Publish Date

The Chicago Park District is proud to announce the opening of all outdoor and indoor pools for the start of the 2024 summer beaches and pools season due to strong seasonal lifeguard hiring. 

This year, due in large part to launching the “Your Perfect Summer Job” hiring campaign four months earlier than in 2023, and the creation of a new stipend-based Lifeguard Explorer Training Program, the Park District will offer a 6-day operational schedule for all indoor and outdoor pools.  The regular Summer Pool Season will kick off earlier than 2023 and run through Labor Day, September 2nd.  Summer pool schedules will be in effect starting on June 17th. Pool hours will primarily run from11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with the majority of the pools being open on weekends. 

“We worked hard to strengthen our lifeguard pipeline and to yield sufficient candidates to open all beaches and pools, and it has paid off. Due to our extensive hiring efforts, Chicago residents and families will enjoy their summer and cool-off in our beaches and pools,” said Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Rosa Escareño. “For hundreds of young lifeguards this is an important job in public service that equips them with strong work experience and essential lifesaving skills that they can use throughout their lifetime.”

“Our pools are vital and vibrant community assets that are bustling with community activity all summer long. We are happy to open all of Chicago's pools, six-days a week, for what is expected to be a very hot summer,” stated Escareño.

This year, the Park District received a total of 2,175 lifeguard applications, exceeding last year's numbers. In order to be fully onboarded, lifeguard candidates are required to meet a rigorous swim test, be fully certified by the American Red Cross and be prepared to administer first aid to swimmers in need. During the valuable Red Cross training classes, lifeguard candidates are trained in first aid, CPR and AED, waterfront skills, bloodborne pathogens, asthma inhaler, epinephrine auto injector, and in administering emergency oxygen.

The Park District launched several initiatives starting in late 2023 to strengthen the lifeguard pipeline, and to ensure the recruitment of sufficient lifeguards, and pave the way for a safe and enjoyable summer in Chicago’s parks. The Park District created a new Lifeguard Explorer Training Program, a recruitment pipeline program targeting pools in the South and West sides of the city. This effort introduced lifeguarding to youth and offered swim lesson opportunities in areas of need. The Lifeguard Training Explorers Program provided participants with a $475 stipend to prepare for the Lifeguard Swim Test. Nearly 200 participants registered for the program, 135 participants graduated, and close to 50 percent passed the lifeguard test and were eligible for a lifeguard seasonal job this summer.

Significantly, this year seasonal lifeguards will be earning a higher wage. In 2024, the pay rate increased from $16.19 to $19 per hour. The Park District also established additional efforts to support seasonal lifeguard hiring, including:

•    Offered incentives, provided a $50 Amazon gift card to the first 500 swim test participants;
•    Started lifeguard testing earlier in the year;
•    Increased the number of lifeguard swim tests offering including evenings and weekends;
•    Established direct texting with applicants providing employment process details;
•    Eliminated financial barriers by waiving the fee for the American Red Cross Certification class; and 
•    Provided evenings lifeguard certification class options to ensure that students or candidates otherwise employed may attend.
Throughout the campaign, the Park District worked very closely with Chicago Public Schools, Chicago’s charter public schools, Chicago’s parochial schools, City Colleges of Chicago, the American Red Cross, and USA Swimming to host job fairs, water safety clinics and life-saving, emergency trainings focused on introducing the lifeguard employment opportunity to young adults.
The Humboldt Park beach, the only man-made inland beach, will also open on Monday, June 17th after a four-year hiatus.  Opening the 22 beaches along the lakefront was the first phase of the beaches and pools season which started on May 24th. All beaches, including the Humboldt Park Beach, are staffed and open daily, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., through Labor Day, Monday, September 2nd. Beach goers can also access information on swim status by checking the flags at each beach and by visiting  Admission to Chicago’s beaches is free during the summer. For a list of locations and regular beach swim updates, visit the Park District website at
Chicagoans can also cool off at more than 200 water spray features and water playgrounds. The Park District has been activating these amenities for several weeks and these will all be ready for use by June 17th. To find a Water Spray Feature nearby, click here, and to access information about Water Playgrounds, visit here.

“Combined, our spray features and water playgrounds along with beaches and pools are designed to bring great fun, refreshing recreation and swim opportunities for kids, families and people from all walks of life citywide,” explained Escareño.

Pool and beach season runs through Labor Day, September 2nd. Some pool schedules may be adjusted as lifeguards return to school before Labor Day. Pools will operate between the hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the hottest times of the day. Residents are asked to check local pool swim schedules at their local park to learn specific hours of operation and for pool programs, including family swim, open swim, lap-swim, senior swim, swim teams hours, and summer day camp visits, as these times will vary at each pool location. The pool schedules are available on the Park District website here.

There are a total of 77 indoor and outdoor pools that will be monitored and maintained throughout the summer session. Pools may experience intermittent closures due to temporary maintenance repairs, and/or other emerging circumstances. Patrons should check the pool webpages regularly for any updates to the pools’ current swim status. We encourage our park patrons to assist in keeping our pools clean and accessible by disposing of trash in the receptacles provided and using waterproof swim pants on small children.