One of the absolute joys of traveling is exploring new places and discovering hidden attractions. And New Orleans is a city full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. There’s always something new and exciting to explore, from unique museums to local, off-the-beaten-path bars and restaurants.
I think it’s quite fitting to end my series of blogs about New Orleans by sharing some of my favorite spots that truly awakened my sense of adventure. With this post, I hope to inspire you to venture out and discover the lesser-known but equally impressive hidden gems of New Orleans.
Are you ready? Here goes my list!
Discover New Orleans Hidden Gems
Museum of Death
Museum of what? Yes, you read that right. Death.
There is a museum dedicated to death and all things related to it in New Orleans. This hidden gem of New Orleans is located in the French Quarter neighborhood. The Museum of Death is a must-see destination for those who are fans of true crimes and interested in the darker side of human history.
Some exhibits you may see when you visit the museum include original artwork, crime scene photographs, and serial killer memorabilia. You can check their collection of newspaper articles about murders and other prominent deaths in history — it can be pretty informative, especially for crime enthusiasts.
There is a section dedicated to wars, the 9/11 attacks, embalming, and, would you believe it, even animal taxidermy! At the end of your tour, you will see a small theater where you can watch footage related to actual crimes, accident victims, and murder scenes.
As guests have said, the museum is sensational and shocking, if not disturbing. It is important to remember that some of the exhibits may be graphic. This may mean they may not be suitable for everyone. There are explicit photographs of dead bodies from car accidents.
Nonetheless, you should go if you are interested in the macabre and are not easily disturbed. The museum is not that big, and I think you can easily spend 30 to 40 minutes looking at their collections.
And if you’re particularly looking for creepy places to visit or scary things to do for Halloween, here’s a list of the best Halloween events and festivals in New Orleans at the moment!
Vacation mode: activated. Cocktails: consumed
Your vacation couldn’t get better than this. The Sazerac House in New Orleans is a museum and visitor center dedicated to the history of the Sazerac cocktail. This was a popular drink that originated in the city over 200 years ago. When you visit the Sazerac House, you will have the chance to see displays of vintage cocktail-making equipment and learn about the process of making the Sazerac cocktail.
I would say that the experience was very fun and educational. They did an excellent job of making the exhibits interactive. You can begin your tour on the third floor for a look at the cultural impact of alcohol in New Orleans. You also get a glimpse of the evolution of the Sazerac cocktail and how it became a household name.
Then on the second floor, you learn more about the production of Sazerac spirit. I was especially interested in the ingredients they used to make the famous Sazerac cocktail; the samples I tried were all delicious. And finally, on the ground floor, you can see the inner workings of the on-site distillery. Plus, the gift shop is a great bonus (although there’s no obligation to buy anything).
And did I mention it’s free?
Most people don’t know that you can tour Sazerac House for free! All you have to do is book a reservation online, choose an available date and time, and you’re set to go.
Just remember that you must be 21 or older to enjoy the complimentary product samples.
Hermann-Grima House Museum
Next on my list of hidden gems and off-the-beaten destinations in New Orleans is the Hermann-Grima House. It is a historic house museum that was built in the 1830s. Expect to see a beautiful architectural style with a blend of Spanish and French Creole influences, typical of houses built in that era.
A short visit here provides you with an opportunity to step back in time and explore the unique stories of two prominent and wealthy Creole families — the Hermann and Grima.
The house is complemented by antique furnishings and decorative art that give you a glimpse into people’s lives in the 19th century. Not to mention it also features a courtyard garden that is a perfect spot to relax and take in the sights and sounds of NOLA.
The Urban Enslavement Tour in Hermann-Grima House is particularly noteworthy, as it offers a unique perspective on the experiences of enslaved people in an urban setting.
I learned that there’s a difference between the lives and tasks of enslaved people in an urban setting compared to the plantation environment. This kind of firsthand understanding of the past can be a powerful way to gain a deeper appreciation for the historical and social context of the country and its people.
Overall, it was a truly memorable and eye-opening experience — I recommend you spend an hour here when visiting the French Quarter.
Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre
Le Petit Theatre is a historic hidden gem tucked away in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans. It is an unmissable destination for theater enthusiasts and culture seekers visiting New Orleans. This historic theater, located in the heart of the French Quarter, has been entertaining audiences since 1916 and is one of the oldest community theaters in the country.
The theater’s beautifully restored building is a testament to the city’s artistic heritage. As for what to expect, you’ll find a wide range of live performances on its stage. Le Petit Theatre features a wide range of classic and contemporary plays, musicals, and other productions. The theater provides a platform for local talents and supports the arts and stories of the New Orleans community.
Looking for an awesome places to eat while in New Orleans? Then look no further because I have the top 6 haunted restaurants in New Orleans that you have to try here.
The Haunted Old Absinthe House
Raise the bar on your vacation, or in this case, visit a legendary centuries-old bar that has been in operation since 1807.
Because it has been around for so long, rumors exist that the Old Absinthe House is quite haunted.
Famous literary figures such as Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain were said to have been regular bar patrons. A visitor who appreciates literature said that they could imagine these legends sitting on a stool beside them during one of their visits to Old Absinthe House — What do you think? Is that imagination or reality?
In any case, most people love the bar’s ambiance and history.
Fun Fact: The Old Absinthe House became a “symbol of alcoholism” during the time of Prohibition, when alcohol was banned.
You can learn more about the Prohibition era in my previous article.
If you do decide to visit the Old Absinthe House, some must-try drinks include the traditional and iconic Absinthe Frappe. This cocktail combines absinthe with simple syrup and ice water. One thing many people agree on, though, is that the drink is an acquired taste. They have an extensive list of absynthe and other spirits — so I’m sure you’ll find something to enjoy there.
Note: If drinking is not your thing, you can try exploring the historic second floor of the Old Absinthe House. Many believe that this is where Jean Lafitte and Andrew Jackson held their meeting in the War of 1812.
An interesting fact about New Orleans is that there are also many haunted hotels to stay at to make your trip even more fun and exciting. Here is my list of the top haunted hotels New Orleans has to offer.
Fascinated with the world of voodoo? I know just the place for you!
The New Orleans Voodoo Museum has been a staple and hidden gem of the city’s cultural landscape since 1972, offering a unique and immersive experience for visitors.
The museum provides a comprehensive look at the history and cultural significance of Voodoo in New Orleans. This is accomplished with exhibits featuring a wide range of artifacts, ceremonies, and rituals that are central to the practice. Visitors can take a self-guided tour through the museum and explore traditional Voodoo altars and other ritual objects used in the practice.
You’ll learn about the legendary figure of Marie Laveau, the “Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.” The museum also offers a walking tour that includes a visit to Laveau’s house, which is a great way to experience the rich and diverse culture of New Orleans.
But what if you want a more interactive experience? Worry not!
Aside from the exhibits and tours, the management offers assistance to visitors who would like to deepen their understanding and engagement with Voodoo culture. Outside of the museum, visitors can connect with experienced practitioners for psychic readings and consultations — Would you dare?
Don’t forget to also check out some of New Orleans other haunted locations like the New Orleans Pharmacy. It’s sure to be a hauntingly good time!
Vue New Orleans
Now I might have saved the best for last.
Lastly, but definitely not least of New Orleans hidden gems is the VUE rooftop bar and observatory deck. It offers a one-of-a-kind experience that combines stunning panoramic views with interactive cultural exhibits. The observatory deck is an indoor and outdoor 360-degree observatory deck located 34 floors high. Here you can witness all that the city has to offer from a unique vantage point.
But wait, the VUE experience doesn’t stop there!
The exhibits are designed to give visitors a deeper understanding of New Orleans. One of the highlights is this interactive exhibit that uses technology to transform your clothes into different costumes. You can dress up as a pirate or a belle at a ball.
Book your timed ticket in advance online, and make sure to take lots of photos as a memory. After all, it’s an experience you likely won’t forget!
Tip: Go earlier in the day to see it with as little amount of people as possible — it’s worth it!
New Orleans is a city that rewards those who take the time to explore its less-known corners. The places mentioned in this article are just a small taste of what the city has to offer.
I hope that by sharing my personal journey and favorite spots, it has inspired you to make your own discoveries. It’s time to create memorable experiences you will always keep with you. So what are you waiting for? Pack those bags, go out, and have fun!
Thank you for following me on my New Orleans journey, and I hope to see you on my next trip!