Austin’s 10 Best Swimming Pools
Grab that flamingo floatie and get to work.
It’s an undebatable, undeniable fact: To survive the Texas summer heat, you’re gonna need a lot of water. And, in saying that, we mean much more than just keeping that Brita filled. Keeping your temperature at the regular 98.6 degrees requires a full-body, aquatic submerge, the type where you sink so far down that you’re only visible from your nose up. Thankfully, there’s plenty of options for chlorine-related fun in the city—even if no one in your crew has a pool in their apartment complex. We’ve gathered up all the best pools in the city for your dipping pleasure. Whether you want to wade on a retro-themed deck, dwell in the midst of a city tradition, or simply need a change from the Barton Springs scene, our list has you covered. Just be sure to top off that Brita before you go.
Austin Motel might be most well-known for their trademark marquee—whose bold, red color and board with ever-changing quips has made it an essential Instagram stop for tourists and locals alike. However, the true gem at this quirky South Congress hotel is located beyond the sidewalk strip, their famous kidney-shaped pool, which is just as worthy of a space on your grid. Decked with red-and-white umbrellas swirled in the pattern of a peppermint candy, the retro atmosphere, along with one of their frozen peach martinis, will transport you to the nostalgic era of motor courts and Route 66. And, while day passes are available, you can make the relationship with the Austin Motel pool more permanent with one of their Swim Club memberships that allow you unlimited visits, as well as a free plus one.
Lakeway Resort and Spa
It can be hard to reach full relaxation with the constant noise from the city’s traffic and pedestrians echoing in your ears. Instead of trying to block out the hubbub by blasting your AirPods full volume, find some peace of mind, and save yourself from potential hearing damage, by heading to Lakeway Resort and Spa. Located 45 minutes outside of Austin on the banks of the gorgeous Lake Travis, you’ll feel like you’re a world away—without the hassle of actually having to travel the world. And, with Lakeway’s separate adults-only pool complete with swim-up bar, you can also find relief from all the splashing caused by cannonballing eight-year olds.
The LINE Austin
To paraphrase a young Ms. Cyrus, the pool at The LINE Austin truly allows you to get "The best of both worlds.” The Downtown hotel’s locale, which literally borders the majestic stretch of the Colorado River that cuts through the city, offers the perfect touch of outdoor scenery to their poolside area. In other words, you can still get all the endorphins that come from basking in a plant-framed view of the river, while getting to lay down in a luxurious lounger—a much more comfortable way to experience the natural wonder, as opposed to the standard rental kayak. To top it off, you can end your relaxing day spent in the rays by digging into the excellent crispy rice at Arlo Grey, the restaurant headed by Top Chef winner, Kristen Kish, located inside the hotel.
The minimalist exterior of the Carpenter Hotel might make first time visitors walk right by the entrance. However, while that initial trip might require a consult of Google Maps, once you enter the cozy, yet trendy, hot spot, you won’t again forget it. The Carpenter’s Coffee Bar is already a serious go-to for young, laptop-totting professionals—and their pool is the perfect place to relax between Zoom calls (or, if you're muted with your camera off, during). And, in addition to being able to order as many of the Coffee Bar’s espressos as you can down while sitting poolside, you can also buzz up your end of the day round table by ordering drinks, such as the tempting C.R.E.A.Msicle Spritz, and food from a special pool menu.
Deep Eddy Pool
By venturing to Deep Eddy, you not only get a refreshing break from the oppressive heat, you also get to check off an essential Austin experience from your must-do list. Deep Eddy is the oldest swimming pool in all of Texas—this much-loved, historic community hangout has been helping city residents cool off since 1915. The fact that it is filled with water from natural springs only adds to the inherent authenticity of the place— tapping into the original spirit of Austin itself, this municipal pool is open for, and welcoming to, everyone. Considering it is a public place, it does get crowded, especially on weekends. However, you can wait out the scene at two great spots nearby: tiki-themed food joint, Pool Burger, and longtime Austin libation institution, Deep Eddy Cabaret.
South Congress Hotel
Just like the street from which it takes its name, South Congress Hotel is endlessly hip (seriously, this place even has an on-site motorcycle shop). And, you better believe that the spot has a pool that lives up to its cool credentials—which means, in the traditional style of chic, boutique hotels, it is located on the roof. Don’t let the sky-high height fool you though. Lush with greenery, and dotted with cheery, yellow umbrellas, the space’s atmosphere is surprisingly intimate and tranquil. However, should you forget you’re soaking in style, one glance at the pool’s extensive food and drink menu, which is provided directly from the hotel’s downstairs restaurant, brunch-time favorite, Café No Sé, will be sure to remind you. Try to save some stomach room to grab a post-pool meal at South Congress Hotel's newest restaurant, Maie Day, a fantastic steakhouse whose offerings include a must-have, high-end blooming onion.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of South Congress’ commercial haven, Music Lane, lies Hotel Magdalena’s watery oasis. In addition to being a great pool to take a load off after lugging around shopping bags, its poolside-perched bar has killer cocktails to sip on while showing off that newly-bought bikini. Both there, as well as from the convenience of your deck-based lounge chair, you can order everything from sun-bathing classics, like a frozen piña colada, to mixologist specialties, like the Cherry-Colored Funk that somehow combines mezcal and clarified milk into a drink you’ll order a second round of. And, should you and your crew get too tipsy off of their signature fishbowl cocktail (which comfortably serves six people or more), you can fortify yourselves for a next round with the small snacks and dishes including a really great smash burger.
Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt
If you want to drink in the Austin skyline while drinking a cocktail in the water, look no further than the pool at the impeccably sophisticated Hotel Van Zandt. The rooftop pool boasts incredible views of the city’s skyscrapers, as well as the scenic beauty of Lady Bird Lake, a winning combination that definitely lets you know you’re right in the heart of the Live Music Capital of the World. It's an ideal setting to ball-out—and, with the option to book a luxury cabana, complete with privacy shade and flat-screen TV, you can live the kind of high life typically found in a Drake music video. After the sun sets, you can further indulge in a dinner of contemporary comfort food at Geraldine's, the hotel’s restaurant and one of the hottest in Austin, which is conveniently located adjacent to the pool.
East Austin Hotel
The city’s tastemakers, and realtors, will all tell you the same thing: East Austin is the place to be. Therefore, it goes to say that the pool at the East Austin Hotel, set right in the middle of bumping East 6th Street, is a stellar spot to pregame a night out with a shot of sunshine. In fact, after a day of pounding painkillers at the courtyard-based pool, you might be inclined to continue the party right there at the hotel’s rooftop bar, The Upside. And, if you are determined to not let triple-digit temperatures get in the way of your Sunday Funday, you can go hard at one of the hotel's Summer Splash Sunday pool parties. As the name implies, this event goes down every Sunday in the summer, and always has a theme such as the upcoming Mid Summer Luau, where you can rock your best Tommy Bahama while taking a hula lesson.
With a DJ thumping EDM, margaritas ordered by the pitcher, and a plethora of ladies accenting their swimwear with high heels, the WET Deck (aka pool at the W Austin hotel) is as close as you’ll get to a Vegas-style pool party in the Lone Star state. This is not the place to spend a relaxing day reading a book and napping by the water; however, it is the place to show off how your twerking skills remain on point even when your body is submerged. Every weekend, the legendary daytime parties are always packed—and might just give you flashbacks to the time you went to a Tiësto concert. In the high-energy atmosphere of the WET Deck, those seeking summer romance may find some much needed relief from the Tinder scene—people are there to mingle, which makes it a great opportunity to flirt with strangers IRL (remember that?) in minimal clothing. So, you’ll most likely want to dress to impress—and be sure to hydrate beforehand, cause your outfit won't be the only thing going all out.