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Where are the best pools and beaches in NYC? From free public pools to hotel day passes, see our list.

NYC pools are officially open and the public is thrilled
NYC pools are officially open and the public is thrilled 01:52

NEW YORK -- New York City expects to see a heat wave this week, and what better way to cool off than by the pool or at the beach.

We have a list of the best places to beat the heat, with details on when they're open and how to get there.

Where to find a free NYC public pool near me

Lifeguards getting ready at Astoria Pool in Astoria Park, Queens, New York
Lifeguards getting ready at Astoria Pool in Astoria Park, Queens, New York. Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

New York City has more than 50 free outdoor pools across the five boroughs. They are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily starting June 27, with a break for cleaning between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

There are 13 Olympic-sized pools, including:

  • Brooklyn: Betsy Head Pool, Kosciuszko Pool, McCarren Park Pool, Red Hook Pool and Sunset Park Pool
  • The Bronx: Crotona Pool and Van Cortlandt Pool
  • Manhattan: Hamilton Fish Pool, Highbridge Pool, Jackie Robinson Pool and Thomas Jefferson Pool 
  • Queens: Astoria Pool
  • Staten Island: Lyons Pool

The city also offers free swim lessons for toddlers, children and adults. Registration for most of the current sessions has closed, but you can learn more and sign up for the waiting list here.

We have extensive coverage of water safety tips, with a look at the importance of swim lessons and what parents should know about swim diapers and fences around pools.

Check out this list to find a public pool near you. You can also find water features, like sprinklers and fountains, here.

Some NYC hotel pools offer day passes

TWA Hotel opens at New Yorks JFK
People lounge beside the rooftop pool at the TWA Hotel June 08, 2019 in New York, NY. Phillip Reed/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

A handful of New York City hotels offer day passes for their rooftop pools.

In Manhattan, the JIMMY rooftop bar atop the James Hotel in SoHo opens its pool to the public after 5 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. on weekends. Best of all, it's free of charge.

The Beach at Dream Downtown and the Somewhere Nowhere lounge are both located in Chelsea and cost to access. The Beach's pool deck and sand beach are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Weekday passes range from $30 to $55 without seating, or $90 to $110 to reserve a lounge chair, depending on the day. Weekend passes cost $160 to reserve a chair. 

Somewhere Nowhere is open from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. General admission costs $100 before taxes and fees, or you can upgrade to lounge seating access for $125 or a poolside daybed for $165. 

In Brooklyn, the Arlo Williamsburg (formerly The Williamsburg Hotel), Coda Williamsburg and The William Vale are three popular spots all within walking distance in Williamsburg. Arlo is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, with passes starting at $100 for a three-hour timeslot with reserved seating, or $130 for a full day with first-come, first-served seating. 

Coda is open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily, with discounted rates on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Weekday passes start at $65 for a full day without reserved seating, or $80 for a four-hour timeslot with a lounge chair. Weekend passes start at $80 for a full day without a chair, or $95 for a four-hour time slot with one.

The William Vale is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and offers day passes starting at $150 on weekdays or $160 on weekends. They include reserved seating, with the option to add on a sauna or hot tub session for $65. 

In Queens, Summer Club puts on a big pool party in Long Island City. General admission tickets for most events start in the $30-range, with higher tiers for chairs and cabanas. This summer's lineup includes Purple Disco Machine!, Badfish, Big Gigantic and Lee Foss.

A little father away, the TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport offers passes starting at $50 for a 1-hour-and-45-minute timeslot, or the Rockaway Hotel and Spa also has passes starting at $50 for a four-hour timeslot. Seating for both is first-come, first-served.

Best beaches in the NYC area

Hurricane Franklin Churns Up High Surf At New York City's Rockaway Beach
Lifeguards keep watch as the beach stands closed to swimmers at Rockaway Beach in New York on August 31, 2023 in New York City. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Two of New York City's beaches recently made this list of the 25 best in the U.S.

Rockaway Beach in Queens was noted for its "white sand, five-mile boardwalk, and surf-worthy waves." Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn was described as a "perfect seaside wonderland of nostalgia and kitschy fun."

Outside the city, Asbury Park Beach in New Jersey and Ocean Beach Park in New London, Connecticut also made the cut.

New York City's eight public beaches have lifeguards on duty from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. 

  • Brooklyn: Coney Island and Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach
  • The Bronx: Orchard Beach and Promenade
  • Queens: Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk
  • Staten Island: Cedar Grove Beach, Midland Beach and Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk, South Beach, Wolfe's Pond Beach

While it technically isn't run by the city, Manhattan also has a public beach, called Gansevoort Peninsula, that opened last year at Hudson River Park on the West Side. 

The Parks Department started the season with about 230 beach lifeguards on staff and more than 300 recruits in training. It needs 600 to be considered fully staffed. 

Officials have said the lifeguard shortage means some areas of city's beaches will remain closed to swimming.

Swimmers are urged to watch for sharks and rip current warnings. Use this tool to check the water temperature in our area.

If you're taking mass transit, you can reserve a spot on the Rockaway Ferry here, or get discounted LIRR tickets with admission to Long Island's Jones Beach, Long Beach or Robert Moses State Park here.

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