While the energy of the French Quarter can keep visitors entertained around the clock, New Orleans City Park shows off a more serene side of the Crescent City.
Here are the coolest attractions and things to do in New Orleans City Park
Boating on the Bayous
Pack up some sunscreen and bring a hat, because we’re going on a little cruise. City Park is crisscrossed by waterways that allow for easy exploration. Near the park’s entrance you’ll find Wheel Fun Rentals, where you can pick up pedal boats, kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. You can even glide in style in their white swan boats. Kayak-iti-yat offers guided tours of nearby Bayou St. John and Bayou Bienvenue, and for those looking for a more luxurious ride, NOLA Gondola will take you on a 50-minute tour of City Park’s lagoons and bayous in an authentic Venetian gondola.
Touring New Orleans Botanical Gardens
New Orleans Botanical Garden is a park-within-a-park that shows visitors why New Orleans’ temperate climate keeps the city in bloom every month of the year. Two thousand plants call the Botanical Gardens home, and are arranged in a variety of themed settings that include an impeccably manicured English garden and a bamboo-forested Japanese garden.
Go for a Spin at Carousel Gardens
Families have been enjoying the rides at Carousel Gardens since it opened its doors more than a century ago. The 16 rides, including the Tilt-A-Whirl and carousel with wooden horses carved by expert craftsmen, are appropriate for visitors of all ages.
Explore the Wilds of Couturie Forest
If you’re curious to know what New Orleans might have looked like before the city was here, look no further than Couturie Forest. This 60-acre jungle is proudly shaggy and wild. In some places, the only signs that people have been there at all are the trails winding through the forest. Seek out Laborde Mountain, the highest land in New Orleans. No need for climbing gear, though — it’s only 43 feet high!
Find Inspiration at New Orleans Museum of Art
One of the picturesque buildings in town is New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). The city’s oldest fine arts institution contains an incredibly diverse collection of modern and contemporary art, priceless artifact from throughout the world and traveling exhibitions that appear nowhere else in the South. Get a taste of New Orleans nightlife via Friday Nights at NOMA, a weekly event that features music, movies and more. Visit NOMA’s website for details.
The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden
The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden is home to over 90 sculptures by renowned artists from around the world. Sitting on almost eleven acres in City Park, right next to the NOMA, this garden design creates outdoor viewing spaces within the picturesque landscape of pines, magnolias and live oaks surrounding two lagoons.
Biking the Trails and Boulevards
A circuit of narrow paved roads through City Park allow for smooth riding for cyclists. Bring your bike or rent one on-site from Wheel Fun Rentals — they offer 10 varieties of rides, including tandems, children’s bikes and choppers. For more visitors looking for high-speed adventures in Couturie Forest, mountain bikes are available as well. Learn more.
Ride on Horseback Through the Park
How many city parks have their own equestrian farm? City Park does! The 27-acre Equest Farm welcomes families for horseback riding lessons, and even lets visitors bring their own horse for boarding.
Get a Workout (and Bragging Rights) at the Disc Golf Course
Sure, you can see City Park on foot, bike, horseback or boat. But why not get some exercise by going for a round of disc golf in the oak groves? The park’s disc golf course meanders throughout the park, with some holes that are easy enough for beginners to make under par, and others that will challenge even veteran golfers.
Beignets at Café Du Monde in the Park
Warm beignets (think fluffy square donuts) piled high with powdered sugar and served with café au lait are being served up in City Park. Head to Café Du Monde’s new park location in the Park's Casino Building at 56 Dreufous Drive for these classic Louisiana beignets. Fun fact: Café Du Monde always serves its beignets in orders of three.
While You’re in the Neighborhood….
The south end of City Park is in Faubourg St. John, a New Orleans neighborhood that is rich with other attractions and dining destinations. The Pitot House, and 18th-century Creole cottage that is open to visitors for tours, is a popular destination. Shops in the neighborhood include women’s apparel boutique sopo and the Crescent City-centric apparel store NOLA Til Ya Die. Dining options include Parkway Bakery & Tavern (famous for its po-boys), French restaurant Café Degas and its Italian next door neighbor, Nonna Mia Café & Pizzeria.
Learn about off-the-beaten-path attractions in New Orleans.