women only. almost.
by victoria comment



so i have a new happy place. it’s water aerobics at san francisco’s balboa park pool. how can you not smile when you look at this place? and bouncing around in a pool with noodles and underwater barbells? please — i’m in hysterics laughing almost the entire time. i’m sure the instructor kathy just loves my antics, but then she’s kind of a card, too. lots of pool jokes. this place is special — with it’s brightly colored flags and signs (and a lot of them) — don’t run, no jumping, shallow water. take a shower. they are big on rules written down, but oddly and wonderfully lax about everything in reality. the dude who runs the pool dances in the background to our sweating to the oldies (underwater) music to make us laugh. it works. it’s not even one bit fancy, it’s seven bucks per class and it’s perfect just the way it is — which i don’t think is a whole lot different than when it was built in about 1946. i love this place.












30 responses to “women only. almost.”

  1. I swam there as a kid, and in the below-street-level jewish community pool too, but their newly renovated one isn’t half as cool as this historical one. Thanks for posting your awesome close-up photos for all us diehard SF lovers, old and new. Check out the song SAN FRANCISCO on today’s release of KFOG’s LIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES also featured on FollowingBreadcrumbs.com
    Gotta love your inner hippie! Yvonne

  2. wow, where is Balboa Park Pool? Can anyone go? I am visiting my gal pal in Oakland and would love to visit the pool and do some fun noodle/swim fun. Love the photos, they make me happy.

  3. These photos are so great, such a perfect snapshot of the experience there!
    Balboa Pool is nestled in Mission Terrace – a little neighborhood with tons of charm and character like the pool and park (bungalows with front yards- a real rarity in san francisco).

  4. I gotta say you have some magic mojo going on. Isabel swims there twice a week and it never looks so cute as that when I pick her up.

  5. Leave it up to our beloved SF to take an establishment that many would have probably given up on, add the right shade of paint, plant life, and a bench to make it rad. Of course, it takes a smart eye to notice…Thanks for this retro trip, Victoria.

    -Sam from readingtheroad.com

  6. oh my, I’d be in class with you if I lived on your coast instead of mine. i’m all for fun in the pool. that place looks awesome. perfectly wonderful the way it is. and that bench……i’d be seeing if i could fit it in my gym bag. i’m sure they’d never notice…………..

  7. So fun ! I’ve been doing the same at Presidio YMCA. It’s a hoot too. The best part is how all the regulars (most over 60yo) all look out for eachother. For most it is an excuse to socialize rather than exercise but who cares. Any place that brings together a community is good in my books.

  8. I normally don’t think warm fuzzy thoughts about a public swimming pool’s locker room but your photos are simply fabulous! The place looks inviting and I love the colors and retro feel. I will have to share this info with my SF pals!

  9. First, let me say how much I love your blog and style. While I now live 25 miles south of San Francisco, reading your blog of local places is so wonderful . I get to relive the days of growing up with both sets of grandparents, living in different parts of the city. Who knew that Balboa Park Pool was so cool?! I am a native San Franciscan of a “vintage” age. My whole group of cousins and I swam for the Balboa swim team, back in the early 60’s. What a pleasure to get your current view of this happy place and the absolute retro cool of the pool. Thanks for the throwback photos of a time and place that evoked so many memories.

  10. Love seeing photos of places like this! You made an everyday place look truly beautiful. Also–adore water aerobics! Impossible not to have fun, even though it can be super challenging.

  11. Oh my gosh… this place is amazing! Every image is like candy for the eyes. Love. love. love. There should be one of these in every city, mandated by law! xo

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