Hopefully, this guide will inspire you to check out the Museum of Art and enjoy a day in City Park. If you’re looking for more New Orleans itineraries, visit this link about the French Quarter & Marigny areas.
We started our journey over to the museum with a stop first at Louis Armstrong Park. It doesn’t have a playground but it is a National Historic Landmark and quite peaceful to stroll through, even in the rain. We were even lucky enough to see a Jazz Funeral (second line) while we were there.
Inside the park, you will find the Congo Square (Place de Negres) which was the site where slaves and free blacks would traditionally gather on Sundays. This communal meeting was often filled with music, drum beating, and home-made foods being exchanged/sold. The park has sculptures celebrating music and jazz, as well as, some quaint bridges and scenic picture taking spots.
You’ll be very close to New Orleans oldest city of the dead, Saint Louis Cemetery #1, so, you may want to pre-plan to stop there also. Keep in mind, that you will need a tour guide to enter. You can purchase a tour in many different ways from a plentiful variety of tour guides available and there are also guides at the gate for $20 per person. Tours run from 9:15am to 4:00pm, although always check to confirm business hours before you go.
It’s about a 15 minute drive to the New Orleans Museum of Art.
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The museum has decorative arts and antiquities on display as well as African, Native-American, Asian, and Pre-Columbian art. Admission is $15 adults, $10 seniors, $8 university students, and FREE for those under 19 through the end of 2019.
Don’t forget about reciprocal membership benefits if you are a member of one of these groups: Western Reciprocal, Museum Alliance, and Art Museum Reciprocal Membership Network, North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM) and Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums (ROAM). Always take your membership cards with you when traveling and check to see where you can get in for free.
Louisiana residents get in free sometimes on Art & AC days, always check the social media pages to see if there are any specials as well.
We also really enjoyed the offerings at Café Noma. I wish I was there for one of the upcoming Artful Palate Summer Cookiing demonstrations, sounds wonderful!
After touring the Museum, you can head right out to the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. With over 90 sculptures, this picturesque park is enveloped in live oaks, pine trees, and lagoons. The sculpture garden is FREE.
Take a look at the map to make sure you get to see all of the scupltures.
Much more to do at City Park
Storyland – a cute fairy tale themed park with fantasy play areas. Rides start at $4.
Carousel Gardens Amusement Park – historic antique wooden carousel amongst other classic amusement rides, such as, bumper cars, a ferris wheel, and tilt-a-wheel. Starts at $18 for unlimited ride band.
City Putt – 36-hole mini golf course. $8 for adults, 18-holes. $6 children ages 4 – 12
Botanical Gardens – FREE
Boat & Bike Rentals – Kayak, Canoe, cruiser bike, tandem bikes, rates start at $12/HR.
Disc Golf – FREE
Train Garden – FREE
More to explore:
As you leave the museum and City Park, you might want to take Esplanade Ave and tour a little off the beaten path. This historic area is where the French first settled. It’s dotted with some grand historic homes of interest. But don’t take my word for it, read why it just might be the most interesting street in New Orleans.
The Pitot House
Right on the Bayou St. John lies the only Creole colonial country house that is open to the public. Built in 1799 and furnished with antiques from the early 1800’s, the home tells the tale of early settlement life. It was once part of a plantation that was subdivided and has been the home of a convent and New Orleans first mayor. Visit the home’s history page to see the historic survey drawings from the library of congress and a beautiful online gallery.
The Luling Mansion
– This grandiose home can be easily missed. One might drive down Esplanade Ave and never know this is hidden just a little off-course. But, once you find it, you can imagine the grandeur of its former life as a 22 room residence built for Florence Luling, a german immigrant and cotton merchant. It was designed by the same designer of the French Opera House, James Gallier, Jr. Within 5 years, he would sell the house to the Louisiana Jockey Club after 2 of his sons drowned in Bayou St. John. It then lived an extravagant life of decadent parties until the early 1900’s. Now, it is currently rented as 8 individual private apartments. See a watercolor rendering by the architects.
Visit Atlas Obscura to read more about the home and its tale of tragedy.
This area was home to one of the largest populations of Free People of Color (FPC) and the museum is dedicated to preserving their history and culture while telling their stories. Tours are by appointment only, bookable online, $15 adults and $12 students/groups.
Not only can you book your wedding or stay at this historic inn, but you can also tour the museum, and enjoy cocktails in the courtyard on special occasions. Built in the 1850’s, Edgar Degas lived here briefly while visiting relatives. A few interesting facts about Edgar Degas:
- He is known as a founder of French impressionism, even though he never liked the idea of being in that category.
- He started perfecting his art by copying the masters in the Louvre.
- He was born to a moderately wealthy family.
- He only sold one painting to a museum during his lifetime, a depiction of the Cotton Exchange at New Orleans.
- Both his mother and grandmother were born in New Orleans.
- During his career, he switched his focus from historical paintings to contemporary subjects.
- He had no love for outdoor/landscape paintings.
Read more about Edgar Degas and his work.
French Impressionism Art Projects for Kids: