Summer vacation may be a distant memory with school back in session, but the summer temperatures in New Orleans are staying put and holding their ground. This city may be famous for its Hurricane cocktails and crawfish boils but we can’t deny its subtropical vibes that always keep us grateful for a little air-conditioning. On a day where the sun is high and that hot, humid breeze coming off of the Mississippi just isn’t it cutting it, we can honestly say, we know how you feel. Here are a few ways to help you beat the NOLA heat that’ll help you cool down before you head back out to explore the streets of the Crescent City.
Splash around at Cool Zoo
Jump on in, the water’s fine! At Audubon Zoo, you can extend the summertime vacation feels by grabbing a tube and floating down the 750-foot long lazy river. There’s also plenty of shaded seating around the two beaches that sit along the river, so grab a book, sit back, relax and enjoy the breeze. When you’re ready, hop over to the Cool Zoo splash pads with water slides, spouts and soakers. This a great family-friendly option with 3 different splash zones designated specifically for toddlers and younger children.
Go to the Theater
My favorite cinema in the city sits on Prytania Street in a facade of red brick, inviting you inside the single-screen theater with aromas of buttery popcorn while the animation and music of “Lets All Go To the Lobby” plays on loop. The Prytania Theater has been owned by the same family for 104 years and boasts just as much character and charm as it does a rich history. It’ll even show the classics from time to time for matinee showings on Wednesdays and Sundays. The Theaters at Canal Place are a luxurious alternative that offer a full menu while you watch the newest flick on the silver screen. Enjoy personalized service as you dine and drink while you recline in their plush red leather seats. For a stellar deal, you can mosey on over to The Orpheum for free admission to a selection of different classic films and family favorites shown throughout the summer. You can even catch a concert or a show, if that suits your fancy, at the Civic, Saenger or Joy Theater.
Grab a Snoball
You can’t go wrong with this sweet NOLA treat — the snoball. Get it “stuffed” (with ice cream), topped with sweetened condensed milk, double flavored, or keep it simple. Grab two straws and share it with a friend or have it all to yourself. Hansen’s Sno-Bliz is a great place to start as a well-known New Orleans icon and James Beard Award-Winner. It’s been here since 1939, offers over 35 different flavors (with endless possible combinations) and a host of fun, fruity and creamy toppings. If the line appears to be a little long, or if you try to go on a Monday (when its closed), you can find another snowball stand in any neighborhood. Check out this list for the best ones in the city. Or if you’re over 21, treat yourself to a frozen daiquiri at one of these establishments.
Go to a Museum
I cannot even count the numbers of times I’ve been to the National WWII Museum. I’ve listened to the Victory Belles sing little ditties from the 1940s, supped at the American Sector and been utterly transformed by the 4D storytelling experience of Beyond All Boundaries. It’s the first place I recommend to anyone with an affinity for history and a whole afternoon (read “a day or two”) to spend exploring this fantastic museum. As just one of over 45 museums in the city, there are plenty of others to choose from. Nestled in the quarter, in what is known as a haunted space with a history of mysterious intrigue, the Pharmacy Museum features exhibits of questionable medical practices and apothecary remedies of days gone by. Perhaps you’d like to visit Mardi Gras World, which offers a unique behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to bring New Orleans Mardi Gras to life every year. For a complete list, take a gander here.
Explore the Art Scene
Stroll through the Arts District and get inspired! There’s at least 12 art galleries on Julia Street alone, and several other wonderful establishments scattered throughout the surrounding area. Every first Saturday of the month, the Arts District of New Orleans hosts their First Saturday Gallery Openings, a self-guided art walk offering free admission to the galleries. You could also visit one of three art museums featuring extraordinary exhibitions of local and international recognition: New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) or the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
BONUS: When the sun sets and the breeze is blowing, take a leisurely walk down Poydras Street, (where Loews New Orleans is located!) and keep your eyes peeled for over 20 strategically placed, unique and beautiful sculptures. The Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition has become known as the “South’s leading rotating public sculpture exhibition” and it’s right outside our front door!
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