With the summer heat and humidity just around the corner, many of us will soon find ourselves in search of cool sublime refreshment. Now this can of course be obtained in a cold glass of water and an ice cream sandwich, but why not make a day out of escaping the sun’s heat and choosing one of these fine family friendly pools to relax the day’s heat away.
Updated to be more family friendly. Original author Erik Crouch.
Ambassy Club (outdoor and indoor)
Slides, fountains and pool play-things galore, this former French Concession private club turns into a child-magnet come summertime. The Ambassy Club is an excellent choice for the family, especially for children, because it offers an array of kids swimming lessons for both beginners and more advanced children. Even with all the youngsters, the relatively refined atmosphere and good location keeps us coming back. Drop in during the week for a quieter experience.
Outdoor: Spring thru Autumn. Indoor: year-round. Outdoor: Mon: 11 am-7 pm, Tues-Fri: 9 am-7 pm, Sat & Sun: 8 am-7 pm Indoor: Mon: 11.30am-7pm, Tues-Fri: 9.30am-7pm, Weekend: 8am-7pm. Members only, but members can bring friends. RMB150/adult and RMB80/child. Members can bring a maximum of 3 friends per time (limited to twice a month). See a listing for Ambassy Club.
Dakang Indoor Water Resort (indoor)
While you won’t get too much sun at this indoor mini-version of Dino Beach, it’s a good place to bring the kids for an afternoon. Inside you’ll find a wave pool, water slides, family lanes, a kiddie wading pool and a high-diving platform. One ticket during the week allows for 2.5 hour of watery playtime and 2 hours on the weekend, and is perfect for anyone who wants to wear out their kids for an early bed time. Endless fun abounds.
June-Sept. 10am-9pm, Weekdays: RMB70/2.5 hours, Weekend: RMB88/2 hours. Metro Line 1 to Gongkang Lu Station, transfer to Dakang Indoor Water Resort shuttle bus. See a listing for Dakang Indoor Water Resort.
Dino Beach (outdoor)
It’s no Wet‘n Wild Waterpark, but it might be as close as we can get. You’ll find a smorgasbord of slides, a lazy river, inner tubes, all of which are fun for the entire family, and of course, hundreds if not thousands of people; especially children. There are lifeguards on deck, however, if you aren’t too keen on being around a herd of screaming children of all ages, we recommend steering clear on weekends for your sanity.
June 20-Sept 7. (Summer only), 9am–12am until Aug 24, 9am-10pm after. RMB120-150 (prices higher Fri-Sun). See a listing for Dino Beach.
Hongkou Swimming Pool (outdoor)
The huge 1,400 sqm pool can accommodate nearly 600 swimmers, but even with all that space, you might still get splashed; you will get splashed. This is a wonderful option for families, especially large families, who want to spend time having fun swimming around and splashing grandma until she gives you a stern look. Luckily for those who prefer to “really swim,” ample lanes are provided. A few slides wind their way around as well.
July 1-Aug 31, 9am-9pm. RMB35 in the daytime, RMB40 for night swimmers (both have 2-hour time limit). See a listing for Hongkou Swimming Pool.
Shanghai Sun Island Golf & Spa Resort (outdoor and indoor)
Surf’s up dude! This massive pool makes waves with its “real imported sand” beaches and twisty slides that are especially enjoyed by children. The pool is designed as a luxury watery playground for all ages and even takes on the appearance of a sandcastle. More of a luxury weekend getaway than a day trip, you can also go rock climbing, play on their 36-hole golf course, rent go-karts and ride horses.
Outdoor: Mid June-Oct, Indoor: Year-round. Weekdays: 9am–4.30pm Weekends: 9am-6pm. Weekdays: RMB80/members, RMB130/non-members, Weekends: RMB120/members, RMB200/non-members. See a listing for Shanghai Sun Island Golf & Spa Resort.
Sunny Beach Bihaijinsha (outdoor)
The largest artificial beach in China with 650,000sqm of water and 80,000m of sand, its name – which means blue sea and golden sand – is particularly apt. There are water trikes, volleyball nets and surfboards for rent, just like at a real beach. Food is also welcome, so bring the whole family and take along your picnic baskets for a pleasant day of seaside family bonding.
June 21-Sep 9, 8am-9pm. Mon-Thurs: RMB40, Fri-Sun: RMB60. Half price for kids under 1.3m. See a listing for Sunny Beach Bihaijinsha.
Oasis Riviera (outdoor and indoor)
For the Gubei bunch, it’s not as nice as its next-door Mandarin neighbor, but easier to get into. Here you’ll find a more family-friendly atmosphere, as well as less of a crowd pushing and shoving their way to the best parts of the pool. However, if you’re looking for fun in the sun, and don’t mind a little more of a crowd, you’ll find it 10 blocks south at Mandarin City.
July-Sep. 10am-8.30pm. RMB60. See a listing for Oasis Riviera.
Mandarin City (outdoor)
With a swim-up bar that serves drinks and food, and featuring a relatively large water space, this is a hot spot for pool parties. This pool is located inside the Mandarin City complex and offers fun and has an array of facilities that are open and appealing to the entire family. Come early if you want to get a chair or even a space to drape your towel – it fills up quick. During parties, occasional drink deals are offered with the entrance fee. With its wide variety of options offered for people of all ages, the Mandarin City Pool stands as a perfect destination for families that desire to escape the scorching summer sun.
June-Oct. 7.30am-9pm. RMB80, RMB50/kids. See a listing for Mandarin City.
Jinshan Urban Beach (outdoor)
None of that phony fake-sand stuff here; if you want to dive into the sea, frolic in the waves and enjoy fresh seafood, take the trip out to this Shanghai suburb. Fun for the whole family, it only takes a few stops on the metro and bus to bring all the youngsters to an authentic beach experience. You have to pay to get on the beach in the summer, but it’s free other times of the year.
June-Sep. 8am-9pm. TBD (Varies with events, typically RMB50–RMB200). See a listing for Jinshan Urban Beach.
Purple Mountain Hotel (outdoor)
This round rooftop pool sees a number of parties every summer. When the atmosphere isn’t filled with pumpin’ beats and partiers, you’ll find this a good place to catch some sun as the skyscrapers don’t block the rays. When there aren’t any jumpin’ parties taking place, this pool becomes a great place to take the whole family to take in the iconic city landscape. Yet, just in case there is a mild party happening while your family is visiting, there’s also a kiddie pool that’ll keep the rugrats busy.
June-Sep. 7am-10pm. RMB160, varies depending on pool parties. Free for hotel guests. See a listing for Purple Mountain Hotel.
Vizcaya (outdoor and indoor)
It’s pretty shallow (.8-1.5 m) but large and impressive in design and grandeur and even the kids’ side pool is something to ogle. This is the ideal location to bring the whole family to enjoy a relaxing day in a calm watery environment. The indoor pool is similarly sized and heated, so even when the temperature begins to fall, your whole family can still escape to this saucy spot.
Year-round. 8.30am-8pm. RMB200. See a listing for Vizcaya Club.
Yanlord Riverside Garden Hongqiao (outdoor and indoor)
Possibly the best facility over in Hongqiao, the outdoor pool is massive and there’s also a man-made beach. This is a members only facility, however if you are friends with a member, or are a member, then guests passes are very cheap. This remains an excellent location for the family that is fairly quiet and a foreign convenience store stocks well-priced bottles of wine, ice cream and other poolside treats, satisfying your child’s sweet tooth.
Outdoor: mid-June to mid-Sept. Indoor: Year-round. Outdoor: 9am-9pm, Indoor: 7.30am-10.30pm. Members only. Guests: RMB25, RMB15/children 1.5m and under. See a listing for Yanlord Riverside Garden Hongqiao.
Le Meridien Sheshan Shanghai (outdoor and indoor)
Dive into the divine. Located right on the edge of a nationally-protected forest, gaze onto the greenery from the edge of their infinity pool or the real sand beach. They do a great weekend buffet deal, making the lush lounging for the whole family all the more delightful.
Outdoor: June-the end of Oct. Indoor: Year-round. Outdoor: 10am-7pm, Indoor: 6:30am-10pm. Weekdays: RMB 280, half price for kids between 1.2m and 1.4m. Free for hotel guests and gym members. See a listing for Le Meridien Sheshan.
New World Shanghai Hotel (outdoor)
It’s the largest hotel pool in Puxi and, while pricier than some of the ground-level spots, is quiet and has a fantastic view. This makes it the perfect get away for families that are in search of a quiet place to take the kids and relax poolside with an incredible view. An ample number of lounge chairs and a decent-sized outdoor terrace promise a relaxing afternoon escape.
May to Oct. 6am-11pm. RMB300/person, per time or a half year membership card costs RMB3,800. See a listing for New World Shanghai Hotel.
Located in Lujiazui, this pool offers sweeping views of the Huangpu River and the Shanghai skyline. The 20-metre long, 160-sqm indoor swimming pool is located on the top floor and is kept at a constant temperature of 27°C year round; a very comfortable and desired temperature for the whole family. You and your children will love the natural light that streams through the glass ceiling overhead.
7am -11pm. Free to in-house guests; Single entry: RMB318/per person, Annual membership: RMB17,500/per person (incl. gym use) See a listing for Grand Kempinksi Hotel Shanghai.
Yanlord Garden, Lujiazui (outdoor and indoor)
On the opposite side of town you can find the twin pool of the Yanlord pair. It offers two decent-sized outdoor infinity pools plus a Jacuzzi with a small palm tree in the middle. Although it’s no beach, it has one of the greenest compounds in Shanghai, which your kids are guaranteed to love. You won’t hear us complaining!
Outdoor: June 20-Sept. Indoor: year-round. Outdoor: 9am-9pm, Indoor: 7am-10pm. Members only. RMB25/guest, RMB15/children 1.5m and under. See a listing for Yanlord Garden, Lujiazui.