New Orleans, Louisiana is a popular tourist destination, but you can still find some secret spots and hidden gems if you look hard enough. Since New Orleans is also one of our favorite trips that we offer, we thought we’d share a few places that don’t show up on every guidebook and “must see” list. Here are some of our favorites:
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop – 941 Bourbon St.
Looking for a unique place to grab a drink in the French Quarter? Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop was built between 1722 and 1732 (and may or may not have actually been a blacksmith shop) and claims to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States. Plus it’s outside of the part of Bourbon Street where most tourists spend their time, so it’s usually much less crowded.
The Singing Oak – 1701 Wisner Blvd.
Hiding in plain sight in City Park, The Singing Oak (or Chime Tree) is a large oak tree that has been strung with a set of wind chimes that ring a pentatonic (five notes per octave) scale by Louisiana artist Jim Hart. You can sit underneath The Singing Oak and listen to the relaxing symphony while enjoying the shade on a hot sunny day.
Nicolas Cage Pyramid Tomb – 425 Basin St.
Established in 1789, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans, with many of the above-ground burial sites now crumbling. Sitting amongst the crumbling mausoleums however is a brand-new looking, nine-foot-tall stone pyramid, with the Latin phrase “Omni Ab Uno” meaning “Everything From One” etched on the front. When he dies, this tomb will become the final resting place for Nicolas Cage, which makes it a popular tourist attraction for many visitors and fans of Nic Cage.
Bacchanal Courtyard – 600 Poland Ave.
While it looks like a store from the front, just walk through the Bacchanal Wine Shop into the courtyard within and you’ll find yourself in NOLA’s backyard party. Featuring live music seven days a week (weather permitting) Bacchanal is a great place to grab a bite, enjoy a drink, and listen to some of the best original jazz in New Orleans.
Bananas Foster at Brennan’s – 417 Royal St.
Everyone knows about the beignets at Cafe Du Monde, but there’s another food item that was invented in New Orleans that gets much less publicity: Bananas Foster at Brennan’s Restaurant. Invented in 1951, this mixture of bananas, rum sauce, and vanilla ice cream is still the most popular item on Brennan’s menu, with many people stopping by just for a taste of the delicious desert.
Prytania Theatre – 5339 Prytania St.
If you’re looking for a fun way to relax for a few hours, then stop in and catch a movie at The Prytania Theatre. This single-screen neighborhood theatre has been open for more than 100 years, and a step inside will instantly transport you back in time to Old Hollywood. (But retrofitted with state of the art projection and sound systems.)
City Putt – 8 Victory Dr.
City Putt is a 36-hole mini golf complex that’s located in City Park, with two courses to choose from: The Louisiana Course highlights cultural themes and cities from around the state, while the New Orleans Course showcases streets and iconic themes from around the city.
Hansen’s Sno-Bliz – 4801 Tchoupitoulas St.
When Ernest Hansen invented the first ice shaving machine in 1939, Mary Hansen added her own flavored syrups and the snoball was born! Today you can still sample that historic treat, since Hansen’s makes its own flavors every day from Mary’s secret recipes, and creates snoballs from the original machine. The combination of fluffy ice and homemade syrups are made in layers – ice, syrup, ice, syrup, etc. – so that the final product is fully saturated, and is unlike any snow cone you’ve had before.
Ready to join us on one of our trips to New Orleans, LA? We can take you to all the secret spots and hidden gems, and make sure it’s a trip you never forget! To book your trip with WNC Travels, click here or give us a call at (828) 595-9691