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 sounds of an unlikely music venue 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.
Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 zoos in the country, the Audubon Zoo is known and loved for its engaging educational programs and hands-on animal encounters. Don't miss the Louisiana Swamp and Jaguar Jungle exhibits or their mysterious white alligators! And you can beat the heat during summer at their Cool Zoo, which features a 750-foot lazy river with sand beaches, lounge chairs, water cannons, water curtains and jumping jets.
Like its sister facility, the Audubon Zoo, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is also consistently ranked as one of the best in the country, and we're not surprised. Its immersive, awe-inspiring exhibits transport visitors to the underwater worlds of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the tropical environs of the Amazon Rainforest. Home to more than 250 species and 3600 animals, including endangered ones like African penguins, the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans delivers a one-of-a-kind experience that you won't find anywhere else.
The top attraction in New Orleans and a bucket-list destination for fans and students of history around the world, the National WWII Museum takes visitors on a powerful, inspiring journey through the eyes of the men and women who fought for freedom and democracy in the war that changed the world. Immersive galleries and exhibits, interactive experiences, oral histories and more bring the American experience during World War II to life in ways that will stay with you long after your visit is over. This is not a place to rush through - you'll want at least a half-day to explore this world-class museum.
Located on the beautiful New Orleans Lakefront, the New Canal Lighthouse sits at the edge of Lake Pontchartrain offering a sweeping view of the Northshore. 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.
Situated next door to the Broad Theater, the Broadside is a new outdoor film experience in New Orleans. And that’s not all – this open-air venue will be home to music, Muppets, magic and more. The 100-seat theater features chairs socially distanced and a fully stocked bar, with hot dogs and popcorn. Check the calendar for the latest on what’s playing.
One of the latest attractions to hit the streets of New Orleans is Stumpy’s, a hatchet-throwing venue in the Central Business District of downtown. Try your hand at 10 axe-throwing pits and experience why the hatchet-throwing craze has taken off across the nation.
As New Orleans' oldest fine arts institution and one of the top art museums in the South, the New Orleans Museum of Art, or NOMA, hosts an impressive permanent collection of more than 40,000 objects. Known for its extraordinary strengths in French and American art, photography, glass, African and Japanese works plus rotating exhibits, NOMA offers a little something for everyone and anyone seeking inspiration and enjoyment through art and culture.
Taking a stroll through the Besthoff Sculpture Garden's 11 acres of breathtaking, awe-inspiring installations can make you feel like you're in a different world. You'll find nearly 100 different works of art, each one unique and thoughtfully placed within a mature existing landscape of pines, magnolias and live oaks draped in spanish moss surrounding two lagoons, adjacent to the New Orleans Museum of Art.
At 1,300 acres, New Orleans City Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. It's also home to the largest grove of mature live oaks in the world, some of which are nearly 800 years old. Many of the city's most beloved attractions and outdoor spaces can be found here, including the New Orleans Botanical Garden, Couturie Forest and Arboretum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, Carousel Gardens, City Putt, and bike and peddle boat rentals at Big Lake.
It's no secret that this is one of New Orleans' top destinations, with 16 million visits each year, but depending on where and when you visit, the park's immense size can often make you feel like you're the only one there.