Milwaukee is located in the Midwest, so it generally gets a pretty cold winter. During this winter, the water freezes up pretty thick so a lot of places can host ice skating to the public. Here are some of Milwaukee’s best ice skating areas to check out.
“Slice of Ice” at Red Arrow Park
This ice skating spot is located in downtown Milwaukee on Water Street. It is an outdoor ice rink with a coffee shop directly next to it in the park. It’s perfect for beginners who are just learning how to get on the ice in any way at any age.
There’s an iron bar that circles the entire ice rink and is sturdy enough to hold up anyone of any weight. However, you will want to wear gloves at this ice rink, especially if you are planning on using the bar to help yourself up until you get the hang of skating. Iron gets very cold.
It is free to skate at this ice rink as long as you have your own ice skates. If you don’t, worry not. Connected to the coffee shop is a skate-loaning area. You pay a small fee, under $10 per person, and trade them your shoes for their skates. Don’t worry though, you will get your own shoes back when you return their ice skates.
Once you have your skates, you can store any item you bring in one of their lockers. But be warned that they do not provide the lock. So either bring your own lock or keep your personal possessions on you/in your car.
Pettit National Ice Center
The Center is Milwaukee’s professional ice skating center. Here is where skaters can be trained for participating in the Olympics. Be that as it may, it has certain times of the day where it is open for the public to skate. The other times are reserved for private training and lessons.
You do have to pay to get into the main part of the building. Under $10 if you have your own ice skates and an extra $4 to rent ice skates. Much like the rental process at Red Arrow Park, you trade your shoes for their ice skates.
Inside the building, there are two closed-off ice rinks for hockey training, an ice rink that wraps around those two smaller ice rinks, and a track that wraps around that. The track and the ice are separated by a sturdy barrier, so there’s no danger of sliding onto the track from the ice or vice versa.
One of the main differences between this one and the one above is Pettit is not beginner-friendly. You can certainly go if you are a beginner, but just be aware there is no railing here to help you stay up if it’s your first time. There is a barrier you can use to help you along, but the staff might come over and tell you they don’t want you touching it.
Wilson Ice Arena
Here is another indoor ice skating arena in Milwaukee. Much like the Pettit, it is open year-round, and there is a small fee to get inside.
This arena is built much like a hockey rink. There are lines on the ice specific to hockey and to outline the goals. On top of the walls are sturdy plastic-glass panes that are built to withstand a hockey puck being chucked at them.
It’s only open at specific times in the day for public free-skating. These times can be seen on their website every day. While Olympians might not train here, the Wilson Ice Arena has lessons on how to skate for all ages.
When they aren’t teaching people how to skate or having open-skating periods, the time is reserved for practice for ice hockey or figure skating. The schedule for these are also available on their website next to open skating times.
It is a more beginner-friendly arena. It doesn’t quite have the bar to hold you up, but it does have a solid wall. Even the glass panes are useful in holding yourself up as long as you aren’t wearing gloves.
WaterStone Bank Ice Rink
If you’re looking for a more outdoors ice skating rink in Milwaukee, then this one is a good option. It’s only open during the winter months when the weather permits. This rink is located in the park near WaterStone Bank and is maintained by that bank.
Unlike the indoor ice skating rinks, it is free to skate here. And if you are worried about having ice skates or not, there are ice skates available for free. They are provided by donations from volunteers in the local community.
If you get too cold, this ice rink has a warming house located nearby. It opens a few hours after the rink itself opens for the day and is free to use. The warming house isn’t enough? This ice rink also sells hot chocolate and other drink and food options in a building close to the rink itself.
There are two patches of ice here. So if one gets too crowded or is occupied by a local hockey game, then feel free to go to the other one and skate to your heart’s content.
There are no railings at this ice rink. When the ice is being formed, there is a barrier around the water to keep it from spreading too far and to help keep its shape. But other than that there is no barrier or railing to help keep yourself up if you lose your balance or fall.
Humboldt Park Ice Rink
This ice rink is a bit different from the others in Milwaukee. This one is formed on a real lagoon and, for obvious reasons, is only open after the water has frozen enough to allow an adult’s weight to freely skate on the surface.
The ice rink is maintained by volunteers from the local community. If you live in the area and are interested in helping maintain it, the contact information is available on their website.
Since it is located on a local lagoon, it’s free to skate as long as the ice conditions are good. Unlike the other ice rinks in Milwaukee, this rink doesn’t offer ice skate rentals, free or otherwise. You must bring your own ice skates.
Before going, it is always a good idea to check on their website to see what the ice conditions are. They range from “great to skate on” to “do not go on the ice.” Each condition has its own description next to it, so there is no room for misunderstanding.
Since the ice rink is the lagoon itself, there is no railing or barrier to help you, unless there are natural barriers around the lagoon. The ice conditions will vary from spot to spot so do be careful and keep an eye on the ice before you choose to skate over it.
Much like the other ice rink sin Milwaukee, this one is free to go on. It’s also formed and created right in the park during the beginning of the winter season when the water is beginning to freeze.
In addition to being free to use, you can rent ice skates here for free as well. However, the number of free skates is limited since they are provided through donations from the local community. They have ice skates for adults and children in grades third through eighth. For younger children, Burnham has skates that can be attached to their boots or shoes.
One of the major differences of this rink versus the other outdoor ones is this one has certain times during the day where it is supervised. During these hours is when their warming house is also available for use by everyone. However, once those supervised skating hours end, the warming house closes. You can still skate after the supervised hours though, but be aware that they turn off lights one hour after the warming house closes.