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Venetian Pool

Critics' pick
© Alys Tomlinson
Venetian Pool in Coral Gables, Miami
Coral Gables

Possibly the most beautiful swimming pool in the world, even if it is jammed on hot days. It combines an impossibly idyllic setting (tropical foliage, waterfalls, Italian architectural touches) with freshwater, replenished nightly in summer months from a subterranean aquifer. Once a quarry, it was built in the 1920s as an exotic locale for swimming and entertainment; back in the day, there were gondolas and orchestras; movie stars such as Esther Williams and Johnny Weissmuller of Tarzan fame serenaded poolside dancers. These days you might catch the filming of aqua aerobics classes for television. Everyone wants a piece of the pool. Luckily for Joe Public, it's open to the masses seven days a week, but it is perhaps best enjoyed when not overrun with toddlers and boom-box blasts (avoid weekends).

Venue name: Venetian Pool
Address: 2701 DeSoto Boulevard
Miami

Cross street: at Toledo Street
Venue phone: 305 460 5356
Website: http://www.venetianpool.com
Opening hours: Hours vary with season; phone for details
Transport: Bus 24, 72, Coral Gables Circulator
Price: Admission $9.50; $5.25 reductions; under-3s not allowed in pool
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