The cure for a hot summer day in Chicago? Cool, refreshing water—and lots of it. Chicago and the ‘burbs are splash fests waiting to happen, thanks to numerous swimming pools, each with something special to offer. From a zero-depth gem in Norwood Park to a tube slide paradise in Wheeling, these top community pools are worth swan-diving into now.

Whealan Pool Aquatic Center

Norwood Park’s fun zone offers one of the few zero-depth entry pools in the city. Older kids will want to zoom down one of three waterslides, while little ones will enjoy the separate baby pool, water play structure and sand area. Chaise lounges are free, so sit back, relax and stay awhile. 6200 W. Devon Ave., Norwood Park;

Hamlin Park Pool

This pool is praised for its neighborly feel and spaciousness. Arrive before noon to snag a chair and stick around for ice cream vendors to make their rounds. Family swim and swimming lessons for ages 6-13 are offered regularly. If you get tuckered out in the water, seek excitement on the playground, tennis courts or basketball courts. 3035 N. Hoyne Ave., Roscoe Village;

Portage Park Pool

Built in 1959 for the Pan Am Games, Portage Park’s Olympic-sized pool has long been a summertime favorite of city families. Those with tinier tots appreciate the water play featuring spouts, a slide and a smaller heated pool. The large deck area is the perfect spot to spread out your beach towel—even better if you snag a view of the diving board. 4100 N. Long Ave., Portage Park;

Holstein Park Pool

In the heat of the summer, Holstein Park is the place to stay cool. Designated family swim times and a super-shallow toddler pool make it especially kid-friendly. During the first and last hours of the day, when the pool is relatively quiet and divided into lanes, you can lap swim. Bring a couple bucks for the vendor who sells yummy tropical paletas (popsicles), sliced mangoes and watermelon wedges at the play park next to the pool. 2200 N. Oakley Ave., Bucktown;

Chase Park Pool

Located in Uptown, this cool spot is known for its excellent, low-cost learn-to-swim programming. Because it’s smaller than most city pools you’ll have an easier time keeping track of your little fish. Check out the 7,481-square-foot playground at Chase Park or bring your racquet and balls for a post-swim game of tennis at one of the park's four courts. 4701 N. Ashland Ave., Uptown;

Palmer Park Pool

Known for its three colorful and slick waterslides, this Roseland attraction is a South Side summer favorite. Stay and play during one of the dedicated families-only swim times or sign up for one of the many pool programs, including swimming lessons and aqua aerobics. 201 E. 111th St., Roseland;

East End Pool

Elmhurst bubbles over with family fun—and in summer, that’s largely due to this attraction. Its zero-depth wading pool complete with a kiddie slide is perfect for the little fish in your family. Got an Olympic hopeful? Take advantage of the 25-yard lap swim lanes available during open swim or the one- and three-meter diving boards with a separate 12-foot-deep diving well. Swim lessons and aquatic programs are available for ages 6 months to adults. Outdoor pool birthday parties and evening pool rentals are also available. 463 Schiller Ave., Elmhurst;

Wheeling Park District Family Aquatic Center

Chicago’s suburbs definitely have the edge when it comes to community swimming pools, and the Wheeling Park District Outdoor Aquatic Center is one of the best. A zero-depth entry pool, interactive water play area, separate lap lanes, “Volcano Valley” tube slides, sand volleyball and an onsite cafe make this a place you can spend an entire day. The sand play area, Lily Pad Lagoon splash pool and Willie the Whale slide are true highlights for toddlers and preschoolers. 327 W. Dundee Rd., Wheeling;

Douglas Park Pool

This hidden Chicago gem of a park features a golf course, tennis courts, gorgeous architectural elements, and a swimming pool. At 50-yards long with six lanes and a maximum depth of 11 feet, this is a pool for strong swimmers. Plan on spending some time exploring the surrounding 218-acre park. 1401 S. Sacramento Blvd., Lawndale;

Hidden Creek Aquapark

The Park District of Highland Park offers more than just a community pool: This is a paradise for both aspiring and competent swimmers or anyone who wants to spend a day in the sun. Big kids have a blast zooming down the water slides, cannonballing off the diving boards, and free-falling down the drop slide. Younger kids enjoy building sand castles in the sand play zone and swimming in the zero-depth entry, six-lane lap pool. Lounge chairs are available so you can sit back and catch some rays on the large deck or lawn areas. 1220 Fredrickson Pl., Highland Park;

Avondale Park Pool

With a maximum depth of three feet, this pool is a great pick for families with beginning swimmers. It’s smaller, but it’s also less crowded, so you’re guaranteed to snag a poolside spot to snag some sun. 3516 W. School St., Avondale;

Westchester Park District Swimming Pool

This suburban pool paradise features a 50-meter swimming pool with a hard-to-find, old-school perk: a diving board! The zero-depth entry, separate kiddie pool with bubbler and splash zone is perfect for toddling tots. Comfy chaise lounges, a concession stand and shaded picnic tables make it easier to spend the entire day at the pool. 10201 Bond St., Westchester;

Centennial Park Aquatic Center

The Orland Park Recreation and Parks Department offers both low-key and thrill-filled swimming fun. The star of the park is the zero-depth pool, two body speed slides, 328-foot tube slide, 200-foot flume slide, platform cliff jump and drop slide that whisks pool-goers into its waters. A water play area welcomes little ones and everyone in the family will have fun taking it slow and easy on the lazy river. 15600 West Ave., Orland Park;

Rehm Pool

Rehm Pool is the place to be during the summer in Oak Park. Olympic-sized, there’s plenty of room to play an all-out game of Marco Polo. Little ones will love the zero-depth entry play area, slides and sand area. Colorful, giant umbrellas provide a little protection from the summer sun. 515 Garfield St., Oak Park;

Turtle Splash

Turtle Splash in West Chicago is a community swimming pool par excellence. This park district pool is technically a water park thanks to the giant water play structure, small and big water slides, sand-play area and zero-depth entry pool. Since it’s a community pool it’s tamer and more affordable than your standard water park, so expect a family-friendly, community-minded atmosphere. The onsite Hard Shell Cafe offers pool-style lunch fare and you can easily plan for a full day of fun at this over-the-top community pool. 129 National St., West Chicago;

Pulaski Park Pool

Note: This pool is closed for the 2022 season for maintenance. This small stretch of shimmering blue waters is located in the heart of West Town. Little ones who can't quite swim will want to take part in the many swim lesson programs or check out the spray play area. All summer long the pool is host to fun events, check the events calendar for updates. 1419 W. Blackhawk St., West Town;

— Amy Bizzarri

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