Louisiana’s top tourist attractions are in and around New Orleans, the center of Creole culture and full of things to do. This exciting city is best known for its annual Mardis Gras celebrations and excellent entertainment. Another great city to sightsee is the state capital, Baton Rouge, where you can take a tour of the old Capitol building , which is rumored to be haunted. Tourists also come to Louisiana to see the historic antebellum plantations found throughout the state, as well as the many museums that explore this Southern state’s complex and sometimes painful past.
1 French Quarter van New Orleans
The French Quarter is New Orleans‘ oldest and most famous neighborhood. The beautiful buildings date back as many as 300 years, many with wrought-iron balconies that extend over the tourist-filled sidewalks below. Visitors flock to the French Quarter for sightseeing, shopping, dining and entertainment, and the area is busy during the annual Mardis Gras celebrations. The most famous area is Bourbon Street , which is alive all year round with many tourists and live music. North Rampart Street is less busy but has many historic buildings and good restaurants. Decatur Street is a popular meeting place for hipsters. Jazz clubs line pedestrianized Royal Street, which is also known for its antique shops and art galleries. Louis Armstrong Park is another popular tourist attraction, home to historic Congo Square , where the African-American community once socialized before gaining freedom. The park covers 31 hectares and includes paths, fountains and a huge statue of jazz legend Louis Armstrong.
Accommodation: Where to Stay near the French Quarter
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2 National WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum in New Orleans gives visitors an in-depth look at every aspect of the conflict, from the ground war in Europe to the challenges of combat at sea and in the air. One of the most impressive exhibits is ‘Road to Berlin’, where visitors have the opportunity to be immersed in the past as they see completely redesigned combat zones complete with the sights and sounds. Other exhibits include an exploration of the obstacles overcome by the Seabees and Merchant Marines in supporting the troops, a look at how vital support from the home front was to the effort, and details about the D-Day invasion of Normandy . The museum’s displays use a variety of media and interactive technology that bring history to life. Exhibits are also full of personal stories and photographs, as well as a large collection of artifacts, including soldiers’ personal items and even a P-40 Warhawk with sharks.
Adres: 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana
Official site: www.nationalww2museum.org
3 Mardi Gras
The biggest event on Louisiana’s annual calendar is the Mardi Gras celebration that takes place in New Orleans. This colorful event is a huge undertaking with a parade, balls and street celebrations like no other. Mardis Gras is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, but celebrations begin the weekend leading up to Tuesday. The event draws huge crowds who come to take part in the celebrations and watch more than 1,000 floats go by on dozens of track routes. To see the floats up close, tourists can visit Mardis Gras World , where you can watch artists and craftsmen build them. Nearly half of the party’s floats, costumes and props are made in this workshop. For more information about this famous fiesta, stop by theMardis Gras Museum , one of the top attractions in Lake Charles, in the southwestern part of the state.
Official site: www.mardigrasneworleans.com
Accommodation: Where to Stay in New Orleans: Best Areas and Hotels
4 Melrose Plantation
The Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches was first known as Yucca Plantation when it belonged to Marie Thérèse and Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer, freed slaves. Yucca House, found on the property, was built in the 1790s. The Big House is a Creole country house in the West Indies with early Greek Revival details. At the turn of the century, Melrose became the home of John Hampton Henry and his wife Camie, a patron of the arts. Mrs. Henry enlarged the garden and preserved the buildings. Many writers and artists have been guests of Melrose over the years.
Address: 3533 Hwy 119, Melrose, Louisiana
Official site: www.melroseplantation.org
5 Old State Capitol
The old Gothic-style State Capitol makes a dramatic impression on passersby and is equally impressive on the inside. Two enormous towers flank the main entrance, and the roof is crenellated. The building, which resembles an old castle, sits on a hill overlooking the Mississippi River in downtown Baton Rouge. This historic landmark building now houses a museum of political history, with artifacts, documents and interactive exhibits about the state’s long history. Visitors can also learn about the history and significance of the building in the ‘Ghost of the Castle’ presentation, a 4-D experience hosted by the apparition of Sarah Morgan.
Adres: 100 North Blvd, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Official site: www.louisianaoldstatecapitol.org
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Baton Rouge
6 Laura Plantation
The Laura Plantation in Vacherie has been open to the public since 1994, allowing visitors to admire the 1805 building and property that was a sugar plantation for 180 years. The house contains original period furnishings and exhibits highlighting Laura Locoul’s memoirs. The most notable feature of the plantation, however, is the large exhibit dedicated to the lives and personal stories of those who were slaves on the farm. The exhibition explores the complex relationships between the owners and the slaves, as well as various aspects of daily life, shaping the health of religion. Collections include rare photographs and documents that shed light on all the forgotten African Americans who lived and worked on this Creole farm, as well as other slaves in the state.
Address: 2247 Hwy 18, Vacherie, Louisiana
Official site: www.lauraplantation.com
Vermilionville, in Lafayette, showcases the traditions and heritage of the Acadian settlers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. At this living history museum, costumed artisans and historians demonstrate skills and folk crafts that have been preserved and passed down from previous generations. Artisans can be found on the 23-acre site, which is home to restored original Acadian homes and authentic buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. The property also features exhibits displayed on a rotating basis that explore the lives of Louisiana’s indigenous peoples, the struggle to preserve Acadian culture and language, and a look at black history from early slavery to the civil rights movement.
Adres: 300 Fisher Road, Lafayette, Louisiana
Official site: www.vermilionville.org
8 Sci-Port Discovery Center
Sci-Port Discovery Center is a science and entertainment center with science, math and space exhibits; an IMAX Dome Theater; and the laser SPACE DOME Planetarium. Aimed primarily at youth, the Shreveport center is a popular family attraction with a strong educational component, featuring hundreds of interactive exhibits. The newest addition to the center is the Power of Play Children’s Museum, which encourages children to learn through hands-on play.
Adres: 820 Clyde Fant Parkway, Shreveport, Louisiana
Official site: www.sciport.org
9 USS Kidd a Veterans Memorial
Visitors can board a decommissioned destroyer at the USS Kidd and Veterans Memorial, located in Baton Rouge. The ship was active during World War II and has since been used in films and TV productions. Information about the ship, as well as nautical items and memorabilia, can be seen in the museum. The USS Kidd is named for Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr., who was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Adres: 305 South River Road, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Official site: www.usskidd.com
10 Rosedown Plantation and Gardens
The Rosedown Plantation is a State Historic Site known as one of the best preserved inland southern plantations. It offers a look at the lifestyle, both of plantation owners and slaves, during the mid-19th century in the South. The grounds include camellias, azaleas and rare shrubs and trees. The Rosedown Gardens were created in 1835 by the owners, Daniel and Martha Turnbull. The Turnbull family occupied the mansion for more than 120 years.
Adres: 12501 Hwy 10, St. Francisville, Louisiana
Official site: www.nps.gov/nr/travel/louisiana/ros.htm
11 St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church
St. Martin Catholic Church was founded in 1765 in St. Martinville. The current structure was built in 1836 and features an 1883 replica of the Grotto of Lourdes. In the left wing of the church is the grave of Emmeline Labiche, thought to be the heroine of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem Evangeline . There is a statue of Evangeline in the cemetery.
Adres: 133 South Main Street, St. Martinville, Louisiana
Official site: https://diolaf.org/index.cfm?load=org&org=108
12 DeQuincy Railroad Museum
The DeQuincy Railroad is located in Kansas City’s old Southern Depot, which was built in 1923. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this grand old building now houses a variety of railroad equipment and related memorabilia. Exhibits also include an impressive collection of museum-quality Model 1 steam and diesel engines made by artisans. Outside, visitors can admire the 1913 steam locomotive and a 1947 Pullman passenger bus, as well as two cabooses. This is also a great place for train enthusiasts to just relax and watch the trains from the train waiting platform or one of the several viewing areas.
Adres: 400 Lake Charles Avenue, DeQuincy, Louisiana
Official site: www.dequincyrailroadmuseum.com