Spring and summertime in New Orleans mean a lot of things: walks through City Park with a sno-ball in hand, weekly crawfish boils, bike rides along the river, and, most importantly, cooling off in the nearest pool. True to the city’s welcoming spirit, countless local swim spots invite diverse patrons to spend an afternoon basking in the summer enchantment while taking a dip with friends. Here are some of our favorite LGBTQ-friendly pools to visit when it’s time for a break from the heat (and an ice-cold drink).
Located in the Central Business District and just minutes from the French Quarter, this rooftop pool is open to both hotel guests and day-pass visitors. While you relax in the water or in a luxury cabana, you can enjoy poolside food and drink service from the adjacent rooftop bar, Above the Grid, open Fridays and Saturdays. Those who are staying in one of NOPSI’s rooms or suites will also enjoy two complimentary drinks as part of the hotel’s Pride: Nothing but Love program.
This swim spot is part of Drifter Hotel, but you don’t have to be a guest to sign up for a daily swim session (or to take the plunge with an annual pool membership). The pool’s midcentury stylings and laid-back attitude create an atmosphere that celebrates individuality and “subcultural nonconformity,” also evident by its top-optional policy for women swimmers. The Drifter also hosts community events including music releases and pool parties, where you can spend the day cutting loose with old and new friends alike.
Tropical decor, specialty cocktails, and pop-up events make this blissful poolside hangout an ideal spot for watching the sunrise or sunset (or both, if you’re a hotel guest). Day pass reservations can be made for either afternoon or evenings slots, and happy hour runs daily from 3:30-5:30. Even better, lounge chair or table bookings include a complimentary drink, so be sure to make your reservation in advance, as The Chloe enforces a first-come, first-swim policy.
While clothing is optional at Green House Inn, relaxation is not. The lush scenery transports you to the tropics while you cool off in the saltwater pool or enjoy the breeze in old-fashioned rocking chairs and porch swings. This backyard oasis is limited to hotel guests, but there’s never a wrong time for a weekend getaway or a well-deserved staycation for locals. Green House is also pet friendly, making it a great choice for your next extended stay.
This local favorite is famous for its extravagant weekend drag brunches, but it also offers poolside indulgence every day of the week. Both day passes and annual memberships grant access to the temperature-controlled saltwater pool, abundant outdoor seating, and poolside drinking and dining. There’s also a hot tub and sauna to make sure you leave feeling refreshed and revitalized.
HH Whitney House
Sips, dips, and otherworldly spirits–you’ll find them all at this LGBTQ-owned bed and breakfast. Hosts Glen and Randy welcome guests into an exquisite, historic home that has been the subject of much paranormal speculation and investigation. The B&B’s interior is decorated with Victorian-era furniture, while its vibrant gardens are accented with goldfish ponds and fountains. Of course, Whitney House’s pool and hot tub area offers plenty of privacy and tranquil space to relax and unwind after a fun-filled day in the Quarter.
On the rooftop of the Ace Hotel is a poolside hangout with stunning panoramic views of downtown New Orleans and a rustic outdoor bar and grill. The menu features a selection of draught beers, cocktails, and delicious bites including fried boudin balls and spring artichoke hummus. Alto is open all day to hotel guests, but the public can stop in for a free-of-charge swim every evening or during weekday afternoons for a $20 cover.