Hidden Gems in New Orleans
New Orleans is the city that just keeps on giving. Just when you think you've discovered all that it has to offer, you stumble onto a new little treasure. Here are some of NOLA's best hidden gems, to add something extra special to your trip!
Sculpture Gardens: The incredible Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden takes up a massive eleven acres in City Park. Since its inception in 2003, the sculpture garden has grown tremendously and now houses over 90 pieces. Take a stroll along the winding footpaths, as you take in the art beneath the shade of live oaks and peaceful lagoons. If you haven’t been, then you definitely should. The garden sits adjacent to the New Orleans Museum of Art and is definitely worth the trip since so many other fun activities are also available to do while at City Park. The best part is that this is a completely free activity and should you choose, tours are also available.
Couturie Walking Trail: Also located in City park, is the Couturie Forest. With its native trees, diverse wildlife, and winding waterways, this forest is the perfect oasis for nature lovers. The Couturie Forest is the perfect place for getting away from the hustle and bustle of downtown and the CBD, without ever leaving New Orleans. This is the perfect place to get lost and have a lazy afternoon while discovering the various species of birds and fish that reside there. This forest also has some amazing hiking trails as well as a beautiful bridge, perfect for fishing, or just spotting turtles in the lagoon.
Golf: Golfing itself may not seem like a hidden gem, but it’s more so about WHERE you golf. For some, golf is a relaxing Sunday activity, meant to be enjoyed leisurely with a group of friends; for others, it is a primary source of exercise and physical activity. New Orleans has an extensive history with golf, and today it is home to a host of courses all throughout Uptown and down. You are sure to find a course for any level of player, and what makes the experience even greater is that the courses are located in stunning areas with lots of natural habitat and wetlands. Should you find yourself in the mood, head down to the golf courses at Audubon Park, TPC of Louisiana, or the Lakewood Golf Club, for a couple of rounds and even better views!
Crescent Park: Crescent Park can be found in the French Market District. It is a linear park that connects locals and visitors to the riverfront. This is absolutely a park worth stopping by or running through in the morning simply because the view as the sun rises on the Mississippi, is mesmerizing. Additionally, Crescent park is great for some really nice views of New Orleans, biking, running, and is even better for walking a dog or two, if you’ve brought them to town with you. Grab a snack, take a stroll, and watch the boats glide by on the river, as you enjoy the cool breeze drifting off the Mississippi.
Bacchanal Wine: Bacchanal Wine is where you go to live out your best European and Mediterranean traveling dreams. With over 100 wines and dishes from all over the Mediterranean, you’re bound to feel as though you have left the country, without ever having to leave the 9th ward. What started as a lazy wine shop just on the outside of New Orleans, has now become a haven for locals looking to get away and enjoy the perfect fusion of Mediterranean living New Orleans style, which Bacchanal has created. Stop by any day of the week for live jazz, delicious food, and amazing wine, but get there early because this is a first-come, first-serve kinda joint, and reservations are not welcomed.
The Country Club: Hidden away in the famed Bywater neighborhood is The Country Club. Specializing in taking traditional Creole cuisine and modernizing it, The Country Club has been serving up elegant, and exquisite food for over 40 years. Hidden behind the house, is a secret pool and poolside bar. Come take a dip, enjoy their signature cocktails, and take a step back from the crowds and noise found in the French Quarter. Additionally, the back private club features a sauna, hot tub, free wifi, and a big screen tv/projector screen. This is the perfect little spa getaway and worth a trip if you’ve been in New Orleans for a while and are looking for something new and different to try.
Second Lines: We all know that New Orleans is full of culture, life, art, and food. Experiencing the second line is a staple New Orleans experience. There are few things in the world, like spectating as the second lines jive down the streets of New Orleans being led by a brass band, and a string of people dancing with parasols and banners, wearing bright suits and sashes. When the Second Line parades begin, the streets are sure to feel like a spontaneous and energetic block party. To find out where the second lines can be spotted and when, be sure to visit WWOZ. Additionally, one of the best places to watch the Second Lines is in front of Cajun Seafood on Claiborne, where there’s a parade every Sunday!