The 10 Best Swimming Pools In Chicago
By Lisa White in Best Of on Jun 11, 2015 9:00PM
As temperatures start to rise and Chicagoans shed layers and head outdoors, a staple during the summer season is an afternoon spent by the pool. Whether you choose a more secluded option or prefer jumping in at your local public spot, a swim during a sweltering summer day is the perfect way to cool down. But even when it's chilly outside, Chicago still has some wonderful options for enjoying the aquatic life indoors.
Today we share our top picks for where to take a dip around Chicago, from public spots with diving boards and water slides to blissful spa options at swanky hotels, we've got a variety of indoor and outdoor spots to choose from. So grab a towel, call ahead to check the schedule and dive on in.
Douglas Park Pool
Douglas Park is one of the many hidden gems of green space scattered throughout the city, and spending the day exploring the grounds before enjoying a swim sounds ideal on a warm Chicago day. The 50-yard pool includes six lanes and with a depth of 11 ft., it is one of the deeper public pools the Chicago Park District has to offer. It's situated next to the beautiful field house, designed by Michaelsen and Rognstad, the architects behind Garfield Park's gold dome building as well as the field house in Humboldt Park. Make sure to check out the lovely pond in the park as well as some of the golfing options, which includes an 18-hole mini golf course. — Lisa White
Douglas Park Pool is located at 1401 S. Sacramento Dr.
Lakeview Athletic Club
The East Lakeview outpost of Chicago Athletic Club is one of the shiniest gyms, boasting two pools. Stay inside to swim full laps, or head upstairs to the rooftop watering hole. Despite the view, advanced swimmers might grow weary of the hardly 20-yard size, but little beats being outside exercising in water during the summertime. After, head back down to the spic and span locker rooms for a shower. Membership is required for access to CACs (your member friend, though, probably has a guest pass for you), but guests can purchase a one-day pass for $25. — Kristine Sherred
Lakeview Athletic Club is located at 3212 N. Broadway.
Want to pretend you're swimming in a Roman palace when you're actually just in the Gold Coast? Chicago's Four Seasons' indoor pool boasts a palatial 50-foot pool and whirlpool, surrounded by Roman-style columns and an ornate domed glass ceiling framed with gold trim. With the pool open every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., you could easily forget you’re swimming in the dead of a Midwestern winter and not a Mediterranean climate. Use of the pool is available to guest staying at the hotel or anyone who has booked a session with the hotel's spa. —Rachel Cromidas
The Four Seasons is located at 120 E. Delaware Pl.
The pool at this Magnificent Mile hotel is drop-dead gorgeous. The historic hotel was built in 1929 and the pool room is as fancy as they get, with marble columns, high-ceilings and ornate Spanish tile. Swimmers can relax on an indoor balcony overlooking the pool when they’re done with laps in the heated Junior Olympic-sized swimming pool. Use of the pool is available to guests and those who have booked a session with the hotel spa or have a pass for the fitness club. —Rachel Cromidas
The InterContinental Hotel is located at 505 N. Michigan Ave.
Pulaski Park Pool
Pretty Pulaski Park offers a great afternoon getaway in Wicker Park or a hearty workout in the 30-meter pool. During open swim sessions, the pool often fills up with dozens of kids and adults splashing around, but a quick dip might just do the trick. Sadly no lounge chairs here, so we recommend bringing a yoga mat along with that beach towel.— Kristine Sherred
Pulaski Park Pool is located at 1419 W. Blackhawk St.
Holstein Park Pool
Bucktown residents enjoy Holstein Park year-round. A neighborhood gem tucked away from main streets, it’s a quiet oasis filled with a majestic field house built in 1912, softball field, playgrounds and open fields for sunbathers, dog owners and soccer players to enjoy. Ands once Chicago’s summer finally arrives the park becomes the neighborhood destination to cool off and lounge poolside. At 50-yards in length, the pool offers early morning and early evening opportunities for lap swimmers, while afternoons are mostly dedicated to open swim, where neighbors can socialize, perfect their dive or wade in the shallow end. Things get busy fast, so be sure to go earlier on hot days or save a trip for one of your summer “sick” days. —Gina Provenzano
Holstein Park Pool is located at 2200 N. Oakley Ave.
Norwood Park Pool
Norwood Park boasts the only outdoor public pool on the Northwest Side with an actual water slide. That attraction alone could make it worth the visit to the pool at this 14-acre Far North Side park, especially for families with young children. The park was one of the Chicago Park District's first park, and the bath house and swimming pool were built in the early 1920s. The bright blue water slide towers above the pool and winds and curves its way down several tiers. —Rachel Cromidas
Norwood Park Pool is located at 5801 N. Natoma Ave.
Ida Crown Natatorium at Eckhart Park
The 8-acre Eckhart Park was commissioned in 1907 to offer open air and social services to the West Town neighborhood, after the Olmstead Brothers and Daniel Burnham successfully completed a similar series of parks on the South Side. Though the neighborhood has changed since the early 20th century, the park still provides its diverse residents with respite and recreation. For swimmers, Eckhart’s refurbished natatorium is open year-round, with lap swim in its full 25-yard pool offered every day except Sunday. For families, the pool hosts everything from daily open swim to seasonal programs courtesy of the Chicago Park District. As a lap swimmer, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the locker rooms and the pool itself— better than the unfortunately grimy pools of many high schools and colleges— and the lifeguards are always friendly. During warm weather, the north and south sliding glass walls open up to let in the fresh summer air. At less than $20 a month or $40 for a three-month pass, you can’t beat the bargain this Chicago Park District pool offers and this natatorium lets you swim your heart out all year long. — Kristine Sherred
Eckhart Park Pool is located at 1330 W. Chicago Ave.
Portage Park Pools
The sprawling 36.5-acre Portage Park is home to a huge assortment of outdoor activities and not one but two pools to take a dip in. Their Olympic-sized outdoor pool features eight lanes, a separate 25-meter diving well and boards, misting sprays and water play area as well as a huge deck area to catch some sun. The park district replaced their old concrete pool with this beauty in 1959 before hosting the Pan American Games. The pool also hosted the 1972 U.S. Olympic swimming trials. If the weather isn’t optimal for outdoor laps, head over to their heated indoors pool, which although smaller in size will still do the trick if you’re looking for a good workout. Portage Park is the perfect spot for both the serious swimmer or just those Chicagoans looking to lounge around on a summer day. — Lisa White
Portage Park Pools are located at 4100 N. Long Ave.
FFC West Loop
I might be biased because I have a membership to this gym, but the FFC West Loop’s outdoor swimming pool is where I go to imagine I’m spending my summer at a resort without ever leaving the Loop. One of the rare outdoor pools in Chicago attached to a gym, the FFC’s pool has a sun deck with lounge chairs and beverage bar service in the summer. And if the weather turns cold or rainy, swimmers can take refuge in the gym’s nearby indoor pool, which also has a hot tub, and duel for space alongside the really hardcore lap swimmers. Members have access to the pool but you can also get in via a day pass, a free trial membership or a guest pass. Come say hi sometime! —Rachel Cromidas
FFC West Loop is located at Presidential Towers, 10 S. Clinton St.