Don’t let the weather put a kink in your swim plans! Gear up in goggles and head to one of the Bay Area’s indoor pools. San Francisco Rec and Parks has eight pools around the city and many have been spiffed up in recent years. There are also indoor swimming options from fitness centers to architecturally impressive hotel pools. Don’t let the weather stall your swim stroke skills!
photo: Tzuhsun Hsu
San Francisco Recreation and Parks Indoor Pools
There are eight indoor swimming pools around San Francisco. Admission to all the pools is just $6 for adults and $1 for kids. Most are detailed below but check the website for more information.
photo: Charlie Sava Pool
Charlie Sava Swimming Pool
Sava indoor pool is now one of the go-to places to swim. It’s clean, well maintained and has an outdoorsy feel thanks to its glass ceiling and large windows. Special noise-reduction equipment keeps the echoes down. The water is 4 feet deep at its shallowest. Family swim times are on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 2:30–3:30 p.m., Friday from 2:30–3:30 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m., Saturday from 12:30–2 p.m. and Sunday from 1–2:30 p.m.
2699 19th Ave.
San Francisco, CA
Hamilton Pool recently underwent a $17 million improvement project to rebuild the Recreation Center, swimming pool, playground and athletic courts. The 75-foot long pool is great but the fact that this is the only pool in the city with water slides is certainly the big draw. One of the two enormous corkscrew water slides deposits you into the kiddie pool and the second drops stronger swimmers seven feet above the water at lightning speed, into the big pool’s deep end. Please note that children have to be at least 48 inches tall to ride the water slide. Enjoy family/open swim Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
1900 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA
Bakar Fitness and Recreation Center
This pool is not part of SF Park and Recreation Centers, and thus is slightly more expensive than the ones mentioned above but is totally worth it, as the facility was designed with kids in mind. The 25-yard-long indoor pool is particularly shallow. The deepest part is 4.5 feet deep and the shallowest is 2.5 feet deep. Family times are very frequent, so check the schedule for a time that works for you. Entrance fee is $20 per adult, $10 for kids above three and free under three. A single-day pass includes pool, basketball court, squash, racquetball, towel service and locker rooms. Kids under 14 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. And teens (15+) and adults may also use fitness equipment, sauna and group X classes. Ask for the family locker room where you’ll find two private showers, a changing table and an open locker area. Locks are available for rent at 50 cents, or you can bring your own. Best of all, there is a new grit finish on the tiles in the pool area to help combat slipping.
1675 Owens St.
San Francisco, CA
JCCSF Aquatics Center
The JCCSF Aquatics Center is not as cheap as the city pools but it has pretty much everything an indoor pool should have: a 25-yard lap pool (80°), a warm-water recreation pool (90°) and a heated spa (100°). There’s recreational swim but also lessons, exercise classes, and activities for new and experienced swimmers through their brand-new Aquatic Concepts® curriculum. The pool offers parent/child swimming, competitive teams, adult classes, lap swim, family swim time, pool parties and more. Access for non-members is $20 for adults and $10 for children.
3200 California St.
San Francisco, CA
photo: The Palace Hotel
The Pool at The Palace Hotel
Alright, this is not a place where families can visit for day use. But its worth including because its one of the loveliest indoors pools around. Parents in drastic need of winter storm relief may want to consider this option for a quickie vacation as it includes access to this wonderful pool. The Palace’s lit indoor swimming pool was added to the historic hotel during the 1989 to 1991 major renovation. It has an impressive glass dome ceiling which gives an amazing experience during a rainstorm. Since the pool is open until 10 p.m., families with kids who never want to get out of the water can stay in the pool all day and all night and pool toys are available to keep them busy.
2 New Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA
photo: Silliman Aquatic Center
Silliman Aquatic Center
The Aquatic Center is CLOSED for a major renovation until March 2018, but it’s worth the wait. With a combination of large slides, a lazy river, spa, open lap pool and a children’s activity pool, kids of all ages will have a blast and parents can relax poolside or join in the fun. Winter/spring hours at the activity pool are Fridays 5-10 p.m., Saturdays 12:30-6:30 p.m. and Sundays 12:30-5:30 p.m. Fees are: $3 for kids 0-2 (includes a swim diaper), kids 3-17 and seniors are $7, and adults are $9.
6800 Mowry Ave.
Richmond Swim Center
The Richmond Swim Center is a newly-renovated, beautiful indoor pool with lots of natural light and a retractable roof that can be opened on warm, sunny days. The shallow end is ideal for little ones, with a water feature in the 1-foot depth section. The Richmond Swim Center offers recreational swim options and lessons for children and families. On Saturday and Sunday from 1:30-4 p.m. the pool is open for family swim with fees of $5 for adults and $3 for kids. Tuesday and Thursdays from 5:00-6:30 p.m., there is Family Recreation swim in the shallow end. Tot Splash for ages 0-5 (with adult) is Monday-Friday from 9:45-10:45 a.m. and everyone pays only $2.
4300 Cutting Blvd.
“The Plunge” as it’s affectionately called, was built back in 1926 and locals still remember swimming there as kids.The actual name on the building says “Municipal Natatorium” which is the old-fashioned term for a big, public indoor pool. The Plunge still retains its original hand-painted signs, beautiful tile and its stunning mural. The water is a saline/chlorine hybrid. The main sanitizing agent is salt, with chlorine as the backup method. Most patrons who dislike chlorine prefer the Plunge for this reason. Until the plaster repair is completed (hopefully this Spring) aqua shoes are required for Tot Splash, which is Mondays and Wednesday from 10-11 a.m.
1 East Richmond Ave.
Albany Aquatic Center
The 136,000 gallon indoor pool at the Albany Aquatic Center is a balmy 84-86 degrees year round. Winter hours include daily rec swim (except Sunday). The shallow end is 3’6″ deep and it goes down to 7 feet in the deep end so make sure you bring your floaties for the little mermaids. Kids four and under are $3, ages 5-17 are $4 and parents are $6.
1311 Portland Ave.
photo: Jean E Brink Pool
Jean E. Brink Swimming Pool
The pool was named after Jean, a community fixture, volunteer and an avid swimmer who has been coming to the pool since its opening in 1978—and we understand why! It is extremely spacious: ten lanes, 25 yards long each. It’s one of the very few indoor pools in the Peninsula and one of a handful of pools with diving boards for deep diving; the pool’s depth ranges from 3 to 12 feet making it great for older kids to practice diving and big splashes and shallow enough for little kids during family swim times. Monday and Friday 7-9 p.m or Saturday and Sunday 1-3 p.m. Adult $6 and kids $5, don’t forget to bring your own lock and towel.
photo: Giammona Pool
Giammona Westmoor High Swimming Pool
This gorgeous pool is clean and warm and has a water slide, spacious locker rooms, plenty of showers and a handy spin dry for all those soggy swimsuits you’ll be taking home with you. There are open swim hours and an Afterschool Swim Club for 6 to 12-year-olds where they can do homework, recreational activities and swim. Open swim times are Friday 5:30–7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12:30–2:30 p.m.
131 Westmoor Ave.
Daly City, CA
Orange Memorial Pool
How nice would it be to play in the pool with your little ones while looking at some gorgeous nature? Well at Orange Memorial Pool it is possible! The huge bay windows almost make you forget that you are in an indoor pool. There is also plenty of natural light coming from the ceiling. Spectator seating is available, this way you can also enjoy the view of the trees when you need a break from the pool. Come Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9:30–10:30 a.m. with your kids under 5, and for all-ages recreation on Friday 7-8:30 p.m., Saturday 1:30–3 p.m. and Sunday 12:30–2 p.m.
781 Tennis Dr.
South San Francisco, CA
Waterworkds is a swimming pool ideal for kids as well as the harried parents who have to pack their bags. Just inside the front door next to the front desk, a shop carries anything you may have forgotten or didn’t know you needed: snacks, swimsuits, swim diapers, goggles, kickboards, inflatables, sinker toys and more. The water is a toasty 93 degrees and there is a 2.3-foot pool just for little ones to play in. The place is clean and well equipped, offering private showers and changing rooms, plus several changing stations and a swimsuit dryer.
Recreation swim times are Friday 6–7:30 p.m. and Sunday 3-4 p.m. with a fee of $5 per person. One Saturday per month, they organize Family Swim nights where they play music over their pool deck sound system, offer complimentary snacks and juice and lend their inflatable pool toys. Call ahead to make sure the event is happening, as this program is subject to cancellation due to low enrollment. Entrance fee $5 per person with a max charge of $20/family.
There are other Waterworks Aquatics centers at City Sports Clubs around the Bay Area as well, including Hayward and San Francisco.
1120 S. Bascom Ave.
San Jose, CA
photo: AVAC Swim School courtesy of Danielle G. via yelp
AVAC Swim School
The swim school at Almaden Valley Athletic Club opens its doors to the public for open swim on Fridays 12-2:30 p.m. and Saturdays 5:45-7:45 p.m. Parents swim for free and kids are $10 each (unless you are a currently-registered student at the swim school and then you only pay $7). Look into having AVAC host your next kiddie pool party in their private party room.
5400 Camden Ave.
San Jose, CA
photo: Mill Valley Pool
Mill Valley Recreation Center Swimming Pool
Everyone loves this sparkling-clean indoor/outdoor pool with its big windows and removable roof for warm summer days. Little ones feel right at home splashing and playing in the shallow “cove” area (wide steps descend gradually into the water), and for kids 48 inches tall, the water slide is always a big hit. The pool also offers sinker toys. Recreational swim on Saturday and Sunday is 12:30-4:55 p.m. and there is family swim time offered each weekday in the shallow “cove” area. Note that this schedule changes during vacation time. Day-use passes include the use of the fitness center and prices vary from $7-$10, depending on age and residence.
180 Camino Alto
Mill Valley, CA