Looking to get on the ice this winter? We have ice skating options, both indoors and outdoors, a short drive from Champaign-Urbana
The feeling of gliding and sliding and twisting on the ice (and let’s face it, falling) is a staple activity for many families in the winter.
In Champaign-Urbana, we’ve got a great option here at the University of Illinois Ice Arena. But if you want to switch it up (particularly with an outdoor option), there are a few places you can consider making a day trip out of.
Indoor Ice Skating
The University of Illinois Ice Arena is our local go-to, and we are thrilled to have it right here in Champaign-Urbana. Public skate times are happening weekly; check its calendar for details. Admission is $6 and skate rental is $3. Read our post about the U of I Ice Arena here.
The Bloomington Ice Center has open skate times. All participants must sign a waiver.
Cost: $6 admission, $2 for skate rental.
If you go: Find directions here. Located about an hour from Champaign-Urbana.
The Decatur Civic Center has open skate times this winter. Keep an eye on the Decatur Civic Facebook page for updates.
Cost: $6 admission, $2 for skate rental.
If you go: Find directions here. Located a little under an hour from Champaign-Urbana.
The Owens Center in Peoria has open skate times Keep an eye on the Owens Center Facebook page for updates.
Cost: $5 admission, $3 for skate rental.
If you go: Find directions here. Located about 90 minutes from Champaign-Urbana.
Outdoor rinks with synthetic ice
Springfield brought back outdoor ice skating in 2020 (located right next to Scheels). In 2021 the students behind this operation brought it to downtown Springfield.
The rink has been constructed, designed, built, and will be run by the Sangamon CEO entrepreneurship program, made up of Springfield area high school students. Thanks to the invention of synthetic ice, patrons will be able to skate no matter the temperature. (As a heads up, know that the synthetic ice definitely feels different to skate upon than true ice.)
Hours are weather permitting. Closures and special events will be posted on the @lrsicerink Instagram. The rink was open in November/December; we don’t know what is in store for January yet.
The outdoor Springfield ice rink is located on the southwest lawn of the Old State Capitol at 526 E. Adams St. It is larger than last year’s location.
Hours: TBD for January and beyond
Skate Rentals are $5; admission is between $7.50 and $10. No cash accepted!
If you go: Find directions here. Located about one hour and 20 minutes from Champaign-Urbana.
Outdoor rinks with real ice
If you’re willing to drive a little more for an authentic cold weather ice skating experience, there are many options for outdoor skating within 2-2.5 hours.
Orland Park is about the closest outdoor option to Champaign-Urbana we can find (recommended by locals, too). This south suburban ice rink is located just a hair under two hours from Champaign-Urbana. Skate rentals are $3 per person. Skaters may skate for free with their own skates from dawn until the warming house closes daily. Free skate aides/walkers are available for use at the rink any time the warming house is open. First come, first serve. For weather updates check rainout line or call (708) 401-0043.
We knew we’d find a good option in the Indianapolis area. The Ice at Carter Green is located in Carmel (just north of downtown Indianapolis) and looks to be a whole lot of fun. This place is popular and some days do sell out. Admission is $8-$10 per person and skate rental is $4. While you’re there, there are plenty of places to grab food. You can even make a reservation for the nearby Cake Bake Shop! This drive is almost exactly the same time as Orland Park, just under two hours.
The farthest destinations on our list, but also the most spectacular urban settings for ice skating:
Ice skating in Millennium Park — silhouetted against the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture — returns for its 20th anniversary season. Open daily from November 19 through March 6 (weather permitting). Admission to the rink is free, but online reservation tickets are required for 90-minute time blocks. If you need to rent skates expect to pay at least $20. Be sure to acquaint yourself with any rules governing unaccompanied minors in Millennium Park if you plan to have your kids skate without a parent present.
Skating the Ribbon takes you on a winding path through the park under the glowing lights of the Chicago skyline. Reservations are strongly encouraged; tickets are released on a rolling basis. You’ll pay between $16 and $22 to skate with rental skates. There are occasional times where you can skate for free or $5 if you are bringing your own skates.
The sky’s the limit with whatever else you plan to do before/after ice skating at Maggie Daley or Millennium Park. Winter in Chicago is truly spectacular!
Find everything related to winter in Champaign-Urbana:
- Midwest Indoor Waterparks Within a Few Hours of Champaign-Urbana
- Where to Ice Skate in Central Illinois and Beyond (Indoor and Outdoor)
- Winter Fun in Chicago: Free Days at the Best Museums
- Best Sledding in Champaign-Urbana
- Winter Road Trip: Visiting Ice Castles at Lake Geneva, Wis.
- Slide on your Snowshoes and Hit Trails Near You Around Central Illinois