Beyond Bourbon Street

With can't-miss sites scattered throughout the Crescent City, New Orleans is no one-street wonder.
Text by Suzanna Logan

Living it up in the Big Easy is, well, easy. But you don't have to head to the city's party avenue for a good time. These hot spots make New Orleans fun, even without a drink in your hand.

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Audubon lets you travel the world without ever leaving town. Watery wonders include exhibits on Caribbean coral reefs, the Mississippi River, and the Amazon rain forest. If you're feeling adventurous, head to a touch pool to pet a baby shark. For more information, call 800/774-7394 or visit auduboninstitute.org.

The National World War II Museum
This museum honors the greatest generation, but appeals to all ages. Visitors trace America's role in the war with a self-guided tour featuring oral histories recorded by veterans, and interactive exhibits. Plus there's a replica of a Higgins boat used in the Normandy invasion―and designed in New Orleans. For more information, call 504/527-6012 or visit nationalww2museum.org.

Mardi Gras World
For authentic Fat Tuesday flavor, hop on a ferry to this Crescent City classic, where you can stand beside King Kong, Marilyn Monroe, and thousands of other colorful, larger-than-life props and sculptures used during Carnival. Inside, these working warehouses, the fantastical floats that animate New Orleans every Mardi Gras are created. For more information, call 800/362-8213 or visit mardigrasworld.com.

St. Louis Cathedral
With its unmistakable triple spires towering above the French Quarter, the cathedral is perhaps the city's most recognizable landmark. Services began here in 1727, and the building was remodeled and renovated in 1851, making it the oldest continuously operating cathedral in the country. While its ornate interiors reflect the Catholic tradition, the church also has national relevance: Legend says that Andrew Jackson laid his sword upon the altar in gratitude after his victory in the Battle of New Orleans. For more information, call 504/525-9585 or visit stlouiscathedral.org.

Southern Food & Beverage Museum
Maybe the most appetizing addition to New Orleans' museum lineup, this space captures the essence of Southern food with a collection of culinary artifacts, cookbooks, and photographs. Featuring exhibits such as "Eating in the White House," the gallery shares space with The Museum of the American Cocktail, featuring 200 years of happy hour history. Call 504/569-0405 or visit southernfood.org.