by June 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

From Cara Scharf. Email her at cara[AT]


VIDA’s U Street rooftop pool. (Courtesy of VIDA)

If the past weekend’s heat wave is any indication, this summer may be brutally hot and humid.  Luckily, for Borderstan residents who prefer backstroke to heat stroke, there are several outdoor swimming pools nearby where you can cool off, catch a tan, and work on your fitness.

Public Pools

DC residents can take advantage of free access to any pools run by the District’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Pools are now open on weekends and will open for full weekend and weekday hours on June 24. Nearby, DC DPR pools include:

  • Francis Pool (2500 N Street NW) features roped-off areas of varying depths to satisfy children, beginners, and novice swimmers.
  • Banneker Pool (2500 Georgia Avenue NW) is a crowd favorite that you may find yourself waiting in line to enter, but once you’re in you’ll enjoy separate adult and child areas and diving boards.
  • Upshur Pool (4300 Arkansas Avenue NW) is where you’ll find ample parking but no depths greater than 5 feet.
  • Happy Hollow Children’s Pool (2200 Champlain Street NW, adjacent to Marie Reed Aquatic Center) exists solely for the young ‘uns.

Be sure to call the pool if you have questions (including what kind of identification you can use if you don’t have a DC driver’s license. Beyond listing the hours and addresses of each pool, the DC DPR Aquatic Facilities website is sparse but worth visiting for more information.

For all pools, early arrival is best to ensure you can snag a lawn chair. Expect to be with children at the pool, be curteous with your eating habits and choice of swimsuit, and don’t expect to train for the Olympics or you will get frustrated.

Grown-Up Pools

For those of you who like to booze while you bathe in a more exclusive atmosphere, check out one of DC’s rooftop bar/pool combinations, such as the swanky DNV Rooftop Pool Bar (at the Donovan House Hotel, 1155 14th Street NW). You can buy memberships to the Capitol Skyline Hotel (10 I St SW) or the Penthouse Pool and Lounge (1612 U Street NW, roof of Vida Fitness). However, Capitol Skyline has Adult Pool Parties that non-members can attend by texting your name to their guest list line (information on Facebook).

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