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Best Picnic Spots in New Orleans

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An historic bridge and oak tree in New Orleans City Park ©Getty Images

New Orleans, a city brimming with vibrant life, is home to several public gardens and picnic spots open year-round, offering locals and visitors a touch of nature’s tranquility. From special events and garden dinners to relaxing under oak canopies, here’s a comprehensive guide to the best green spaces in New Orleans.

Delight in Nature’s Embrace: Top Public Gardens

New Orleans Botanical Garden

Nestled in the expansive City Park, the New Orleans Botanical Garden is a year-round spectacle. Spanning ten acres, the garden is a horticulturist’s paradise, featuring everything from rose gardens to a tropical haven, and even the Enrique Alférez Sculpture Garden. Apart from the visual feast of blooming flora, the garden hosts plant sales and culinary events. Enjoy a leisurely stroll and drink in the beauty of what’s in bloom. Remember, Louisiana residents enjoy free entry on Wednesdays!

Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

Adjacent to the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden captivates with historic and contemporary sculptures amidst picturesque landscaping. Its recent expansion welcomes visitors to meander through lagoons and lush greenery. This free-entry garden is perfect for art lovers and those seeking a serene escapade.

Longue Vue House & Gardens

Step into history and elegance at Longue Vue, once the abode of philanthropists Edith and Edgar Stern. Now, the estate welcomes the public to appreciate its historic architecture and enchanting gardens. Engage in community events, from yoga sessions to outdoor concerts, ensuring a memorable visit.

Paradigm Gardens

An urban sanctuary, Paradigm Gardens, hosts unique experiences, from goat yoga to live music, integrating the community with nature. Nestled near downtown New Orleans, it’s a vibrant spot for garden enthusiasts and fun-seekers alike.

Picnic in the Park: Idyllic Spots Across the City

Nothing rivals the pleasure of a laid-back picnic in New Orleans’ scenic locales. Here are the top spots to lay your blanket:

Audubon Park

An Uptown gem, Audubon Park, offers ample space for a classic picnic. Pick up fried chicken from Picnic Provisions & Whiskey and savor it while streetcars roll by in the background.

The Fly

Behind Audubon Zoo lies The Fly, offering panoramic views of the Mississippi River, making it an ideal setting for a picnic. Don’t forget your po-boy from Domilise’s on your way!

Coliseum Square Park

Immerse yourself in the historic charm of the Lower Garden District at Coliseum Square Park. Grab your favorite meal from nearby eateries and relax by the fountain.

Magnolia Bridge/Bayou St. John

Enjoy a romantic atmosphere or a casual meal at Magnolia Bridge. Complete your outing with a po-boy from Parkway Tavern and a Pandora’s snowball.

City Park

Explore and picnic in City Park, New Orleans’ largest outdoor attraction. With numerous picturesque spots, all you need is delicious food from local favorites like Clesi’s or Blue Oak BBQ.

Lakeshore Drive

Experience leisure at its best along Lake Pontchartrain. Enjoy kite flying, fishing, or simply the cool breeze, with treats from NOLA Snow or Robert Fresh Market.

Crescent Park

Savor the majestic views of the Mississippi River at Crescent Park. Pick up barbeque delights from The Joint and refreshing beers from Parleaux Beer Lab for an unmatched picnic experience.

Lafayette Square

Escape the urban rush in the Central Business District at Lafayette Square, a compact space offering a serene lunch spot with treats from nearby eateries.

Jackson Square

Experience the cultural heart of New Orleans at Jackson Square. Enhance your picnic with delightful sandwiches from Manolito and classic beignets from Cafe du Monde.

Woldenberg Park

Relax at Woldenberg Park, where the Mississippi River’s sounds complement your meals, made perfect with a bite and a cocktail from the renowned Napoleon House.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a foodie, or seeking relaxation, New Orleans’ gardens and parks offer something unique for everyone. Immerse yourself in the city’s natural beauty, historic backdrops, and culinary delights, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

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