Do Life Well

Dive Into L.A.’s Best Pools and Poolside Experiences

Photo courtesy of Annenberg Beach House

Memorial Day marks the start of pool season in Los Angeles, yet it takes real detective work to figure out where to find a great dip if you’re not a hotel guest or don’t have a friend with a pool. Here, we’ve removed the guesswork so you can just show up in your best swimwear and shades, get a cocktail in hand ASAP, and make a splash.

Pools

best pools in los angeles
Photo courtesy of Sunset Tower Hotel

Sunset Tower Hotel
Live like a movie star by lounging by the rooftop pool at the Sunset Tower Hotel. As you gaze at the L.A. skyline from your chaise (there is a $75 fee if you are not a hotel guest), sip champagne, and enjoy poolside food like tuna tartare or a nice Cobb salad. Arrive at sunrise to claim a cabana or take a dip after a luxurious lunch at the adjoining Tower Bar for the ultimate Hollywood experience. 8358 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood

best pools in los angeles
Photo courtesy of Hollywood Roosevelt/Facebook

Tropicana Pool & Cafe
In a legendary Hollywood hotel stuffed with cool little nooks to grab a drink, the Hollywood Roosevelt’s poolside bar is the undisputed classic. The Tropicana Pool & Cafe is its own little ’60s-tinged oasis within the hotel, a prime spot for lounging under the palms to people-watch the wealthy, entertainment insider–type crowd. If you’re not lucky enough to spot a celeb or witness a movie deal go down, there’s still plenty to look at: That pattern on the bottom of the pool you’ve been eyeing as you nurse your Mai Tai is actually a multimillion-dollar David Hockney mural. Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Boulevard

best pools in los angeles
Photo courtesy of Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles/Facebook

Upstairs at Ace Hotel
Head up to Ace’s lush rooftop trifecta: an alfresco dining area featuring fireplaces and cozy two-tops; a chic indoor bar; and the hippest, chillest pool setting in town. Seating and capacity is first come, first served, so show up early and bear the morning gloom in a sweatshirt; then remove the layers when the sun takes over. Just be sure to grab yourself a drink; the creative craft cocktail menu goes far beyond the predictable poolside beverage service. 929 South Broadway

Annenberg Community Beach House
If you want to enjoy the most old-school Hollywood-glamorous activity in Santa Monica, head to the Annenberg Community Beach House. Once there, you must swim in the restored pool that hosted everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Samuel Goldwyn when it was under the ownership of William Randolph Hearst in the 1920s. Today, the mansion owned by Hearst no longer stands, but the five acres of beautiful beachfront property is open to the public for swimming, consuming art, and touring the historic Marion Davies Guest House—and there’s even lessons for kids, a place for them to romp on a splash pad, and a playground. While the grounds are open year-round, the pool is open only from Memorial Day to Labor Day. You’ll truly feel like a silent movie star as you swim laps or lounge on a chaise. 415 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica

best pools in los angeles
Photo courtesy of Skybar at Mondrian/Facebook

Skybar
This posh pool at the luxurious Mondrian Los Angeles hotel is a place to be seen and see (check out some of the best panoramic views of any bar in Los Angeles). The party happens here daily, with impressively notable DJs from the house and nu-disco realms peppered in with the bar’s own regulars. Stroll up the stairs to the bustling open-air bar, but make sure you’re ready to set down that drink and hop in the pool when the music gets hot. Skybar can be crowded and exclusive, with entry granted somewhat on a whim—consider booking a table to guarantee entry. Mondrian, 8440 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood

best pools in los angeles
Photo courtesy of Standard Downtown Los Angeles

The Rooftop at the Standard DTLA
Bask in 360 degrees of downtown Los Angeles glory at the Rooftop bar at the Standard hotel, a pool deck (and so much more) that has been a gold, ahem, standard of L.A. pool parties for years. The biggest crowds of revelers congregate around the pool, which you can use to escape the heat during the day and well into the night, but the Rooftop offers plenty of other diversions as it wraps around the entire building, from multiple bars and ping-pong tables to dance-floor DJs and those red, space-age, pod-sun-bed things that have shown up in all your friends’ Instagram feeds. Bottle service and reservations begin at a $400 food-and-beverage minimum for up to four guests, with a $75 minimum for each additional guest, pretax and service. Please note: All reservations require a 48-hour notice, and entrance at the door is at management’s discretion. 550 South Flower Street

best pools in los angeles
Photo courtesy of Hotel Figueroa/Facebook

Veranda
This lush poolside restaurant on the ground floor of the gorgeously textured, Moroccan-vintage–inspired revamp of Hotel Figueroa achieves urban oasis levels unrivaled by other downtown establishments. The Mediterranean-inflected menu offers flatbreads, branzino, crudos, and several veggie small plates (and, OK, the perfect shoestring french fries) for both sit-down dining and poolside bites, which all plays nicely with the sophisticated takes on frozen summer drinks. And yes, the pool is quietly open to the public, so don’t be shy about asking for a menu at a cabana or lounge chair. Hotel Figueroa, 939 South Figueroa Street

Glassell Pool
If you’re a no-frills type just looking for a dip, the very clean Glassell Park public pool is an excellent option. Always chill and family friendly, it’s attended by a surprisingly chic set of Eastsiders and local creative professionals who just want an easy daytime pool hang in peace. 3704 Verdugo Road

best pools in los angeles
Photo courtesy of W Hollywood

WET at W Hollywood
Look no further for your very L.A. experience than the W’s swanky rooftop pool, at the Hollywood’s heart that pulses like EDM BPMs. Daybed and cabana reservations are required for non-hotel guests for daytime lounging, and a dress code is enforced after dark, so plan accordingly. 6250 Hollywood Boulevard

The Pool Deck
The Standard West Hollywood really plays up retro Hollywood chic, with blue Astroturf lining its pool deck and an adjacent open-air cabana bar cheekily decked out with vintage rattan furniture and a palm frond motif. Pool access is reserved for hotel guests, with day passes available. Or you can hack the system by checking its calendar for special events, when the pool is much more available. 8300 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood

Poolside

best pools in los angeles
Photo courtesy of Broken Shaker at Freehand Los Angeles/Facebook

Broken Shaker
The Broken Shaker is the much-hyped poolside tiki bar for the modern age on the roof of the Freehand Hotel, decorated head to toe in wink-y kitsch. Get there early for a festive rooftop bar experience (a DTLA must, after all) with a cheeky drink, to boot. The pool is available to hotel guests only, but there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the vibe, bursting at the seams with partygoers on the weekends. Freehand Hotel, 416 West 8th Street

best pools in los angeles
Photo courtesy of the Nomad

The Nomad Rooftop Bar
This elegant New York hotel turns its attention to fulfilling flowery California dreams at its lovely rooftop bar and restaurant, offering two menus (Sunrise and Sunset), perfect for those lingering pool-adjacent (swim privileges for hotel guests only) with laid-back views of some of L.A.’s best slice of skyline. The crudité platter elevates raw vegetables to nature’s candy, and the cocktail list is delightfully unique. To put it simply, this is the classy downtown rooftop bar option. 649 South Olive Street

Events

Poolside Cinema
For an alfresco movie experience that serves up some serious bites to go with cinematic delights, head to the lush Mr. C Beverly Hills hotel on a summer Tuesday for Poolside Cinema. A ticket gets you admission to the sleek pool deck; a spot on a luxurious lounger as you enjoy a lineup of recent or classic movie hits; and a prix fixe menu featuring drinks, traditional movie snacks, and Mr. C’s fresh Italian dishes. Spots are reserved online only, so prebook your showing at this slice of Italy under the stars. Mr. C Beverly Hills, 1224 Beverwil Drive

best pools in los angeles
Photo courtesy of the Hollywood Roosevelt/Facebook

Night Swim
This is where Hollywood comes to play after sunset, with internationally renowned DJs and musicians (think: Thom Yorke, Daft Punk, Questlove) spinning tunes as revelers splash among pool toys and palm trees at the Roosevelt’s Tropicana patio. Arrive when the doors open to beat the line and secure a spot on an ottoman, or come fashionably late with the in crowd after midnight at peak party hours. The Hollywood Roosevelt, 7000 Hollywood Boulevard