If you haven’t heard of the Ice Castles by now, they are an awe-inspiring, must-see winter phenomenon using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists. The castles include breathtaking LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains, and much more. While there, you feel like you’re in a fairy tale, If you live relatively close to their locations in Utah, Colorado, New Hampshire, or Wisconsin – they are worth the drive.
We are in Chicago and it’s about an hour and a half drive to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where they are located. Tickets purchased online (even pre-covid) typically sell out in minutes, if not seconds. Tickets are even more limited this year due to safety requirements.
I do recommend signing up for their newsletter and email updates along with following them on social for any updates or openings. You can also get on their pre-order list for next year which means you’ll get first access to tickets before the general public.
If they are sold out online, can you still get in? Possibly! Many hotels in the area are offering Ice Castle packages. This is how we were able to get in. We booked a room at The Ridge Hotel which included a room and Ice Castle tickets. They set up the reservation and time slot for you for the Ice Castles. They also offer Igloo services for meals and have an indoor heated pool and spa. It’s a nice little getaway even without the Ice Castle! Another bonus of staying at a nearby hotel? They offer free shuttle services to and from the Ice Castles. There is a pretty large parking lot at the Ice Castles, however, during peak times it fills up fast and parking can be very difficult to find. If you are going to drive and park, I recommend reserving a non-peak time to avoid any parking hassles.
I’ve also heard people having luck just showing up at non-peak times and being able to purchase tickets at the door. Tickets onsite are more expensive. Online they run $23 per adult and $19 per child 4 and up. Children under 4 are free.
Once you arrive you’ll see they have several activities besides the Ice Castles on the property. They have a large ice skating rink, indoor and outdoor bars with food services, cozy fire pit seating options, and toboggan rentals. It’s a winter wonderland of fun!
For safety, they do require masks at all times and you have to sign waivers. You are not allowed to touch or climb on the ice structures. They also limit the number of tickets sold as to not crowd the areas. We were there during a prime spot and it didn’t feel too crowded.
Once inside you get to walk through illuminated caves, see a large ice water fountain, and even ride an illuminated ice slide! There are smaller slides for the little kiddos too. I do recommend wearing (especially kids) snow pants so they won’t get wet sliding down the slides.
As you exit the Ice Castles you’ll find two food vendors and fire pit seating if you want to stop for a cocktail or hot cocoa and a bite.
Overall, it is such a cool experience day or night. If you’d like to check out more photos and videos from our Ice Castle experience, head over to my highlights on Instagram under the handle hollydays_chicago.