As summer in the city kicks off, District residents must prepare for temperatures to top off the thermometer and humidity to cloud up the air.
Preparing for a D.C. summer means staking out shady spots, cranking up the air conditioner and most importantly – finding a pool to cool off in. If you aren’t lucky enough to live in an apartment with a rooftop pool, or have a friend who does, here are the best spots in D.C. to cannonball into summer:
The Liaison Capitol Hill Rooftop Pool
For a luxe spot that makes you feel like you’ve jetted off to a tropical paradise, look no further than The Liaison Capitol Hill’s rooftop pool.
Lined with small and large cabanas and wooden lounge chairs, the pool atop the hotel at 415 New Jersey Ave. offers plenty of places to splash and relax. This rooftop pool, which opens Memorial Day, is one of the largest in the District, so finding some vacant water isn’t hard if you want to mix some backstrokes into your splash session.
The rooftop spot used to be known for its Miami-style Sunday pool parties and wild atmosphere, but the hotel has scaled back their parties this year to offer a spot for relaxation as well. The hotel didn’t completely cut their party scene, though – they’ll still host Sip & Dip pool parties throughout the summer every other Sunday starting June 4.
For $35, you can have access to the pool from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – which is not a bad price if you plan to spend the whole day there. Locals can also purchase a $250 season pass, so you can stop in for a quick dip whenever you want. If you want to save, head over after 5 p.m. – when the pool and patio become free to enter.
Embassy Row Hotel Rooftop Pool
The Embassy Row Hotel’s rooftop pool is an intimate spot to hang out and take a quick dip after spending the day clinking glasses and catching rays.
The hotel, which sits at 2015 Massachusetts Ave., has a small rooftop pool that is a good place to take a quick plunge to break the day’s heat. The pool starts at four feet deep, which means it’s not ideal for wading, but the expansive patio area is a prime spot to soak up the sun, hit the bar and jump in for a quick dip.
The patio has seating areas with comfy couches, dozens of lounge chairs, colorful pillows and a bar covered in green shrubs with stools to snag a seat. A second walk-up bar is housed in a graffiti covered hut, giving the rooftop an urban vibe. The dual bar areas gives ample opportunities to score a poolside cocktail, like the hotel’s signature Dupont Sunrise ($13). Or a quick bite to eat from the bar menu of shareable appetizers, from salads to classic barbecue food.
At $30 for a day pass, the Embassy Row Hotel pool is a little costly but perfect if you’re looking for a trendy way to treat yourself. Visit on “Hooky Friday,” which is held every Friday, and you can get a pass from 2 to 7 p.m. for just $15.
When you just need to plunge into cool water and don’t care about additional amenities like bars or upscale patio furniture, the Francis Pool in West End is your new go-to spot.
D.C. is dotted with public pools to help locals cool off during the sweltering summers. But with so many residents trying to beat the heat once the pools open on Memorial Day, they get packed pretty fast. Francis Pool is one of D.C.’s largest public pools, which also makes it one of the most popular.
Take a quick trip to 2435 N St. right when the pool opens at 11 a.m. on weekdays or noon on weekends, to secure a seat and get some laps in before families flock to the pool and screaming kids invade the shallow end. An early arrival should ensure you’ll snag one of the few dozen lounge chairs that surround the pool.
Mount Vernon Pool
Take advantage of the perks that come with being a student and dive into the pool on the Mount Vernon campus, which opened for the season Saturday.
As one of the only free pool options in the District, the Vern pool provides GW students with two lap lanes and plenty of space to wade in the water – all just a Vern Express ride away. Pack up your beach bag, flash your GWorld at the gate and settle down at one of the lounge chairs that surround the pool to catch some rays or dive on in and do laps.
The pool is open from noon to 6 p.m. but will expand its hours to noon to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends starting June 5. Plan to arrive either right when the pool opens or later in the evening to avoid the local families that typically frequent the pool.
You definitely won’t feel like you’re on a tropical getaway at the familiar Mount Vernon campus, but the convenience and lack of cost make the Mount Vernon Pool an easy spot when you’re in need of a close cool down.