With dozens of museums, attractions, and sights to see, you’ll never grow bored in New Orleans. But it’s often those who travel off the beaten path that discover our hidden gems. Go behind-the-scenes of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition, explore the history of the Southern Jewish experience, or travel back in time to learn about apothecaries from centuries past. Take the road less traveled and visit these off the beaten path museums and attractions in New Orleans.
Studio BE is the brainchild of artist Brandan “B-mike” Odums. The visual art housed in this 35,000 sq. ft. warehouse depicts the stories of revolutionaries, heroes, and everyday New Orleanians. Visit Studio BE to see their latest exhibit, “Radical Freedom Dream,” which was inspired by youth in response to the nation’s civil unrest.
Al Jackson grew up in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans and has made it his life's work to study New Orleans' musical history. Now, his life’s work is reflected in the Petit Jazz Museum, where visitors can learn about New Orleans’ musical traditions like the second line, jazz funerals, and Mardi Gras Indians.
The Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum promotes community through remembering the past, sharing stories of the present, and planning for the future. Visit to explore the neighborhood’s history, which includes its past as a colony for escaped slaves and its devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This small but mighty museum is well worth everyone’s time when exploring New Orleans.
Located on the beautiful New Orleans Lakefront, the New Canal Lighthouse sits at the edge of Lake Pontchartrain offering a sweeping view of the lake. Dating back to the 1830s, the lighthouse has since been restored to tell the story of the city’s coastal waters. Take a tour of the museum, then relax and watch the sun set on a perfect day in New Orleans.
This historical house museum is dedicated to the legacy of free people of color. Paintings, documents, and artifacts tell the story of Black history in New Orleans. Take a detailed guided tour or rent out the space for your next gathering.
Stepping into the Backstreet Cultural Museum takes you straight to the heart and soul of New Orleans. Flanked with hand-sewn Mardi Gras Indian suits of every color, the museum was the dream of the late Sylvester “Hawk” Francis. The museum chronicles the history of Black New Orleanians in life and death, from the great Mardi Gras Indian tradition to social aid & pleasure clubs to the tradition of a jazz funeral. Located in the historically Black Treme neighborhood of New Orleans, Backstreet is off the beaten path but well worth the visit.
The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is an inside look at early medicine and voodoo potions circa-1800s. This two-story French Quarter museum showcases apothecary bottles (some with their original ingredients) and puts you in the mindset of what it was like to be America’s first licensed pharmacist.
The Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience explores the many ways that Jews in the American South influenced and were influenced by the distinct cultural heritage of their new homes. Through exhibits, collections, and programs focused on the unique and remarkable history of Southern Jews, the Museum encourages new understanding and appreciation for identity, diversity, and acceptance.
One of the newest attractions that New Orleans has to offer is JAMNOLA, a permanent pop-up celebrating the music, art, and culture of the city brought to life by 20+ local artists. Exhibits include films on Mardi Gras traditions, murals representing the faces of New Orleans, a life-size interactive crawfish boil pot, a wall of rotating second line umbrellas, a touch-free sensory sound exhibit, and more. Each room provides a different unique photo opportunity, like taking a bite out of a larger-than-life po-boy mural or posing in front of digital headdresses.
Located on Tulane University’s campus, Newcomb Art Museum showcases a wide range of art in exhibits that change quarterly. One day it might be woven baskets and rugs, the next photographs of non-binary people throughout time. Visit for free five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday.
Foodies flock to the Southern Food & Beverage Museum for exhibits featuring vintage food products, a demonstration kitchen, and the culinary legacies and highlights of each of the Southern states. Browse the history of food and drink in the South or stop by for one of the many classes the museum offers to the public. Keep an eye out for pop-up food vendors, as well.
Music Box Village is an interactive music experience in the Bywater that features various “music houses,” all of which are engineered for visitors to create a symphony of sound via these larger-than-life instruments. Aside from their concerts and events, they provide open hours throughout the year to allow guests to roam the grounds and experiment with sound. Check their calendar to see their open hours.