Everyone talks about the Chicago winter, but what about the Chicago summer? Those of who live here know that summer in Chicago can be glorious, but it can also be hot. Fortunately for us, there are numerous ways to cool off when a heat wave hits. A trip to the Chicago lakefront is one way to beat the heat, but what about something less, well, sandy? There are an abundance of public pools in and around Chicago any of which make a fun summer outing. And when that winter does hit, try one of the Chicago Park District’s 26 indoor pools. –Emily Paster
Here are some of the top public pools in the Chicago area:
Holstein Park Pool
2200 N. Oakley Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
Located in the trendy Bucktown neighborhood and home to a historic fieldhouse, Holstein Park is a favorite with families because of its playground and its numerous classes and activities, but most especially because of its pool. Holstein Park Pool is actually two pools: a large pool for adults and big kids and a kiddie pool and sprayground for the toddler set. This used to be a hidden gem of the neighborhood, but word has gotten out, so be prepared for crowds.
Welles Park Pool
2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
Welles Park is 15-acre oasis in the heart of Lincoln Square. This park is a real community gathering place with sports fields, a beautiful European-style gazebo for outdoor concerts and a top-notch indoor pool. Welles Park Pool offers a wide range of classes all year round for the whole family — from Aqua Exercise for ages 60 and over to Tiny Tot Swim for babies and toddlers.
201 E. 111th Street
Chicago, IL 60628
Located in the Roseland neighborhood, Palmer Park was built over 100 years ago and its historic charm is accented by three Depression-era WPA murals. The neighborhood kids may care more about the park’s outdoor pool, which offers team sports, family swim, and lessons for all ages. Oh, and don’t forget about the three enormous water slides!
Skokie Water Playground
4715 Oakton St.
Skokie, Illinois 60076
Just north of the city limits, in suburban Skokie, is the Skokie Water Playground. This facility looks for all intents and purposes like an expensive private amusement park with five water slides, a splash park, a multi-level play structure, lap lanes, and locker rooms with shower facilities. But in fact, this water park is part of the Skokie Park District and therefore is surprisingly affordable for residents and non-residents alike.
Forest Park Aquatic Center
7501 Harrison St.
Forest Park, IL 60130
If you see the towering water slides of the Forest Park Aquatic Center from I-290, get off at the Des Plaines exit and make a beeline for this awesome facility. This zero-depth entry pool is truly fun for the whole family. Young children enjoy the play structure complete with shooting water and slide in the shallow end. Older kids (and some youthful parents) get their thrills on the diving board, the three-story water slides and the drop slides. There are even lap lanes for the die-hard fitness buffs. A huge shaded sandbox and sprayground complete the fun. It can get crowded when day camps take over the facility during the week, making weekend mornings an ideal time to visit. There is an admission fee for residents and non-residents.
Emily Paster is lawyer, writer and mother of two living in the near west suburbs. Read more of her work on her blog West of the Loop.