Holstein Park's pool stands out simply because it's the token outdoor, free-of-charge pool on the list. This Chicago Park District property is reminiscent of the public pools you might have visited as a kid, replete with svelte lifeguards, candy and pop machines and locker rooms with group showers. Although you won't find a high dive, there's plenty of room for belly flops, and the deep end dips deeper than 11 feet. Since it's public property and attracts busloads of kids, you do have to follow strict stipulations regarding appropriate swimwear: no cut-off shorts, no socks and no thong bathing suits. The pool is nestled between houses, billowing trees and a pooch-filled park with a playground. There's also an outdoor basketball court and a baseball field teeming with pigeons and small children. As long as you bring a sack lunch of mushy PB&J and a bag of chocolate chip cookies, you could easily while away a day here, sunning, swimming and frolicking.
Centerstage Reviewer: Jessica Herman