The best outdoor pools in Beijing

The first of June marks the first day of pool season in Beijing

Have you ever wanted to swim in a big swimming pool, full of water*? Beijing summer is a hot potato, full of steamy potato insides. You’re inside the hot potato too, so be sure to take your starchy mass of an existence to a pool near you, get in it and stay there until mid-September.

*2015 studies showed urine levels to be pretty high in Beijing swimming pools – some six times the national recommended urine-in-swimming-pool level. Not sure why they don’t just recommend no urine.

Qiannianhu Park

Qingnianhu Pool – or the ‘lake of youth’ – has two waterslides, a concrete patch for bros to drink and play loud music and a kiddy pool with a magnificent self-filling and emptying water bucket installation. Urine levels taste low, and there’s other snacks like jianbing, too.
Off Andingmenwai Dajie. Open June 1. 40RMB; 30RMB (concessions).

Crab Island

You had us at ‘Crab Island’. Conveniently situated just off Beijing’s majestic Airport Expressway, Crab Island features one of Beijing’s best manmade sandy beaches – top 20 for sure – as well as a decent-sized wave pool, a kids area and an amusement park.
Nangao Lu. Open June 1. From 128RMB; 60RMB (kids over 120cm); 40RMB (kids under 120cm).

Tuanjiehu Water Park

If there’s one thing modern life-livers can’t life-live without, it’s an inner-city beach volleyball court adjacent to a 10,000sqm pool with waterslides. Tuanjiehu Water Park has all of this and more and is walking distance from Sanlitun.
Tuanjiehu Lu. Open June 1. 100RMB (weekends); 80RMB (weekdays); free for children below 1m.

Chaoyang Park

What doesn’t Chaoyang Park have? Nothing – it’s got every single thing, and two of those things are a manmade beach and a water park. Urine levels are really quite pleasant to boot.
Chaoyang Gongyuan Lu. Open 'late June or July', we're told. Price tbc.

Liulang Natatorium

Haidian, you didn’t think we’d miss you like we normally do, did you? Silly Haidian. Liulang is located near the south gate of the Summer Palace and boasts a swimming pool each for both kids and grown ups too. It’s good. It’s not an island for crabs, but it’s good.
Kunming Dong Lu. Open now. 30RMB.

Emperor Beijing Qianmen Hotel

Expensive and supposedly prestigious, the boutique rooftop pool at Emperor Beijing Qianmen Hotel is a little past its prime, doubling as a neat vantage point from which to admire the Forbidden City and the low roofs of the surrounding hutong neighbourhood. Don’t wee here.
Xinyukou Jie. Open now. 268RMB (three hours).

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