It can get steamy in the urban jungle! Take the temps down a notch or two with a refreshing dip in one of Manhattan's 5 best outdoor swimming pools. While many of the hard-to-come-by pools in the city are reserved for members, hotel guests, or residents only, we've dug up 5 refreshing outdoor options that are open to day guests, too. Three chic rooftop hotel pools and a health club made the list, as did one of the city's best open-air (and free!) public pools. So dive on in and get ready to beat the heat at these 5 watery retreats.
The Beach at the Dream Downtown Hotel
This Côte d'Azur-inspired rooftop oasis comes tucked into the Meatpacking District, atop the mod Dream Downtown Hotel. "The Beach," as this space is dubbed, spans 4,800 square feet, complete with a heated glass-bottom pool (which peeks through to the hotel lobby below), a faux beach (courtesy of imported white sand), and chaise lounges (two private cabanas can also be rented). Pair your pool day with a Mexican-inspired café menu and a full-service bar, where you can order up frou-frou cocktails based on coconut, watermelon, and other yummy summer essential flavors (plus, wine and beer). Non-hotel guests can purchase day passes (available from 11 am, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays).
Manhattan Plaza Health Club
This members-only Midtown Manhattan health club touts a crowning rooftop pool on its third floor, complete with lush foliage and a retractable glass roof that is opened every summer day, weather permitting. Happily, day passes to the lap pool are available to non-members, too, on Monday through Fridays through Labor Day; weekend passes are also available. There's an adjacent sundeck for tanning and lounging, too (where you can also order in lunch or snacks from neighboring restaurants and delis). Adult passes will also grant you access to the gym facilities, as well as enrollment in the day's scheduled adult swim/aquatic classes. Note that kids can only visit during designated kids' swim hours (call ahead for the schedule).
La Piscine at Hôtel Americano
Set atop yet another chic hotel, this time in Chelsea (set just a stone's throw away from the High Line), the 10th-floor La Piscine at Hôtel Americano is open to the public for day use. Guests can purchase day passes at the front desk on Monday through Friday, which are available on a first-come, first served basis (unless the space is closed for a private event). Stick around for the poolside grill, serving Mediterranean-influenced fare; there's also a bar turning out cocktails, wine, champagne, and more.
JIMMY at The James
While this sleek SoHo hotel's small rooftop pool is reserved for hotel guests on weekdays, the space takes another turn on weekends, courtesy of the free-to-enter summer weekend pool parties hosted here by rooftop bar JIMMY. From 3 pm onward, on Saturdays and Sundays from mid-May through Labor Day, the rotating roster of DJs start up, the classic cocktails flow, and non-hotel guests are welcome to splash their days away at this 17th-floor perch, complete with a teak deck, plush chaise lounges, a light bites menu, and city skyline views.
Hamilton Fish Pool
This is a top pick among Manhattan's free public pools, given its massive Olympic-size proportions (fun fact: dating to the 1930s, the pool was used for practice by the U.S. Olympic swim team ahead of the 1952 Helsinki Games). Though public pools can get unpleasantly crowded on hot summer days, this one, on the Lower East Side, offers plenty of space to go around. There's even a wading pool for the young’uns. Note there are no deck chairs (so bring a towel to lay out on the concrete that fringes the pool). For more details on opening days and hours, see the Parks Department website.