A go-to spot for family fun in Champaign-Urbana during all seasons, the University of Illinois Ice Arena is a favorite place to have some active fun for parents and kids alike
With so many opportunities to attend a public skate, families can fit a trip to the U of I Ice Arena into any schedule
The University of Illinois Ice Arena has long been a favorite family outing in Champaign-Urbana. We have a whole list of reasons we love to take our kids (and meet up with friends) when we are looking for something fun to do.
Located at 406 East Armory Avenue in Champaign, this campus facility caters to skaters of all ages and level of skill. It has open public skating available several times throughout the week, including lunchtime skates (perfect for days off school) and weekends. Currently it is the only ice available in the Champaign-Urbana metro area.
The ice arena is home to many youth and collegiate hockey and skating competitions. It is also available for rental for large group activities and birthday parties.
Here’s what we love about the U of I Ice Arena
There are SO many things to love about the University of Illinois Ice Arena. If you have children that haven’t skated before (or it has been awhile yourself), you’ll enjoy holding the hand of someone close to you as you get yourself acclimated to the ice. And as a parent, there’s something so exciting about seeing your child let go of your hand and let go of the wall and take off with confidence!
We love the music playing in the background, the people of all ages (yes the college students are just big kids) laughing and having a fun time together, and making good memories together with something many of us will only do once a year or so.
Another thing to love about the Ice Arena, while most people think of ice skating as a winter activity, you can plan an outing to the Ice Arena any time of year you’re looking for some indoor fun. And if it is hot outside, a welcome cool off in the Ice Arena is a great switch up to the routine!
How to get there? Take Kirby/Florida and go north on Fourth Street. Turn right on Armory, and you’re there. But it’s not getting there that’s a problem: it’s the parking.
Parking is not easy on campus, but there are metered spaces available along Fourth and Fifth Streets. If you plan on skating in the evenings (generally after 5 p.m.) or weekends, you might be lucky enough to land a parking spot in a lot nearby, when the lots are FREE. Our advice: READ THE SIGNS!
If you don’t want to deal with parking, the CUMTD goes by the Ice Arena often.
So when you can skate?
Public skating hours are offered on a weekly basis, but are subject to change based on sporting schedules. We recommend checking the calendar before heading over. In general, find open skates over the lunch hour, on Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes on Friday nights and a chance to save with bargain nights one Wednesday a month. The ice arena calendar is available online or the arena can be reached by phone at (217)333-2212.
How much does it cost? Individuals 4 and over skate for $6 each plus a $3 skate rental; you can bring your own skates.
- We recommend purchasing the family pass for $30 which includes admission and skate rental for a family of four; each additional family member is $5.00.
- Punch card passes can be purchased at a discounted rate. These include 10 public skating sessions and cost $45 for youth and adults without skate rental, and $70 for youth and adult with skate rental.
- On the first Wednesday evening of each month, discounted admission is offered to the ice arena which includes $2.00 admission and a $1 skate rental fee.
Not so mobile? Don’t worry. If you aren’t feeling like you can land a triple lutz or double axel, the ice arena has FREE skate trainers/walkers available on a first come, first serve basis; we’ve seen grownups and kids alike use them. For guests with limited mobility or difficulty accessing the ice, adapted ice sleds are provided. Wheelchairs are also allowed on the ice during public skating hours.
So what are you waiting for? Lace up those skates and start practicing for the next winter Olympics.
Looking for more on ice skating throughout Central Illinois? Check out this post.