Best public pools in LA

Dive into these public pools when you need a break from the summer beach crowds

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Photograph: Courtesy Annenberg Community Beach House

Annenberg Community Beach House

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Photograph: Courtesy Culver City Plunge
Culver City Plunge
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Photograph: Courtesy Hansen Dam Aquatic Center

Hansen Dam Aquatic Center

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Photograph: Courtesy LA84 Foundation
Los Angeles Swimming Stadium
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Photograph: Courtesy Rose Bowl Aquatic Center
Rose Bowl Aquatic Center
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Photograph: Courtesy Santa Monica Swim Center
Santa Monica Swim Center
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Photograph: Courtesy LA Parks Foundation

Stoner Park Pool

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Photograph: Burbank Local Guide/Lisa Paredes
Verdugo Aquatic Facilites
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Photograph: Courtesy LA Parks Foundation

Glassell Park Pool

It might seem absurd to swim at a public pool when we share a border with the Pacific Ocean. But we aren't all lucky enough to blessed with pools in our backyard, and the beach can fall short on shade and parking. You can lounge at a swanky rooftop pool party if you're after a lively scene, but for those summer days when you're just looking for a cheap place to cool off, consider taking a dip in these public pools across the city.

RECOMMENDED: Summer in Los Angeles

Annenberg Community Beach House

Critics' pick

What started as an opulent beachfront estate is now a modern, community beach club open to the public, thanks to Wallis Annenberg of the Annenberg Foundation, who provided $27.5 million for the transformation. Completed in 2009, the five-acre beach house features a main house with a rec room for board games, ping pong, classes and events. Outside, you'll find a swimming pool and a splash pad, as well as beach volleyball and tennis courts, soccer fields and paddle board rentals.

$10 adults, $4 kids 17 and under, $5 seniors 60+, free under age 1; $1 Mondays, excluding holidays

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Los Angeles

Culver City Plunge

You’ll find exercise addicts and triathlon trainees at this Westside lap pool most of the time. But during afternoon recreation periods, expect to encounter residents looking for a way to cool off without having to cross the 405. Shade seekers may come up short, but those in search of a bit of sun and a splash in the pool will likely find this the perfect spot to lounge around without having to brave beach traffic.

$4 adults, $2.50 under 18, seniors and persons with disabilities; $20-$50 season passes

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Culver City

Hansen Dam Aquatic Center

Sure, the beach is just a freeway away, but it’s hard to argue with a zero-entry (think a sloping, beachy shore) pool in the middle of the Valley. This prodigious pool—there’s space for 2,800 swimmers, so your personal space should remain intact—packs plenty of facilities, dual water slides and its own sandy beach. Over at the nine-acre recreational lake, you’ll find people fishing and boating (including pedal boat rentals).

$2.50 adults, $2 adults with LA City library card, free 17 and under, 65 and up and persons with disabilities

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San Fernando Valley

LA84 Foundation/John C. Argue Swim Stadium

We can’t all be Olympians, but you can certainly channel one with a swim in this leftover pool from the 1932 Summer Olympics. Lap swimmers step aside during recreation hours every afternoon except Sunday, which gives you plenty of time to take a dip in this Expo Park oasis. For kid-toting swimmers, make sure to stop at the fountain-dotted wading pool across from the twin lap pools.

$2.50 adults, $2 adults with LA City library card, free 17 and under, 65 and up and persons with disabilities

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USC/Exposition Park

Rose Bowl Aquatics Center

Nestled in the Arroyo Seco, this open-air pool lets SGV dwellers cool off without trekking westward. Serious swimmers need not worry about splashing children, and vice versa: The venue houses separate competition and recreation pools. Family swim hours are held in the shallow end, so you'll have to show up during regular business hours for a jump off the high dive or a quiet session in the warm therapy pool. Make a day of it with a stop at the on-site cafe, where you’ll find sandwiches, wraps and salads—we won’t hold you to that whole "wait 30 minutes before swimming" edict.

$2 adults, $1 for 17 and under

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Santa Monica Swim Center

While the beach is barely a mile away from this Santa Monica public pool, that mile can feel like an eternity in the soul-crushing ocean-bound gridlock; thankfully this clean, cheerful, brightly tiled and lightly chlorinated pair of open-air pools offers a viable alternative. During much of the year, recreational swimming is limited to the smaller splash pool, but on weekends and during the summer it expands to the fitness pool as well. The recreational pool is shallow-only, so wannabe divers will have to wait for open hours at the fitness pool to dive off the boards.

$7 adults, $110 passes, $16 weekend family pass; Santa Monica residents pay half price; see site for additional discounts

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Santa Monica

Stoner Park Pool

This Sawtelle-area pool is more aquatic playground than swimming hole, but that’s what makes an afternoon at this unique city park worthwhile. The wading pool barely goes deeper than four feet; little ones will likely stick to the jungle of fun fountains on the zero-entry incline. And did we mention there’s a water slide, too?

$2.50 adults, $2 adults with LA City library card, free 17 and under, 65 and up and persons with disabilities

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West L.A.

Verdugo Aquatic Facility

The extended recreational swim hours at this Burbank pool are much appreciated, but it’s hard to resist spending most of your time here in the bonkers activity pool. For an extra $2, you can splash about on the side-by-side water slides (both open and closed flumes) and the aquatic playground, which is literally a full playground plunked into the middle of the pool with water bursting out at every seam. It’s a worthwhile destination whether you’re tagging along with your child or channeling your own inner kid.

$10 adults, $5 ages 3-17, $9 age 55 and over, free age 2 and under; half price for Burbank residents; $2 fee for activity pool

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Burbank

Glassell Pool

Glassell Park’s public pool is your typical city pool: affordable and well-kept if not a bit spartan. If you can name a neighborhood, there’s probably a public pool to match. We picked out some of LA’s standouts, but there are tons of others scattered across the city. It’s hard to beat the convenience of a nearby neighborhood pool, but don’t always expect to find the most luxurious amenities and upkeep. At the very least, stick to outdoor pools for more sunshine and less of that stifling cloud of chlorine.

$2.50 adults, $2 adults with LA City library card, free 17 and under, 65 and up and persons with disabilities

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Glassell Park

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