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. New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
We've all got a bit of morbid curiosity in us. Satisfy yours with a visit to the first licensed apothecary shop in the United States, which is now the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. On a one-hour guided tour, you can learn about the history of pharmacy while viewing artifacts such as apothecary jars, medical instruments and antiquated equipment - and oddly fascinating items such as preserved leeches and voodoo potions.

4. Voodoo Authentica of New Orleans Cultural Center and Collection
With its Afro-Caribbean heritage, mysterious swamplands and prevalence of voodoo culture, New Orleans is steeped in magic and lore. Visit this cultural center in the French Quarter, where you can shop for potion oils, voodoo dolls and spell-casting supplies, as well as get a spiritual consultation and reading.

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. On the Air at The National WWII Museum
Ever wish you could be part of a live studio audience? Take part in this lively dinner and show at the National WWII Museum, which re-creates the fun of a 1945 radio broadcast. Watch performances by a blues singer, live band, comedians and more as you dine on culinary creations provided by Chef John Besh and his restaurant, American Sector.

7. New Orleans African American Museum
Get a unique glimpse into the rich history of Afro-Caribbean culture and its impact on New Orleans. Located in the Tremé district, the country's oldest African American neighborhood, this multi-faceted museum is home to seven historic buildings, a beautiful garden, well-curated exhibits, African American art, handcrafted furniture and Mardi Gras Indian artifacts. Sign up for a group tour to explore the museum and its historic neighborhood.

8. Original New Orleans Movie Tour
Movie buffs will love this interactive adventure, which integrates the magic of cinema with notable New Orleans landmarks. Inside the tour van, you'll munch on popcorn and watch video clips on the monitors - and then visit more than 30 actual filming sites from classic films like King Creole and A Streetcar Named Desire to modern-day flicks like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Ray.

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