New Orleans Off the Beaten Path: Beyond Bourbon Street

If it’s your first time in New Orleans of course you have to check off the must-do list of sipping hurricanes in the beautiful courtyard at Pat O’Brien’s, gobbling down beignets at Café Du Monde, wandering around Jackson Square, and scarfing down a muffuletta from Central Grocery. But New Orleans off the beaten path has so much more to offer than eating and drinking your way through the French Quarter.

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

To get the non-touristy New Orleans vibe, you have to step off the proverbial beaten path of Bourbon Street and explore a little. Beyond the infamous street, the city is flush with walkable parks, eclectic neighborhoods, artisan shops, beautiful architecture, and ornate cemeteries.

We’ve been a few times before, but this trip we decided to look deeper into the soul of the city and investigate things locals do in New Orleans.

First Time Visiting? Do Not Miss My Article Top Things to Do in New Orleans!

FOLLOW US AS WE GO BEYOND THE INFAMOUS BOURBON STREET.

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

City Park

The lovely City Park is one of the largest and oldest urban parks in the nation at 1,300 acres and over 150 years old. We found ourselves enthralled with the wild old oak trees, striking sculptures, and romantic walking paths.

It is home to many attractions including the New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden, New Orleans Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.

Off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

Disclosure: Some of the links on our site are through affiliate partnerships. We may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you purchase through our links. 

It also has every recreation activity you could want: birding, boating, tennis, golf, fishing, playgrounds, sports fields, walking, biking, and running paths. We enjoyed strolling through the Besthoff Sculpture Garden with more than 60 interesting sculptures.

Also, make sure to stop by Morning Call for a café au lait and beignets. You don’t have to be in the French Quarter to get a delicious flaky treat! It’s easy to get to City Park, just jump on the Canal Streetcar to the end of the line.

UPDATE: Morning Call closed its doors in January 2019, Café Du Monde will be opening a new location soon. In the meantime, they have a food truck set up so you can still enjoy some beignets and chicory coffee. 

Fun Things to Do in New Orleans for Couples

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

Frenchman Street

It would be a sin to visit New Orleans and NOT listen to live music. Get away from the cover bands and walk over to Frenchman Street between Esplanade Avenue and Royal Street.

In one night, we jammed to the sounds of a brass band, jazz, reggae, blues, and folk music. Make sure to stop by the Frenchman Art Market, where you can browse through local art and crafts.

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

Get Your Guide is a great company that offers discounted tours and attraction tickets. One of the creepy things to do in New Orleans is the Voodoo and Cemetery Tour which is a two hour walking tour to explore the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau’s final resting place and learn all about the City of Dead. Did you know you cannot access St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 without a guide? If you book through our site, at no additional cost to you, you’ll help us support the blog since we receive a small commission.

Other fun New Orleans tours they offer:

Audubon Park

Audubon Park is rich with history, formerly home to a sugarcane plantation, a Federal camp during the Civil War, and the World Cotton Exposition in 1884. Huge oak trees line the 1.7-mile walking path dipping their gnarly branches in the lagoon for a refreshing respite. Within the park’s borders, you’ll find the Audubon Zoo as well.

Find out what other must-see things New Orleans has to offer besides Bourbon Street.

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

We didn’t get a chance to visit, but next time we will since the zoo has made countless top zoo lists. Another highlight of the park is what the locals call the “Tree of Life”.

The massive oak tree butts up against the zoo giving climbers a bird’s-eye view of the giraffe display. You can find its location HERE on Google Maps. 

I suggest taking the St. Charles Avenue trolley to the park and walking through the Garden District on the way back to the French Quarter.

Things to Do in New Orleans French Quarter

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

Garden District

Not only are the streetcars a savior for your feet, but they are also a cheap option to see different parts of the city. The ride down St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District New Orleans will take you back in time to the Old South days with dozens of antebellum mansions and lovely Southern live oak trees.

Take a leisurely walk back from Audubon Park through the historic district. Magazine Street is a lively road lined with antique stores, coffee shops, art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques.

If you are looking to stop for a drink the Bulldog has a nice outdoor patio with over 40 beers on tap or if you are looking for a tropical cocktail head over to the funky Rum House.

Garden District, New Orleans

Take a peek over the fence at the eerie yet alluring Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. Established in 1833, it is one of the city’s oldest cemeteries.

Films such as Interview with the Vampire and Double Jeopardy were filmed here. Guided tours are the only way to get an up-close look. See above for tour tickets.

If you are a film buff and like to expand on that part of New Orleans, take a picture in front of Sandra Bullock’s home at 2627 Coliseum Street. She purchased the Swiss Germanic Chalet in 2009.

On the way, stop at the Commander’s Palace Restaurant. It has been named one of the best restaurants in all of New Orleans. The restaurant is on the high end, but if you visit for lunch they have 25-cent martinis to offset the cost.

Read Next: Romantic Restaurants in New Orleans

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

Crescent Park

The newest addition to the New Orleans parks is Crescent Park, a 1.4-mile strip along the river. The previously industrial area has been revitalized along the river providing wonderful views of the city.

With locals mainly on the path, it’s one of the non touristy things to do in New Orleans yet has some of the best views and opportunities for photos. 

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

NOLA Brewery Co.

NOLA Brewery is definitely off the beaten path in an industrial part of the city across from the Mississippi River. If you like craft beer, make this a stop on your trip.

With an indoor seating area and an outdoor patio, there’s plenty of options on where and how to sample the beer. With over 20 on tap, NOLA has a great selection of unique beers to try.

Our favorites included the Lowerline, Scary Spiced Stout, Amarillo Pineapple Mecha, and Hog Tied. NOLA Brewery offers tours every Friday from 2 – 3 PM and Saturday from 2 – 4 PM. We walked over during the day and had no issues. You may want to Uber or cab it at night though.

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

Bywater Neighborhood

Just east of the French Quarter, you’ll find the diverse Bywater neighborhood. It is an area full of contradictions: old and new, colorful, and faded. A bit on the edgy side, the neighborhood screams resurgence.

Make sure to stop by Bacchanal Wine, a local spot for live music, food, and drinks. Their outdoor patio is a fabulous place for conversation with the backdrop of local jazz – its one of the secrets of New Orleans. 

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

Mardi Gras World

New Orleans is legendary around the world for its outrageous Mardi Gras celebrations. Since the festivities only occur for a few weeks, not everyone can experience the coveted celebration.

Stop in Mardi Gras World to explore the history and ongoing creation of the glitzy and vibrant floats that are used in the parades. The enormous warehouse is a working atmosphere with staff cutting, gluing, and pasting away while tourists walk by and snap pictures. It’s an ‘only in New Orleans’ kind of place!

Read more about our experience here – Discover Mardi Gras World 

New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

Off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

Disclosure: Some of the links on our site are through affiliate partnerships. We may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you purchase through our links. 

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What is your favorite thing to do while exploring New Orleans? Tell us in the comments below!

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Get the real feel of New Orleans! Experience the secrets of its eclectic neighborhoods and cultural gems with these top things to do in NOLA. #NewOrleans #NOLAExperience New Orleans like never before by getting off the beaten path that is Bourbon Street and find the best things to do in and around the city. #NewOrleans #Louisiana #USA #BourbonStreet #NOLA
New Orleans off the beaten path means off the infamous Bourbon Street. Find out what other must-see things the city has to offer.

 

17 Responses

  1. Lara Dunning

    I haven’t been to New Orleans yet and I’m so glad you wrote this post as it includes many things I would enjoy doing. The parks look absolutely dreamy! And, I would definitely put the cemeteries on my list and a tour if they had one. Also, NOLA Brewing would be a stop we’d enjoy. The Amarillo Pineapple Mecha sounds tasty.

  2. Kemkem

    New Orleans is one place l wish l had visited while living in the States. Hopefully will rectify this on the next visit. It looks so beautiful and historic. I would love to experience the beaten path you have here. Pinning this 🙂

  3. Claire

    Those parks look gorgeous. There’s nothing better than a nice stroll around a beautiful park on a sunny day. I would also like to visit Frenchman Street. Sounds like my kinda place!

  4. Emma Raphael

    I have only been to New Orleans once, and it was a bit of a flying visit to say the least, but I would absolutely love to go back and see more. Will bookmark this post for when we next visit! 🙂

  5. Nathan

    I’m really wanting to get back to NOLA! I’ve only been once and did all the super touristy stuff but I loved it. Now that I’m more of a foodie I think I would have the most amazing trip. I would love to visit the brewery.

  6. Corinne

    Great post. I’ve always wanted to go to Mardi Gras World and see the huge floats. I love New Orleans and have only been one time. Maybe it’s time for the return tour.

  7. Emily

    Sounds like there’s loads to do here! I’ve never been but it’s one of those iconic places you hear lots about so I’d love to go one day. I think my kids would enjoy the parks and I love you photos of the street art and the house with the yellow car!

  8. Scott Bourgeois

    Try Oak street, Uptown area. Po-boy Festival, Oak Wine bar, Maple Leaf Bar, Jacques-Imo’s restaurant, Ale on Oak.

  9. Leigh

    I’ve been to NOLA a handful of times and I’ll admit, I never really got outside of the tourist area – a couple times were work trips and we didn’t have much free time. Another time was a college trip to Mardi Gras. As an adult, I was less than impressed with Bourbon street the last time. After reading this, I feel like I should go one more time and give it another shot!

    • Dang Travelers

      Love to hear that! We were the same way. I had fond memories of Bourbon Street but now in my mid-thirties wanted to experience more of the city.

  10. Viki

    Those parks look stunning! I can picture myself there with an excellent book and watching people walk by!

  11. Spa Service in India

    Thanks for this beautiful blog. The pics are awesome.

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