The best free outdoor public pools in NYC – Metro US

The best free outdoor public pools in NYC

Summer is here and it’s time to cool off any chance you can get. While beaches are essential to surviving any NYC summer, sometimes you want a closer body of water in which to submerge yourself and that’s where the city pools come in. On Thursday, June 29, all NYC free public outdoor pools open for the season. 

A couple FYIs before you take the first plunge: The NYC Parks Dept requires that you wear an actual swimsuit to the pool. So dudes, don’t try to pass off mesh shorts for trunks, because you could be asked to show your lining. If you plan to put your top back on while you’re chilling poolside, make it a plain white tank or tee — no shirts with any colors are allowed. You’re required to bring a lock to keep your belongings safe. And don’t bring any food, glass bottles, electronic devices, or “unbound periodicals.” (Guess you’ll have to leave your Metro newspaper at home!) 

Now that you know the rules, you’re ready to dive in. Here are ten of the best out there across all five boroughs, when it comes to location, size, cleanliness and amenities. 

All NYC public outdoor pools are open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. June 29 through September 10, with the exception of mini pools, which close on Labor Day. All of the below pools provide swimming lessons, and with the exception of The Floating Pool, early bird and night owl lap swim. For a complete list of city pools and to register for lap swim or lessons, visit nycgovparks.org/facilities/outdoor-pools. 


McCarren Park Pool 

This mega blue crush has a prime location, located on the Southeastern side of McCarren Park in Williamsburg. Get in a quick run around the track before your swim, or even a session at Yoga to the People on N.11th. Post-swim, recharge with drinks and bites at any number of nearby bars and restaurants, including Jimmy’s Diner, Bar Matchless and the William Vale Hotel. 776 Lorimer St

Red Hook Pool

If you need another reason to visit Red Hook, make it a stop at the neighborhood’s Olympic-sized pool located at the Red Hook Ball Fields. For a post-swim snack, grab a pupusa, huarache or watermelon drink from the Red Hook Food Vendors, who set up food trucks in the Ball Fields all summer long. 155 Bay St. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park Pop-Up Pool

This mini-pool (50 feet by 30 feet, and only 3.5 feet deep, making it great for kids) makes up for its petite size with its prime location. Situated at Pier 2, you’re treated to East River views while you take a dip, and surrounded by a sandy beach and Lizzmonade concessions. Because the pool caps off at 60 people, you’re limited to first-come, first-served 45-minute sessions, guaranteed by wristband. Hey, it’s Dumbo; at least you’re not trying to find affordable housing.  10 a.m. – 6 p.m., 150 Furman St. 


Asser Levy Pool

This good-sized, crystal blue honey at E. 23rd and FDR Drive is just a few blocks south of floating restaurant and bar the Water Club, if you want to get out on the water after your swim. 

501 Asser Levy Place

Hamilton Fish Park Pool

The Lower East Side Olympic-sized pool is paired with a generously-sized wading pool, so you can pool-hop back and forth if you so please. Located just South of Houston St. on the Lower East Side, it’s accessibly via the Williamsburg Bridge, if you’re inspired to reward yourself with a swim post bridge bike ride. Once you’ve cooled off, heat up again with a spicy bowl at Ivan Ramen. 128 Pitt St. 

Tony Dapolito Pool

This West Village watering hole is the most NYC-cool on the list, with a Keith Haring mural as a backdrop and its claim-to-fame as the location for that “Raging Bull” scene when Jake (Robert DeNiro) first meets his wife Vicky (Catherine Moriarty). Follow up your swim with bivalves at the Mermaid Oyster Bar. 1 Clarkson St.


Astoria Park Pool 

This massive, chlorine-blue oasis has epic views to boot, set against the backdrop of the East River and the Robert F. Kennedy and Hell’s Gate Bridges. Quench your thirst after at the Sparrow Tavern, or indulge in a seafood feast at Taverna Kyclades. 19th St. and 23rd Dr. 


The Floating Pool 

Possibly your only opportunity to be simultaneously in the water while on the water, this pool-on-a-boat is pretty neato. Situated on a barge docked off Barretto Point Park in Hunt’s Point, the seven-lane pool is surrounded by water on all sides, and you even have to traverse a gangplank to get to it! Once you’re out there, you’ve got everything you need in the way of concessions, bathrooms and locker rooms. Barretto Point Park.

Mapes Pool

The East Tremont pool is just south of the Bronx Zoo, making it the perfect place to cool off your little ones after a day with the animals. How can parents resist? 800 E. 180 St. 

Staten Island 

Lyons Pool 

Take the Staten Island Ferry to the island’s largest pool, a national landmark first built by the WPA in 1936. After your swim, enjoy Spanish tapas at Beso, beers at the Flagship Brewing Company, or Sri Lankan cuisine at Lakruwana. 20 Victory Blvd. 

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