The Los Angeles Swimming Stadium at Exposition Park, now called the John C. Argue Swimming Stadium, was built for the 1932 Olympic Games. History was made here, with a slew of gold-medal and record-setting swimmers who went on to have acting careers including Clarence "Buster" Crabbe, Eleanor Holm and Esther Williams.
The LA Swim Stadium is open to the public. Behind the main Expo Center/Los Angeles Swimming Stadium building are the outdoor swimming pools, which are heated and operated year round. There is a 50-meter by 25-yard competition lap pool, and a family swim pool. The pools are open to the public for specific hours when they are not being used for classes or team training. See the LA Swim Stadium website for lap swim and recreational swimming hours.
The pool is free for children 17 and under and seniors 65 and over. Adults pay a nominal fee per visit. Membership or multi-admission packages are also available for locals. On the LA Swim Stadium website, click on the Aquatics Brochure and look for the section on General Admission to find current rates and hours.
Know Before You Go
- Exposition Park is located in a low-income area in Central Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Swimming Stadium is a budget-friendly way to spend a few hours cooling off with the kids in the LA heat, so it can get very crowded on hot summer (or winter) days.
- Each child under 6 years old must be accompanied by one adult on a 1 to 1 ratio, so a single adult cannot bring more than one child under six years old.
- Children under 3 must wear swim diapers
- Check out the Parking Options and map
Los Angeles Expo Center and Swim Stadium History
In the 1950s the Los Angeles Swimming Stadium became the training pool for the USC swim team. By 1970, 65 world records had been set in the pool. The Swimming Stadium was showing its age by the 1980s, and damage from the Northridge Earthquake finally forced its closure in 1994.
A non-profit organization, Friends of the Expo Center, was formed in 1998 to raise the money to restore the building and pools. The facility reopened in 2004. It includes the outdoor John C Argue Swim Stadium and the renovated building which includes the original Art Deco façade with a steel and glass addition on the back that houses a gymnasium and program rooms.
With a name like Expo Center, you might think there would be expositions inside, but you would be mistaken (although they do have 100,000 square feet of event space for rent). In fact, it's named after surrounding Exposition Park and is a facility of the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. The only exhibits you'll find are arts and crafts created by kids and seniors in park programs.
The Expo Center actually includes multiple buildings, not just the swim stadium and recreation center, which are located in the original building. Other related Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks resources in the vicinity include the Roy A. Anderson Recreation Center (inside the original building), the Soboroff Sports Field across Menlo Avenue, the Ralph M. Parsons Pre-School, the Ahmanson Senior Center and the W.M. Keck Amphitheatre, which is really just a concrete slab behind the Expo Center used for outdoor concerts.
The department also operates the Exposition Park Rose Garden on the opposite side of Exposition Park and the Jesse A. Brewer Park, which includes picnic areas and a playground at the corner of Exposition Blvd and Vermont Ave across from the Natural History Museum.