The state of Louisiana is a popular travel destination year-round thanks to its perfect combination of natural beauty, charming towns, history, and more. Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana features diverse geography including the mighty Mississippi River resulting in the establishment of cities and towns with diverse histories and cultures. With such a range of both geography and history, Louisiana is home to plenty of amazing attractions and experiences for travelers to enjoy ranging from very popular to slightly less well known. Celebrating the arts, history, nature, and much more, these are the seven must-see attractions when spending time traveling in Louisiana!
One of the most well-known attractions in Louisiana is the bustling city of New Orleans located on the southern tip of the state where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico. In particular, the French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans is one of the most charming and happening locations to explore thanks to its signature wrought iron details and balconies and brightly colored buildings. The neighborhood is home to the popular Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, and St. Louis Cathedral in addition to live music, interesting shops, and much more. Strolling through the French Quarter is a must-do in Louisiana!
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Found just outside of the French Quarter is a wonderful location that visitors of all ages can enjoy together. The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is run by the Audubon Nature Institute, a not for profit organization that focuses on preservation and education. The aquarium is home to many different habitats and exhibits which showcase the diversity and beauty of the oceans. Visitors can walk through a tunnel and take in the vibrant colors and species of the Great Maya Reef, enjoy an Escape Room inspired experience in Escape Extinction Sharks, get hands-on in the Stingray Touchpool, and enjoy special presentations in the Giant Screen Theater. In addition to the special experiences, visitors to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas can also check out animals including penguins, jellyfish, sea otters, seahorses, and more.
The town of Broussard, Louisiana is home to an amazing zoo that welcomes visitors to check out some amazing species as well as learn about the importance of conservation. Zoosiana first opened in 1992 as the Zoo of Acadiana and was renamed in 2013 as it continued to expand and grow. Home to over seven hundred animals, Zoosiana features beautiful grounds to explore where visitors can check out animal habitats as well as special experiences such as the Safari Express, petting zoo, and ZooLive Animal Show. Adventurous visitors can even pay a small additional fee to purchase pellets to feed the zoo’s giraffes! Open year-round, Zoosiana is a wonderful location to visit, especially when it features special holiday events such as Boo at the Zoo and EggstravaganZoo.
New Orleans Jazz Museum
Louisiana, and New Orleans in particular, is well known for its history of jazz music and locations throughout the state celebrate the genre with live music and more. The New Orleans Jazz Museum is a wonderful location for music lovers to visit situated in the heart of the city. Housed in the Old U.S. Mint, the 3rd floor is dedicated to the Performing Arts Center where recorded and live performances are broadcast for visitors to enjoy. In addition to the 3rd floor, the New Orleans Jazz Museum features exhibits including one focused strictly on instruments and the extensive Jazz Collection highlights the careers of the individuals who helped to create and popularize the musical genre. Visitors to the museum can also check out an extensive collection of sheet music and over ten thousand recordings on vinyl.
The National World War II Museum
The city of New Orleans is also home to another wonderful museum that takes an in-depth look at the Second World War. The National World War II Museum focuses on sharing the importance of the war through looking at how it developed, how it was fought, and the events that led to victory. Featuring over a quarter of a million artifacts, the museum is home to extensive exhibits including The Arsenal of Democracy, Road to Tokyo, Road to Berlin, The D-Day Invasion of Normandy, US Merchant Marine Gallery, and Bayou to Battlefield. Visitors can also enjoy interactive elements in the museum including the Final Mission: USS Tang Submarine Experience which allows them to experience what it was actually like onboard the submarine during its final war patrol on October 25, 1944. The National World War II Museum is an absolute must-do while spending time in New Orleans.
New Orleans Museum of Art
In addition to music and history, Louisiana is also home to a rich culture of art which is celebrated in a wonderful museum. The New Orleans Museum of Art first opened in 1911 with only nine pieces of art and has exponentially grown over the years to now feature over fifty thousand works covering all different mediums and genres including French art, photography, glass, African works, and more. The museum is home to the popular Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden where visitors can check out nearly one hundred works surrounded by natural beauty. Inside the New Orleans Museum of Art, visitors can browse exhibitions including Tina Freeman: Limitations, Inventing Acadia: Painting and Place in Louisiana, Ancestors in Stone, An Ideal Unity: The Bauhaus & Beyond, Ear to the Ground: Earth and Element in Contemporary Art, and Bodies of Knowledge.
Louisiana Children’s Museum
Families traveling in New Orleans can also check out a wonderful museum aimed specifically for little ones to enjoy. The Louisiana Children’s Museum aims to create a safe and inviting space for children to be able to explore which they believe can positively impact the trajectory of a child’s life. The museum offers up a wide variety of experiences that allow visitors to choose whether they would like a more hands-on or removed exploration of the space. Visitors of all ages can check out wonderful experiences including Dig Into Nature, Move with the River, Make Your Mark, Follow That Food, and Play with Me. The Louisiana Children’s Museum is a wonderful experience for the whole family to enjoy while in New Orleans!