Sept. 20, 2017
Enrique Limón

Dip In!

An insider’s guide to local water holes

June 11, 2014, 12:00 am

As swimsuit season approaches, two questions emerge: Which is the best pool for me and How can I get in without paying? If you’re ogling at our cover, you’re gonna have to wait till August when the Drury’s year-round rooftop pool opens. In the meantime, we’re highlighting some readily available ones according to their potential for recreation, exercise and the difficulty they present to would-be trespassers.

In movies, the hero can always rely on incompetent guards to leave exposed whatever they are supposed to safeguard. Unfortunately for bathing beauties on a budget, gate guards at the local pools don’t play by these rules. Luckily, some concierges at local hotels do. You see, during prime tourist season there are always people coming and going in the hotels, and no one is going to make a scene out of stopping a potential guest from accessing the pool. Hopefully.

Genoveva Chavez Community Center
(3221 W Rodeo Road, 955-4000)

This is like the Swiss Army knife of fitness centers. Are you on the fence? Not know whether you would rather go ice-skating, swim, lift weights, jog on a treadmill, jog in place, jog on an indoor track, jog on an elliptical or possibly jog in the parking lot? Then this is the pool for you! Their Olympic-size lap pool is great for any and all activities—whether you are an elementary school student, a parent of one, a real-life athlete or a wannabe one, this pool will have what you are looking for. Although this is the most expensive one at $6 per adult, it offers more features than any of its counterparts. A leisure and a therapy pool are also available and included in the price of the day pass.

Salvador Perez Swimming Pool
(601 Alta Vista St., 955-2601)

If you like the idea of getting in shape but don’t want to do it in quite as intense an environment, try the Salvador Perez 25-yard indoor pool. The atmosphere recalls the sepia-tinged ’50s and most of the equipment, not to mention the patrons, look as though they were ripped out of the same era. But don’t let that put you off, Esther Williams. The staff is welcoming and at $4 for general admission, it costs half as much as GC3 and has everything most people want in a natatorium. You know, like water. For an extra kick, check out the Aqua Zumba classes on Fridays.

Bicentennial Pool
(1121 Alto St., 955-4779)

Think of this 125-capacity stunner as the picnic pool. The pool area is by far the most pleasant of those reviewed. Because it is outdoors, the pool, open though Labor Day, lacks the eye-stinging chlorine smell that plagues most others. It is also, of course, the only pool where you can tan. There’s also a lawn surrounding the wet area and picnic tables if you want to hang out with a book or eat a packed lunch. The entrance fee of $3 for adults is well-worth access to the only public outdoor pool in Santa Fe. Fido will also be able to make a splash on Sept. 6 during BP’s annual Doggie Dip.

Fort Marcy Pool
(490 Bishops Lodge Road, 955-2500)

This is the best pool for the active young person who is more interested in having fun than training. While there is a gym, what sets this pool apart is the wide-open field just next door. Start with a vigorous game of soccer or ultimate Frisbee and then cool off in the pool or just lounge in the hot tub, baby. Renovations to the ceiling and skylights unveiled this week ensure that this gem will shine for the rest of the season and beyond. “People can expect that we won’t have to close because of leaky roofs,” Liz Roybal, Recreation Complex manager, advances. Admission: $1 for children under 10; $2 youths, $4 adults and $2 seniors.

"No one is going to make a scene out of stopping a potential guest."


Because public pools are inexpensive, not to mention well guarded, there would be little point in instructing the reader in how to sneak into them. Fortunately, anyone looking to get a little SPF-35 adrenaline rush need only consider one of many resort pools—which are often poorly guarded and fun to slip into. The following entries instruct the reader on how to sneak into the hotel pools of Santa Fe with all the stealth and precision of an intoxicated 22-year-old.


La Fonda
(100 E San Francisco St., 982-5511)

This historic hotel pool is on the first floor and the signs leading to it are crystal clear. Since the inn hosts so many stores, it’s easy to wander through the public spaces and into the area reserved for guests. Once you are near the pool, wait until someone is walking nearby to adopt a confused but polite expression and ask if they would let you into the pool area because you’ve “lost your wallet.” Blend in by talking in a Texas twang. Cost: free-ninety-nine

(309 W San Francisco St., 988-4455)

Although the Eldorado Hotel is a tad less welcoming than La Fonda, it makes up for it with a fabulous rooftop pool with a great view of downtown Santa Fe. The pool is especially alluring because of the secrecy of its location. This reporter searched high and low all over the hotel, evading suspicious security guards and haughty concierges before finally stumbling upon it on the fifth floor. Blend in by tipping $20s. Or better yet, take that cash, buy yourself a kiddie pool at Big Lots and go to town. 

For full public pool schedule, prices and special events
visit the City of Santa Fe’s website.


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