Adorned with iconic oak trees, varying bird species, incredible art, and endless greenery, New Orleans City Park is an interesting vacation destination. The City Park is famous for its abundant activities, and it’s been an adventure haven for nature lovers for decades. Athletes of all levels are drawn to the park – thanks to the numerous athletic fields and the recreational sports leagues. There is something for every kind of traveler – from sculptures to entertain kids and families to beautiful forests and lakes for outdoorsy types. Here is why exploring New Orleans City Park is worth it.
The History Of New Orleans City Park
Before everything, in the 1800s, this park was a dueling point – and battlers would duel under the oak trees to defend their honor and pride. Originally, the dueling men had two oak trees for the activity until 1949, when one of them suffered destruction caused by the hurricane. A former Louisiana Senate president, from 1822-1823, Bernard de Marigny, took part in some of the City Park’s duels. Dueling in this place was outlawed in 1890 after the private secretary and brother-in-law of the then Governor was murdered in 1805.
Hurricane Katrina claimed over 2000 trees in New Orleans City Park, but up until now, the then dueling oak still stands and has a small sign indicating that it's the one.
The New Orleans City Park was founded in 1854, making it one of the most ancient parks in the U.S. It is the country's 48th oldest park and became the “City Park” it is in 1891.
The New Orleans City Park Is Adorned With Beautiful Nature
The City Park is a perfect spot to experience different plants, most of which are oak trees – and incredible animal life thrives here.
The largest collection of mature live oak trees, some of which are over 600 years old call the City Park home. On its southern edge, the city park boasts a beautifully shaded pathway, located between the City Park Avenue and a waterway filled with ducks. Across the water are incredible photo opportunities offered by the pedestrian bridges. Around here, visitors can encounter herons, ibises, ducks, pelicans, and nutria that appears occasionally.
And then there is the New Orleans Botanical Garden, which extends up to 10 acres – and hosts native and other types of plants. Visitors should check online to see the kind flowers in bloom to plan well to explore the Botanical Garden. One can explore the many sculptures by Enrique Alferez, the famous American-Mexican artist.
- Entrance Fee to The Botanical Garden: $10 for adults and $5 for children
The Couturie Forest, a stunning arboretum titled after Rene Couturie, a businessman and benefactor, is definitely worth exploring. Visitors can explore the forest on foot, and they will suffer no fees to enter this impressive attraction and a popular destination for the local birdwatchers and joggers.
New Orleans City Park Museums
Apart from the spectacular Botanical Garden, this gorgeous city park hosts two of New Orleans' most impressive museums
Notable from the City Park’s main entrance, the New Orleans Museum of Art houses a collection of French, American, Asian, and African Art. The museum even includes some of the artwork of Edgar Degas, a French artist who stayed in New Orleans at some point. On this museum's grounds, is held occasional events and special exhibits that are entertaining, and travelers should experience some of them.
Mounted just outside the museum is Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which has recently undergone expansion.
- Admission Fee: $15 for adults, $8 for college students, $10 for the elderly, and kids aged 19 or younger
The second museum in the City Park is the picturesque Louisiana Children’s Museum. The museum was relocated to New Orleans City Park in 2019 after spending many years downtown. The museum is a perfect outdoor destination for children – thanks to the numerous exhibits it hosts. Here, kids can learn a lot about art, science, and the surrounding.
- Admission Cost: $14 per person
Enjoy Various Sports At The City Park
The City Park is known to host various sports as many facilities are supporting interesting vacation and non-vacation activities. The man-made famous Big Lake located at the Museum of Art is a great destination to explore – and visitors can engage in kayaking, boat rides, and biking around the lake. There are various pathways through the park and a jogging path near the Festivals Grounds in the City Park – and travelers can always run through the routes or jog. Ted Gormley Stadium facilitates the running and other activities, including football. This sports venue has hosted some of the biggest musical acts in the country, making it a great place to enjoy sports when visiting and exploring New Orleans City Park.
Where To Eat At The City Park
Café du Monde in the park offers first-class food, including the New Orleans traditional pillowy, and beverages, such as milk and orange juice. The restaurant has restrooms, so travelers can't worry about that. The two museums within the park host restaurants too. The Children's Museum's Acorn Café serves delicacies, including burgers, salads, and sandwiches. Several drinks are also available here, including wine, beer, coffee, and ice pops. Families don't always have to worry about what their kids would eat at the restaurants as they offer kids' menus as well.
Whether one is an athlete, a kid, a nature lover, a historian, or an artist, there is a place for everyone at New Orleans City Park.