What are the largest cities with major swimmable rivers?

Cite? I’d imagine those poor rivers have a great deal of farming run-off. This guy kayaked the San Joaquin and nothing in that article makes me want to take a dip.

Plenty of swimming on the American and Sacramento rivers in Sacramento, although the water is pretty dangerous during the spring and early summer.

I recently read a book about water usage and disposal around the world. (OK - engineers sometimes read strange stuff.) It had a section on India, wherein the author noted that for most of it course, the Ganges was so bad that its water would have to be cleaned up before it could even be put thru a sewage treatment plant here in the States.

Across from Manhattan on the NJ side of the Hudson there are warning signs about swimming when the lights on the sign are flashing due to occasional sewer discharge (they are combined sewers and when there is too much rain it is too much to treat and some flows directly in to the Hudson). But the sign assumes swimming is safe at other times, however there is really not a pleasant entry point, it is possible, but not something anyone does there that I have seen. But the signs infer that it is safe unless that discharge is happening.

This is true, but swimming is prohibited on the part of the river that actually runs through the city (Lady Bird Lake, nee Town Lake). I believe this prohibition carries over from when Town Lake was too dirty for safe swimming or fishing.

Idk, my sister lived there for many years and went canoe-ing and rafting. Maybe they were alittle out of town for that, not sure. There is something you can do to go watch the bats come out of the cave everynight. I assumed that was on the river. But I bow to your knowledge on this. I only know this second hand. I have been to San Antonio and went on the river walk, I don’t think there was any swimming, though.

Seattle has Puget Sound and Lake Washington where there is a lot of swimming/wading going on, at least in the warmer months. There are sewage spills at times, but usually safe. The biggest river in the city is the Duwamish, which isn’t all that clean, but it’s getting better. The other big spot within the city is Green Lake. It’s a relatively shallow lake with a lot of waterfowl (which leads to swimmer’s itch), but it’s not polluted by industrial activity.

Apparently, on a good day, you can hold Olympic swimming events in a river in Tokyo. Since Tokyo is the largest city in the world, it’s the best answer to the question in the OP.

That is the river, and it is in town, and while you can canoe, row, raft and SUP, swimming is not allowed.


Are there more than one river called the Colorado? ‘Cos I never had an inkling that the Grand Canyon one made it into Texas.

Depends on what basis. Based on actual city limits, it’s Chongqing, followed by Shanghai. Tokyo is 11th in that ordering. It wins in terms of urban area, but loses to Guanghzou in terms of metro area, according to Wiki’s list:

Also depends on where we draw the line for “major” river. The Yangtze is hard to argue with by any definition. It goes through both Chongqing and Shanghai, but Shanghai is at the mouth.

At least two Colorado rivers.

Basel, Switzerland.
Swimming in the Rhine is organised quite well, with lockers for clothes etc. But it’s a fast current so swimming is only down-stream and you have to walk back to get your things!

However, Basel is not a very big city…

Starting your swim in Basel, if you head for the right bank, you finish in Germany, while the left bank is in France. If you stay in the middle of the Rhine, then for a moment you would be swimming in three countries. It’s just as well that you don’t need a passport to cross those borders.

I’m surprised. I recall reading only a few years ago about how incredibly unsafe it was to swim in the Hudson at New York City, after someone had done it. It still seems generally contra-indicated:

Eww. But, after all, they are swimming there.

I swam in the Charles River in Boston many years ago, when it was still “being cleaned”, but wasn’t there yet. I was sculling near the Harvard Bridge and my oar came out of the rowlock. I attempted carefully to put it back, since it was the only thing keeping my high center of gravity out of the water, but didn’t succeed, and ended up in the Charles. I nevertheless survived.

I’ve seen people swimming in the Bosphorus, although technically it’s not a river and they were upstream enough that it only really counted as the outskirts of Istanbul. The currents are fast and treacherous and there’s a lot of boat traffic, so swimmers tended to stay close to shore.

Quick hijack: the East River in New York City is not really a river- it’s an arm of the Atlantic Ocean separating the island of Manhattan from Long Island.

When I was a kid in the Sixties, the East River was considered filthy, far too dirty for swimming, but my grandparents used to reminisce about going swimming there decades earlier.

I suppose you could swim in the Mississippi in New Orleans if you are really good but you may still die. It is huge there and big enough for large cruise ships and aircraft carriers plus the currents are very strong. Swimming is strongly frowned upon in the Mississippi proper but there are lots of bodies of water around that you can swim in if you don’t mind murky water and alligators.

I’ve waterskied on the Mississippi in St. Paul. A bit of swimming was unavoidable.

Yeah, I think I would avoid swimming in the Ganges.

(link very, very not for the squeamish.)