While beignets and Bourbon Street are quintessential parts of the New Orleans experience, savvy travelers can discover so much more. For instance, the beautiful balconies adorning the Spanish-style buildings in the French Quarter? Some tell the tale of skilled iron workers from West Africa who integrated their indigenous ideologies into the iron work using symbols. Many visitors want to commune with spirits through tarot card readings in Jackson Square or nighttime ghost tours – but few know to visit the Séance Room at Muriel’s restaurant.
Steps away from the French Quarter, people can admire the handiwork of generations of skilled artisans at the Backstreet Cultural Museum, which houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of black-community masking and processional artifacts.
For weary travelers looking for a moment of sanctuary, a visit to the Labyrinth at Audubon Park, amidst the live oak trees draped in Spanish moss, clears the head. Originally designed as a healing journey for the citizens of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the labyrinth is free and open to the public.
When all that wandering works up an appetite, there’s no shortage of excellent restaurants to sample. Feel like royalty when you take a seat at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in the Tremé neighborhood, where acclaimed Chef Leah Chase earned her reputation as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine.” A veritable museum of artworks line the deep red walls of the dining room, which gives you plenty to admire as you wait for your piping hot plate of fried chicken or the restaurant’s signature gumbo z’herbes. New Orleans mourns the loss of Chef Leah Chase, who passed away in 2019, but the restaurant is still family-operated, with Chase’s great-granddaughter Zoe as the newest addition to the kitchen.
Lose yourself in the living history of New Orleans, a cultural crossroads with something to delight visitors of all ages, from unforgettable food to unusual architectural details, natural splendor to spiritual experiences. Here are 9 places to inspire your imagination and invigorate your next visit to New Orleans.