Outdoor Recreation

These Are the Pools That Are Open In Boston Right Now

Plus, how safe is it really to swim in a communal pool? Can COVID spread through the water? Your questions answered here.


The Colonnade Rooftop Pool/photo provided

One of the many joys of summer—right up there with lobster rolls and beach hopping—is swimming at city pools. As we’ve inched further and further into Phase Three, more and more of them are opening up to the public. But is it safe to swim those laps?

The short answer is yes, according to Chris Gill, associate professor and infectious disease expert at Boston University’s school of public health. “Chlorine kills pretty much everything,” Gill says. COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets from an infected person’s mouth, and Gill believes that contracting the virus from swimming in a chlorinated pool is “highly unlikely.”

There’s a caveat: “We also know,” Gill continues, “that this virus is part of the SARS family and it can shed through the stool.” In other words, tiny, trace amounts of feces that folks carry into the pool (a gross but honest reality) could introduce the virus to the water if it came from an unknowingly infected person. Luckily, though, that’s where the COVID-killing chlorine comes in. So, unless the pool is doing a terrible job at keeping chlorine at the appropriate levels, keep swimming.

Still nervous? Ponds, lakes, and oceans are probably even safer due to the wide space for dilution. But if you practice social distancing and wear a mask while on the pool deck, here are some pools in Boston (as well as their specific regulations regarding COVID) that you can visit today.

1. Reilly Memorial Swimming Pool

This outdoor pool is T-accessible, free, and staffed by lifeguards. It’s relatively no-frills, as you might expect of a free public pool, but still great for a hot day. Capacity has been reduced, in accordance with the government’s reopening plan at all state-managed pools. Once the deep-water pool reaches capacity, it remains closed to new patrons for approximately two hours. Water quality tests and cleaning are performed at 1:15 p.m., 3:15 p.m., and 5:15 p.m. daily. Call ahead to confirm space.

355 Chestnut Hill Ave., Brighton, 617-277-7822, mass.gov

2. The Colonnade Rooftop Pool

This popular oasis in the middle of the city opened on June 15 for swimming by reservation only. Reservations may be made between 11 a.m.-7 p.m., but no more than 48 hours in advance. The capacity of the roof deck has been reduced by over 50 percent (as well as the pool capacity) and tables and chairs are spaced six feet apart. The pool bar will not be open, but guests may place food and beverage orders with pool attendants.

120 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-424-7000, colonnadehotel.com.

3. Francis J. McCrehan Memorial Swimming and Wading Pool

Another free, city-operated pool, the Francis J. McCrehan is open until late August and offers traditional swimming for adults and a wading pool for kids. The same capacity restrictions apply as other agency-run pools. It’s also close to the Alewife T stop, making it a breeze to get to with or without a car.

359 Rindge Ave., Cambridge, 617-661-0670, mass.gov.

4. Veteran’s Memorial Swimming and Wading Pool

Located on Magazine Beach in Cambridge, Veteran’s pool is open daily from 11:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. It’s also adjacent to a 15-acre park that boasts exercise equipment and athletic fields. Same capacity restrictions apply.

719 Memorial Dr., Cambridge, 617-661-0564, mass.gov.

5. Latta Brothers Memorial Swimming and Wading Pool

Capacity restrictions apply at Somerville’s Latta Brothers pool, which is open every day from 11:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Heading here is a great, free way to squeeze in some laps.

235 Broadway, Somerville, 617-666-9236, mass.gov.

6. Olsen Swimming Pool

In Hyde Park, the Olsen Swimming Pool is open every day from 11:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. It also has an accompanying spray deck for the kiddos. Capacity restrictions apply.

95 Turtle Pond Parkway, Hyde Park, 617-361-1593, mass.gov.