Swim Philly Pop-Up Pool Project: Public Pools with a Fun Twist

Free public pools in Philly that are offering a unique experience this summer

The heat of summer is upon us. Kids haven't been out of school that long yet and already they're getting fidgety. One of the many great things that Philly has to offer its communities is the sheer number of free public pools- there are over 70 outdoor pools! Philadelphia has more outdoor public pools per capita than any other city in the country.

If you're looking for more free water fun this summer, be sure to check out our roundup of the city's free spraygrounds.

All opening between June 22 and July 1, 2017, these pools are the perfect respite from summer boredom and sweltering heat. Most exciting, is the new Pop-Up Pool Project initiative, funded by the Knight Foundation and led by Group Melvin Design. 

Featuring brightly colored lawn chairs and umbrellas, beautiful plants, oversized boardgames, yoga, and more, these pools are an exceptionally fun place to spend warm summer days. The idea of this initiative is to refresh the stale and dated institution that is the public pool to make it a brighter and more fun environment for the community to join together and have fun.

Francisville- North Philly, 18th and Francis
Francisville is the flagship location of the project. It features a picnic spot with oversized boardgames in the Family Lounge Area, as well as fancy new showers, bright umbrellas, tropical plants, and really neat raised decks to lounge on. Francisville also offers yoga with Roots2Rise on the deck every Tuesday from 7-8 PM and Aqua Zumba on Wednesdays from 6-7 PM. Open swim is from 1-4 PM Monday through Friday and 12-5 PM on weekends. Family swim is offered during the weekdays from 5-6 PM.

O'Connor Pool- Graduate Hospital, 26th and South
O'Connor Pool was probably already the fanciest and nicest of the public pools, but Swim Philly has made it even better! Planters galore, beautiful, bold umbrellas, lounge chairs, and a rainfall shower with privacy screen are all new additions. Open swim is from 1-3:50 PM on weekdays with family swim from 5-5:50 PM (on Tuesdays family swim ends at 6:50 PM). On weekends family swim is 12-3:50 PM. Aqua Zumba classes are available Mondays from 6-7 PM, and Poolside Yoga is every Tuesday 7-8 PM.

Lee Cultural Center- West Philly, 44th and Haverford
Featuring freshly painted pavement, and the usual Swim Philly fare: colorful umbrellas and lawn chairs, tropical plants, and newly installed rainfall showerheads, Lee has received quite the makeover. Open swim is from 1-4 PM and family swim is from 6-7 PM.

Lawncrest- Northeast Philly, Rising Sun and Comly
This one maybe isn't in the best of neigborhoods, but if you live nearby, you'll find it's received the same colorful treatment as the other pools on the list, including plastic adirondack chairs and huge tropical banana plants. This year's schedule has not yet been finalized. Check Lawncrest's Facebook page for updates.

Pleasant Playground- Mt. Airy, Boyer and Pleasant
Located just outside the city in Mt. Airy, Pleasant Playground is just that: quite pleasant. The Swim Philly makeover has done wonders for them, and the area is really excited about it. Kids enjoy the new outdoor showers, and parents love being able to lounge around on the colorful chairs-- a far cry from some of the other public pools that strictly prohibit chairs and, at best, offer bleachers outside of the pool area. Open swim is 12-5 PM every day and family swim is 5-6 PM on weekdays.

Other noteworthy public pools in Philly:

Athletic Recreation Center- Brewerytown
The only public pool with slides.

John B. Kelly Pool- Fairmount Park
The largest public pool Philly has to offer, Kelly Pool is a regulation olympic-size pool and is 7ft at its deepest point. It's also the only pool with green space inside the pool area to lay on.

For a full list of Philly's public pools, check out the Parks and Rec website.

All photos courtesy of Group Melvin Design and Sikora Wells Appel.

Francisville Playground
1737 Francis St.
19130 Philadelphia , PA 39° 58' 7.3092" N, 75° 10' 0.7356" W
O'Connor Pool
2601 South St.
19146 Philadelphia , PA 39° 56' 46.3452" N, 75° 11' 0.5028" W
Lee Cultural Center
4328 Haverford Ave.
19104 Philadelphia , PA 39° 57' 44.3124" N, 75° 12' 32.3748" W
Lawncrest Rec Center
6000 Rising Sun Ave.
19111 Philadelphia , PA 40° 2' 43.7424" N, 75° 6' 3.9672" W
Pleasant Playground
6720 Boyer Street
19119 Philadelphia , PA 40° 3' 27.0036" N, 75° 10' 49.9728" W
Athletic Recreation Center
1400 N. 26th Street
19121 Philadelphia , PA 39° 58' 39.576" N, 75° 10' 41.664" W
John B. Kelly Pool
4231 Lansdowne Drive
19131 Philadelphia , PA 39° 58' 51.9708" N, 75° 12' 47.2392" W