Though the nightlife and festivals of New Orleans thrive on the energy of crowds, you can still experience a quieter side of the Big Easy. Be willing to venture outside the city limits or even just beyond the French Quarter to discover the road-less-traveled. Here’s how.
Climb aboard this vintage paddlewheeler for a trip down the mighty Mississippi. The crowds and sounds of the French Quarter fade away as the Natchez chugs along the waterfront and you get an alternative perspective of New Orleans’ busy port. Choose between brunch, dinner, and jazz cruise options.
Mardi Gras World
Get a behind-the-scenes look at New Orleans’ most famous party at this Mardi Gras museum and workshop. Get up close to papier-mâché floats, and outrageous costumes and masks used in the annual parades without getting jostled on a sidewalk or paying peak season prices.
Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Due to its close proximity to the the French Quarter, most New Orleans visitors make a beeline for St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. But if you venture further afield to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District, you’ll see some of New Orleans’ most impressive family tombs and compete with fewer tour groups for the hallowed ground.
While many plantations conjure Louisiana's antebellum era, Whitney is the only one that’s dedicated to the experience of enslaved people. At this former sugar plantation outside New Orleans, see remaining slave cabins, the owner’s house, a church, and memorials on a tour.
The rollicking bars and souvenir shops of the French Quarter seem a world away in the Louisiana bayous, where crickets and frogs replace the sound of traffic and jazz bands. Explore the wildlife and culture of wetlands such as Honey Island or Manchac Swamp on a high-speed airboat ride or a more relaxed nature cruise. Be sure to keep an eye out for wild Louisiana ‘gators.