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Chicago differs greatly from Miami, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, in that you’ll be hard-pressed to find centrally located pools—especially outdoors—at hotels.
While the city offers a number of indoor and outdoor neighborhood pools through the Chicago Park District, it’s not the same atmosphere as when you’re on vacation and looking for something more exclusive. From family-focused Olympic-sized pools to grand rooftop pool offerings, there are many exciting places in Chicago to go swimming.
Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago's 50-foot swimming pool may remind you of Hearst Castle in San Simeon California, with its Roman-style columns and glass domed ceiling with gold inlay. For a fee, private couples swimming is available after hours—plan the perfect date in the lap of luxury (see what we did there?).
The Peninsula Chicago
In addition to a top-floor spa and a fitness center with floor-to-ceiling windows, The Peninsula Chicago has one of the best swimming pools in the city. Located on the 19th-floor, with stunning views of Lake Michigan, this indoor pool is a place to not only get a few laps in, but also relax and rejuvenate. After a dip, sun yourself on the outdoor terrace and flip through a magazine—you'll want to stay here all afternoon. Chicago residents can indulge in a membership and enjoy the facilities all yearlong.
The Ritz-Carlton Chicago
Well-known as one of the most luxury-driven hotels in Chicago, The Ritz-Carlton, of course, has one of the best swimming pools in the city. Definitely check out their fitness center and rooftop yoga. Children are given child-sized bathrobes and special amenities and there are spa treatments that the entire family can enjoy, side-by-side. The indoor pool is a great way to relax after spending time on the nearby Magnificent Mile, shopping, dining and exploring everything this city has to offer.
DoubleTree Hotel Magnificent Mile
The hotel’s actually located a few blocks off the Mag Mile and Millennium Park, but it gets big points for one of the area’s only rooftop outdoor pools. There’s no bar or food on the premises of DoubleTree Hotel Magnificent Mile, but guests may order drinks (including alcoholic beverages) from servers. This is definitely an “urban oasis” as the pool’s views are of Chicago’s sweeping architecture. It’s open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily and accommodates hotel guests only. 300 E. Ohio St., 312-787-6100
East Bank Club
The River North fitness center boasts four pools, two inside and two outside. During warmer months, the sky deck, where both outdoor pools are located, is one of the most coveted spots in the city. The only drawback is that you must know someone with a membership to get into East Bank (They can only bring up to five guests at a time). Once in, guests are free to roam around and use all the facilities. The first-level pool is for lap swimming and classes only, which means those looking to spend their time leisurely should head to the fourth-floor and outdoor pools. Drinks, including alcoholic beverages, may be consumed at the outdoor pools. East Bank boasts Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan as members. The pools close about an hour before the club closes. 500 N. Kingsbury St., 312-527-5800
Guests get to swim in this heated, indoor Junior Olympic pool that’s been around since the late 1920s when the building was a men’s only athletic club. What’s particularly cool is that the original, ornate design has been left intact, offering swimmers the most glamorous pool room in town. Food and drinks are permitted as long as items are in plastic containers. For non-hotel guests, there’s a $25 fee (free for children under 10; $5 for children up to 12). Intercontinental Chicago is also home to Michael Jordan’s Steak House. Pool hours are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. -10 p.m. Saturday, Sunday. 505 N. Michigan Ave., 312-944-4100
Adjacent to the Langham's over-the-top luxury spa is a 67-foot swimming pool equipped with shimmering spotlights reflecting off the water from above and below. A heated hydrotherapy Jacuzzi complements the contemporary space. Children must be escorted by an adult over the age of 18 years. Operating hours are 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. 330 N. Wabash Ave., 312-313-0488
Loews Chicago Hotel
Located in the upscale, well-to-do Streeterville neighborhood, Loews Chicago Hotel is situated on the first 14 floors of a brand-new, 52-story tower. For those looking for leisure and relaxation, the Streeterville Social rooftop lounge, 75-foot indoor lap pool, 24-hour fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment and spa treatment rooms serve as welcoming distractions. 455 North Park Drive, 1-800-23-LOEWS
Only hotel guests get to enjoy the four pools located on the property of the Radisson Blu, located a block away from Millennium Park. Those who head to the third-floor terrace, 25-meter lap pool are treated to a number of amenities, including a children’s pool, hot tub, sauna, sundecks, fire pits, cabanas and seasonal outdoor bar serving mojitos and more. In addition to views of Millennium Park, guests may also indulge in views of Navy Pier (which comes in handy during fireworks season) and skyscrapers. The pools are open 5 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. 221 N. Columbus Dr., 312-565-5258
Soho House Chicago
Situated in the West Loop, the London-based hotel group takes over a six-floor historic warehouse dating back to 1907. Soho House's membership policy includes reserving hotel rooms, plus indulging in the gym, heated rooftop pool, club floor, and 40-seat screening room. The pool also offers a great view of the skyline. Non-members may take advantage of membership benefits by booking one of the boutique hotel's rooms. 113-125 N. Green St., 312-521-8000