Public pools in LA are generally not much better. They are usually teeming with sweaty, screaming children and often tagged within an inch of their life. This means many people are all gooey about their gym's pools, but I have found mine at 24hour Fitness is often an over-chlorinated retirement home, that stings my eyes and smells like b.o. But I still go because I loooove the water, and I love to swim, and yes the beach is only theoretically 20 minutes away, but let me tell you traffic makes it more like 2 hours and often once you get there it is chilly and overcast.
This is why the Griffith Park Pool is so refreshing. It is one of the cheapest things you can do in LA- only $2.50 for an all day pass! It is a public pool with an adults only section, a beautiful if fading art deco bath house and an area outside perfect for picnics or buying ice cream from a vendor. However, NO SOCCER, according to many posted signs. The water is clean and the lifeguards are nice. It is perfectly located in Los Feliz right by the 5 and the children there are well behaved and happy. It feels like a dusty summer camp.
Even the many downsides are surprisingly charming and old school metropolitan rustic. The schedule is beyond confusing and handwritten on poster board. There are no chairs around the pool so you have to sit on the cement or lean against the chain link fence when you are not in the pool. The showers are kind of icky, but with the old fashioned ticket counter and the high beige walls surrounding the pool and me in my hot, pin -up girl one piece bathing suit, I kept waiting for Philip Marlow or Sam Spade to walk in and ask me about some dame's sexy disappearance.
The saddest thing about the pool is that it is seasonal. And the season ends on September 5th- so this is your last week to try it out until next June 26th when it reopens. I strongly suggest you go. There is nothing like watching children swim with their fat little bellies stuck out with abandon in this town full of sucked-in stomachs. It makes you feel like a kid again, and in this town of grown up traffic jams and soul crushing rent, that ain't such a bad thing.
Subjective coolness: A-
Directions: 3401 Riverside Drive. Heading north on Los Feliz Blvd. right before the 5 take a right on Riverside Drive and left into the parking lot (free parking!).
Hours: Only god and parks and rec know. Here is the schedule: http://www.laparks.org/dos/
Price: $2.50. $2.00 with library card (how cool is that).