Visit the Best of Nola
While New Orleans has long been famous for their raucous Mardi Gras festivities, there is a whole world within its city limits that might just surprise you. New Orleans is a beautiful port town with architecture with a French-Creole flavor and also boasts of the same multilingual and cross-cultural heritage. The city is just as famous for its cuisine as it is for being known as the birthplace of jazz and there are many annual celebrations and festivals that bring tourists from all around the world. There is more to New Orleans than just the French Quarter, though, and hopefully this will help you seek out the hidden wonders New Orleans has to offer.
There are a surprising number of National Parks in or around New Orleans that offers a flavor of the city you may not find elsewhere. The National Park Services offers a walking tour of the well-known French Quarter. However, the New Orleans secret is that if you go on Saturdays and visit Jazz Park behind Dutch Alley, you will also be entertained by some awesome local musicians.
The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve has all the things many outsiders associate with New Orleans: bayous, alligators, music, and food that you simply must experience during your trip.
Another national park that may surprise you is the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park. Just as the name suggests it offers a means to truly experience the history of jazz. This park truly conveys the culture and development of the iconic music in New Orleans.
For the history buffs out there, the National World War II museum offers visitors a chance to experience the history of this war through the American perspective. It was even designated by Congress as the America’s National WWII Museum and has several artifacts on display as well as exhibits related to D-Day.
However, it isn’t all education and no fun. There is a 4-D theater with a production called Beyond All Boundaries that was actually produced by Tom Hanks. The American Sector restaurant is like stepping back in time with their tasteful mix of old and new. The Soda Shop is also another way for those looking for a dose of true, delicious nostalgia.
New Orleans has become a desirable destination for movie producers as of late. According to LouisianaEntertainnment.gov, only California and New York turn out more than Louisiana. The wildly popular American Horror Story also made New Orleans its choice for filming its third season entitled Coven. You can visit the same website above to find out what movies or shows are being filmed and where. You never know, you may luck out and get to be an extra in one of those being filmed there. How exciting would it be to go on vacation only to end up on the silver screen?
If you don’t get the chance to see a movie in production or want to go through the hassle of becoming an extra on one of the shows, there are always the Shops at Canal Place. While they provide an excellent place to shop for you and your family, it has also become a popular place to watch for celebrities. Take a day to peruse the Canal Place Shops for shopping, music, and celebrity watching.
Some consider Julia Street to be one of New Orleans’ best kept secrets. Known by many locals as “Gallery Row”, it has more than a dozen art galleries up and down both sides. With so many art galleries to choose from, it is almost guaranteed that everyone in your party will find something stunning to take home as an exceptional memento.
Julia Street isn’t known only for its variety of art galleries, it is also home to the Louisiana Children’s Museum. Boasting of over 30,000 square feet of hands-on entertainment, it was the top-rated children’s museum by the U.S. Family Travel Guide in 2004 by the Zagat Survey. The same survey also gave the Louisiana Children’s Museum the prestigious ranking of the “#1 attraction for Child Appeal.” This place will ensure that not only are mommy and daddy entertained on this vacation, but the kids are as well.
While there are plenty of well-known attractions and locations to visit during your trip to the Big Easy, there are plenty of New Orleans secrets to experience as well. Remember, these are only a small handful of the amazing places you and your family can visit while in New Orleans.
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