Summer in town? Find your urban outdoor pool
Stuck in the city this summer? Why not find your local outdoor pool. Summer in the town can be an unseemly affair, especially if you have to negotiate public transport during a hot spell, which in some places especially, London we’re talking to you, can feel like a giant unsettling game of dodge the armpit/leg/open-toed s(m)andals. Gents, it’s called a pedicure. Get one. However, urban summer is all a bit real, is what we’re getting at. Luckily there are plenty of outdoor pools and lidos dotted around every big city, which provide just the tonic to the harsher aspects of modern life. Escape the blazing city heat and go for a dip (without leaving town), here are 8 of the best pools in urban environments in the world.
Bondi Icebergs Club – Sydney
Everyone knows the iconic olympic-sized lap pool facing Bondi Beach (picture on top). You can feel the Pacific spray as the turquoise waves crash against the edge of the surrounding rock cliffs. After a dip, refresh with a tipple at the cool clubhouse, where there’s a gourmet bistro, two bars and a deck perfect for spotting dolphins and whales splashing in the ocean.
The Badeschiff – Berlin
This pool, which floats on a massive barge in Berlin’s Spree River, started as a temporary art installation but locals fell so head-over-heels that it stuck around. Besides the pool, there’s a laid-back deck with a sandy man-made beach dotted with hammocks and a bar serving all manner of wine and beer. Bonus: daily yoga classes, concerts and movie screenings throughout the year.
Kitsilano Pool – Vancouver
Kitsilano Pool (known as Kits Pool to regulars) is one of the biggest in the country. The saltwater soak sits along a beach and overlooks the English Bay, Stanley Park, Grouse Mountain and downtown Vancouver. There are three slides for kids and a cafe (with an impressive drink menu) for adults, so everyone stays happy.
Harbour Baths – Copenhagen
Copenhagen’s harbour baths tops our list of cool urban pools, thanks to its gorgeous skyline views. Jump off the angled platform that resembles a ship into the deepest of the three watering holes, then soak in the hot Danish sun in the amphitheater seating.
Water Cube – Beijing
Want to be the next Michael Phelps? Practice your butterfly stroke in the same pool he swam in during the 2008 Summer Olympics. The iconic building that hosted the games in Beijing is now a public pool with the most epic water park in the area.
Széchenyi Thermal Baths – Budapest
Budapest’s City Park is home to not one, but three outdoor pools. And if you’re of the pasty white breed, you’ll love the 15 indoor baths, which are fed by two thermal springs and housed within a gorgeous Neo-baroque-style building. Trust us, these 80-degree hot tubs will beat your hotel jacuzzi any day.
Barton Springs Pool – Austin
They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and this three-acre swimming hole in the heart of Austin is as large as it gets. Crowds pack the Barton Springs Pool for a dip and kick back on grassy patches underneath shady oak and pecan trees in the surrounding Zilker Metropolitan Park. Rather have a lawn to yourself? Head to the manicured Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden nearby.
Pop-up Pool – New York City
Brooklyn’s five-year running pop-up pool is one of the city’s unsung treasures. Made from massive shipping containers, it’s just 1 mt deep and so small that there are enforced 45-minute swim sessions to handle the crowds. So while it’s definitely more of a soak than a swim, we’ll take anything when it’s 37+ degrees out.