You’ve probably heard of Cafe Du Monde and Commander’s Palace, Bourbon Street and Preservation Hall, but what about the lesser-known side of New Orleans? The places locals visit that tourists rarely do. Here are some sights that may not be on your travel radar and some tips for experiencing another side of NOLA:
The Algiers Ferry -- You can take a short “cruise” on the Mississippi. Just jump on the ferry at Canal Street and head to Algiers, one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods.
Frenchmen Street -- Visitors may have Bourbon Street but locals have Frenchmen. Located on the outskirts of the Quarter, this street is home to some of the area’s best bars, restaurants and art markets. Go for the sultry late-night music and dancing but stay for the delicious Cajun grub.
Audubon Park -- This park in Uptown is a great place to enjoy the outdoors while catching a glimpse of some of the city’s most beautiful homes and prestigious colleges. Best of all, you can ride the cable car from Canal Street to get here.
The Pharmacy Museum -- Explore the gory side of 19th century medicine. Bloodletting, leeches and amputations are just some of what you’ll uncover at this museum set in a former apothecary shop.
Mardi Gras World -- Folks have been crying “throw me somethin’ Mister” for more than 100 years. Dozens of members of the local krewe societies ride on the elaborately decorated floats, tossing beads to the crowds that line the streets and perch on ladders. To learn about the history of the parades, see the magnificent floats and watch as artists transform next year’s creations, visit Mardi Gras World.
The Louisiana State Museum’s 1850 House -- Smack-dab in the middle of the French Quarter, this antebellum row house in Jackson Square is a great way to discover the Crescent City’s bizarre and troubled past. Explore the real effects of Katrina, uncover the city’s long history and shop for specialty gifts made by local artists.
City Park -- Over 150 years old and 1,300 acres, City Park is one of the largest public spaces in the country -- almost twice the size of Central Park. There is a botanical garden, a renowned sculpture garden and even a putt-putt golf course. You’ll enjoy wandering past the tranquil lagoons, relaxing at the outdoor cafes and visiting the New Orleans Museum of Art housed in the park.
Tipitina’s -- When locals go out on the town it’s often to Tipitina’s, an Uptown brothel-turned-music hall. “Tip’s” boasts some of the best tunes in this legendary music city and is a sure bet for a night of dancing and good fun.
Ogden Museum of Southern Art -- Tucked away in the Warehouse District, Ogden is the first museum in the state to be given Affiliate of Smithsonian Institute designation. Home to the largest collection of Southern art in the nation, its rooftop deck is also a great place to view the city.
One of the best ways to experience New Orleans is on a YMT Vacations escorted tour. The city is featured on two of our favorite excursions: New Orleans & Western Caribbean Cruise, a 10-day land/sea combo vacation, and the The Blues Highway Tour, which also treats you to tours of Nashville, Memphis and the Devil's Crossroads. For information, call your travel professional or YMT Vacations at 1-888-756-9072.