Update 8/12/2019: According to the Citiparks website, the Magee Pool in Greenfield is closed for the rest of 2019.
Last summer, I met a lovely couple who had accomplished the very ambitious goal of visiting each of Pittsburgh’s 18 city pools (plus Oliver Bath House) in a single season. I was envious and curious, since I typically frequent the same three. They described how each of them had distinctly different vibes, and we discussed what they considered to be the benefits and drawbacks of each pool. If you, too, want to attempt to check all the city pools off your summer bucket list, we have compiled this handy guide. We unofficially polled and crowdsourced some of this information. If there’s something we missed, or you’ve got a hot tip for taking a dip, let us know!
Ammon Pool (Hill District)
2217 Bedford Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
According to their very vibrant social media presence, the Ammon pool seems like a party, with head lifeguard “Uncle Charlie” Bonner at the helm. This Olympic-size pool has the somewhat elusive tables with umbrellas, and is home to Pittsburgh’s water polo team, the Renegades.
408 Ella St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Sometimes known as Bloomfield Beach, the Bloomfield Pool is a favorite of people with and without children. Parents I crowdsourced like the playground nearby, and the shallow end with the mushroom water feature. Do you like refreshing cold Thai noodles after a swim? Hit up Thai Gourmet. Do you like tacos and burritos? Stop at Baby Loves Tacos. Do you want an ice cold PBR? Howlers is mere blocks away. Plus, ice cream from Scoops or soft serve from Twisters (now in its 20th season), depending on which direction you want to walk. “Bloomfield Beach” is in close proximity to Liberty Avenue, giving it an almost boardwalk-esque number of options.
Highland Park Pool
151 Lake Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Can be kid-heavy during the week with day camps, but the deep end is your BFF. There’s a really great tree for shade, but you will never get there early enough to stake your claim with your towel. With a kiddie pool and a mushroom spray fountain, plus handicap accessible features, this pool is great for families. There are sand volleyball courts. Head to Food Glorious Food to snag a pre-swim snack, or Couch Brewery on your way home.
540 N. Lang Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15208
This pool offers plenty of parking nearby and a great shallow area for small children. Do you need ice cream, or would you rather have a beer?
Magee Pool (Greenfield) – CLOSED FOR 2019
745 Greenfield Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Pro tip for this pool: You can easily drive by and check to see how crowded it is. You are mere blocks from Staghorn Home & Garden Cafe, where you can eat and drink and shop for plants and unique gifts all at the same time. Rialto Pizza is right around the corner, offering soft serve ice cream, pizza and beer.
Schenley Park Pool
1 Overlook Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
One of the busier pools, folks in our unofficial pool poll simultaneously said it had too many kids and that it was pretty good for avoiding kids. It is homebase for some day camps and is close to Oakland (i.e., college kids. Are they still classified as kids?). Folks recommend it for swimming laps. It is a walk-in pool, which is great for apprehensive swimmers. If you have kids, remember it’s close to the Anderson Playground, aka the Dinosaur Playground. Summer is a perfect time to hit up Dave and Andy’s for some ice cream. Oakland is a little less hectic with colleges on summer break.
West Penn Pool (Polish Hill)
450 30th St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
No one I know calls this West Penn, although some folks call it the Polish Hill Beach Club. On the smaller side, this pool is typically one of the least crowded with kids. The undeveloped hillside surrounding it gives it an air of seclusion and some shady spots if you aren’t into tanning. There’s a skatepark and a playground right next door.
Where to go when you’re done swimming: If you’re me, it’s Gooskis for wings and pierogies. Or if eating surrounded by a cloud of cigarette smoke isn’t your thing, you are REALLY close to the Strip via the 28th St. Bridge. It’s all downhill to DiAnoias or Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor. I’ve also seen folks have pizza delivered right to this pool.
Jack Stack Pool (Brighton Heights)
600 Brighton Woods Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
This pool has a separate kiddie pool for young children. It can be busy due to softball and baseball games at the park’s ball fields. Pittsburgh Fish & Chicken offers multiple fish dinner options; you’ll feel like you’re at the beach.
400 Riverview Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15214
Part of Riverview Park, this pool is close to a ton of hiking trails and the Allegheny Observatory (which was integral to the establishment of standard time).
Sue Murray Pool (Northside)
301 Cedar Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Also lots of kids during the day, and there is a water slide. The evening hours are typically good for some peace and quiet. Once you’re done swimming, you can walk over to Federal Galley or the Park House for a drink. Don’t forget that the other side of Allegheny Commons is home to Gus and Yia Yia’s ice balls, a Northside tradition since 1934.
1461 Crane Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15220
This facility has a kiddie pool and fountain, baseball fields, playgrounds, and an attached pavilion available for rent. It’s perfect for swimming laps. You’re really close to love-it-or-hate-it Beto’s Pizza, known for applying cold cheese and toppings to a heated, sauced crust. Only sold by the slice.
McBride Pool (Lincoln Place)
1785 McBride St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15207
This no frills neighborhood pool is adjacent to a playground, pavilion, and a tennis court.
Moore Pool (Brookline)
1801 Pioneer Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
There’s a three-chute water slide, but no real grassy area around this pool for sunbathing. When you’re in Brookline, you’re close to Fiori’s Pizza and another Scoops location.
Ormsby Pool (South Side)
79 S. 22nd St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
This neighborhood pool is one of the smaller city pools and can feel crowded. There’s a playground. You’re literally blocks away from Rugger’s Pub (where the everyday special includes a PBR pounder and a shot of Old Grandad for $5). A short drive or bus ride will get you to Page Dairy Mart (which is probably just as crowded as the pool).
Phillips Pool (Carrick)
201 Parkfield St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15210
This quiet, mostly neighborhood pool has a spray pad for kids not quite ready for the actual pools, making it great for families with young kids. Hungry? Sam’s Sun boasts Middle Eastern food. Carrick is home to a large Nepalese population. Take advantage of your close proximity to Nepali Asian Restaurant (or even combine a stop at this pool with the opportunity to complete the Post Gazette’s full dumpling tour).
Ream Pool (Mt. Washington)
321 Merrimac Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15211
This neighborhood pool is handicap accessible and right on the number 40 bus line. There’s a concession stand (well, at least there was last year) and a playground. At Coughlin’s Law you can get unique cocktails, AND Millie’s ice cream.
1071 Adon St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15204
This pool boasts a new liner and lots of grassy area to lay down your towel. Lots of trees surrounding it, and some folks recommend bringing bug spray.
Remember When Ice Cream, which boasts Pittsburgh’s largest ice cream cone, is currently moving. Keep an eye on their socials and hopefully later this summer you can have a cone so big it has to be served through a separate door.
100 Guyland St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
This neighborhood pool is less crowded, and offers lots of grassy area and a kiddie pool. Important to note: At the time of publishing, Antney’s Ice Cream was temporarily closed, but check their socials if you plan on being in the area. Alternative plan: HOT DOGS!
What’s the deal with Oliver Bath House?
Located in the South Side, Oliver Bath House is an indoor facility open during the fall, winter and spring. Built in 1915 as a spot for steelworkers to bathe and swim, it’s the only continuously functioning bathhouse in Pittsburgh (and in Pennsylvania). Pro tip: When the summer ends, don’t take your pool pass off of your key ring. Season passes purchased during the summer for admission to Citiparks outdoor pools are honored at Oliver Bath House. This facility is scheduled to reopen on September 3, 2019.