It’s easy to find interesting things to see and do in New Orleans once you go off the beaten path. Between some of the best jazz venues in the world and fascinating museums, this gem is rife with one-of-a-kind experiences. If you’re looking for some unique New Orleans vacation ideas, delve into the city’s eclectic and rich history.
- Preservation Hall
New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, so you should go see at least one show while you’re in town. Preservation Hall has been an active presence in the city since the 1960s, and it offers a wide variety of different styles within the genres. You don’t have to book tickets in advance, so this is a great choice for some last-minute entertainment.
- Backstreet Cultural MuseumIf you’re not in town for Mardi Gras, you can still experience some of the magic. The Backstreet Cultural Museum teaches you about the various traditions that pass through the city’s streets, from the famous festival to funeral processions. See some of the colorful feathered Mardi Gras costumes in person and learn how music weaves its way into New Orleans traditions.
- New Orleans’ Historic Voodoo Museum
The blend of European and African traditions shows its face in many ways in New Orleans, from jazz music to voodoo. If you’re interested in the latter, this museum teaches you how the tradition originated and how it developed throughout the city’s history.
- Marie Laveau’s Tomb
Once you’re done at the Historic Voodoo Museum, pay homage to one of the tradition’s most famous practitioners. Marie Laveau, a 19th-century voodoo priestess, is buried in the St. Louis Cemetery, which is a stunning historic resting place for some of the city’s most colorful and influential figures.
- Jean Lafitte’s Old Absinthe HouseSit down, have a drink and take a trip through history. This bar has been up and running for over 200 years; it played a central role in the War of 1812, was almost shut down during the Prohibition Era and has served many famous faces throughout the years.
- Luling Mansion
See what remains of one of the city’s most imposing homes. Luling Mansion was once a grand stately home, and its exterior is still a wonderful example of New Orleans’ unique architecture. The building was divided into apartments in the early 20th century and most of these are uninhabited, giving the building an air of disrepair.
- Abandoned Jazzland
If you’re looking for quirky and fun New Orleans vacation ideas, grab your camera and play photographer for a day at an abandoned theme park. The park formerly known as Jazzland was a Six Flags theme park before Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. As the damage was too expensive to repair, it was left in its ruined state, serving as an unofficial monument to the natural disaster.
- Fort Macomb
Fort Macomb played a pivotal role in many of the country’s most central conflicts. It originally served as a coastal defense point in the War of 1812 and later became a Confederate base during the Civil War. It closed in the late 19th century and you can’t go inside due to extensive damage, but you can still snap some cool pictures of its exterior.
- LaLaurie Mansion
Recently catapulted back into wider notoriety thanks to shows like “American Horror Story” and the “Lore” podcast, Delphine LaLaurie enjoys a dark reputation in New Orleans. She had a reputation for cruelty, and her home is rumored to be haunted.
- Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge
This unique venue has served some famous guests over the years, including Anne Rice, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway. Take a drink at the revolving bar as you enjoy some excellent live music.