8-18 Chicago Theater Week – Various theaters
10-19 Chicago Auto Show
10 – 3/25 Chicago Botanical Garden Orchid Show
16 For The Love Of Pets – Begyle Brewing
Written by Ari Bendersky
You know when you see someone jogging and it’s less than 20 degrees outside and you think: “that man must be insane?”
Then you think how much fun it would be to bundle up, lace up a pair of skates and hit the ice — yeah, not so crazy anymore is it?
Once you get moving, do a few laps around the rink, maybe fall a couple (or five) times and your body starts heating up, you realize just how great playing and exercising in the cold really is.
Get those skates, grab the kids or call some friends, and hit one of these great outdoor ice skating rinks in and around Chicago.
Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon
On the north end of the fantastically fun Maggie Daley Park, adjacent to Millennium Park, is the Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon that attracts locals and tourists to skate the town red in swirly, zig-zag fashion.
You can rent both figure and hockey skates ($12-$14 depending on the day of the week) and grab a hot chocolate.
Best of all, admission is free.
Millennium Park McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
Open through March 4, the festive ice rink set between Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park is one of the most popular places to skate in the city.
You can pop by for a few twirls on the open rink before or after your lunch, dinner or drinks at one of the many nearby restaurants: Acanto, Cindy’s, Seven Lions or Park Grill.
You can rent skates — or get your pair sharpened — and admission is free.
Chicago Blackhawks Ice Rink at Winter Wonderfest
The magical, seasonal land that is Winter Wonderfest is set inside Navy Pier. In addition to numerous rides and attractions, you and the kids can spend some time on the indoor Chicago Blackhawks Ice Skating Rink.
Buy your tickets online for $27 (adults) and $12 (kids between 36 and 42 inches).
A temporary rink near the fountain inside Wicker Park, Wicker Ice will be around into February for anyone who wants to skate or play hockey.
Check out the Facebook page for a schedule of different events.
There’s no admission fee, but you do need to bring your own skates.
Midway Plaisance Park Ice Rink
Head to Hyde Park to skate in the midst of the Midway. The neighborhood’s sprawling swath of parkland just south of the University of Chicago dates back to the late 1800s.
The Midway Plaisance Park ice rink sits among 83 acres and includes a warming house.
You can free skate, take lessons and participate in pick-up hockey games.
McFetridge Sports Center
If you’re not a fan of the cold, but love to skate, pop over to Avondale’s McFetridge Sports Center.
While much ice time is reserved for hockey games, figure skating and synchronized sessions, free skates and “rat hockey,” a.k.a. pick-up games for adults and kids get time, too.
When you’re done, grab a bite at one of the area’s great eateries, like one of our favorite fried chicken restaurants or put back a pint at Metropolitan Brewing’s tasting room.
Part of the Skokie Park District, The Skatium is an indoor space with both a full-size rink for open skates, hockey games, figure skating and more.
There is a smaller rink that is also available to rent for private parties.
You’re just a few minutes from Old Orchard, where you can grab lunch or spend hours shopping.
The Peninsula Sky Rink
When you’re feeling a little fancy, there’s no better place to indulge than at the Peninsula Hotel.
Yes, you could do afternoon tea or have dinner at Shanghai Terrace, but when you want to go for a whirl, step out onto the Peninsula Sky Rink.
This 2,100 square-foot outdoor rink sits among towering pine trees in the shadow of the John Hancock building, four stories above Michigan Avenue’s bustling crowds.
Enjoy hot drinks and snacks while listening to festive music, but be sure to call ahead to ensure availability — the rink gets packed even on the coldest days.
Skating runs adults $15 and $10 for kids 12 and under. All proceeds benefit the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and also Hephzibah Children’s Association so your good time continues to deliver smiles.
Eldridge Park Lagoon
Up for a little adventure?
Head to Elmhurst’s Eldridge Park, where the lagoon gets used for ice skating — when the ice has gotten thick enough.
Staff will test the lagoon in six different locations and ensure it has a consistent three-day thickness of at least eight inches before opening the lagoon for skating.
So once you get the green light, it’s open season.
Admission is free and you’ll need to bring your own skates.
Park District of Oak Park
Being such a large and diverse city allows for Oak Park to offer a variety of places to ice skate.
You can hit a few places like Austin Gardens, Longfellow Park and Paul Hruby Ice Arena, which are open at various times. The first two are outdoor rinks while Paul Hruby is an indoor arena; admission for that is $7 and you can rent skates for $3.
Check the Oak Park district website for the schedules, which get updated quite frequently.
Watts Ice Center
With two lighted outdoor rinks set over three acres in Glencoe’s Watts Park, how can you not have fun in this winter wonderland?
Open through the first week of March, Watts Ice Center welcomes figure skating, hockey and good ol’ free skate.
Admission for kids under 3 and adults over 65 is free; otherwise kids between 3 and 17 will pay $6, while adults 18 to 65 pay $8. You can rent skates for $4.
Tell us what we missed in the comments! Where are your favorite places to ice skate in the winter?
Written by Maris Callahan, @properties
Selling your home during the holiday season can add stress to an already busy time of the year. While selling your home over the holidays has its advantages, it also means you may need to modify how you deck the halls, prepare your home and entertain guests.
If you’re selling your home over the holidays, we have a few tips to help you as you host those traditional gatherings and simultaneously find that perfect buyer.
Keep your holiday decorations simple
If your house is on the market, you have already (hopefully) pared down each room, removing clutter, both visual and physical. If you plan on having a Christmas tree, there are a few things that you can do to make life easy on yourself.
David Jablonowski suggests decorating and entertaining as you normally would — tradition is tradition, after all, but says to keep it simple wherever possible — including skipping the authentic tree in favor of an artificial one.
“Use an artificial tree so that you aren’t hurriedly vacuuming errant pine needles in the moments prior to a showing. If you have a large tree, try to keep it to a visual minimum, decorating with simple white lights and keeping ornament color to one or two.
You want to ensure that the home does not feel crowded, and that potential buyers can walk around easily, so consider taking a piece of furniture out of the room to compensate for the addition of a tree.
Keep other decor to a minimum; a simple wreath on the door and a glass bowl of silver ornaments can still deliver a festive look without overpowering the rest of the home.
Resist the desire to fill the mantle of your fireplace with a lighted ceramic holiday village, avoid electric trains around the tree (easy to trip on), and if the presents under the tree start to spill out into the rest of the room, you might want to store some of them until Christmas Day.
Keep in mind that you’ll be packing up all of these things soon enough if you are moving, so get ahead of the game by opting to forego the holiday tablecloth, Santa bedsheets, and that vintage sled.
Instead, think of how excited you will be to see these in your new home next season.”
Show off your perfect home for entertaining
If you have a home that is well equipped for entertaining, Stephanie Parent adds that hosting can prove to be an asset to the sale of your home.
“If you are hosting over the holidays my suggestion is to make sure your home is decorated like you staged it. With family and friends coming over for holiday celebrations you may be entertaining your home’s next owner.
Seeing your home sparkle at this time of the year may spark the interest of a guest or better yet have them tell people about what a great home you have for entertaining.
Word of mouth advertising for your home may be just the thing to get your home sold.”
Entertain your buyers, too!
Tis the season to eat drink, and be merry. Katie Dunlop suggests flexing your host or hostess muscle when your broker has showings.
“A homeowner can absolutely decorate for holiday guests — just don’t go over board, think simple and classy and it will make prospective buyers feel at home.
Having some of those extra yummy holiday treats or drinks on the kitchen counter won’t hurt either. As they snack it gives the listing agent an opportunity to ask questions, get to know them and obtain feedback that can help aid your sale.”
Ask for help when you need it
Sometimes, hosting out-of-town guests for holidays is simply unavoidable. If you must host guests, Pam Lynch suggests enlisting their help to get your home up to par for showings.
“If you are having out-of-town guests, be sure to let them know that your house is on the market and you may need to accommodate strangers in the house with very short notice.
Most guests will be happy to help you by keeping their suitcases packed and slipped under the bed if a showing occurs.
You can even enlist extended family to help you make beds, keep luggage organized, keep toiletries tidy, and make sure all living spaces are spotless for showings. Prepare ahead by ensuring that each guest room has plenty of room in the closet and or even an empty dresser drawer to stash belongings – especially personal ones like medications, jewelry, cash or other valuables.”
Plan accordingly with your guests
Whether you’re hosting guests overnight or simply for a special meal or gathering, Jennifer Riccolo DeBower emphasizes how important it is to plan ahead — both for showings and for your events.
“If you are having guests stay with you pick a two hour window each day where you know it will be easiest to have the home show ready and everyone out of the house to accommodate buyers.
Conversely, if you know your guests will all be over for a special meal give your agent the instruction to avoid the particular day or certain hours of that day.”