Louisiana is a state with vibrant cities, each with a different taste of lifestyle. Many people refer to Louisiana as the Pelican state as the states’ bird is the brown pelican. The pelican state is a southeastern U.S. state outlined from its neighbors, the Gulf of Mexico to the south, Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, and Texas to the west. The cities’ streets are a perfect destination for spectacular views, shopping, dining, cultural experiences, and jazz music.
Plantations and swamps at the outskirts of the cities will spice up your visit with plenty of information to gather. The history of the world war era is told here like it happened yesterday. To experience all the Creole and Cajun cultures and more in this state, read through this article to the end and discover some of the top attractions Louisiana boasts.
10 top-rated attractions in Louisiana
1. New Orleans French Quarter
The French Quarter is full of top attractions that most people worldwide travel to delight in. Topping our list is the oldest and most famous neighborhood in New Orleans. It is essentially a one-stop point for most visitors who flock to New Orleans every year. Established in the early 1700s, the French Quarter holds Louisiana’s culture, history, and traditions that you are curious to know about.
With the attractive buildings dating back to over 300 years, visitors can’t help but look up at the historic buildings and balconies that lengthen over to the sidewalks beneath. You can experience all the sightseeing in several streets around. One famous street is the legendary Bourbon Street, where the Mardi Gras celebrations are hosted every year. Other streets such as North Rampart Street, Decatur Street, and Royal Street are popular to explore shopping, dining, inviting jazz clubs, art galleries, and more sightseeing. The clubs, live music, and lively people make the whole experience unforgettable.
Even with preserving the old culture, much of modernization meets the eye. Hop into one of the Cajun and Creole restaurants to taste some of the famous dishes around. Then, after some sips of the best coffee in the French Quarter, be sure to catch up on some of the top attractions around. These attractions include Jackson Square, the French Market, Louis Armstrong Park, and St. Louis Cathedral.
2. Mardi Gras World
This is a crucial place to discover the traditions and history of the Mardi Gras festival. Mardi Gras is by far the biggest annual celebration in New Orleans. It is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday celebrations in which the festival kicks off during the weekend up until Tuesday. Since its first happening in 1703, Mardi Gras has become a defining celebration in New Orleans, where millions of people flock to the city to be a part of it. This colorful event entails numerous floats, balls, parades, and unbeatable street celebrations. The celebration ends with the “King of the Festival” election at the “meeting of the courts” event.
If you visit Louisiana after the festivals, the Mardi Gras World would be an ideal place to catch up with the festival’s history. The 3,000 square foot working warehouse is where you come face to face with the artists and artisans. Visitors can take a self-guided tour and discover the costumes, props, and sculptures for the Mardi Gras festival created in the warehouse. You get to see the festival floats up close as well as their creation. Lastly, it would be more than fun to take photos of this warehouse’s impressive visuals.
3. National WWII Museum
World war two is recorded in history as the most extensive and deadliest war. At the National WWII Museum, you get immersed in the tales of the American experience in the war, which brings forth the drama, sacrifices, personal stories, and strategies of America’s campaign in the fight to preserve freedom. The museum features interactive, permanent, unique, and traveling exhibits where visitors learn about and appreciate the role of world leaders and humans who came out strongly to conquer the war. The exhibits’ numerous artifacts, drawings, oral histories, and interactive displays will draw insights into everything you have discovered in books and watched in documentaries. All curious history minds will love it here.
The Arsenal of Democracy is a powerful exhibit that features many historical events before, during, and after the war. The galleries vividly depict the road to war and how the war was fought on the Home Front. The Road to Tokyo, Road to Berlin, D-Day Invasion of Normandy, and Bayou to Battlefield are other impactful exhibits that let you dig deeper into the story. Complete your tour in the USS Tang submarine experience, known to be the most successful submarine in World War II during the fifth and final war patrol on the 25th of October 1944.
4. Old State Capitol, Baton Rouge
The Old State Capitol located in Baton Rouge is a must-visit attraction. Beautiful from the outside to its interiors, the classic building features a rich taste in Gothic revival style architecture like none other. The e building itself portrays tangible information about Louisiana’s past political and administrative events. After the disastrous fire that had only the exteriors of the building left, restorations in 1991 brought the building back to life. Later in 1994, the Old State Capitol reopened its doors as a Center for Political History, Governmental history, and an educational history museum following the direction of Secretary of State at the time, W. Fox McKeithen.
The museum’s artifacts, documents, and interactive exhibits send visitors to dig deeper into Louisiana’s rich history. ‘The ghost of the castle show’ is an impactful 4-D immersive experience that features the ghost of Sarah Morgan. One civil war-era hero treasured the castle and wrote passionately about it. The 12-minute experience showcases how the people of Louisiana were incredibly determined to save the court from time to time. With the free admission to the Capitol, you for sure do not want to miss out! Everything is worth visiting, from the two massive towers at the main entrance to the displays inside.
5. Melrose Plantation
At Natchitoches Parish in north-central Louisiana, we find this National historical landmark with nearly two hundred years of history to discover. Melrose, also recognized as the Yucca plantation, is one of the most extensive Creole plantations in the United States under the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches. The plantation owns unique layers of history on six acres of land, built by free blacks.
Melrose plantation houses nine historic buildings that have kept everything intact for years. One building not to miss out on is the African house established by Louis Metoyer, an enslaved person who became a free person of color. The building features one of the most celebrated world folk artists Clementine Hunter. Visitors can view her personalized collection of work, including the famous African House Murals. Yucca House, the colonial-style Big house, Weaving Cabin, and Bindery are among other buildings that let you discover the 20th Century Melrose artists’ retreat beside the impact of the American Civil War.
Visitors are also amazed by the legacy of the creole community, its heritage, and its culture that is evident centuries later to the date. Melrose is a perfect place to visit, especially during its events and festivals, featuring local arts and crafts fairs. There’s much knowledge to walk away with from the plantation, whether on a self or guided tour.
6. Swamp Tours
Anyone who knows Louisiana better knows about the great swamps and bayous ecosystem that spread throughout the state. The lush environments are home to countless species of birds, reptiles, sea animals, and mammals that thrive in and around its calm waters. One famous encounter is the Honey island swamp tours by boat through one of the numerous tour operators. This tour brings you up close with some wild boars, alligators, birds, snakes, and other fantastic creatures in the beautiful wetlands. Visitors engage in feeding the alligators at a distance and learn more about the swamp’s history. A stop at the Cajun village would be worth knowing about their unique culture and local myths.
Swamp tours make up a more significant part of Louisiana’s yearly visits. From the calm boat rides to the exhilarating airboats, you experience the best views of the ecosystem and establish a more profound connection to the past. Other top swamp tours include Maurepas swamp, Lake Martin, Atchafalaya basin, Barataria Preserve, and Big Branch. A glimpse of these swamps would be worth your time while in the Bayou State.
7. USS Kidd and Veterans Memorial
The USS Kidd is such a fascinating place for both adults and children that it made the list of our top attractions in Louisiana. At Louisiana’s capital city, we locate this museum dedicated to freedom fighters who lost their lives fighting for America’s independence. The USS Kidd is a fletcher-class destroyer constructed by the United States Navy. The destroyer was named after Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr., who was killed in 1941 during the surprise attack by the Japanese on the American fleet moored at Pearl Harbor.
Being one of the four Fletcher-class destroyers preserved as museums and the only destroyer maintained in WWII configuration makes it a unique highlight for thousands of visitors who flock in Louisiana every year. While here, visitors can climb aboard the destroyer explore the displays, artifacts, weapon replicas, ship models, and exhibitions dedicated to the world war era. You further learn about the history of life at sea during the war.
Do not miss out on the Louisiana Veterans Hall of Honor, dedicated to the Louisiana veterans who had an outstanding military career. Last but not least, visitors also enjoy the views of the Mississippi river, where the battleship is docked.
8. Vermilionville Historic Village
Louisiana is rich and diversified in culture. Vermilionville Historic village is yet another notable landmark that preserves the state’s culture. The historic village is located in Lafayette city, once named “the happiest city in America” back in time. The 23-acre home features reconstructed homes and buildings that take you back to the 18th and early 19th centuries vibes. The Acadian, Creole, and American Native cultures are well preserved and evident here.
Visitors get a golden chance to walk through the Vermilionville living history museum and Folklife Park. The oaks and cypress trees bring out such beautiful scenery in the park. To add to that, the collections in the village represent the authentic lives of the Acadians, Creoles, and American Natives back in time. Artisans are dedicated to reconstructing everything back in time through demonstrated skills and crafts passed down the preceding generations.
Vermilionville does not offer a chance to get bored. It features both permanent and rotating exhibits. From narratives of the Louisiana culture to representing and recreating the past, the displays bring much of the history into the present. Another significant spot in the historic village is the Healer’s Garden. Apart from the exciting story behind the Garden’s existence, visitors can see, smell, and touch various plants used for medicinal purposes for over 250 years by Cajun, Creole, African-American, and Native American people. It would be thrilling to end your tour by taking a ride on a traditionally built boat called Cocodrie on the Bayou Vermilion River.
9. Sci-Port Discovery Memorial
Sci-Port discovery memorial is rated one of Louisiana’s best attractions for kids. The 92,000 square-foot science and entertainment center is located in Shreveport city. At this center, education meets fun with a significant focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to people of all ages. The center comprises a planetarium, a power of play children’s museum, a Space and Science center, and the only IMAX Dome Theater in Louisiana.
There is plenty of knowledge to gather in the science center through the hundreds of exhibits featured. Adults and children can engage in real-life activities and hands-on experiences on different phenomena. Further to kids’ entertainment is the new power of play museum for children up to the second grade. There are plenty of real-life activities demonstrations directed towards their imagination at an early age. Everything in the museum is meant to stretch their thinking in a fun and interactive manner and create long-lasting memories.
An experience of the IMAX Dome Theatre is not to be missed. Visitors not only watch but get immersed in award-winning and science-themed films.
10. Mike the Tiger’s Habitat
Mike the Tiger’s Habitat is the largest known, and best tiger preserves in the United States. Louisiana State University takes pride in the spot and the tiger as its official mascot. The University has had and treasured a live tiger since 1936. In 2005, a three million dollar 15,000 square feet space was built to recreate the tiger’s natural habitat. A lush environment, rocky plateaus, a waterfall, a live oak tree, and other trees encompass this beautiful space.
The backdrop of the space is appealing with an Italian-style campanile, built to visually link the habitat with the architectural style of the rest of the University. Thousands of guests who visit the space get a chance to watch Mike the tiger play around and enjoy his habitat. Aside from the educational and recreational activities, the habitat is a crucial space for research, conservation, state-of-the-art technologies, and husbandry programs. From this spectacular space, visitors can also head on to the Tiger stadium for fantastic vies and uncountable fun activities to engage in.
Louisiana is a melting pot of tradition and history. Whether on a short or long holiday, the state offers more than fun places to experience. From the Creole and Cajun cultures to the beautiful Swamps and plantations, there are plenty of attractions that are appealing to the eyes. It would be perfect to plan your trip to Louisiana during famous events such as the Mardi Gras celebrations during summer. However, with the beautiful all-year-round weather, you can plan your itinerary at any period of your convenience. People of all ages should for sure consider this fabulous state for their vacation.