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the other one), you'll get the high-roller treatment with an express elevator up to the 94th floor observation deck and an express ride back down, bypassing the tourist lines. You can tell your date you don't actually own the John Hancock Center after you're married.
Youth membership passes include one guest between the ages of 3 and 11. Photo ID will be required with each entry.
Citysearchers give John Hancock Observatory five stars, while Yelpers and Insider Pagers give it four. TripAdvisors give it 4.5 owl eyes:
- The views are spectacular. Watching the sun go down and the city lights appear is incredible. – RobAndKathy, TripAdvisor
- It has great views of the lake/waterfront , skyscapers, and the city. don't miss this attraction. it's amazing. we also think it has the best gift shop(street level) we could find on michigan ave. a must see! don't miss it. – Corry2006, TripAdvisor
Lincoln Park Zoo is a living, breathing, and sometimes roaring historical landmark that has delighted Chicago families since its founding in 1868. Anyone can simply walk into the zoo and immediately enter an exotic world of wild-animal habitats?without having to pay a cent. Beyond their animal exhibits, Lincoln Park Zoo stands as a leader in conservation science, both at the local and global level. They work towards the highest possible animal care and educational outreach.
When winter weather blows its way in off the lake each November, a Cubs parking lot situated in the shadow of Wrigley Field transforms into a full-size ice-skating rink, which remains in operation until the beginning of March. There, guests glide atop glistening steel blades, twirling around the icy expanse while taking in views of Wrigley Field’s iconic exterior and extremely delayed fly balls.
McFetridge Sports Center's tireless staff hosts non-stop activity for 18 hours a day, seven days a week, taking advantage of every square foot the massive facility has to offer. Trainers take to the courts with tennis pupils, practicing on six tournament-quality indoor courts or, weather-permitting, four outdoor ones. Teams face off in the outdoor basketball courts or host showdowns on the baseball field.
Perhaps the most iconic amenity at the Center, though, is it's NHL-sized ice arena, which hosts lessons in figure and hockey skating year-round, in addition to competitive play in various ice sports. Those not on the ice can catch the action from one of the 1,200 seats in the stands. They can even opt to burn calories as they spectate by hitting a treadmill at the fitness center, which overlooks the rink.
Skaters might think they had traveled back in time when taking a round around The Rink's hardwood maple floors, where classic roller skates rule. Lights bouncing off a disco ball send tiny beams around the building, giving skaters a shimmering aura so staff members don’t have to sprinkle every passerby with a handful of glitter. Many film crews have taken notice of The Rink's nostalgic environment, which has been used in numerous music videos, a flashback sequence in Soul Food, and casting calls for Roll Bounce.