Despite the recent bout of warmer temps, we're heading into winter -- prime outdoor skating weather.
A number of local ice rinks have their own refrigeration systems and are now open for outdoor skating. Other rinks must wait for help from Mother Nature in freezing the ice.
So if you've had your ice skates ready and waiting by the front door since July, or even if you've always just wanted to give skating a try, here is our guide to a number of local outdoor rinks. Happy gliding!
City Skate at Civic Center Plaza, 150 Dexter Court, Elgin, (847) 931-6140 or cityofelgin.org
The rink at Civic Center Plaza has a refrigerated skating system. Note, no hockey playing is allowed on the ice -- this includes skating with a hockey stick.
Price: Free; skate rental is available for $4 with shoes and an ID.
Hours: Projected to open Tuesday, Nov. 27, or Wednesday, Nov. 28. Call for the latest information. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily until Feb. 24.
Warming house hours: 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Closed after 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Closed Dec. 25.
Naperville offers four natural, outdoor rinks for skaters this season. All depend on the weather for ice quality. There are no warming houses. For information, call (630) 848-0993 or visit napervilleparks.org.
The rinks are at:
• Centennial Park, 500 W. Jackson Ave.
• Commissioners Park, 3704 111th St.
• Gartner Park, 524 N. Gartner Road
• Nike Sports Complex, 288 W. Diehl
Hockey sticks are not allowed at the Gartner Park rink. For rules and regulations regarding hockey at the other rinks, visit napervilleparks.org.
Price: Free. No skate rental.
Hours: Skating season runs Dec. 15 through Feb. 15 (weather permitting). Rinks close at 10 p.m. (except for the Gartner Park rink, which closes at dusk).
Turner Pond at Turner Park, 81 E. Devon Ave., Roselle, (630) 894-4200 or rparks.org
There is no warming house or attendant on duty. All skating is done at the skater's own risk. Lights go out at 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at 9 p.m. Saturday. There are designated areas on the ice for ice skating and recreational hockey.
Price: Free. No skate rental.
Hours: No official opening day has been set, as the natural rink depends on freezing weather. Skating is allowed when a green flag is flying over the rink. When there is no flag or a red flag, no skating is allowed. Open from 10 a.m. to dusk Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to dusk Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting). Call the park district's seasonal weather hotline at (630) 893-0939 for skating conditions.
The Park at Rosemont, River Road between Bryn Mawr and Balmoral avenues, Rosemont, rosemont.com
Price: Free. Skate rental is available for $8.
Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday from Friday, Nov. 23, through Feb. 24. Extended holiday hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily from Dec. 21 through Jan. 6.
Century Park North Pavillion, 1401 Indianwood Drive, Vernon Hills, (847) 996-6800 or vhparkdistrict.org
The rink at Century Park Noth Pavillion does not have its own refrigeration system. It uses an ice rink liner that takes time to prepare, explained Mike Moorman, superintendent of parks at the Vernon Hills Park District. Thus, the rink will open when the area gets several days of freezing temperatures.
"Ideally, we need 72 hours of freezing temperatures for 24 hours a day," Moorman said. "It's all up to Mother Nature."
Price: Free. Skate "rental" available at no charge (on weekends)
Hours: Once the rink opens, it will be open all the time for skating, Moorman said, although lights will go out at 9 p.m. weeknights. Warming house hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). Moorman estimates the rink will be open through Feb. 15 (depending on temperatures). Guests should check the park district website and/or call for information.
Chicago's Wrigley Field
The Rink at Wrigley, at Addison and Clark streets, Chicago, (312) 617-7017 or rinkatwrigley.com
For the fourth year, skaters can take a spin on a full-sized ice rink in the parking lot of famed Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.
Price: Friday through Sunday admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children 12 and younger. Skate rental is $10 Friday through Sunday. Admission and skate rentals are half price Monday through Thursday.
Hours: Rink hopes to open Friday, Nov. 23, (but this could be delayed to Wednesday, Nov. 28, due to the recent warm weather) through March 3 (weather permitting). 2 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 2 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Chicago's Millennium Park
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue, between Washington and Madison streets, Chicago, (312) 742-1168 or millenniumpark.org
Now in its 12th season, the Millennium Park rink, with its own refrigeration system, offers 15,910 square feet of skating surface. The rink provides a close-up view of Chicago's skyline.
Price: Free. Skate rental is $10.
Hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday (through Dec. 29), 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday (beginning Jan. 5), and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday now through mid-March (weather permitting). Holiday hours are: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 25, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 31 and noon to 9 p.m. Jan. 1.