Whether your date is your significant other or your child, The Peninsula Chicago’s outdoor skating rink offers a perfect way to spend a day near the Magnificent Mile. Called the Sky Rink, the 2,100 square foot hybrid skating surface is located inside the hotel but on the terrace directly above the Ralph Lauren and Tiffany stores. In theory, once you return your rented skates, you could pop inside for the city’s most traditional afternoon tea service and still make it downstairs to finish your holiday shopping.
“Half the terrace is outdoor seating for Shanghai (Terrace restaurant) so in the winter months it is not used,” says Susan Ellefson, marketing director for the hotel. “You can sit in the lobby dining area and overlook the terrace so we thought. ‘What can we do?'”
Enter the skating rink. It’s not made of ice, but is made of a synthetic material that can look like ice. The synthetic nature of the rink is why the hotel recommends you rent their skates rather than bring your own. (Skates need to be “extremely sharp” in order to push off against the synthetic material, says Ellefson.) Attendees can look forward to sipping organic cider, tasting glühwein (a warm, German mulled wine) and munching on beignets which will be served from the terrace menu. The hotel is not looking to make a profit off the rink, which they purchased last year. All proceeds from skate rentals ($5 for kids and $10 for adults) go directly to the Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Hephzibah Children’s Association in Oak Park. Last year, around $13,000 was raised for charities.
The rink officially opens on November 23 for the BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. The rink will be open everyday starting at noon on weekends and 3 p.m. on weekdays – including holidays – but it’s also available for private rental, so it’s best to phone first or check the website to verify availability. On January 13, Disney on Ice will visit and on Christmas and Thanksgiving days, special treats are planned for skaters.