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A Midsummer Guide to Taking a Dip: Outdoor Pools in Washington
We round up the best places to cool off around town this summer. By Travis M. Andrews
The Liaison Capitol Hill’s rooftop pool is surrounded by lounge chairs and a cocktail bar. Photograph by Robert Isaacson.
Comments () | Published July 30, 2012

As one of Washington’s hottest summers on record continues to roll oppressively on, the search for cool relief has become more and more pressing. Sadly, a few pools, such as the Key Bridge Marriott and the Living Well Health Club, have completely sold out for the season. But there are still some left, not to mention plenty of great community pools. Here are some of our favorites in the Washington area.

Private Pools in DC

The Washington Plaza

10 Thomas Cir., NW; 202-371-9602 (Metro: McPherson Square or Mt. Vernon)

The hotel boasts that this is “DC’s most beautiful landscaped swimming pool,” and for the price, you’d hope so. It comes complete with al fresco dining and a poolside bar: the perfect way to lounge and sip away the summer heat.

Price: $50 per day; $800 per season; $1,500 for two per season.

Hours: Open daily from 9 to 9.

The Liaison Capitol Hill

415 New Jersey Ave., NW; 202-638-1616 (Metro: Union Station or Judiciary Square)

This open-air rooftop pool has a poolside lounge and cocktail bar that also offers light fare, but the best part might be the price: If you arrive after five, it’s free. 

Price: $20 for a day pass; free after 5 PM.

Hours: Open daily from 10 to 10. Bar open daily from 11 to 11.


Capitol Skyline Hotel

10 I St., SW; 202-488-7500 (Metro: Navy Yard)

This outdoor pool is shadowed by the hotel and surrounded by plastic chairs and a grill cooking up summer classics. And let’s not forget the weekend pool parties.

Price: Family rates include up to five people and are as follows: $475 for Monday through Friday access all season and $525 for unlimited access all season. A single unlimited membership may be purchased for $325.

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 11 to 9 and weekends from 10 to 9.

One Washington Circle Hotel

One Washington Cir., NW; 202-872-1680 (Metro: Foggy Bottom)

This pool offers an interesting twist: The only way to access it is by either being a guest of the hotel or spending $25 at the attached Circle Bistro and Lounge. So enjoy a boozy dip or bring some food poolside. Just remember to wait 25 minutes before diving in.

Price: Free with a $25 purchase from Circle Bistro and Lounge.

Hours: Open daily from 10 to 8.

Courtyard Marriott Dupont Circle

1900 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-332-9300 (Metro: Dupont Circle)

Surrounded by a quiet courtyard that opens three hours before the pool and closes one or two after, this pool offers a Zenlike escape from the stress of daily life.

Price: $20 for a day pass.

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 10 to 8 and weekends from 10 to 9. The courtyard is open daily from 7 to 11.

The Embassy Row Hotel

2015 Massachusetts Ave., NW; 202-265-1600 (Metro: Dupont Circle)

Set on the hotel’s rooftop on Embassy Row, this pool offers a breathtaking view of the city.

Price: $20 for a day pass.

Hours: Open daily from 9 to 9.

Waterside Fitness and Swim Club

901 Sixth St., SW; 202-488-3110 (Metro: Waterfront)

For those looking for a cooler path to fitness in the summer months, Waterside Fitness and Swim Club offers both an indoor and an outdoor pool with the option for a day pass or a month-to-month membership.

Price: $10 for a day pass. Prices vary for memberships.

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 6:15 AM to 9 PM, Saturday from 8:30 to 6:30, and Sunday from 10 to 5.

Public Pools in DC

Francis DC Public Pool

500 N St., NW; 202-727-3285 (Metro: Foggy Bottom)

Reviews on Yelp praise Francis for having a true deep end—and for said deep end being far from the baby pool. The children have their own space, while older folks can head to the deeper water for a little peace and quiet.

Price: Free.

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 1 to 8 and weekends from noon to 6. Closed Tuesdays.

Banneker Pool

2500 Georgia Ave., NW; 202-673-2121 (Metro: Shaw-Howard)

The pool features a couple of diving boards and an adults-only side. It’s only a lap pool for two hours a day, so check out Francis if you want to do some laps. With a kids’ area, this is a good pick for families.

Price: Free.

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 1 to 8 with lap swimming from 8 to 10 AM. Open weekends from noon to 6. Closed Thursdays.

Volta Park Pool

1555 34th St., NW; 202-645-5669

Set in the middle of Georgetown, this pool can get a little inundated with students. But when it’s not, there are lounge chairs scattered around the pool to hang out and soak in some vitamin D.

Price: Free.

Hours: Open Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 8 PM with lap swimming from 8 to 10 AM. Open weekends from noon to 6. Closed Mondays.

Yards Park

300 Water St., SE; 202-465-7080

At Yards Park, “pool” is something of a misnomer. The water feature on offer is an 11-inch-deep canal popular with kids and parents. And we’re not saying it’s legal, but we’ve definitely spotted some people hanging out with a cold one down there.

Price: Free.

Hours: Open daily from 7 to 10 during the summer.

East Potomac Pool (at Hains Point)

972 Ohio Dr., SW; 202-727-6523

This Olympic-size pool is in East Potomac Park, meaning there are loads of random things to do after swimming: tennis courts, Potomac Grill, and all that nature.

Price: Free.

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 1 to 7 and weekends from noon to 6. Closed Wednesdays.

Pools in Maryland

Bethesda Pool

6300 Little Falls Pkwy., Bethesda; 301-652-1598

Calling this simply a pool is an understatement. With six lanes, a kiddie pool, a snack bar, and a water slide, it’s basically a full-on country club.

Price: Varies based on age and residence.

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 1 to 8 and weekends from noon to 8. After August 20, the hours shift to 1 to 7 on weekdays and noon to 6 on weekends.

Germantown Indoor Swim Club

18000 Central Park Cir., Boyds; 240-777-6830

An indoor water park with two slides, two hot tubs, four kids’ slides, a sauna, diving boards, and a large shallow pool.

Price: Varies based on age and residence.

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 1 to 8 and weekends from noon to 8. After August 20, the hours shift to 1 to 7 on weekdays and noon to 6 on weekends.

Pools in Virginia

Upton Hill

6060 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-534-3437

Virginia doesn’t screw around with a simple pool. The Upton Hill pool is an entire water park, complete with water slides, a water-spraying play structure with a 500-gallon dumping bucket, mini golf, and batting cages.

Price: Varies, but no more than $8 per person. Season passes from $60 to $85.

Hours: Hours vary.

The Memorial Pool

901 Wythe St., Alexandria; 703-519-3759

This pool is great for the kids because it’s restricted to Alexandria residents 13 years old and under (plus their parents). It’s also pretty small, allowing for a comfortable experience.

Price: Free.

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from noon to 6, Saturday from 10 to 6, and Sunday from noon to 6. Extended adults-only hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 7 PM.

Old Town Pool

1609 Cameron St., Alexandria; 703-548-3776

A 25-yard pool with a diving well and a training pool for kids. It’s got a picnic area and a playground adjunct to the pool, too.

Price: Free.

Hours: Open daily from noon to 7. After August 20, open Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 and weekends from 11 to 6.

If none of the facilities on our list are close to you, check the following resources for a full listing of pools in various areas:

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  • B.

    The DC pools are only free if you have a DC license or bring a utility bill

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Posted at 03:55 PM/ET, 07/30/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs