Bay Area swimming pools
You’ll feel like a movie star as you sip a blended cocktail while lounging beside the legendary director’s Wine Country pool. While reservations for the chairs can sell out months in advance, day passes (which include fresh towels, poolside service and a grassy knoll for sunbathing) are first-come, first-served.
This nearly Olympic-size pool is fed by mineral-infused geysers and kept naturally warm—around 102°F in winter and 92°F in summer. Guests flock to this Wine Country escape year-round to soak in the restorative powers of the thermal water (though the poolside cocktail service might negate any health benefits)
Ascend to the fourth floor of this San Francisco institution to find a sunlit, three-lane pool under an arched atrium. It measures in at a long, lean 20 by 60 feet—just right for logging morning laps before attacking afternoon tea in the historic Garden Court. At night, relax your sore muscles in the adjacent whirlpool.
This egg-shaped pool, with a Francis Forlenza mural across its walls and floor, is as close as we get to a venue for Vegas-style bashes in the Bay Area. Cool out-of-towners like the Red Hot Chili Peppers have even been spotted mingling with staycationing locals during parties hosted by Chambers Eat + Drink, the adjacent restaurant.
The aquatics offerings at the Claremont include heated recreational and lap pools and an outdoor whirlpool to relax in. For those seeking sun, there are dozens of lounge chairs for getting your tan on. Bonus: Parts of Mrs. Doubtfire were filmed here.
Housed in a gorgeous concrete-and-glass building with a south-facing, double-high wall of windows, this eight-lane, 25-yard indoor pool is a dream for serious lap swimmers. It can get busy during peak hours, so be prepared to share a lane. One swim costs adults $6; kids $1.
Just a block away from café- and boutique-lined Valencia Street and a short stroll to popular weekend chill zone Dolores Park, this recently renovated swimming hole is the only city-operated outdoor pool in San Francisco. Lanes can fill up quickly, but that deck is a near-perfect spot for catching some rays. One swim costs adults $6; kids $1.
This contemporary high-rise hotel, houses one of the city’s most picturesque pools. Float on your back as if you’re in guppy swim class, spend way too long in the hot tub or bask on one of the lounge chairs: The sun filtering through the peaked solarium ceiling will make you feel as if you’re lounging alfresco (albeit protected from rogue gusts of wind). Access to the pool and adjacent fitness center costs $25/day for non-hotel guests and hotel guests not staying on the Imperial Floor or in a suite.
Kiddie pool hours aren’t exactly what you want out of a sophisticated stay, which is why we appreciate the 24-hour access to this swank hotel’s pool. The sexy, low-slung lounge furniture and pillow-topped window seats might have you believing you’ve been transported to a Miami beach club, but classic San Francisco stretches out below (have a look). You can dip to your heart’s content as a hotel guest; otherwise book a spa treatment at on-site Remede Spa for access.
This tranquil, dimly lit bathhouse on an unassuming corner in Japantown feels not only like an escape from city life, but also from the city itself. As you soak in a steaming communal pool (104 degrees) or succumb to a sense-scrambling Eastern-influenced massage, you’ll have to keep reminding yourself that you are indeed smack dab in the middle of SF. Or maybe an invigorating plunge in the cool pool (55 degrees) will snap you back to reality. Bath rates start at $25; $15 with a treatment.