How To Beat the Heat on a New Orleans Vacation

Ice cream served in Petite Amelie near La Galerie Hotel

When you’re planning your New Orleans vacation, there are a number of popular attractions that you probably have on your list. Strolling the historic French Quarter and reveling on rowdy Bourbon Street are often on the top of tourists’ to-dos.  But, these outdoor activities can get you a little hot-under-the collar if you’re checking them out during the peak hours of summertime. 

If you decide to visit the Big Easy during the steamy, humid summer months, grab a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and don’t forget your sunscreen! You’re still sure to have a ball, and fortunately, NOLA offers a number of indoor sights and sounds that are just as fantastic as the city itself. 

Here are a few must-see places you can go to beat the heat while you visit New Orleans:

The New Orleans Jazz Museum

New Orleans and jazz go together like bread and butter, and what better way to learn about this significant part of NOLA’s culture than a visit to the museum that celebrates jazz to the nines? Located in the Old U.S. Mint, visitors can learn about this influential form of music through a series of thrilling exhibits and educational programming, as well as by listening to inspiring live-musical performances.

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Consistently ranked as one of the top attractions by USA Today’s 10 Best Reader Poll, the Audobon Aquarium delights its visitors with immersive displays and beautiful creatures. The aquarium recreates a vast array of exciting locations including the Caribbean, the Amazon Rainforest, and more, as you seamlessly move from one environment into the next. You’ll experience encounters with over 3,600 animals, including sharks, adorable penguins, and rare white alligators. When you’re ready to take a break, grab a bite in the food court and enjoy views of lovely Woldengurg Park and the Mississippi River. 

The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

Ready to get up-close-and-personal with some of your favorite crawling critters? When you step inside this museum, you also enter the largest insect museum in North America. Learn all about how these amazing creatures are responsible for all life on our planet, wander through interactive exhibits, see an exciting 3D show all about bugs, and if you’re brave - stop in at the Critter Cafe to sample a few gourmet bites (a la bug). You’ll also have the opportunity to be surrounded by thousands of butterflies as you walk through a serene Asian-inspired butterfly garden. The insectarium is housed in the U.S. Custom House, so be prepared to pass through security upon your entrance.  

New Orleans Riverwalk Marketplace

It’s no secret that New Orleans is full of exciting shopping experiences. You can find a huge number of boutiques, antique shops, novelty stores, and more by simply exploring the streets of the French Quarter, or taking a stroll down famous Magazine Street. However, if you want to keep your shopping spree inside while the sun beats down, you can find some incredible bargains on brand name clothing, accessories, housewares, and much more at the Outlet Collection at the Riverwalk. You’ll also find a number of great places to grab delicious cuisine and a tasty cocktail or two, as well as the Big Easy’s famous beignets at the Riverwalk’s very own Café du Monde.

Steamboat Natchez

Why not enjoy a journey down the rolling Mississippi River on an authentic steamboat? Feel the breeze whip past as you cruise alongside the breathtaking panorama of the city.  Step back in time as you marvel at the massive, 25-ton churning paddlewheel and listen to the cheerful melody of the calliope (the steampipe organ situated atop the Natchez). The steamboat features daily two-hour jazz cruises, as well as brunch options to make your trip through the muddy waters of the Mississippi extra-special. 

New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA)

Take the Canal Streetcar Line to the sprawling and impressive grounds of City Park, which consists of 1,300 acres to explore, including the stunning New Orleans Museum of Art. Growing from only 9 pieces of art when it first opened in 1911, the museum now showcases over 40,000 incredible objects as part of its permanent collection. The museum also features a gift shop and Ralph Brennan’s Café Noma, which was named one of America’s Best Museum Restaurants by Travel + Leisure. 

Don’t let the heat keep you from enjoying a memorable and amazing New Orleans vacation! Pack your bags and experience New Orleans like a local!