City Cast

A Definitive Ranking of Pittsburgh’s Pools

Megan Harris
Megan Harris
Posted on June 26
Podcast guest Jill Terner’s photo of Highland Park Pool.

Podcast guest Jill Terner’s photo of Highland Park Pool. (@jillsratespools)

Written by City Cast Pittsburgh host Megan Harris.

Fifteen city pools opened this summer (miss you already, Bloomfield Beach), and there’s lots to celebrate. From the best snack options and kiddie areas, to the spots in closest proximity to bars, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know ahead of a wet hot Pittsburgh summer.

City Cast Pittsburgh podcast guest Jill Terner ranked 11 out of 12 open pools in 2022, and she’s planning to hit them all again — plus the three reopened just in time for 2023. Here were last year’s top picks.

No. 5 (tie) Riverview

This North Side staple sits atop a sunny hill in Riverview Park. It’s huge, secluded, and includes a view of the Allegheny Observatory – but the hours are limited this year and it’s a little lacking in shade.

No. 5 (tie) Ammon

There’s a colorful mural at the entrance, just up the street from the famed August Wilson House in the Hill. Dubbed by @jillsratespools as both the Sportiest Pool with the Cleanliest Bathroom, the friendly staff and on-site water polo league give it a boon. What’s lacking? Kiddie areas.

No. 3 (tie) Ream

The all-concrete poolside lounge areas don’t detract from this Mt. Washington pool’s adorable community garden and luscious tall trees. Slight dings for an overall lack of snacks, which seems to plague most city pools.

No. 3 (tie) Ormsby

The adjacent library, playground, deck hockey rink, community garden, and ball field make this well-known South Side spot an oasis along an otherwise chaotic intersection. The grass creates a sort of stadium effect along the Birmingham Bridge, but it loses points for a lack of tables, benches, and kid-friendly wading.

No. 2 Magee

The most charming!! It’s tucked away from Greenfield traffic by ball fields and an active living center, and though small, has the perfect shade-to-grass and grass-to-pool ratios. Bonus points for its proximity to delicious pizza and a neighborhood pub.

No. 1 Highland Park

Size matters :) But really, it’s got everything — a spacious deep end, beach volleyball, great shade, vending machines, snack trucks, a dedicated kiddie pool with a working mushroom fountain — we could go on. It's the perfect East End watering hole to take a refreshing dip.

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