By Sam Kislia
No matter your skill level, there’s something special about the feeling of gliding across the ice on a pair of freshly sharpened skates.
Even though you can see your breath, the experience is almost enough to forget about the layers and layers of winter gear you’ve had to assemble in order to be warm enough to enjoy it. That type of special feeling is exactly why Wisconsin embraces the cold.
As the lakes and ponds begin to freeze over, spectacular skating rinks begin popping up in their place. Take a look at some of our favorites.
After a $100 million renovation in 2014, the historic Edgewater Hotel unveiled a new ice skating rink to the public. Guests and visitors alike are welcome to enjoy the 4,000 square feet of skating space.
With picture-perfect views of both the Wisconsin State Capitol building and Lake Mendota, skating at the Edgewater is poised to become a Madison tradition in its own right.
After the snow begins to fall and the pond finally freezes over, Winter Park in Minocqua truly becomes a winter wonderland.
Maintained by gracious volunteers each season, the Chip Wulff Memorial Pond is flooded and frozen for a full season of skating. After a generous donation in 2013, the pond is now equipped with a well for quick resurfacing of the ice, and a new snowblower to keep the rink clean and clear.
Admission is always free, and a number of skates are available to rent at no cost.
Situated in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, Slice of Ice at Red Arrow Park provides skaters with a well-maintained rink surrounded by a glowing cityscape. The huge refrigerated oval even has a three-and-a-half-foot handrail along the border for those seeking a little extra support.
Restrooms, lockers and skate rentals are available on-site. If you’re bringing your own skates, they even offer skate sharpening!
When you’re ready to warm up, head on over to the coffee shop that’s conveniently located just outside the rink.
Here in Wisconsin, we’re completely aware of how frigid the winter months can be. While many might be quick to head south for a reprieve from the deep chill, the fearless folks in Bayfield take full advantage of the freezing temperatures.
During the cold season, the bay between Bayfield and Madeline Island transforms from a ferry route into the famous “Ice Road.” With rare exception, the ice gets so thick that visitors can safely skate across the entire two-mile stretch.
This isn’t your average frozen pond, but it definitely offers a unique skating experience that only Lake Superior can provide!
Head to Wisconsin’s Mural Capital for winter getaway filled with small town charm. Situated on the east end of Main Street, you’ll find delight in the frozen Mill Pond.
If you don’t have skates, don’t worry! Head to the warming house, which offers free skate rentals as well as a selection of warm drinks and snacks.
Can't get enough action on the ice? Check out our Wisconsin hockey tour.