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A Guide to Enjoying New Orleans in the Rain

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Guide to Enjoying New Orleans in the Rain

If there is one thing we know to be true about Crescent City and the Bayou area, it’s that the weather is totally unpredictable. Known for its hurricane seasons and humid climate, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter rain when you visit the Big Easy, especially in the summer months.

But don’t worry, the light summer showers usually don’t last long before the sun is out to greet you again while you explore Bourbon Street and beyond. And with the easy to use streetcar network, you can avoid walking in the rain altogether.

In a city bursting with attractions and rich history, there is plenty for you to explore rain or shine. From lounging in the comfort of your vacation rental to getting out in the city and exploring what it has to offer, you certainly won’t be bored here. If there’s a chance of rain on the forecast for your trip, here is our roundup of indoor activities to enjoy on a rainy day in Nola.

Visit One of Nola’s Many Museums

From art exhibits to historical moments, the museum scene in New Orleans displays a variety of culture, talent, and history.

The National World War II Museum

Photo Credit: William A. Morgan

The National WWII Museum is the most popular museum in New Orleans for a reason. It features exhibits, immersive experiences, and one-of-a-kind artifacts that allow visitors to connect to history and honor those who served in WWII. The WWII Museum also houses a restaurant, a theater with live performances, and a gift shop featuring WWII-inspired memorabilia.

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA)

Photo Credit: William A. Morgan
  • Website: https://noma.org/
  • Address: 1 Collins Diboll Cir, New Orleans, LA 70124
  • Neighborhood: Mid-City
  • Opening hours: 10 am – 5 pm Tuesday to Sunday / 12 – 7 pm Wednesday

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is located in City Park, the largest park in New Orleans. Opened in 1911, this century-old art museum boasts over 40,000 objects within its permanent collection. Open Tuesday to Sunday for general admission, it is the perfect spot to linger on a rainy day and experience some of New Orleans’s fine art scene.

City Park is also home to the infamous Besthoff Sculpture Garden which sits beside NOMA. You get a front-row seat to the Sculpture Garden from the museum, and if the rain lets up, we recommend taking a walk around this 11-acre art and garden immersion experience.

New Orleans African American Museum of Art, History, and Culture (NOAAM)

Photo Credit: _awesomelyawkward via Instagram
  • Website: https://www.noaam.org/
  • Address: 1418 Governor Nicholls St, New Orleans, LA 70116
  • Neighborhood: Tremé
  • Opening hours: 11 am– 4 pm Thursday to Sunday

Located in the Tremé neighborhood, the New Orleans African American Museum of Art pays homage to the neighborhood’s history as a hub of Black culture. The museum displays countless artwork and photographs that serve to preserve the history and culture of African Americans in New Orleans.

Note: Other museums worth visiting throughout the city include the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, and the Backstreet Cultural Museum.

Cozy Up in a Cafe

There’s nothing like cozying up in a hole-in-the-wall cafe as a rainy day activity, and the New Orleans cafe scene offers a wide variety of spots to enjoy coffee and a pastry while you watch the storm pass. That’s if you manage to avoid filling up on po-boys first, of course!

District Donuts

Photo Credit: districtdonuts via Instagram

  • Website: https://www.districtdonuts.com/
  • Address: 2209 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130
  • Neighborhood: The Garden District
  • Opening hours: 7 am – 9 pm daily
  • Price Point: $

District Donuts is a long-time favorite spot for both locals and tourists to grab their morning cup of coffee and a warm, flavor-packed donut for breakfast. Offering a variety of coffee options, morning tacos, kolaches, and of course their infamous donuts — there’s a little bit of everything for the savory or sweet tooth visitor.

Willa Jean

Photo Credit: taylorsimmonsnichols via Instagram
  • Website: https://willajean.com/
  • Address: 611 O’Keefe Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113
  • Neighborhood: Warehouse District
  • Opening hours: 7 am – 3 pm daily
  • Price Point: $$

Willa Jean is the perfect destination for those wanting to dine at a chic, minimal cafe over Southern breakfast dishes. Willa Jean is known for their flaky, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits, with menu items including a fried chicken and Tabasco honey biscuit, and a simple butter and homemade jam biscuit done right. No matter what time of day you visit, we recommend finishing your meal with a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies and vanilla milk.

The Vintage

Photo Credit: sophisticait14 via Instagram
  • Website: https://www.thevintagenola.com/
  • Address: 3121 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
  • Neighborhood: The Garden District
  • Opening hours: 7 am– pm weekdays / 8 am – 10 pm weekends
  • Price Point: $

The Vintage is a one-stop cafe offering a little bit of everything. Whether you are in the mood for hot beignets, a warm cup of coffee, or a mid-day flatbread, their menu and drink list is expansive. We recommend ordering their beignet bites with bubbles, which comes with freshly made bite-sized beignets and two glasses of champagne on the side. With bistro seating under a covered patio on Magazine Street, it offers the ideal spot to wait out the rain while still being part of the bustle of the city.

Some of our other favorite cafe spots include La Boulangerie for French pastries, Mammoth Espresso for coffee and a great atmosphere, and of course the famous Cafe du Monde for classic New Orleans beignets.

Have a Unique Shopping Experience

What’s better than a rainy day of shopping? New Orleans is known for its unique markets, boutiques, antiques, and locally-owned shops highlighting various artists and designers’ work.

The French Market

  • Website: https://www.frenchmarket.org/
  • Address: 1008 N Peters St, New Orleans, LA 70116
  • Neighborhood: The French Quarter
  • Opening hours: 10 am– 6 pm daily

The French Market is the oldest market of its kind in America. Originally a Native American trading post, this open-air market has become a shopping hub for visitors 365 days a year. You could spend hours browsing the booths inside the market. The daily flea market offers handmade crafts, local art, home goods, and more. The French Market also hosts a weekly Farmer’s Market and various local food spots, such as Aunt Sally’s Pralines and Alberto’s Wine and Cheese Bistro.

Antique Shopping

Photo Credit: sassnini via Instagram

In a city known for its architecture and historic homes, there are antique gems to be found all throughout New Orleans. Whether strolling around the French Quarter or Magazine Street, there are antique shops on every corner waiting for you to discover their one-of-a-kind finds. Some of our favorites around the city include M.S. Rau Antiques, Lucullus Antiques, and Royal Antiques.

Art Galleries

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Local art is a huge part of the culture and history of New Orleans. Whether you are window shopping or looking for a piece to bring home with you, you’ll find galleries with every art medium and price range. Magazine Street is a great place to wander from gallery to gallery. With traditional NOLA pieces at Terrance Osborne Gallery and modern art at Casey Langteau Art plus many more great spots scattered across the city, there’s something different for every art lover out there.

Experience One-Of-A-Kind Entertainment

Mardi Gras World

Photo Credit: mardigrasworld via Instagram
  • Opening hours: https://mardigrasworld.com/
  • Address: 1380 Port of New Orleans Pl, New Orleans, LA 70130
  • Neighborhood: Lower Garden District
  • Opening hours: 9 am – 5.30 pm daily

If you want to experience a taste of Mardi Gras no matter when you plan to visit, this Lower Garden District spot is for you. Mardi Gras World is a 300,000-square-foot indoor warehouse and building facility full of Mardi Gras floats that guests can tour any day of the year.

Admission comes with a self-guided tour throughout the facility where visitors learn about the tradition of Mardi Gras while getting a front-row seat to the design and building process of their specially-made floats that glide down St. Charles Avenue each year. And if you thought you missed king cake on your trip, think again! Mardi Gras World serves fresh king cake and coffee to its visitors year-round.

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Photo Credit: tammgall via Instagram

Rated one of the top five aquariums in the United States, The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is another favorite indoor spot for the whole family to experience just a few blocks from Jackson Square along the Riverwalk. It boasts 15,000 sea life creatures that represent over 600 species and various bodies of water.

One of its key attractions is a 30-foot-long Caribbean Reef tunnel that gives visitors the chance to be surrounded by sea life from all sides. Feeling brave enough to pet a baby shark? You can do that too. The aquarium includes species from the Amazon, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and our very own Mississippi River.

New Orleans School of Cooking

Photo Credit: nolaschoolofcooking via Instagram

By now you’ve figured out that New Orleans is the place to go for unparalleled Cajun and Creole cuisine. But why let the fun stop when your trip is over? New Orleans School of Cooking offers hands-on cooking classes so that you can take your most memorable Louisiana meals home with you and enjoy them for years to come.

Between authentic gumbo, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, and pralines, you get a front-row seat to what makes these dishes so special and how to replicate them at home.

Finish Your Rainy Day with a Drink

No matter what your drink of choice is, Nola’s specialty wine, beer, and cocktail scene will deliver. There’s no better way to end a rainy day in Nola than listening to live music with a drink in hand at one of its many local bars.

NOLA Brewery

Photo Credit: nolabrewing via Instagram
  • Website: https://nolabrewing.com/
  • Address: 3001 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70115
  • Neighborhood: Lower Garden District
  • Opening hours: 11 am – 9 pm Sunday to Thursday / 11 am – 10 pm Friday & Saturday
  • Price Point: $

NOLA Brewery is one of Louisiana’s largest independently-owned craft breweries. Located on Tchoupitoulas Street just south of Magazine Street, NOLA Brewery offers eight year-round craft beers and three seasonal options.

With live music, homemade pizza, and craft beer on tap, it’s the perfect spot to linger after a long day of indoor sightseeing. And if you come during crawfish season, you’re in luck! NOLA Brewery hosts crawfish boils with all the fixin’s every Friday afternoon from February to May.

Copper Vine Wine Bar & Restaurant

Photo Credit: coppervinewinepub via Instagram
  • Website: https://www.coppervine.com/
  • Address: 1001 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70112
  • Neighborhood: The Warehouse District
  • Opening hours: 11 am – 9 pm Monday to Thursday / 11 am – 10 pm Friday / 10.30 am – 10 pm Saturday / 10.30 am – 9 pm Sunday
  • Price Point: $$

Opened in 2018, Copper Vine is a welcomed presence in the Warehouse District offering a refined wine list, classic American dishes, and a warm, minimal atmosphere.

Copper Vine offers a weekday happy hour from 2 pm to 6 pm where guests can get an $8 flight of wines and specialty snack pairings under $7. And suppose you’re looking to brush up on your wine education. In that case, Sommelier Emily Walker offers wine tastings to guide you through the history and specific characteristics of their French-inspired wine list. The brunch menu is also worth checking out!

Carousel Bar & Lounge

Photo Credit: travo303 via Instagram

If you’re looking for more of an upscale environment, the Carousel Bar & Lounge in Hotel Monteleone is a French Quarter staple on Royal Street. As the city’s only revolving bar, it offers year-round live entertainment, craft cocktails, and tasty appetizers in its grand lounge.

We recommend arriving early in the evening to snatch one of the coveted 25 seats along the carousel bar.

Tipitina’s

  • Website: https://tipitinas.com/
  • Address: 501 Napoleon Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115
  • Neighborhood: Uptown
  • Opening hours: See the website for opening hours and event times
  • Price Point: $$

For drinking with a side of dancing, Tipitina’s shouldn’t be missed. This vibey place has been in operation since the mid-1970s and is known as one of the best places in the city for live music and Cajun dancing.

No Raining on Your Parade in the Big Easy

Don’t let the rain keep you from experiencing the vast culture, diversity, and entertainment options available to you in Crescent City. With indoor activities spanning from unique shopping outlets and cozy New Orleans jazz bars to galleries and museums boasting fascinating history and culture from the 19th century to the present day, you can fill an entire rainy day with new places to explore and never get bored.

Rain or shine, we know you’ll enjoy your stay in New Orleans. Now, all that’s left to do is to book your vacation home!


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