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Life Aquatic

Take a Dip



SWIMMING IS IDEAL EXERCISE. It works out your entire body—arms, legs, shoulders, lungs—as well as providing vital cardiovascular benefits. Swimming is also low-impact and easy on your body, unlike other athletic endeavors such as running, football, or weight training. While most of the year Portland is buried under enough clouds to make the idea of swimming seem farfetched, in truth there are lots of indoor, year-round facilities—and a few outdoor ones, too, for when the sun finally comes out.


When swimming, it's most affordable to go public. Portland's parks have 13 public pools, although seven of them won't be open until summer (see list below). Pool hours vary seasonally and there are often classes or specialized swims scheduled throughout the day, so be sure to visit portlandoregon.gov/parks for a look at the schedule before dropping by. Usage fees listed are for Portland residents; discounts are available for seniors, children, and families.

Buckman Indoor Pool, 320 SE 16th, Mon-Fri 6:15 am-7 pm, Sat noon-5 pm, $4/swim, $92/season pass (also good at Columbia Park)

Columbia Indoor Pool, 7701 N Chautauqua, Mon-Thurs 6 am-1 pm & 4-8 pm, Fri 6 am-1 pm & 4-7 pm, Sat 9:45 am-5 pm, Sun noon-5 pm, $4/swim, $92/season pass (also good at Buckman Pool)

East Portland Community Center (EPCC), 740 SE 106th, Two pools (one lap, one leisure w/slide, current channel, and vortex) and heated spa, Mon-Fri 6 am-9 pm, Sat 7 am-5 pm, Sun 11 am-4:30 pm, $5.50/visit, $35.75/month (also includes EPCC's other facilities)

Matt Dishman Community Center, 77 NE Knott, L-shaped pool (w/diving board) and heated spa, Mon-Fri 5:30 am-8 pm, Sat 9:10 am-6 pm, Sun 10:30 am-6 pm, $5/visit, $32.50/month (also includes Matt Dishman Community Center's other facilities)

Mount Scott Community Center, 5530 SE 72nd, Two pools (one lap, one leisure w/slide, current channel, and vortex) and heated spa, Mon-Fri 5:30 am-8:30 pm, Sat 7 am-6:30 pm, Sun noon-5:30 pm, $5.50/visit, $35.75/month (also includes Mount Scott Community Center's other facilities)

Southwest Community Center (SWCC), 6820 SW 45th, Two pools (one lap, one leisure w/slide) and heated spa, Mon-Fri 5:15 am-9 pm, Sat 7 am-6 pm, Sun 9 am-5 pm, $6.50/visit, $43/month (also includes SWCC's other facilities)


These pools won't be open until summertime, and thus hours and rates are not currently available. But here is a list of where to go swimming when the weather warms up.

Creston Park, SE 44th & Powell

Grant Park, NE 33rd & US Grant Pl.

Montavilla Community Center, 8219 NE Glisan

Peninsula Park, 700 N Rosa Parks

Pier Park, N Seneca & St. Johns

Sellwood Park, 7951 SE 7th

Woodrow Wilson High School, 1151 SW Vermont


It costs a lot of money to join a gym. A lot. But if you're loaded and/or swimming isn't all you're interested in—which is possible, even though it's pretty much the perfect workout—here are the more reputable local gyms with swimming facilities. Gyms are often cagey about their membership prices; they will give you a free trial period and then lock you into monthly rates. Be aware that hefty "activation fees" and recurring dues are the norm.

Cascade Athletic Clubs, 9260 SE Stark, cascadeac.com, Four-lane indoor pool, coed whirlpool, steam room, sauna

24 Hour Fitness (various locations), 1210 NW Johnson, 1407 SW 4th, 4224 NE Halsey, 10052 SE Washington, 4546 SE McLoughlin, 24hourfitness.com Lap pools at each location

Hilton Athletic Club, 921 SW 6th, hiltonathleticclub.com Saline pool, spa, steam room, sauna. Memberships available for non-guests.

Northeast Community Center, 1630 NE 38th, necommunitycenter.org A YMCA-style nonprofit community center geared toward families, with pool and sauna

LA Fitness (various locations), 1400 NW Northrup, 1270 NE Weidler, 4140 SE 82nd, lafitness.com, Chain gym with lap pools

Loprinzi's Gym, 2414 SE 41st, loprinzisgym.com This beloved, affordable Portland institution has an outdoor pool. Most of the time, it's very chilly.

Multnomah Athletic Club, 1849 SW Salmon, themac.com While they have three pools in their world-class facility, they also have monumental membership fees and an exclusionary lottery system for new applicants. Good fucking luck.


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