Philadelphia has more free public pools than any other city in the country. There’s a problem, though. None of those public pools open until July. And as we know from this past weekend, it’s already hot. A pool trip would’ve been mighty nice Saturday afternoon.

In Philadelphia, the way to cool off before July is through a club, hotel or apartment pool. And that’s also a problem. Getting into a private pool isn’t easy. The clubs often have waiting lists, and it takes years to gain membership. Hotel and apartment pools require having a friend or sneaking in. Not that you can’t do one of those two things.

Billy Penn breaks down how to get some pool time before the public pools open.

The clubs

North Shore Beach Club, Northern Liberties

  • Availability: Yes
  • Cost: $650 for full summer membership or $250 for weekday only membership
  • Day pass availability: No. But if you know a member you can join him or her for a day for $20.
  • Pros: No kids. It’s a 21-plus joint.
  • Cons: You can’t bring in your own food or drinks. So the cost is actually much higher than the $650.

Philadelphia Sports Club, Society Hill  

  • Availability: Yes
  • Cost: $500 for full summer membership
  • Day pass availability: Yes. You can buy a guest pass for $30.
  • Pros: That guest pass availability, a big rarity. And you could probably sneak in some food/drink with relative ease.
  • Cons: Kids.

Lombard Swim Club, Rittenhouse Square

  • Availability: No. There is a “several seasons long” waiting list, according to management.
  • Cost: $630 for full summer membership
  • Day pass availability: $20 if you go with a member
  • Pros: None because it’s difficult to get in.
  • Cons: You won’t be able to get in for several years

University Swim Club, University City

  • Availability: No. University Swim Club caps its membership at 450 families, and they’re full. But you can get on the waiting list for a future summer, which allows you to temporarily take over for a member and then hopefully get full membership one day.
  • Cost: $325 to join, plus $600 for the first member
  • Day pass availability: It’s not clear, and no one at the club answered the phone.
  • Pros: None because you’re probably not getting in.
  • Cons: Lots of kids, too.

Apartment pools: Make friends with people here

  • The Sterling, 1815 JFK Boulevard
  • Goldtex, 12th and Spring Garden
  • Evo Philly, 2930 Chestnut
  • Park Towne Place, 2200 Ben Franklin Parkway
  • The Dorchester, 226 West Rittenhouse Square

Hotel outdoor pools near downtown: Sneak in here

  • Sonesta Downtown, 1800 Market Street
  • Sheraton University City, 3549 Chestnut Street
  • Wyndham Philadelphia Historic, 400 Arch Street
  • Doubletree Center City, 237 S. Broad Street
  • Windsor Suites, 1700 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Mark Dent is a reporter/curator at BillyPenn. He previously worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State football and the Penn State administration. His...