Just north of Suzhou Creek is an excellent solution for cheapskates who want to swim a nice apartment complex's pool. Open daily from 9am till 10pm. They let in non-residents for 25rmb before 5pm. There's a time limit, and they reserve the right to kick you out after a couple of hours, but that's not strictly enforced, and for another 25rmb/35rmb you can just pay your way right back inside. It's kind of a racket, come to think of it. After 5pm they hike the admission price up to 35rmb. They also ask for 6rmb for a "health check". Management says you'll need a swim cap, and we're not sure how strictly that rule is enforced. Pretty easy to get to, near Zhongtan Lu on lines 3 and 4. Open until the 31th of Aug.
ADDRESS: Bldg 35, Lane 99 Zhongtan Lu,
near Yuanjing Lu
Mandarine City Pool
Long-time favorite out in Hongqiao right here. On the weekends it's usually packed with a rowdy, often boozed up laowai crowd drinking beers and listening to EDM on cheap speakers. During the week, it's a haven for hungover DJs and underemployed English tutors. They open daily from 7am to 8pm until end of Sep, Monday from 11am-8pm and Thursday from 1pm-8pm. Fee is 100rmb/person (60rmb for kids under 1.3 meters, baby free policy). There is no health check or swimming cap rule, thankfully. Definitely hard to get a seat on the weekend.
ADDRESS: Mandarin City
Rear of Club House,
1129 Guyang Lu, near Shuicheng Nan Lu
Popular Korean bathhouse New Star has outdoor pools at two of their locations: the classic one in Hongqiao and the new one in Pudong. The outdoor pools are for anyone to use, you just show up and pay the 88rmb ticket, which gets you into the baths, the saunas and all the other cool shit. Of course, it's popular at weekends, but the sanitation level is high. The outdoor pool opens from 8am to 6pm daily. This picture is from the Pudong branch. The one in Hongqiao is a bit smaller but still decent. Swim caps are required. No health check necessary. For other New Star listings click here
. Note: New Star kicks foreigners out after midnight.
ADDRESS: 288 Dongxiu Lu,
near Meihua Lu
Grand Plaza A.K.A. The Maya Pool
This is the pool in the Julu Lu compound where you find Maya Mexican restaurant. The location is excellent, and they let in non-resident shitbirds like us, too. And they're open year-round. Okay, the pool's not huge, but it's good enough for a dip. Busy on weekends, due to the location, but the housing blocks surrounding it tend to block out the afternoon sun, so it's better in the mornings or midday. Open 9am-9pm daily; 100rmb Monday to Friday, 150rmb on weekends. 50rmb for children under 1.2 meters. They say you need a swim cap here, but the rule is clearly not enforced. No health check necessary.
ADDRESS: 568 Julu Lu,
near Shaanxi Nan Lu
Shimao Riviera Garden
Huge pool in Lujiazui with a sandy beach landscaped with rocks and trees and all kinds of pleasant stuff. It has long been a go-to place at weekends. 200rmb gets you in the door all day. Not open on raining days. The indoor pool is open 7am-10pm; outdoor pool open Tue-Sun from 10am-7pm and Mon from 12pm-10pm. No cap needed. No health check either. Closes at the end of September.
ADDRESS: 1 & 2 Weifang Lu,
near Pucheng Lu
Do you enjoy 14 trillion people in rubber rings bobbing in a sea of lukewarm bodily fluids and expectoration? Well, they have slides, a wave pool and a lazy river for tubing. Bring cash for fast food at one of the outlets. Outside food and drink can't be brought inside, and neither can alcohol. And bring some Valium or Xanax to help your nerves when dealing with the crowds and the lines. Hours of operation throughout summer 2015 are 9am to midnight daily until August 28 then 9am to 10pm from August 28–September 4. Ticket prices are posted on their website
(lots of different prices, starting at 180rmb per person during the week or 220rmb on weekends). No swim cap needed, as the photos clearly show. They do a health check at the venue.
ADDRESS: 78 Xinzhen Lu,
near Gudai Lu
Holiday Inn Kangqiao
This one's available only to gym members, and it ain't cheap. But it's got an outdoor section that hangs over the side of the building. That bit also has a glass bottom so you can swim and look down a few dozen stories at the street below, which is pretty fucking rad. What does one pay for the experience? 10000rmb per year, 6000rmb half year. They also have a special family rate (two adults, one child) for 20000rmb. The pool is open 6am-11pm daily. Health check needed. Swim caps required.
ADDRESS: 1088 Xiuyan Lu,
near Henghe Zhong Lu
They say it's "only for members", but you're allowed to show up and "try it" for 150rmb during the week. That's meant to be a one-time deal, but who's going to know? On weekends it's members only. Membership gets you a year in the gym and use of the indoor and outdoor pool, but it's 7000rmb and 5600rmb for half year. And the pool really isn't all that. It's very shallow and often packed with kids. The indoor pool opens from 6:30am-9pm on weekdays, 8am-9pm on weekends. The outdoor pool is open from 11.30am-7pm on Mondays, 9.30am-7pm Tuesday through Friday and 8am-7pm on weekends. Swim caps required only indoor, but no health check necessary.
ADDRESS: 1500 Huaihai Zhong Lu,
near Wulumuqi Lu
New World Shanghai Hotel
This is one of the best options for those who want to stay pretty central and have some space, both in the pool and around it. For all those reasons, it's not cheap: 300rmb a day, 150rmb for kids' price. Half-year memberships are 6000rmb for swimming pool only. The pool's open every day from 7am to 9pm. No health check necessary, but they do ask that you wear a swim cap.
ADDRESS: 1555 Dingxi Lu,
near Changning Lu
Radisson Blu Hotel
Radison Blu's Hotel, located near Thumb Plaza in Pudong, is now open to the public. They stopped that for a few years, perhaps due to some infamous pool parties that caused thousands of dollars in damage to the grounds, but it's back. Prices are 180rmb/person, or two people for 280rmb. One year membership for 9000rmb use both gym and pool, family package (1 child) for 21600rmb. It's open daily from 6am to 10pm. You'll need a cap and a health check, too. Closes at the end of October.
ADDRESS: 1199 Yingchun Lu
near Fangdian Lu,
This one was the first place party promoters Riviera were throwing parties, way back in 2005. And it's still the go-to place for happy cheapskates or those rolling in big groups. Great views, and the outdoor pool is large and open to non-residents for 150rmb a pop. Kids below 1.5 meters pay about 80rmb. They also offer a multi-visit package For a year membership, you'll pay 2600rmb, and that includes gym access. You're meant to wear a swimming cap. In our experience, this regulation is enforced at the whim of the guy working that day, but don't be surprised if you get told to pop a cap on your head. The pool opens from 7am-10pm every day. Closes at the end of September.
ADDRESS: 778 Dongfang Lu,
near Zhangyang Lu
JW Marriott Tomorrow Square
This one's an old classic, right in the middle of downtown. Unfortunately it's very pricey, and the outdoor pool's a bit shallow, but if you have the cash to drop, it's a ritzy rooftop for lounging around and drinking in. For non-hotel guests it's 280rmb/person per day; 150rmb for 1-12 year old children; 380rmb/person, if you wanna use the gym. Ouch! You can also get a three-month membership that includes gym access for 5950rmb. The pools are open from 6am–11pm. The outdoor pool closes at the end of September.
ADDRESS: 399 Nanjing Xi Lu,
near Huangpi Bei Lu
This is a weird one. The pool is nice, and just a five minute walk from the Xujiahui metro station. It's run by the spa here, and they don't seem to have a license for the pool, or they have problems with the property management, or something fishy…Sometimes they let people in for free, sometimes they charge 100rmb. You can also pay 1888rmb to have 30 times entries with your child under 1.3 meter. People used to do pool parties here a few years back, until the residents fought back and threatened to rain down rocks on all the partygoers. That was the end of that. No guarantees here, but it's pleasant if you make it in. Pretty sure they don't clean the pool much though. Closes at the end of September.
ADDRESS: Century Metropolis,
128 Hongqiao Lu,
near Wending Lu