Free Swim: The Best Public Pools To Dive Into This Summer

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ViceroyPhoto: Courtesy of Viceroy Hotel.
Swimming pools used to be a rare amenity — either you ponied up for a room at a swanky hotel or made an excuse to visit Great Aunt Jean at the retirement community. Those of us without padded wallets or elderly connections simply plodded through the balmy summer months with the AC on full blast, with popsicles on hand for a momentary reprieve from the heat.

Now, there are tons of public spaces to enjoy a dip, whether you want to bask in the sun perched on a rooftop or head to the public pool to work on that backstroke. Ahead, 20 of the best basins to swim, people watch, or simply surrender to the sweet days of summer.

SurfcomberPhoto: Courtesy of Surfcomber South Beach Hotel.
Cost: Free

McCarren Park Pool
Perfect for the crowd that dons cutoffs and vintage '80s tees, this 37,571-square- foot pool is the "cool kids" hangout. Newly updated after a round of renovations, it has brand spankin' new surfaces — but be prepared for long lines. This oasis is in the epicenter of North Brooklyn, meaning many a hipster will be flocking to cool off.
McCarren Park Pool, 776 Lorimer Street, New York, NY; 718-218-2380.

Astoria Park Pool
For those that prefer a simpler, less see-and-be-seen pool experience, head to this Olympic-size aquatic mecca on the edge of the East River in Queens. Fewer crowds and a huge deck mean no awkward, sweaty, physical contact with strangers. Prime views of the RFK Triborough Bridge will have you humming "Empire State of Mind" upon arrival.
Astoria Park Pool, 19th Street, New York, NY; 718-626-8620.

Surfcomber South Beach
Planted right on the shore, you can soak up stunning views of the azure Miami ocean right from your lounge chair. Guests can party gratis from 1 P.M. til sunset each Saturday through September courtesy of the Summer Daze pool party series.
Surfcomber South Beach, 1717 Collins Avenue Miami Beach, FL; 305-532-7715; FREE for Summer Daze.

Portage Park Outdoor Pool
This Northside pool is popular with families and lap-swim enthusiasts but the eight-lane, 50-yard pool means there's plenty of space for all to float on. Read: no kiddos cannon-balling on your head.
Portage Park Outdoor Pool, 4100 N. Long Avenue, Chicago, IL; 773-685-4987.
JIMMYPhoto: Courtesy of The James.
JIMMY Rooftop Pool
Perched on top of The James in Soho, this swanky basin is normally reserved for hotel guests but opens up to the public after 5 P.M. Sip on their selection of newly-minted summer cocktails from mixologist Johnny Swet, whose drinks are infused with curiosities like grilled pineapple and cachaca liquor. For those in a workout rut, rooftop yoga is offered on Thursday mornings, and with 360-degree views of the city, that’s all the fitspiration you need.
JIMMY Rooftop Pool, 27 Grand Street, New York, NY; 212-465-2000; FREE after 5 P.M.

Palmer Park Pool
If grade school nostalgia inspires a water park trip, but the funds don't allow it (it's kind of pricey now that the rents aren't paying), head to Palmer Park, a water playground in the Pullman nabe. With three slides, you can relive your childhood aquatic frolicking.
Palmer Park Pool, 201 E. 111th Street. Chicago, IL; 312-747-6576; FREE.

The Marquee at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas
Save your money for the slot machines: If you hit up this gleaming oasis Monday through Thursday you can ditch the regular cover fee and lounge poolside without surrendering a dollar. Visiting during the week means you'll also enjoy the sleek design and mod furnishings sans the rowdy party crowds that typically accumulate during the weekend.
The Marquee at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, 3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV; 702-698-7000; FREE Monday-Thursday.

AnnenbergPhoto: Courtesy of Annenberg Community Beach House.
Cost: $

Annenberg Community Beach House
Built in the 1920s, the beach house was the ritzy residence of silent film star Marion Davies and a seaside playground for her starlet friends. It's steps away from the Pacific, and you'll need to make reservations to snag a coveted spot. On the up side, the limited entry means you won’t have to fight to lounge on the marble deck or dip in the ornate mosaic-tiled pool. Drop in Mondays, when admission drops from $10 to $1 — a total steal to relive Old Hollywood glamour.
Annenberg Community Beach House, 415 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica, CA; 310-458-4904; $1 on Mondays.

Culver City Plunge
The perfect locale for swim enthusiasts, you can enjoy a no-frills swim in an expansive (and very clean) pool. You'll glide by tons of triathletes, but no worries if you're just looking for a place to perfect your breaststroke — the lanes are divided by ability. Regulars note that it's far enough inland that even when the majority of La-La land is buried in smog, here, you can still bask in the sun. With SPF, of course.
Culver City Plunge, 4175 Overland Avenue, Culver City, LA; 310-253-6680; $4.

Coffman Pool
Tucked into a quiet corner of the Vistacion Valley nabe, the 10,000-square-foot natatorium offers swimmers an escape from the more cramped watering holes in San Fran. Five dollars gets you a lap swim, or add on another two bucks for aquatic activities, like the local favorite: underwater hockey.
Coffman Pool, 1701 Visitacion Ave, San Francisco, CA; 415-337-9085; $5.

Venetian Pool
Possibly the most beautiful public pool ever, this 820,000-gallon lagoon was created from coral rock. Two waterfalls and a deck cocooned in lush tropical flora make this the perfect zen retreat if you’re looking to escape the often rambunctious party scene of SoBe.
Venetian Pool, 2701 de Soto Boulevard, Coral Gables, FL; $5.25 for residents.

RevereBostonPhoto: Courtesy of Revere Hotel.
Cost: $$

UCSF Bakar Fitness and Recreation Center
Head to this outdoor, rooftop pool in Mission Bay for one of the most scenic swims in San Fran — without the hefty price tag that comes with staying at some trendy hotel. The day pass buys you pool and gym time, should you desire some extra cardio post-swim.
UCSF Bakar Fitness and Recreation Center, 1675 Owens Street, 415-514-4545; $20 for a day pass.

Bally’s Blu Pool
An iconic Las Vegas establishment, the pool at this popular hotel has DJs spinning tunes every weekend from noon to 6 P.M. In case you tire of lounging and bathing, you can practice your swan dives at one of the only deep ends on the Strip.
Bally’s Blu Pool, 3645 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV; 702-967-4111; $10 for non-hotel guests.

Revere Hotel Boston Commons
Cool off in the rooftop pool and then head to the 16,000-square-foot al fresco space nearby. You can sip cocktails and savor a unique summer menu that combines New England fare with Lebanese flavors, borrowed from Ched Bader Ali's home country.
Revere Hotel Boston Commons, 200 Stuart Street, Boston, MA; 617-482-1800; Monday-Friday $20, Weekends $30.

NationalPhoto: Courtesy of National Hotel.
Cost: $$$

Embassy Row Hotel Rooftop Pool
The intimate 450-square-foot pool is the perfect way to unwind with a summer boo after a long week in the capital. Après swim, curl up in a deck chair with a bourbon cocktail. You might need to book a hotel room after.
Embassy Row Hotel Rooftop Pool, 2015 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC; 202-265-1600; $25, limited passes available.

The National Miami
For design buffs seeking a rare aesthetic, choose this hotel's tranquil 205-foot infinity pool, the longest in South Beach. The day pass gets you poolside access, a welcome drink, and 15% off fare at the Aqua Bar & Grill or Tamara Bistro.
The National Miami, 1677 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL; 305-532-2311; $25 day pass.

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
Okay, so maybe some of us want to party poolside instead of just basking in lethargy. If that’s the case, head to this aquatic playground, where all summer long, you can groove to EDM staples like Axwell and Skrillex at the DAYLIGHT Beach Club at Mandalay Bay. Flower crowns encouraged.
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, 3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV; 702-632-7777; $20-$40 and up, depending on event.

Le ParkerPhoto: Courtesy of Le Parker Meridien.
Cost: $$$$

Le Parker Meridien Pool
If NYC is bringing you down in true LCD Soundsystem fashion, escape to this hidden oasis on the top of the Le Parker Meridien hotel. Splurge on the day pass and you'll be treated to sweeping floor-to-ceiling views of Central Park as well as access to the fitness center. Should you become so entranced with the panoramas that you can't get up, you can order off the pool menu and your plate and cocktail will be delivered straight to your chair. Hey, we all need a day of pampering.
Le Parker Meridien Pool, 119 W. 56th Street, New York, NY; 212-708-7340; $150 day pass.

The London West Hollywood Rooftop Pool
The Standard and Mondrian are coveted "it" pools in LA, but for a less-congested scene with equally stunning views of the Hills and Hollywood, head to The London. The glistening basin is normally reserved for hotel guests but renting a poolside cabana ensures access to poolside dining and near by fire pit, perfect for indulging in some urban s'mores crafting.
The London West Hollywood Rooftop Pool, 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, CA; 310-854-1111; call for pricing.

The Viceroy Santa Monica
The whimsical hotel features two gleaming pools, completely enclosed in a verdant garden of palms and botanicals. Rent a cabana to mingle with LA's chic, but don’t confuse the sophistication for modesty; the party often creeps into the wee hours of the morning.
The Viceroy Santa Monica, 1819 Ocean Avenue Santa Monica, CA; 310-260-7507; call for pricing.