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Our LBGT Guide to Resting and Relaxing in NOLA

Country Club
Relax and enjoy a pool day with the locals at Country Club in the Bywater. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

New Orleans has a reputation as a party destination, and that’s certainly something we celebrate. However, our city is so much more than that. In fact, NOLA is the perfect destination for your next relaxing weekend. Here are some of our favorite spots:

1. Head out to the Bywater gem – the Country Club – our favorite little getaway from city life. Once you step into the Country Club pool, you’ll instantly forget you’re in a major metropolis. The courtyard is lined with beautiful plants and palm trees that obstruct the happenings on the streets and muffle the noises of the outside world. Once you start sipping that first cocktail, it’ll be hard to imagine a better place to lounge poolside. It’s always happy hour at this locals’ favorite when its raining, so it’s never a bad time to visit.

2. Our other favorite place to splish and splash is the Drifter Hotel. This place takes you back to the ‘70s with a retro vibe and a glittery disco ball above the pool. Plenty of pop-up vendors sell delicious food right by the pool, meaning you won’t have to go far to fill up. The Drifter also sponsors many events for NOAGE, an advocacy group for LGBT elders. Check out The Drifter’s website to see what events they have coming up.

Grab your paddle board and head out for sweet sailing at Lake Pontchartrain. (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

3. Head to the New Orleans Lakefront for a good time on the water. One of our favorite pastimes is to head to Lakeshore Drive, lay out a blanket and relax with a beautiful view of Lake Pontchartrain. The Lake is also home to many of the city’s sailboats which can often be seen sailing through the lake and offer breathtaking views. (Insider’s Tip: Catch the sailing races on Wednesday evenings in the Spring.) It should be noted that the Lakefront has some of the best seafood restaurants in the city, with fresh fish brought in daily. One of our top restaurant picks is Blue Crab Restaurant. For more on what to see and do at the Lakefront, check out our GoNOLA video here.

4. Make your way Uptown to Audubon Park for a beautiful 1.8 mile walking trail lined with hundred year old oak trees that cover the trail like a rainforest canopy. The trail is the perfect place for a walk, run, bike ride, or roller skates. Audubon boasts an 18 hole golf course and is flanked by Tulane University and Audubon Zoo, which makes it an oasis for all ages.

Crescent Park overlooks the Mississippi River and downtown New Orleans. (Photo: Zack Smith)

5. Grab a bike at A Bicycle Named Desire or a BlueBike and go to beautiful Crescent Park. This urban oasis is filled with a ton of beautiful flora native to Louisiana. From the park, you’ll have an incredible view of the city skyline and the Mississippi River. For the creatives, bring your sketch pad and try your hand at drawing the iconic rainbow bridge.

6. Read a book on a French Quarter balcony. This can be one of the most relaxing ways to spend a day in the city. A lot of the balconies in the Quarter are privately owned but we recommend checking out one of the many bar balconies, like Good Friends. These bars are usually not crowded during the day and settling in with a great book surrounded by the beauty of the French Quarter feels just like a European getaway.

7. Head to Mid-City, grab a paddleboard and take a tour through the bayou for a little R&R. You can rent a paddleboard from NOLA paddleboards  in Bayou St. John. If you’ve never gotten up on a paddleboard before, not to worry, you’ll get the hang of it within your first five minutes on the board. As you paddle your way up the bayou, enjoy an amazing view of City Park and some of the most interesting architecture in the city.

Grab a Parkway po-boy and head to the Bayou for a relaxing day. (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

8. One of our favorite ways to spend an afternoon in the city is to lay on the bayou (don’t worry there’s plenty of grass to sit on). Grab a po-boy from nearby Parkway Tavern. Our two favorite sandwiches there are the fried catfish and the home cooked roast beef with gravy. Insider’s Tip: If you’re visiting New Orleans in November, be sure to try their famous Thanksgiving po-boy.

9. Arguably one of the best ways to relax in the city is to have a picnic at The Fly. The Fly is a grassy knoll located between Audubon Park and the the Mississippi River, where locals can be found playing SpikeBall, hammocking and just hanging out. It’s also great spot to watch barges float down the Mississippi and catch a beautiful sunset over the city. For a perfect picnic, stop by Langenstein’s  for an awesome selection of wine, cheese and prepared foods beforehand.

The Cabildo offers $15 yoga classes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

10. Get your mat out for yoga at the Cabildo, which offers yoga classes in one of the city’s oldest buildings at 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Classes are $15 and can be booked here. Some of our other favorite studios are Swan River, FreeToBe, and Church of Yoga.

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