Beijing may have a profusion of indoor water parks and swimming pools, but on those hot, muggy summer days all the kids really want is to splash around in the sun. Barring a weekend trip, it’s surprisingly difficult to find a good outdoor pool with decent facilities and within a reasonable distance from home. Here’s a roundup of outdoor pools ranging from the basic to the luxurious. All prices and hours are accurate as of print time.
Qingnianhu Park boasts a massive water park with pools for kids, serious swimmers, hot tubs, and slides. There isn’t much shade, so be sure to bring hats, sunscreen, and other sun protection. The admission price includes access to the wider park.
RMB 40 for adults, RMB 30 for kids under 1.3m. Daily 9am-7pm from June to August. Qingnianhu Park, Andingmen Waidajie (corner of Andeli Beijie), Dongcheng District (8411 6321) 东城区安定门外大街青年湖公园（安德里北街路口）
Splash Recreation Club
This long-running hotel swim club is a favorite with many Beijing families. Based out of CITIC Hotel Beijing Airport (formerly known as the Sino-Swiss Hotel), the Splash Recreation Club
(浪花俱乐部 lànghuā jùlèbù) is open to outside guests, and grants access to the hotel’s indoor and outdoor pools, a poolside bar, and a restaurant. The admission price includes towels and a locker.
RMB 100 for adults, RMB 50 for kids over 1m, free for kids under 1m. Open Mon-Sat 10am-10pm. CITIC Hotel Beijing Airport, 9 Xiao Tianzhu Nanlu, Shunyi District (6456 5588) www.citichotelbeijing.com 顺义区小天竺南路9号北京国都大饭店
For a touch of luxury, The Emperor hotel has a glass-edged outdoor pool open to outside guests. It ain’t cheap, but the lack of crowds and views of surrounding Qianmen may well be worth the indulgence. The admission price includes towels and a locker. On weekends, The Emperor also offers a buffet breakfast from 7am to 10.30am.
RMB 258 for three hours (kids and adults). The Emperor Hotel, 87 Xianyukou Jie, Dongcheng District (6701 7790) www.theemperor.com.cn/en/index.html 东城区鲜鱼口街87号皇家驿栈前门店
Chaoyang Park Water World features 250,000sqm of pools, slides, artificial beach, and beach volleyball facilities. Sure, the outdoor pools can get crowded during the summer, but it doesn’t get much more convenient than this. The drawback is that Chaoyang Park’s pools open later than most; when we called, an employee said they wouldn’t know the new admission prices and opening hours until the end of June.
2016 prices and opening hours TBA. Chaoyang Park, 1 Chaoyang Gongyuan Nanlu, Chaoyang District (6506 5409) 朝阳区朝阳公园南路1号朝阳公园
This one inspires a lot of debate; some parents hate the Tuanjiehu Park water park, while others swear by it. It’s a modest affair by any standards, consisting only of a large pool and a small beach, but its location makes it a standard for many Sanlitun families. Our advice? Try it for yourself.
RMB 60 (weekdays) or RMB 80 (weekends) for adults and kids over 1m, free for kids under 1m. Open daily 9.30am-8.30pm from June 1 to August 31. Tuanjiehu Park, Tuanjiehu Nanli, Dongsanhuan Beilu, Chaoyang District (8597 4677) 朝阳区东三环北路团结湖南里团结湖公园
This article originally appeared on page 28-29 of the 2016 June-July Issue of beijingkids magazine. Click here for your free online copy. To find out how you can obtain a hard copy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Scott and Elaine Ver Der Chijs, Sergei Galyonkin