Ways To Stay Cool in New Orleans This Summer
Our tips for chilling out.
Well you’ve made it to July, but summer will be sticking around for a while. Here are a few ways to get through the rest of New Orleans’ hottest season.
The Best Adult Swim Ever. The W New Orleans is like that friendly woman who lets neighbors use her pool in the summer. The hotel’s rooftop pool is open to adults age 21 and older for “Adults/Swim” on Sundays through Aug. 25. In addition to access to the pool, attendees can indulge in cocktails and snacks and listen to tunes from a DJ. Admission is free, the cocktails and food are not, but Ciroc does offer promotional tastings.
Emily Schmidt, complex marketing manager for W Hotels of New Orleans, recommends that pool-goers arrive early, as space is limited. To upgrade your pool experience, reserve a cabana. Packages start at $300, and include bottle service, WiFi, complimentary parking, a discounted room rate and more. Call the hotel to reserve a cabana.
W New Orleans WET Rooftop Pool, 333 Poydras St. (Fourth Floor), 525-9444, WNewOrleans.com/wet
New Orleans Public Library’s Summer Reading Program
Read Some Books With the Kids. You can’t blame anyone who would rather stay in the air conditioning than play outside, but encourage the kids in your life to take a break from games that need a charger and pick up an old-fashioned book for the New Orleans Public Library’s Summer Reading Program. The program started in June, but lasts until the end of July. Young kids and teens can keep a reading log of all the books they read during the program. If they read eight books or 800 pages, they win a prize. Those who finish 20 books or 2,000 pages win even more prizes. The program has a large following, as more than 5,000 kids registered for last year’s Summer Reading Program, says John Marc Sharpe, the director of marketing and communications for the NOPL.
All of the NOPL branches also have activities going on for the Summer Reading Program, such as story times and crafts for little ones, and movie nights and video game days for teenagers. Registration is free, as well as all of the events. Kids don’t have to be registered for the program to attend events.
For program registration and a schedule of events, visit NewOrleansPublicLibrary.org.
Cool Off at the Cool Zoo. For youngsters that prefer to go outside in the summer, take them to the Cool Zoo at Audubon Zoo. The “splash park” is a cross between a playground and a pool and is a favorite for kids and their parents. There are plenty of water slides, water guns and lots of fountains to play with. The Cool Zoo is recommended for toddlers to 12-year-olds and one area is specifically reserved for toddlers and little kids.
The Cool Zoo is an additional $8 for general admission after zoo admission. When planning your day, remember the Cool Zoo is closed for maintenance between 1:30 p.m. and 2:05 p.m.
One of the new features this year is heated water, which was used a few times in April and May. While the zoo most likely won’t be using the feature in the summer, keep it in mind for next spring. The Cool Zoo is also in Phase II of construction, with a lazy river and two sand beaches planned for the future.
Cool Zoo at the Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., 581-4629, AudubonInstitute.org/Cool-Zoo
Get a Hole in One at City Putt. City Park’s brand new City Putt is a good option for an outdoor activity that’s not too strenuous. The miniature golf area at City Park has 36 holes, and it’s open late-ish, making it a fun choice for date night. If you get hot or hungry, check out Parker’s Porch, a snack cart that sells hot dogs, Zapp’s Chips and cold drinks, including water, soda and beer.
City Putt is open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
City Putt, 8 Victory Drive, 483-9458, NewOrleansCityPark.com/in-the-park/City-Putt
Enjoy a frozen yogurt at Orange Leaf.
Spoil Yourself With a Frozen Treat. There are plenty of options for frozen indulgences in New Orleans and it’s one of the easiest strategies for an instant cool-off. New Orleans traditionalists know summer isn’t summer without a few trips to get snowballs. The most famous, Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, has been around for 74 years.
For another option this year, try one of the various frozen yogurt places around town where you can mix yogurt flavors and choose from healthy toppings like strawberries or sweeter options like candy. For those in Mid-City, the new Mid-City Market includes Pinkberry, a popular frozen yogurt chain.
If you prefer frozen treats that are a little stronger, devote a day to the daiquiri at the New Orleans Daiquiri Festival, which is coming up on Sat., Aug. 17. Visit NewOrleansDaiquiriFestival.com for more details.
Spend a Day on the Lakefront. Standing along Lake Pontchartrain is a great way to enjoy a breeze in the summer and the New Canal Lighthouse Museum and Education Center is an extra reason to visit the area. Originally built in 1890, the New Canal Lighthouse was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Restoration began in 2008 and the lighthouse was “re-lit” in September 2012. It is now open to the public and offers tours. Tours take about 20-30 minutes and are led by docents on the lighthouse grounds. Before or after the tour, guests are welcome to hang out around the lighthouse or enjoy the deck, says Jennifer Panitch, the development coordinator for the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.
The lighthouse is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and by appointment Mondays through Wednesdays. Tours cost $7.50 for adults, $3 for ages 6-12 and $5.50 for seniors, military and students with an ID. Members of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation get in free.
New Canal Lighthouse Museum & Education Center, 8001 Lakeshore Drive, 836-2215, SaveOurLake.org
If you get hungry by the lighthouse, there’s Landry’s Seafood. Yes, it’s a chain, but the spot has a large deck that overlooks the lake. For a local eatery, keep an eye on The Blue Crab Restaurant and Oyster Bar, which wasn’t open at press time, but a manager said they “hope to open soon.” Check out The Blue Crab on Facebook (facebook.com/bluecrabnola) for updates.
Three Al Fresco Happy Hours
While sitting on a patio may seem like a bad idea in the summer, a cold drink after work is a good excuse to take a break from the air conditioning.
Half-Off at American Sector. The good thing about American Sector’s happy hour is that it’s available seven days a week, so if you’re looking for a relaxing Sunday afternoon, this is your spot. Enjoy half-price drinks from 3 until 6 p.m. 945 Magazine St., 528-1944, NationalWW2Museum.org
Margaritas at The Velvet Cactus. The Velvet Cactus has margarita specials all day Monday through Thursday, including 2-for-1 frozen or on-the-rocks margaritas on Wednesdays or $5 slimRITAs on Thursdays. 6300 Argonne Blvd., 301-2083, TheVelvetCactus.com
Cold Beer at The Bulldog. The Bulldog has daily beer specials, but the bar’s happy hour is also a good time to enjoy a cold brew on one of the two location’s patios. Happy hour is from 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and includes 50 cents off pints, $1 off pitchers and more. Uptown: 3236 Magazine St., 891-1516, Bulldog.DraftFreak.com; Mid-City: 5135 Canal Blvd., 488-4191,