We hope you ordered extra pairs of swim Spanx ‘cuz it’s the start of bikini season! We’ve rounded up the best pools to catch some rays in your favorite tan-through one-piece, cool off during your Bo Derek run from Potbelly to the lounge chair, swim laps, cruise for threesomes…or simply get trashed.
We’ve got the best of public (and free!) pools, swanky pool parties, and the chillest pools to relax by and catch up on summer reading. Best part of it all? Sporting that slick, slick pool cowlick all while deftly avoiding the dreaded Bob Ross ‘fro.
Don’t forget, the DC DOH and DPR are temporarily allowing the use of non-glass, non-breakable, water bottles at DC pools until further notice, because they know it’s thirsty work trying to look this hot in the swamp. We got your back, girlies.
Pay for Play
The Capitol Skyline Hotel is kicking off its annual Adult Swim Pool Party this Memorial Day Sunday and every Sunday from 11 am – 6 pm, with a delightfully trashy MTV-style pool party, complete with inflatable animals, bottle service, hot dogs and burgers–all at the same time. If you’re too drunk to go home, you can score rooms at this very lived-in hotel for cheap. 10 I Street SW, Washington, DC.
Did you know that the rooftop pool at the Liason Hotel on Capitol Hill is open to the public? Non-hotel guests can buy a day pass every day starting at 10 am for $40, which includes a welcome cocktail. Oh, and there’s a full bar up there serving cocktails and light bites. Open May 24-Labor Day from 10 am – 10 pm. 415 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC. 202.638.1616
For a $50 day pass, you might have the outdoor pool at the Washington Plaza near Thomas Circle all to yourself (it keeps all the hipster riffraff out). The price of admission buys you access to DC’s most beautifully landscaped swimming pool and towel service, with a full bar and light fare for purchase. Open May 18 – September 8 from 10 am – 10 pm. 10 Thomas Circle NW, Washington, DC. 800.424.1140
The absolutely gorgeous Penthouse Pool Club sits 4 stories above U Street’s Vida Fitness, with absolutely gorgeous (and fit!) people to match. It’s by far the swankiest, most expansive rooftop pool. The outdoor pool is heated, there’s full bar and food menus, plus cabanas for all your ménage à tryin’ to score hot guys. There are just a few Twilight Tuesday events planned (the next one is tomorrow!) in hopes to make them permanent every Tuesday. $15 buys you a 4-day social pass to the Pool Club. 1612 U Street NW, Washington, DC. 202.939.2578
Free (or Almost Free) to the Public
The peoples’ choice of DC pools, Banneker Pool near Howard University is an energetic, diverse crowd of hipsters, young families and Howard students. Locker facilities are clean, and there are many fast food options close by when hunger strikes. This popular pool fills up fast, so get there early. Monday – Friday 1-8 pm; Lap Swim Monday – Friday 8-10 am; Saturday, Sunday noon-6 pm. Closed Thursdays. 2500 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington, DC.
For a less crowded option nearby, try Upshur Pool in Petworth, where there’s a lap lane if you’re so inclined. You’re also more likely to score a lounge chair. Monday – Friday 1-8 pm; Saturday, Sunday noon-6 pm. Closed Mondays. 4300 Arkansas Avenue NW, Washington, DC.
Volta Park Pool, which is half the size yet quiet and peaceful, is nestled in a residential, tree-lined corner in Georgetown, just a block off Wisconsin Avenue. Get there before it opens to score a chair, but not before picking up a tasty poolside sandwich at Stachowski’s to go with a delicious read like Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts. Monday – Friday 1-8 pm; Lap Swim Monday – Friday 8-9:30 am; Saturday, Sunday noon-6 pm. Closed Thursdays. 3400 Volta Place, Washington, DC.
This one’s indoors, but if you’re serious about swimming for sport–you know, as in physical activity–then the Wilson Aquatic Center in Tenleytown is for you. There’s a 50-meter pool, one leisure pool, a whirlpool, a viewing gallery, plus swim lessons (because flailing around like the T-1000 death sequence is not sexy). Monday – Friday 6 am – 9 pm; Saturday, Sunday 9 am – 5 pm. 4551 Fort Drive NW, Washington, DC.
If you’ve got a ride, head over to East Potomac Pool on Hains Point which sports former DC mayor Adrian Fenty’s favorite heated outdoor Olympic-sized pool, plus cheap food and beer like barbecue beef sandwiches, veggie burgers, pastrami melts and ice cream from the Potomac Grille at East Potomac Golf Course next door. Monday – Friday 1-7 pm; Saturday, Sunday noon-6 pm. Closed Wednesdays. 972 Ohio Drive SW, Washington, DC.
For a complete listing of all DC public pools, including a map, hours and details, check it out here. Public pools are free for DC residents, nominal fee for non-DC residents.
Photo: Capitol Skyline Pool
Mary was born and raised in New York City where her family owned restaurants. Instead of eating dirt on the playground, she ate duck blood, beef tripe and pork belly. She cut her teeth at The Mandarin Oriental and The Ritz-Carlton hotels, working with Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Williams, Michael Stipe, LeVar Burton, Jane Krakowski and others. Mary founded Girl Meets Food in 2009 as a cover for her debilitating addiction to fried chicken and was named Washington Post’s “Favorite Local Foodie.” After 13 years in hospitality, she started freelance writing for USA Today, The Washington Post, Eater, Washington City Paper, and more. Today, she provides digital marketing for hospitality clients as a content creator who’s contently creating content.