It's not hard to find offbeat attractions in the Big Easy... New Orleans is the home of weird- literally! Fuel up on gumbo and cafe au laits (and maybe a sazerac or two) and let the good times roll with the very best of New Orleans truly offbeat attractions.
In 1867, when yellow fever was spreading throughout the city, Saint Roch’s minister prayed to the patron saint of good health himself, Saint Roch. To the amazement of the community, not one member of the church got sick. Since that time, it has become a regular custom to bring your prosthetic body parts to the altar with the hope that you will be blessed by the patron saint of health.
Today the building is flooded with the leftover prosthetic limbs, polio braces, dental plates, and glass eyes of the supposedly healed, and has taken on more of a museum feel.
Known as one of the quarter's most legit magic supply stores, you won't find any tourist junk inside Voodoo Authentica, just 100% real voodoo supplies. It's the perfect place to grab some protection talismans before visiting any of the city's haunted hot spots... and considering you're in New Orleans, you might want to stock up!
Pick up a handmade gris-gris bag for whatever ails you, and don’t forget to leave some coins on Yemaya’s altar for good luck.
Looking to get ahead in love, business, or life in general? At the Voodoo Museum, you can consult a voodoo priestess on what you want and what you’ll need to do to get it. The temple has elements of West African tradition and Catholic tradition, so don’t be surprised to see a statue of a saint next to a voodoo doll! $5 will get you entrance and a self-guided tour of the three room museum.
Named for the most famous voodoo queen in all of New Orleans voodoo history, Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo has all of your voodoo needs covered. Just looking for a memento from your travels in the Big Easy? They've got those too. Snoop through some spell kits, mojo bags, gris gris, and talismans, there’s something here to make all your magical desires a reality.
Before you do the voodoo deed, grab a drink at the tiny little bar, which usually has a good mix of locals and tourists. Whatever you do, don't forget to toast the Hoodoo Priestess herself, Marie Laveau, for a little extra good luck with your magical working.
You can't come to New Orleans without at least taking a walk down Bourbon Street once or twice. Infamously known as the drunkest neighborhood in the world, you're bound to see something weird while you explore.
The New Orleans Congo Square preserves a historic meeting place that has been around since the 1800s. During the 18th Century in New Orleans, slaves were given Sundays off, and many would gather in places called "Place de Negres", "Place Publique", and "Circus Square" at the edge of town. Today the New Orleans Congo Square has become an important piece of NOLA history, which celebrates the city's rich jazz history, historical markets, and vibrant sense of community.
If you're interested in learning about Voodoo, The National Historic Voodoo Museum inside the Voodoo Spiritual Temple is the perfect place to start. Visitors can discover the origins of voodoo, learn about important voodoo queens and see some of the city's old relics. They encourage questions, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel St Jude Shrine is the oldest standing church building in New Orleans, and was originally known as the Mortuary Chapel, as it was built as a funeral church. Starting in 1796, just about every summer was a plague summer, and the city was stricken by epidemic diseases annually. Between 1817 and 1860 there were twenty- three yellow fever epidemics, and doctors had no idea how the disease was spreading. The funeral church saw hundreds of thousands of deaths pass through its tunnel and into the famed St. Louis Cemetery #1, where the bodies were buried daily in massive open graves.
Note: There are plenty of guided tours to choose from that take guests through the tunnel and into Cemetery #1.
The Great American Alligator Museum opened its doors in 2005, and has since become one of the world's largest collection of alligator-related artifacts around. Expect to see 12-million-year-old gators from Florida, deformed alligator heads, antique postcards, vintage alligator fashion, movie posters, and even video games.
It's true that the Museum of Death is kind of a bummer, but it still remains to be one of the most-visited museums in NOLA. Dedicated to all things death, the museum isn't for the faint of heart, so if the macabre isn't your thing, you might want to sit this one out.
Mardi Gras is the most popular event in the city, if not the state, so any trip to NOLA would not be complete without a trip to the Germaine Wells Mardi Gras Museum. Not only does the museum house over two dozen amazingly detailed costumes, each of them having had a significant historical importance to Mardi Gras, but the museum is free to visit during the neighboring restaurant hours, so you don't have an excuse not to go!
At the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, they have displays on gris-gris bags and other voodoo potions used for healing the sick, as well as assorted questionable medical practices and devices, old school medical tools, cosmetics, and more.
You'll leave equal parts horrified and amused... so it's a good thing there are a lot of places to get a drink nearby!
The Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge in the city's French Quarter is proof-- it's been a favorite of writers pretty much since it opened in 1949. Hemingway, Faulkner, Capote, Tennessee Williams, even the guy who wrote Forrest Gump have frequented the establishment.
The Carousel Bar is located in the famed Hotel Monteleone, which is a literary landmark in its own right. It appears in works from Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, Eudora Welty, and more, and it has hosted authors like William Faulkner, John Grisham, Anne Rice, and more. Truman Capote once even claimed he was born there (which, in true Capote fashion, is an embellishment-- his mother did stay there while pregnant with him, though).
After a night of drinking at the Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge, you can head right up to your hotel room at New Orleans' most famous luxury hotel: the Hotel Monteleone... just keep an eye out for the otherworldly guests rumored to haunt the building while you're there.
Drinking in the name of education! The Museum of the American Cocktail has made it a mission to preserve the two-century old cocktail. The nonprofit institution celebrates the most iconic of drinks, while providing resources for beginners and pros in the art of "mixology".
Take a class or seminar from the some of the world's foremost authorities in booze, and learn how to create your own beverage masterpieces. Just imagine how amazing your next party will be!
The city’s famous Garden District is where you’ll find the House of Broel, home of the Dollhouse Museum, an exhibit dedicated to frog leg farming and more antiques than you can shake a stick at.
One of the biggest reasons people love to visit the House of Broel is to see the massive private collection of dollhouses kept on the second floor. The exhibit contains over 60 painstakingly handmade homes, complete with furnishings and tiny people. The crown jewel is a 10 foot-tall palace, containing 28 impeccably decorated rooms.
Aesthetics and Antiques Retro is like the world's greatest thrift store, only without all the musty furniture and crochet doilies... and you aren't going to pay antique prices.
The store is filled with treasures from floor to ceiling. They have everything from decanters shaped like the pope to sheet music to a menu from Antoine's 75th anniversary. If you're a fan of vintage and quirky collectables, this place will have the perfect, spooky-free New Orleans souvenir.
Add one of these places to your itinerary and there's no doubt your offbeat trip to New Orleans will be successfully weird!