6 a.m.-6 p.m. in the 1,300-acre greenspace
If you’ve lived in New Orleans for any amount of time, you know about its City Park — the massive sprawling park filled with beautiful oak trees, wildlife and amusements. When we say the park is massive, we mean 1,300 acres big. To put that in perspective, New Orleans City Park is about 50 percent larger than Central Park. Yeah, the one in New York City. Now that we know how huge the green space is, let’s see how to pack a day in this giant pleasure ground.
Let’s start early.
6 a.m.: Hit the streetcar
Wake up! City Park is easy to get to. If you’re hopping on public transportation from downtown, take the 48-City Park/Museum streetcar on the Canal Street streetcar line. Depart the streetcar at the end of the City Park Line at Lelong/Esplanade and Carrollton Avenues and walk into City Park. Connecting service is also available with a transfer to the City Park Line from the St. Charles Streetcar Uptown or via RTA buses.
Cost: $1.25 Fare ($3 day pass)
6:30 a.m.: Sunrise Yoga
If it’s a Wednesday, join NOLA Tribe for the weekly Sunrise Yoga sessions at Popp Bandstand in City Park. If it’s a Saturday, get that work out in with Varsity Sports — they meet up on alternating Saturday mornings in the park. Of course, there are always trails and tracks you can run, walk or bike yourself. You’ll find bike racks throughout the park, and a biking/walking/jogging path along Marconi, between Robert E. Lee and Harrison. Check the full City Park schedule for further details on physical activities.
Sunrise Yoga Cost: Pay what you can, but suggested donations (via cash, check or Venmo) are around $8-$15. Rental mats available for $3.
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🌞 Wake UP with a DOWN dog courtesy of @midsplittykitty at Sunrise Yoga!! Every Wednesday morning, 6:30am under the beautiful Peristyle at City Park! All classes are donation based via Cash, Venmo or @classpass! . . . #nolatribeyoga #sunriseyoga #nola #neworleans #yoga #nolayoga #neworleansyoga #midcityyoga #citypark #cityparkyoga #sunrise
7:30 a.m.: Chihuly’s Rose Crystal Tower
Cool down after a workout by taking a stroll to see Chihuly’s Rose Crystal Tower, a large-scale sculpture by world renowned artist Dale Chihuly in the plaza in front of the New Orleans Botanical Garden. Admire the man-made beauty, then take in the natural beauty of the park’s 800-plus-year-old tree, the McDonogh Oak. You can find the McDonogh Oak in the Park’s Old Grove. The Old Grove is home to many of the Park’s oldest trees. Take a minute, explore, relax and enjoy the views.
City Park lost more than 2,000 trees due to Hurricane Katrina. Since then, park officials have planted more than 8,000 live oaks, cypress, magnolia, pine and other trees. City Park is home to 25,000 trees total.
9 a.m.: Cafe du Monde
Whatever exercise you did, you earned it! Grab a beignet and a café au lait at the Peristyle. City Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country — you’ll need that caffeine for the full day ahead.
Cost: About $7
9:30 a.m.: Gone fishin’
Brought your fishing pole? Head on down to the pier to throw a cast or two through the park’s catch and release program. You’ll need a valid freshwater fishing license. If you’ve got one, you can plan to catch bass, catfish, perch and more in the park’s 11-plus miles of lagoons.
10 a.m.: Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Garden opens! Whether it’s summer or winter, the garden is open but check online for opening hours before you go. Twelve acres of garden and art, including the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden (which occupies 5 acres all on its own and is home to more than 60 sculptures from across the world), await those who go.
Pro tip: NOMA offers a free mobile guide and audio tour of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden.
Cost: Adults: $8 | Children ages 3 to 12: $4 | Children under age 3: Free | Free admission for Louisiana residents on Wednesday
11 a.m.: New Orleans Museum of Art
Visit NOMA, the New Orleans Museum of Art — it’s the city’s oldest fine arts institution and hosts an impressive permanent collection of almost 40,000 objects. Wednesdays are FREE admission days for Louisiana residents.
Cost: $15 adults | $10 seniors (65+) & active military with ID | $8 university students with ID | $6 children (7-12)
12 p.m.: Café NOMA
Have lunch at Café NOMA, voted one of the best museum restaurants in the country. (Duh, it’s New Orleans after all.) The restaurant serves up everything from soups to salads to sandwiches to daily specials. Grab a to-go pastry before heading out on the lake.
Cost: $6-$15 per item
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It's finally al fresco dining season, bask in the sun in our courtyard during your lunch break! #cafenoma . . . . . . . #alfresco #alfrescodining #courtyard #courtyarddining #Eatingnola #nolaeats #nolalife #nolalove #nolafood #noladining #nolafoodie #neworleans #neworleansfood #drinknola #ilivenola #ilovenola #itsyournola #discovernola #showmeyournola #beautifulneworleans #thisisnola #eaternola #neworleansmuseumofart #museumcafe #museumrestaurant #midcity #bayoustjohn #midcitynola #cityparknola
1 p.m.: Oaks in the park
On your stroll to the big lake, stop and admire the Spanish moss and resurrection fern, both often found growing on the oaks in the park. Along your stroll, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Alligators, pelicans, swans and ducks call City Park their home.
When you get to the big lake, rent a paddleboat or rowboat – Wheel Fun Rentals provides both boats and bikes for rent from the City Park Boat House on Big Lake and across from Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.
Paddleboat Cost: Children under 17 – $6 per hour | Adults – $11 per hour
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Prior to shooting ‘ILY Mama’ with @e.buckles , I caught a glimpse of a gondola going down a lake at @neworleanscitypark . I like to focus on vibrant colors so I knew once I captured this image that I’d be able to tweak it to my imagination. I shot this with my Nikon D750 w/ a 85mm 1.8 lens. Share your comments and let me know what you think of the before and after images. #TODPhotography
2 p.m.: City Putt, Carousel Gardens, Storyland
Or, if you’re feeling childlike, head to the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. The famous antique carousel, the centerpiece of the park, is a local fav. The park is aimed at children but usually adults can find something to partake in, too. Intrigued? You can also check out Storyland’s colorful storybook sculptures.
City Putt: Ages 13+: $9 | Children (4-12): $7 | Second round in same visit: $4 | Children (0-3): Free
Carousel Gardens: $4/person | Kids 36” & under get admission free | $18/p unlimited rides or $4/ride/p (admission includes Storyland)
Storyland: $4/person | Kids 36” tall and under get free admission | Friends of City Park receive free admission (Admission includes Carousel Gardens)
4 p.m.: Cafe and Couturie Forest
Head back to the Peristyle for an afternoon pick-me-up café au lait (if you have another beignet, we won’t tell!). With coffee in hand and powdered sugar on your thumbs, stroll to the Couturie Forest. “The Mountain” in the forest arboretum is the highest point in the city and it’s also been known as some of the best bird-watching around. Want to hike up the 43 feet to the top? There are three paths available.
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FOUND by @marcmayeux This one is hard. Even I get lost finding it. Here’s your hint… it’s on top of a “mountain”. Don’t forget to tag me and post a pic when found. I’ve been wanting someone to hide here for a while. #nolatreasurehunt #nolascavengerhunt #freeartnola #nola #crazynolalife
5 p.m.: Thursdays at Twilight
If it’s a Thursday in the spring or summer, enjoy Thursdays at Twilight at the Pavilion of Two Sisters. Buy a $10 ticket and enjoy the sounds of local music under the oaks as the sun makes its nightly descent.
6 p.m.: Filmore in the Oaks
Grab dinner at Filmore in the Oaks restaurant. Hopefully there’s a cloud or two in the sky — any time there is visible rainfall around the area, you can expect to pay Sunset Happy Hour prices for all beverages.
If you got the New Orleans RTA Day Pass, just hop back on the streetcar and hit the hay – because no doubt you’re tired. We had a packed day!