A few weeks ago I recommended visiting Skating in the Sky at the Hancock Building. I’d like to recant that recommendation. Do NOT waste your money on this experience. I visited the rink this past Sunday, and I was shockingly dissapointed.
I am horrible at visualising size. When my husband said he was buying a 47-inch TV, I didn’t quite get the full impact of how large that is until I actually saw it. I knew the rink was only 900 square feet, but I guess I didn’t assume it would be like skating from one of an apartment to the other. (A big apartment, but still.) Yes, they limit the number of people on the ice, but getting from one end to the other is still a challenge.
This skating rink at the building’s observatory is made out of synthetic substance called XTRAICE that supposedly replicates the glide you get from real ice. WRONG! I can’t even begin to describe how weird this stuff is. First off, you have to work twice as hard to get anywhere. Then, if you’re lucky enough to get going, your skates start slipping to the sides! I’m not an expert, but my guess is that since there’s no ice for your skates to cut grooves into as you move along, your skates just start slipping every which way.
I really thought the best part would be the skyline in the background, but the rink is situated in a part of the observatory where there isn’t a ton to look at. Plus, since it needs to be set back so far from the windows to avoid serious accidents, you don’t even get to see much of the view.
If you try to skate on a busy day, you might end up waiting over an hour. Each rink session lasts 20 minutes, and tickets are sold ahead of time. We were lucky enough to only have to wait a half hour, but that was dinner time on a Sunday night.
All in all, skip it. The observatory will always be a fun, touristy activity, and I’ve become a huge fan of the Expressions by Lavazzo Cafe up there. (The Cioccolata Italiana was unbelievable.) However, don’t waste your time waiting around for your turn on the fake ice.