udging by the temperatures here in NOLA these days, it is definitely
summertime in the Big Easy! While it may be hot in New Orleans, there are plenty of ways to stay entertained, cool, and busy. I solicited the help of some of our current students and curated today's blog... in honor of summer, I bring you:
12 Awesome Things to do in NOLA this Summer!
Succulents! Cacti! Here I am just takin' it all in.New Orleans Botanical Garden
: I spent last weekend here biking around City Park, a quintessential NOLA summer activity. If you want to do the same (you should), be sure to first, check out the wildflower fields, which are pretty incredible and Insta-worthy (does this make me basic), and then head over to the Botanical Gardens
. They have everything from amazing fountains, Japanese Zen gardens, a train village, and an amazing cactus and succulent greenhouse (check me out above). I think this place is super neat and one of the best kept secrets in NOLA. Now that we've got Blue Bikes
in NOLA, exploring the Park couldn't be easier.
It's like you're walking IN the water! (source
) NOMA Sculpture Garden
: While you're at the Botanical Garden, be sure to head over to the brand new sculpture garden at next door. Meredith Galanti, a Tulane rising senior, was there this month: "Just this past month, NOMA opened their 6 acre expansion to the Sculpture Garden to include 20+ new sculptures, a 60-ft mosaic wall, and so much more. My favorite new installation was the canal link bridge that emerged in to one of the exhibit's pools, making us eye-level with the top of the water. My best friend Hannah and I decided to go here on her last day in New Orleans and we instantly felt like we were transported to a whole new place. Bonus tip: Go reward yourself afterwards with some Cafe Du Monde beignets right next door!"
Our amazing team of student interns on their annual tubing tripBogue Chitto River Tubing
: A staple activity of any Tulane summer. River tubing in Louisiana always promises to be an awesome day. Grab a group of your friends and head out to Louisiana River Adventures
or Tiki Tubing. Both offer a relaxing float down the Bogue Chitto River. Don't forget the sunscreen though.
If you want to get really aggressive with your Bayou St. John kayaking,
you can go during Bayou Bugaloo, seen above! (bayoubugaloo.com
)Kayaking or Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Bayou St. John
: Nestled in the heart of Mid-City is Bayou St. John, one of last visual clues that New Orleans used to be swamp land. Bayou St. John is an awesome spot to spend a hot afternoon, exploring the bayou and it's many tucked away treasures.Bayou Paddlesports
rents kayaks and stand up paddle boards for cheap and even offers paddle board yoga classes. The best route is to paddle up the bayou around Demourelles Island and check out the neat Mid-City architecture just off the bayou. Top it off with a po'boy dinner at Parkway.
The view from Monkey Board is NOT BAD. (NOLAeater.com
)Hotel Rooftop Hop
: Summer in NOLA can get hot, but a breezy rooftop bar (or even pool!) is the perfect cure to the summertime heat. I recommend you check out Monkey Board in the Troubadour Hotel, Alto atop the Ace Hotel, Hot Tin at the Pontchartrain Hotel, and the bar at the Catahoula Hotel. Rooftop pool, rinse, and repeat. Other great summer pools in NOLA include the Country Club
and the Drifter Hotel
Gorgeous views from Fontainbleau State Park (tripadvisor.com
)Fontainbleau State Park and the Tammany Trace
: For a lakefront respite just a short drive from New Orleans, check out Fontainbleau State Park
, just on the other side of the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway. There are areas to lounge out on the beach and grill among some gorgeous live oak trees. If you're lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of a gator as you navigate the boardwalks through the sawgrass in the marsh. When you're up here, take a bike ride on the Tammany Trace. I recommend starting in downtown Covington and embarking on a great strip of the 31-mile rails-to-trails pathway.
NOBL (http://www.arcgno.org)New Orleans Boulder Lounge
: I love this spot, and it's perfect for when it gets too hot to do anything outside. The gym offers climbing walls of various levels of difficulty complete with shoe rentals and optional instructor assistance. I also think its awesome how compassionate NOBL is; they offer LGBT climbs, transgender evening climbs, gender neutral restrooms, youth advocacy programs and operate under a very eco-friendly mantra. They've got student discounts too!Free Fridays at Tips
: Every Friday night, during the summer, you can catch an amazing free
show at Tipitina's
, one of NOLA's most iconic music venues. The lineup is released as the summer goes on, but each Friday promises to offer an excellent lineup of jazz, hip hop, brass and rock bands.
Studio BE (studioBE
: This is probably my favorite art gallery in the city right now. You might have seen New Orleans artist Brandon Odums
' (or Bmike) art previously when Exhibit BE opened up on the Westbank. These days, he's moved his incredible and thought-provoking art to a 30,000 square foot studio in the Bywater called StudioBE
. The space is incredible—you will not be disappointed as his art offers an introspective commentary on current social justice issues.COOLinary New Orleans
. This suggestion comes to us from Adolfo Garcia
, one of our student interns: "There’s no better time to try out some of NOLA’s most legendary restaurants than during the summer. August in New Orleans marks COOLinary Month
, when participating restaurants (and there are usually 100+) create custom, prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner all month long. So you can eat at a historic, elegant French Quarter restaurants like Antoine’s, Garden District culinary landmarks like Commander’s Palace or a trendy, contemporary restaurant like Top Chef Nina Compton’s Compere Lapin for a steal. Coolinary is not to be missed if you enjoy fancy food without fancy prices."Enjoy a Fest
: Red Dress, Running of the Bulls, White Linen Night, Essence Fest, Satchmo, Greek Fest... need I go on? While summer isn't technically "festival season" in NOLA, there is no shortage of festivals in town to keep you eating, dancing, and drinking all summer.
This place is amazing. (source
Take in the New Orleans Museum Scene
: At the temps go up, there are some great places to stay cool indoors. Many causal visitors to NOLA don't realize how many incredible museums
we have here in town, including the #2 rated museum in the world
, the National WWII Museum. Our brand new admission counselor, Angel Carter
, agrees: "There are so many options or the many types of museums that are offered in New Orleans such as the New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana Children's Museum, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, or for the foodie in all of us : The Southern Food and Beverage Museum. "
There you have it! Have fun and stay cool out there.
Studio BE is massive!
Wildflower fields in City Park