Encompassing an 85’x200’ main rink as well as a smaller 80’x60’ surface, Franklin Park Ice Arena hosts wintry productions ranging from hockey and figure skating to broomball and birthday parties. When not configured for youth or adult hockey leagues, speed-skating time trials, or test drives of icebreaking jet skis, the rink hosts public skating sessions offered up to six times per week. Meanwhile, Orch’s Pro Shop stands at the ready for skaters with equipment by such major brands as Bauer, CCM, and Easton, as well as repairs and skate sharpening.
At Fleetwood Roller Rink, skaters glide across a lustrous 75'x165' floor under a rainbow of vibrant lights that have illuminated patrons for 50 years. Furnished with rental equipment, patrons can swiftly perform tricks or recite the complete works of Homer before refueling with pizza, hot dogs, and candy dispensed from a fully stocked snack shop. The full-service facility is a frequent site of fundraisers and events, and staff members can devise comprehensive birthday party packages that include such merrymaking accouterments as cake, balloons, and tax forms filled out in the style of Mad Libs. Skaters of all experience levels can sharpen their skills during weekly lessons and open skating sessions.
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 its 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.
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 Café for hot chocolate and snacks.
In Focus: Johnny’s IceHouse West
Claim to fame: it’s the official practice facility of the Chicago Blackhawks
Year founded: 2010
Rink dimensions: 200’x85’ (NHL regulation size)
Locker rooms: 4
Private showers: 6
Where to eat: The Stanley Club Bar & Grill, which overlooks the ice
Programs: Learn to Skate, adult and youth hockey, figure skating
Number of adult recreational hockey teams: 136
Number of major youth hockey tournaments hosted annually: 3
Is there also a Johnny’s IceHouse East? Yep! That one is in the West Loop.
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.