Winter may be hibernation season in Chicago, but fun-loving city-goers come out in full-force as soon as the weather turns. We may be known as the Second City to the rest of the world, but to locals, it’s the best city on the planet for those much-anticipated summer months.
In general, Midwest summers are hard to beat — there are festivals, street fairs, and special events virtually every weekend. And while the lake effect doesn’t offer much relief from the stifling heat and sweltering humidity, there are a few other reprieves. Beyond hiding out in the air conditioning, why not play tourist in your own town? Plan a staycation to one of the local resorts or hotels. When you’re ready to cool off, a hotel pool or rooftop is never far away.
12 Chicago Hotels with Pools
The Peninsula Chicago
Located the 19th floor, The Peninsula Chicago’s indoor pool offers a bird’s eye view of Lake Michigan and the city with sprawling 20-foot floor-to-ceiling windows. Half the length of an Olympic pool, you can swim laps in the morning, get your groove on in an aqua fitness class in the afternoon, and decompress in the Jacuzzi in the evening. The adjacent sundeck is the place to post up and watch all the pretty people below.
When you’re ready to hit the town, their Keys to the City program provides guests exclusive access to Chicago’s top attractions. From VIP entry at the Art Institute, house seats at Broadway in Chicago, and even helicopter tours, the Peninsula knows how to make everyone feel like an A-lister.View Hotel
The crown jewel of the Chuan Spa at The Langham is the 67-foot swimming pool. Ensuring wellness is front and center, shimmering spotlights reflect from above and below casting a urethral halo on the water. After a cool dip, the Himalayan Salt Stone Sauna, Oriental Steam Room, and Aromatherapy Showers await, all part of a fully immersive bathing ritual, while a heated hydrotherapy Jacuzzi offers a gentle massage to melt your cares away. Located along the Riverwalk, dance the night away at the neighboring House of Blues or opt for a scenic architectural cruise to see the sights.View Hotel
Waldorf Astoria Chicago
The Waldorf Astoria Chicago’s heated indoor lap pool was painstakingly adorned with thousands of mosaic tiles, just one of the touches that show the property’s obsessive attention to detail. Leisure or lap swimmers are both welcome, and they also offer aqua fitness to compliment an immersive Pilates and Gyrotonic program. When the weather’s nice, private instructors are available to get your yoga, tai chi or fitness on along the lakefront or one of the many neighboring parks.View Hotel
Set on the 18th-floor rooftop, the seasonal outdoor pool at The Viceroy Chicago is bookended by the bar. Post up with a craft cocktail and tasty bite and enjoy unobstructed views of the skyline and Lake Michigan. Designed to be a summer hangout, they offer complimentary outdoor yoga and bike rentals.
The hotel is also home to the restaurant Somerset, which is part of the crazy-popular Boka Group, a must for foodies. You’ll want to try the chicken and waffles for brunch. When you’re ready to walk off the calories, the Gold Coast is known for its swanky boutiques and designer fashion because shopping is the best cardio.View Hotel
Soho House Chicago
The pool at Soho House Chicago is one of the hardest to sneak into in the city, making the experience that much more sought after by the see and ‘be seen’ crowd. It’s exclusively members only (unless you’re a guest), which is a bit of a life hack to feel like royalty for the day.
Set on the roof, an intimate bar/restaurant with retractable windows and outdoor fireplaces overlooks the 60-foot pool, tempting you with cocktails and refreshers. The property was designed with every possible amenity, including a private cinema/screening room, professional boxing ring, steam rooms, and lounges.View Hotel
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
With a name like Aqua, you know the water elements are front and center at the Radisson Blu. Part of the 80,000 square foot lifestyle garden, the immaculate outdoor space features a seasonal junior-Olympic sized pool, two-lane indoor lap pool, sundeck, cabanas, hot tub, fire pit, and a kids splash area (open seasonally).
For the fitness junkies, there are three designated running/cycling routes that start at the property (ranging from one to three miles), but if you’re more into relaxation, in-room spa treatments and weekend high tea make the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago a staycation to remember.View Hotel
InterContinental Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile
Way up on the 14th floor, the junior Olympic-sized pool at the InterContinental Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile is both a landmark and a marvel in engineering. Engineers in the late 1920s developed an innovative system similar to what was being used to construct railway bridges to account for its height.
To this day, it’s the oldest pool in the city and one of the biggest hotel pools in the U.S. The design pays homage to the Gatsby era with a terracotta fountain, regal marble pillars, stained glass windows, and hand-painted wall tiles. Basically, it’s just further proof they don’t build ‘em like they used to.View Hotel
Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago
The year-round, blue-lit heated indoor pool is just one of the many thoughtful touches Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago prides itself on that compliment a 24-hour fitness studio, in-room yoga, and bikes to borrow. More unique property amenities include a baby butler (which stocks your room with all disposable baby essentials), Friday night movies under the stars, and one of the best contemporary American restaurants in the city at your disposal 24/7 (Sable Kitchen + Bar), which can either be delivered to your room or the chaise lounge. A central location, you can walk to major attractions like Grant Park, Museum Row, and Navy Pier.View Hotel
Loews Chicago Hotel
Just steps from Navy Pier, Loews Chicago Hotel is an urban oasis amongst the hustle and bustle of Streeterville. The 75-foot indoor lap pool is part of the luxury spa complex, a perfect reprieve for guests looking for a weekend hideaway. Close to major attractions like Millennium Park and the John Hancock Center, Loews guests can feel like they’re in the heart of the city without being overwhelmed by the throngs of tourists dominating Michigan Avenue.View Hotel
JW Marriott Chicago
One of the landmark Loop hotels, the JW Marriott Chicago has everything you need for a weekend in the Windy City. An on-site pool and whirlpool compliment the area’s active pursuits from biking and boating to bowling and kayaking.
The recently-launched Summer Friday program allows locals to enjoy the pool and fitness center for just $30 per day. Guests have access to the workout room, pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, locker room, and deeply discounted spa services. Nearby attractions include Navy Pier, Wrigley Field, Lincoln Park Zoo, and Chicago’s wealth of museumsView Hotel
The Hotel at Midtown
The Hotel at Midtown is on a mission to make sure travel is good for your soul — and body. A hotel built inside a gym, fitness is front and center at this new boutique property that promises you don’t have to sacrifice routine on the road.
Designed specifically for active travelers, their offerings include indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, a Yoga studio, a boxing gym, cycle studio, golf simulators, and more than 190 group fitness classes per week. Both pools have full twenty-five-yard lap lanes, whirlpools, and aquatic fitness classes (like HIIT and Aqua Pilates) to keep it tight and toned. When you’re ready to explore outdoors, you can kayak the river or hit the bike path on the lake.View Hotel
Feature image courtesy of Christian Horan