8 Off-the-Beaten Path Attractions

Whether you've already seen all the mainstream tourist attractions or just want to skip the crowds on Bourbon Street, New Orleans has plenty of unique - and unusual - places to sightsee. Try some of these unexpected attractions and discover an entirely different side of the Big Easy.

1. Urban Kayaking
It may seem a bit unusual to spend a day kayaking through New Orleans, but the historic Bayou St. John provides an ideal trail for seeing the sights and getting a feel for the city. Paddle through a number of neighborhoods and past the Spanish Custom House, the historic Pitot House, City Park and St. Louis Cemetery No. 3. Each tour lasts an average of four hours and gives visitors a fun way to explore, exercise and enjoy New Orleans' serene setting among waterways.

2. Besthoff Sculpture Garden
Art aficionados might flock to the New Orleans Museum of Art, but they often miss out on the nearby sculpture garden, located in scenic City Park. Spend the afternoon in this urban sanctuary, and walk among towering pines, mossy oaks and blooming magnolia trees while viewing more than 57 sculptures created by artists from across the globe. If you're planning to spend the afternoon, pack a picnic and sit on one of the grassy banks or benches near the City Park Lagoon or Cascade Garden Pool.

3. Southern Food and Beverage Museum
With exhibits chronicling the culture of food and drink in the American South, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum is the perfect way to get a taste for regional specialties. Stop in at the Museum of the American Cocktail for demonstrations, or have a seat at restaurant Purloo for Southern fare with an emphasis on local farming. 

4. Island of Salvation Botanica
With its Afro-Caribbean heritage, mysterious swamplands and prevalence of voodoo culture, New Orleans is steeped in magic and lore. Visit this voodoo shop in the Bywater neighborhood, where you can shop for potion oils and chicken feet as well as get a reading from renowned Voodoo Priestess Sallie Ann Glassman.

5. Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
If live gaming sounds exciting, don't miss the action at the Fair Grounds, located about 10 minutes from the French Quarter and downtown New Orleans. Place your bets on sleek, muscular horses, and watch with anticipation as they careen down the racetrack. If playing slots sounds more appealing, take your pick from more than 600 slot machines, as well as Wheel of Fortune games.

6. Insta-Gator Alligator Rancy & Hatchery
If you've ever wanted to get up close and personal with one of Louisiana's swamp-dwelling reptiles, Insta-Gator is your chance. With more than 2,000 gators in this conservation facility, you can view full-sized gators in crystal-clear water and even play with baby alligators in the hatchery's touch pool.

7. Celebration Distillation
For a taste of New Orleans, head over to Celebration Distillation, producer of Old New Orleans Rum, for a tour and tasting. Distilled with locally-sourced molasses, Old New Orleans Rum was founded by renowned artist James Michalopoulos, who even designs the labels on the bottles. You'll learn about the distillation process while sipping on a cocktail before heading into the Tasting Room to experience the varied flavors of the spirit. 

8. Longue Vue House and Gardens
Tucked away on the western edge of the city is New Orleans' best kept secret garden. Longue Vue boasts eight-acres of stunning gardens that include extensive plant collections of camellia, the Louisiana iris, native plants and other horticultural delights. Open year-round, Longue Vue is the perfect treasure for garden enthusiasts and casual visitors to discover.

Upcoming Events

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“Giants of Jazz: Art…

Jun 22 - Dec 17, 2017
This spring, art and music converge as The Historic New Orleans Collection… more

Art Exhibition: Show…

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Beyond the Canvas:…

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Spanning several generations, five Puerto Rico-based artists Zilia… more

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David Hansen's Garden…

Jun 22, 2017
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

David Hansen's Garden…

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Festigals 2017

Jun 22 - 24, 2017
FestiGals will return to the JW Marriott for its seventh  women's… more

Heart of the House

Jun 22, 2017 - Jan 08, 2026
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages. Heart of the House puts the spotlight on House… more

It's Only A Play

Jun 22 - 25, 2017
In an exciting partnership with the local, independent theatre company, The… more

Lilith in Loa…

Jun 22, 2017
From Laurel Canyon to the West Village, Nashville to New Orleans, the LOA Bar… more

New Orleans Museum of…

Jun 22 - Oct 8, 2017
Jim Steg (American, 1922 -2001) was the most influential printmaker to be based… more

New Orleans Museum of…

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In celebration of beloved chef, civil rights activist, and art collector Leah… more

New Orleans Museum of…

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Paintings from throughout Scully's career are presented with a selection of… more

Newcomb Art Museum -…

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Spanning several generations, five Puerto Rico-based artists Zilia… more

Southern Rep Theatre…

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West Texas, 1862. "Hero" is promised his freedom from slavery in… more

Storyville: Madams…

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Storyville: Madams and Music revives the sights and sounds of New Orleans's… more

The Historic New…

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The Historic New Orleans Collection's Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for… more

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The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s comes to life in this three-time… more

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Each week, we feature several wines from around the world along with small… more

New Orleans Museum of…

Jun 23 - Sep 3, 2017
Pride of Place: The Making of Contemporary Art in New Orleans showcases… more

“Giants of Jazz: Art…

Jun 22 - Dec 17, 2017
This spring, art and music converge as The Historic New Orleans Collection… more

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