Cool Off At These 8 Essential New Orleans Swimming Pools
Dive into summer.
There are few places as popular in New Orleans during the summer than local pools. And it only makes sense, considering June’s official first day of the season arrives months after the average temperature has easily soared above 90 degrees.
Thankfully, New Orleanians have been navigating these steamy waters for some time now, and local officials and businesses both have created many opportunities for sun-worshipping bathers to beat the heat. While some perennial swimming favorites remain missing from this list after closing their doors to drop-ins during the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g. the Ace Hotel’s beloved rooftop pool), there are still plenty of options, from sleek adults-only gatherings to raucous family-friendly affairs. We took on the hard part by rounding up these fantastic area refreshers—now all you have to do is lather on the sunscreen and make a splash.
The rooftop pool at the Ace Hotel has been one of the coolest (pun intended) places to pass an afternoon since it opened a few years ago. Alto boasts one of the best decks around with comfy lounge chairs and a shady pergola, and you can't beat the view over Lafayette Square Park. The snacks and drinks are plentiful here, but once you're ready for a change of scenery, you're in luck—some of the city's best restaurants sit mere minutes away.
Cost: Admission runs $20 per non-hotel guest Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm (no cover from 5 pm to 10 pm daily)
Opened in 2020, the Hotel Chloe hails from the masterminds behind local establishments Barrel Proof and Sylvain, so expect a modern, comfortable vibe here. While the pool errs on the petite side, the surrounding deck offers ample sunbathing room, and the cocktails and kitchen, with chef Todd Pulsinelli at the helm, will keep you more than satisfied all day long. Go for a cucumber-y Say Less from the poolside bar and an order of pork belly lettuce wraps for ultimate afternoon bliss.
Cost: Admission runs $40 per person for a lounge chair or $80 for a table (one cocktail per person included). Book via Resy.
A New Orleans original imbued with more than 40 years of history, this eclectic pool bar underwent a major renovation in recent years. With whimsical-yet-elegant design touches, a food menu with options like crab beignets and steak au poivre, and a bar shaking up classic cocktails, the Country Club is certainly not your average concession stand. Claim a beach chair in the lush courtyard and be ready to strike up a conversation with your neighbor, who is just as likely to be an actual New Orleanian as they are a weekend visitor in the know.
Cost: Admission runs $20 for a day pass. Annual memberships are also available.
If you’re wondering how sought-after the Drifter is, consider that directly after they began offering drop-in day passes to the hotel pool, they had to expand the pool deck into the lot next door. During the pandemic, the Drifter started peddling passes for two-hour time slots instead of full-day passes, which are currently reserved for members only, so plan your day accordingly. On the up side, the frozen drink machine is still pumping out frosés, so perhaps plan your designated driver accordingly, too.
Cost: Admission runs $15 per person for a two-hour pass. Book online.
With COVID restrictions in place, many downtown hotels have stopped offering drop-in day passes for pool-thirsty locals. One major exception? NOPSI, where you can snag either a single day pass or upgrade to an entire cabana for you and your crew. The rooftop pool is also home to Above the Grid, a poolside bar offering mojitos, spicy margaritas, and snacks like pork slides and boudin balls. Both ticket options include towel service and WiFi, making it easy to work poolside (if you must). Cabanas, which include access for up to four people, also come with a bottle of Prosecco on the weekends.
Cost: Admission runs $60 per person for a day pass and $250 for cabanas. Book via ResortPass.
This large public pool is one of several operated by the New Orleans Recreation Department. Stashed away conveniently within the Stallings Gentilly Playground, kid-centric activities abound here, from practicing cannonballs in the deep end to playing a game of pick-up basketball. And if this splashy option falls outside your radius, be sure to check NORD’s website for a list of additional pools plus other helpful info like sign-ups for swimming lessons.
If you’re looking for a quiet respite amid one of the busiest neighborhoods in the city, head to the Hyatt Centric. With a bounty of lounge chairs, crisp towel service, and weekend access to the pool bar, there’s little more you need to bring along than your snazziest swimsuit—or floaties, as this French Quarter destination is one of the few hotel pools that welcome children. And if you’re in the market for a shared workspace with a view, check out the $119 Work Pass, which grants members access to the pool, fitness room, and business center plus free valet parking and a $25 meal credit.
Cost: Day passes for the pool start at $10 per person and work passes start at $119. Book via ResortPass.
OK, so it’s not exactly a pool, but hear us out: If you’ve got a bunch of active kids who love the great outdoors, there’s no better place to burn off some of that bubbly energy than at the Audubon Zoo’s Cool Zoo attraction. Start your day off by exploring the animal exhibits before cooling off at this impressive water feature where you and the rugrats can storm the splash pad, cruise down the alligator slide, or kick back along the 750-foot-long lazy river. All that plus cabana rentals for added comfort.
Cost: Admission runs $10 per person for non-members and $8 for members (plus the cost of zoo entry). Book online.
You may have to drive about 80 minutes outside of New Orleans to get here, but any heat-fatigued family can tell you that the extra effort pays off in droves. Blue Bayou Waterpark has been a longtime regional summer standard thanks to a lineup of massive, awe-inspired water slides like the Mad Moccasin and the Flyin’ Pirogue. A wave pool, lazy river, and a fully stocked section tailored to younger children round things out. Pro tip: Bring an empty Coca-Cola can and save $5 off the ticket price.
Cost: Admission runs $35.25 per person for guests standing over 48 inches, $28.75 for seniors and those under 48 inches, and free for anyone under 35 inches (parking not included). Book online or purchase in-person.