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Added Jun 19 2014

Does anyone know when the pools open? I'm especially interested in the kiddie pool area. Thanks!

  • The outdoor pools are open, but family swim is only during certain hours. Call ahead for specific times.
    773-685-4987 (pool)
    773-685-7235 (park office)
    Have fun!

  • Dennis McCall They Call Me Hollywood

    Fyi the pool water is bloody freezing no heaters outside though the inside pool does best time to swim in the outside pool is when the outside temps are in the upper 90s or in the 100s trust me good luck

  • Hi Sam, I was also excited to take my kid to the portage park pool, but quickly realized that the ridiculous scheduling and draconian rules of the Chicago parks dept. (no bags, towels, etc allowed anywhere in the pool area, no cameras, only about an hour or so per day in which you're allowed to actually get in the pool with your kids, etc, etc) have effectively removed all the fun (and the entire point) of going to a swimming pool. We discovered the Whealan pool aquatic center instead and have never been back to a CPD pool since. There is an admission charge ($6 per adult, children 4 & under free) but it's much better for kids; there are big water slides, zero depth entry, lounge chairs, grassy area, and a water playground. In short, it's more like a public pool should be without the "prison yard recreation time" feel of the Chicago parks pools.

  • Totally agree! The scheduling is rediculous! We tried using the pool on a very hot summer day last year and after arriving found that adults were only allowed for like one hour and it was in the middle of the afternoon during the week, effectively knocking you out if you work to pay taxes. We arrived at a time when it was "teens" only or "family" meaning you had to have kids with you or you couldn't get in the pool. So glad to know my taxes are going to something I can't use.

    Seems a waste.

  • Ha! The "prison yard recreation time" description is funny only because it is incredibly apt. Thank you for the alternative recommendation Trey!

    The scheduling for Portage Park's pools are strange. If we do venture out, I always call the park office in advance because the hours are so odd. Here's a pic of the most recent pool schedule, which appears to be for June 13-22, 2014.

    Certainly, some of the rules and their weird enforcement can be awkward. In my limited experience, the posted rules don't always align with the mysterious expectations of the very young lifeguard staff, which can lead to some frustrating interactions.

  • joanie 20+ year Resident of Jefferson Park

    I agree about the scheduling. Single adults can't go to "family" swims and the "adult" swim is during the week, when most taxpaying adults are at work. Then you can't have a towel, lounge chair, need to wear a bathing cap, etc. I've lived in the area for 20 years and haven't used the neighborhood pools once. Then there's the problem of securing car keys and other items you need to keep with you. Norridge was pretty nice and charged a nominal fee. I have a health club membership, so I always have access to a pool, although in summer I do prefer being outside.

  • pattymelt is mostly in charge

    @Jeff: The Norwood Park outdoor pool is close by and has something that is informally called The Breakfast Club on Sunday mornings from 11am-1pm, 18 and over only and you can bring in your newspaper and coffee. It doesn't say that specifically on the schedule but I don't have reason to think anything has changed:

    Also, not everyone works 9-5 weekdays. I work a lot of second shifts and some weekends and find that the social world revolves around 9-5'ers and I am frequently shut out because of my hours so I am one working adult who is glad there are some off hours for adults at Portage Park pool.

  • Hi Pattymelt - totally agree it's nice to have something not completely tied to the 9-5 group, I've not always worked 9-5 myself - the problem is they aren't flexible at all - the way the schedule is set up it's all or nothing. There isn't a single day during the week that I can use it because I work. Why have the same schedule everyday?

    And what's up with "Family Swim"? Seems discriminatory to say you can't swim unless you have a kid with you??? There should be at least a few nights of open swim - funny how we can all go to the beach and swim with adults and kids with no problem.

  • The pool system in cpd has driven me crazy for years! As a word of warning- some criminals love that you can't take any personal belongings, including car keys, with you into the pool area and spend the summer cutting locker locks and looting cars with said keys...- I personally had my wallet stolen from a locker the first time I ever went (including my credit cards which were promptly maxed out)- and the next time when I tried to carry my keys and my towel into the pool area (was just there to supervise my nephew, wasn't going to put them down) I was told by the prison guards... Oops, lifeguards... To put them in the locker or they'd call the cops on me and have me removed... Ummm ok... And after several incidents of peeping toms in the frightening and unattended locker rooms I've decided to not return. Sad.

  • July 13 the pool will open.

  • Love the Portage Park pools. I swim a mile there 5 times a week. Love all the bad reviews; if they keep people away, it means I have more room. People who are not capable of following a schedule and following rules, so sad for you.

  • Harold Washington EVERYBLOCK TALK:

    I'll bet we've met gary. Do you also hang out in the chaise lounge area too?

    I hear Sol will be back this Summer. He had to take a hiatus last year.

  • Sorry, that's a crappy response. Nothing to do with following rules, there should be more flexible scheduling for everyone. When am I as a tax payer allowed to use the pool of I don't have kids, afternoons during the week?

    I follow rules fine, just not blindly.

  • Irma B.

    Jeff, according to the schedule posted above, family swim is just 75 minutes per day. There are blocks and blocks of open swim.

  • Again, totally get that. I just think it would be better scheduling to mix it up. Why not do family swim all afternoon two or so days a week. Why the same times every day? If you look at the schedule there isn't a single day during the weekdays that majority of working folks can use it.

    Not saying every day but I'd be happy with one evening.

  • Irma B.

    All the evenings say adult lap.

  • Regarding the post that said "family" swim meant you had to have kids with you or you couldn't get in the pool - I don't believe that is correct. It is the opposite. Kids cannot go on their own & must be with an adult, whereas at Open Swim, 20 kids could show up and all swim. I think at family swim, the limit is 3 kids per adult or something like that, but adults can come on their own. My husband and I are a 'family', sans kids.
    I prefer Family Swim to Open Swim - it is less crazy busy.

  • Yep, for adult lap you have to pay something like $40 a month and can only do laps. Again, not so much the "what" but the fact that the schedule is so rigid and the same every day.

    Maybe if feel different if I had kids but I don't get why it can't just be open swim period with and hour or toe of lap daily? You can bring kids to open swim right?

  • pattymelt is mostly in charge

    @SunPorchGirl: I know adults who have been turned away from Family Swim because they didn't have kids with them.

  • That was my experience too. I'm fine with family swim, but I don't think you should turn someone away, that's following the rules, for not having a kid with them.

  • Hey Gary, no need to be condescending. None of us were saying that we're unable to follow rules or schedules; my point was simply that people looking to take kids to a pool for fun would be better off going somewhere else, seeing as cracking so much as a smile seems to be strictly prohibited there.
    However, I do imagine that it's a pretty good place to swim laps and anyone interested in doing so definitely needn't rely on bad reviews to keep the crowds away. I've seen the lifeguards kick an entire pool full of thirty-odd people out just to watch one guy (maybe you?) swim laps for the rest of the pool's open hours. Personally, I'm not sure I'd want 8 teenage lifeguards sitting around with all eyes on me as I flop around in a speedo for an hour and a half, but then that's probably just me.

  • Jeff, check your facts. Adults can swim early morning, late morning, afternoon, and evening. $40 is for adult lap swim only, everything else is free. And the $40 is for 3 months.

    Trey, I think the pool is great. I see kids having a great time there all the time. Heck, I even smile while there, but then that's probably just me. Also, I neither flop around nor wear a speedo. And I usually swim during open swim, so the pool is full of people. No need to be so cranky.

  • Just checked my facts, adult swim is from 9 to 10 am, prior to that it's lap only. In the "evening" its family swim from 4:30 to 6, which we can't use without kids, followed by lap again to closing, so where is my early morning and evening open swim?

  • Jeff, you asked when adults can swim, not when is open swim. Adults can start swimming at the 7:00 AM lap swim, can go to the open swim starting at 10:00AM, can go to the afternoon open swim, and can go to the last lap swim period in the evening. Those are the 4 time periods throughout the day that adults can swim without having to have kids with them. The adult lap is your early morning and evening swim times. Why do you think that you cannot swim them?

  • Is what SunPorchGirl said correct? Can Jeff swim during Family Swim without a child?

  • Yes Gary - you are correct. I can also say Humans can use the pool all day. Perhaps I'm being too picky and I apologize - you're right, I can pay $40 and use the pool in the morning or evening. So am I to assume that I can show up for lap swim and just laze in the pool?

    The fact remains that the schedule is very rigid and doesn't seem to allow for widespread use. To Trey's point, considering it's a Community Pool paid for with Community money, I just happen to feel it should be more Open to the Community. It's a huge pool - are there that many people doing laps? If so, I stand corrected.

    Maybe it's me, but swimming and rules seem to go hand in hand here - I was excited moving here looking forward to swimming in the lake - same sort of odd strict rules seem to apply - you can't go past your midsection? So now I drive to Indiana to use a beach and swim in the scary water up to my neck.

    But to be clear - Gary is correct, I as an Adult can pay my money (on top of taxes) to use the pool and we should just all be happy with all the rules.

  • Jeff, yes you can go to lap swim and laze in the pool, just like so many people do. But it seems like most people commenting on here just want to complain. That is fine. I will continue to enjoy the pool for the great asset it is; they will continue to complain. To each their own.

    Polonia, family swim is supposed to be at least one adult and one child.

  • DMW

    Gary, Thank You for pointing out all the great things about the pool. It seems in this day and age all people want to do is complain. Wait until camp starts and only camps can go in the pool during the certain times. All the negative people will be pointing out how they can't get in the pools and that they pay taxes. Well these families pay taxes and pay a camp fee on top of that. Jeff, try to enjoy life and realize not everybody has a pool at their neighborhood park. I pay taxes also. Does that mean my neighborhood park should have a pool also. Independence, Portage, Jefferson, Norwood, Wright College, Taft HS, Gompers, Riis, and Shabbona*** are all city owned and operated pools within 10 minutes of Portage Park with different schedules. If you can't find one that works for you at one of these locations you just aren't looking and only want what is good for you. ***Unfortunately Shanbona is closed for the summer for repairs and ADA upgrades.

  • Harold Washington EVERYBLOCK TALK:

    River Park. You forgot River Park.

  • Just Me

    My kids start summer camp tomorrow and will be going to Portage pool twice a week

  • Irma B.

    I thought cats don't like water.

  • Queen of Insanity

    The head guard at Portage told me why they don't allow certain items in the pool area. One day, they decided to lift the restrictions to see what happened. The result was that the pool area was trashed quickly. The guards don't care if water/suntan lotion bottles are snuck in under towels, but they do care if plastic bags are brought in.

    As far as the locker situation goes, last year, new lockers were put in that resisted casual theft. This year, the lockers have been brought poolside where staff and (armed) security can watch them at all times.

  • Just Me

    LOL Irma

  • Queen, thanks for the info about the lockers being moved. That makes me super happy.

    I love the lap swim pass. I should use it more than I do, but I was happy to fork over the money for it. As for the question as to whether there are a lot of lap swimmers. Yes, there are. Many times it's actually crowded which can make lap swimming a bit more awkward/challenging if people don't follow lane etiquette. I'm glad to have it in the neighborhood. But I, too, get frustrated with the schedule limitations (not much with the lap schedule, it's decent). I sort of wish the lap times started earlier, like at 6, it would make it more feasible for people to use it before work if they are in the 9-5 workforce.

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