As the temperature teeters around the triple digits this summer, submerging oneself in cool water sometimes feels like the only relief—especially on days when you can’t escape to the mountains. Luckily, Denverites who want to soak in style have options for poolside staycations that can lift even the muggiest midsummer spirits. Here are three of the city’s best options.
In the mid-afternoon, the Monaco location of the Colorado Athletic Club (CAC) outdoor pool has two lap lanes open, a diving board, and a roped-off “free swim” area. On any given day, you might see kids splashing around while sunglasses-clad adults loiter around the edges. Pool-goers can get an extra cool down by grabbing a cold drink at the snack stand. Lounge chairs are plentiful, and there is a grassy area surrounding the pool where you can stretch out under a shady tree and enjoy a book or a picnic. Nonmembers can snag a day pass for $30, which includes access to the pool as well as the gym, indoor pool, and hot tub. 2695 S. Monaco Parkway; 5 a.m. – 10:30p.m.
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Located on the third floor of the swanky downtown hotel, the pool is nestled in between tall buildings with the open sky overhead. Sun comes across in the afternoon—the staff can tell you exactly when it’s likely to hit your particular lounge chair. Speaking of lounge chairs, they are soft and padded, and staff will swaddle them in fluffy white towels for you. There is both a small outdoor pool and a hot tub. Pop music plays lightly from speakers, and waitresses outfitted in pink polo shirts roam around serving snacks and cocktails like the popular “frosé”—rosé wine, strawberries, and lemon frozen into the consistency of a slushie. A day here isn’t cheap; this staycation will run you $100 to use the pool for a day during the work week. Make reservations the day you plan to visit. 1111 14th St.; sunrise to sunset, Monday through Friday
The biggest and oldest of all of Denver’s 16 public swimming pools, Congress Park is also the only one that has a lap lane open all day. The double-wide lane, in true public pool fashion, is comfortably shared by whoever wants to use it. The majority of the 50-meter Olympic-sized pool is open for free swim, and you’ll see everything from groups of teenage girls in sunglasses standing in the water chatting, little kids doing handstands and splashing one another, and grandmothers teaching grandchildren how to float. Calls of “Marco!” and “Polo!” punctuate the air. There is ample space—both concrete and a grassy area—to stretch out on a towel. Just remember to bring your own. Unlike some of Denver’s other public pools, Congress Park lacks extras like a diving board or slide—if that’s what you’re looking for head to La Alma, a family-friendly haven with an entire play structure in the pool. This pool costs $3.50 for adults ($3 if you’re between ages 19 and 24), $1 for kids, and $2 for seniors. 850 Josephine St.; times vary but most days are 1:45 p.m. until 7 p.m.