Louisiana, USA: Spectacular Things to Do in the Bayou State

Updated On: August 31, 2023

Louisiana NOLA

Louisiana is a state steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty. Located in the southern heart of the United States, Louisiana boasts a unique blend of vibrant cities, picturesque landscapes, and a cultural heritage that is as diverse as it is rich.

Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, a food lover, or a nature explorer, Louisiana’s array of historical landmarks, artistic havens, and natural wonders promises an unforgettable adventure that showcases the essence of its identity.

Louisiana NOLA
New Orleans is the most popular city in Louisiana.

To help you plan an exciting and fun-filled itinerary for a Louisiana getaway, we’ve explored some of the most fascinating and popular tourist attractions in the Bayou State’s most prominent cities.

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The National WWII Museum is a great attraction for history buffs.

Fantastic Things to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana

The National WWII Museum

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans is a testament to the courage, sacrifice, and heroism of those who served during World War II. As one of the most comprehensive and acclaimed museums of its kind, it provides a deeply immersive experience that transports visitors back to the wartime era.

The museum’s impressive collection of artefacts, personal accounts, and interactive exhibits offers a vivid portrayal of the global conflict and its impact on individuals and nations alike. From exhibits detailing the D-Day landings to stories of the Home Front, visitors gain a profound understanding of the complexities and consequences of the war.

One famous piece at the museum is a statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd US president, and one of his most iconic and inspirational quotes. The museum’s dedication to preserving history and educating future generations ensures that the sacrifices made during WWII are never forgotten.

St. Louis Cathedral

Dominating the New Orleans skyline and overlooking Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral is an architectural masterpiece and a symbol of the city’s spiritual heritage. It is the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States and stands as a testament to the city’s enduring faith and resilience.

Louisiana st louis cathedral
The St. Louis Cathedral is an architectural and historical masterpiece.

The cathedral’s three spires are not only an iconic sight but also a spiritual beacon. The interior of the cathedral boasts stunning stained glass windows, intricate artwork, and a serene ambience that invites contemplation and reflection.

With a history dating back to the 18th century, the St. Louis Cathedral is a centre of religious life, cultural events, and historical significance in New Orleans. Its presence not only serves as a reminder of the city’s past but also as a source of inspiration for its future.

Mardi Gras

No list of things to do in Louisiana would be complete without Mardi Gras! Mardi Gras, a celebration that transcends time and generations, highlights New Orleans’ exuberant culture and sense of community.

Often referred to as “The Greatest Free Show on Earth,” Mardi Gras is a multi-week extravaganza leading up to Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Colourful parades, elaborate floats, and lively music flood the streets of the city as locals and tourists alike come together to revel in the festivities.

The heart of Mardi Gras lies in its ability to create a sense of unity and joy, where people from all walks of life come together to celebrate with food, music, and an infectious spirit of fun.

Louisiana Mardi Gras
Many tourists visit Louisiana for Mardi Gras.

The tradition of wearing masks and costumes adds an air of mystery and excitement, allowing visitors to shed their everyday roles and immerse themselves in a fantasy world. Mardi Gras is not just an event; it’s an embodiment of New Orleans’ vivacious soul.

French Quarter

The French Quarter stands as the historical heart and cultural epicentre of New Orleans. Stepping into this iconic neighbourhood is like entering a time capsule of centuries-old charm and charisma.

The architecture, a harmonious blend of Spanish, French, and Creole influences, transports visitors to a bygone era. The narrow cobblestone streets are alive with a symphony of jazz music, the aroma of delectable cuisine, and the vibrant energy of street performers.

The French Quarter’s unique blend of history, culture, and creative spirit makes it a must-visit destination that encapsulates the essence of New Orleans’ allure.


NOMA, the New Orleans Museum of Art, is a cultural oasis that enriches the city’s vibrant artistic landscape. Found within the lush confines of City Park, the museum houses an impressive and diverse collection of over 40,000 artworks spanning various genres, eras, and cultures.

Louisiana Art museum
The NOMA has over 40,000 pieces in its collection.

From European masterpieces to American and African art, NOMA offers a comprehensive artistic journey that delights and educates visitors. The museum’s commitment to fostering creativity extends beyond its collections; its engaging exhibitions and programs contribute to the city’s cultural dialogue.

The Sazerac House

The Sazerac House, a unique and immersive experience in the heart of New Orleans, pays homage to the city’s legendary cocktail culture. Named after the iconic Sazerac cocktail, this attraction offers a journey into the history and craftsmanship behind some of the world’s most famous spirits.

As visitors explore the meticulously restored building, they’re guided through interactive exhibits that detail the stories of brands like Sazerac Rye, Peychaud’s Bitters, and more. The Sazerac House blends history, mixology, and culture, allowing guests to delve into the art of cocktails and celebrate New Orleans’ role in shaping the global beverage industry.

Steamboat Natchez Cruise

The Steamboat Natchez Cruise offers a nostalgic journey along the mighty Mississippi River, allowing visitors to relive the golden era of riverboat travel. As the boat glides through the waters, passengers are treated to panoramic views of New Orleans’ skyline and the surrounding landscapes.

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Live jazz bands play on the Steamboat Natchez.

Live jazz music fills the air, setting the tone for a leisurely and enjoyable experience. The cruise not only provides a unique perspective of the city but also offers insights into the river’s significance to New Orleans’ history and commerce.

The cruise provides a relaxing escape from the bustle of the city streets. With options for daytime cruises or romantic evening dinner experiences, the Steamboat Natchez Cruise captures the essence of Southern hospitality.

New Orleans Saints

Watching a Saints NFL game is an exhilarating and uniquely New Orleans experience that offers tourists a vibrant glimpse into the heart and soul of the city’s culture. Beyond the touchdowns and tackles, a Saints game embodies the electrifying energy that defines New Orleans’ resilient spirit.

The atmosphere in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is unparalleled, with passionate fans adorned in black and gold, chanting the iconic “Who Dat” mantra that reverberates throughout the stadium. For tourists, the opportunity to join in this spirited camaraderie is a chance to feel like an honorary member of the city’s close-knit community.

The game day festivities extend beyond the field as the revelry spills into the streets and local bars, uniting people in celebration. Whether you’re a seasoned football enthusiast or a tourist seeking an authentic New Orleans encounter, a Saints game offers an unforgettable blend of sports, culture, and fun.

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The New Orleans Saints play at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Best Attractions in Lake Charles, Louisiana

Creole Nature Trail All-American Road

The Creole Nature Trail All-American Road offers an enchanting journey through the untouched landscapes and diverse ecosystems of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Known as Louisiana’s Outback, this scenic byway provides an unparalleled opportunity to admire the natural beauty that defines the Gulf Coast region.

As visitors go on the road trip, they encounter picturesque vistas of marshlands, beaches, and wildlife refuges with native creatures and vibrant flora. Birdwatching enthusiasts are in for a treat, as the trail serves as a haven for a multitude of bird species.

Charpentier Historic District

The Charpentier Historic District of Lake Charles is a living testament to the city’s storied past and architectural heritage. Named after the skilled carpenters who crafted the district’s distinctive homes, the area boasts a captivating blend of Victorian, French, and Gothic Revival architectural styles.

Visitors exploring the area are transported to a bygone era, where ornate ironwork, wraparound porches, and intricate details adorn each home. The charm of the Charpentier Historic District extends to the cobblestone streets, lush gardens, and the whispers of history that linger in the air.

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The Charpentier Historic District is a charming area to explore.

Sam Houston Jones State Park

Amidst the serene beauty of Lake Charles, Sam Houston Jones State Park offers a tranquil retreat for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike. The park’s sprawling landscape encompasses lush forests, winding waterways, and picturesque trails that allow visitors to explore and reconnect with nature.

Birdwatching is popular here, as the park hosts a variety of native species, making it an ideal spot to observe Louisiana’s diverse wildlife. Sam Houston Jones State Park serves as a haven for those seeking solace in nature, where the rustling leaves and birdsong provide a soothing soundtrack, and the beauty of the surroundings reinvigorates the spirit.

The Louisiana Pirate Festival

The Louisiana Pirate Festival, formerly known as Contraband Days, is a beloved annual event in Lake Charles that spans the first 2 weeks of May. Named after a historical episode of smuggling during the Civil War, the festival is a grand celebration that pays homage to Lake Charles’ colourful past.

Featuring exciting parades, lively music performances,  thrilling carnival rides and a variety of delicious local cuisine, the festival offers a range of attractions that cater to visitors of all ages.

The festival’s highlight is the grand flotilla parade, which captures the imagination with its creatively designed floats and exuberant participants. The Louisiana Pirate Festival showcases the community, camaraderie, and spirit that defines Lake Charles’ cultural landscape.

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Lake Charles is a scenic and historic area.

Must-Visit Places in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The Old State Capital

The Old State Capitol, an architectural masterpiece perched atop a hill overlooking the Mississippi River, is a testament to Baton Rouge’s rich history and political significance. With its striking Gothic Revival design and distinctive cast-iron façade, the building is an iconic landmark that captures the imagination.

As visitors step inside, they are transported back in time to a period of political turmoil and transformation. The interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations within the Old State Capitol provide a captivating exploration of Louisiana’s past, from the Civil War to pivotal moments in civil rights history.

The building’s symbolic role in Louisiana’s evolution is further enhanced by its stunning location, offering sweeping views of the river and the city. The Old State Capitol invites visitors to engage with the state’s history and witness the intersection of architecture and politics in a setting that marries beauty and significance.

USS Kidd

The USS Kidd, affectionately known as the “Pirate of the Pacific,” is a museum and tribute to the valour and sacrifice of American veterans. Docked on the banks of the Mississippi River, the destroyer takes visitors into the heart of naval history.

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The USS Kidd was used during WWII.

Exploring the decks, rooms, and exhibits aboard the USS Kidd offers an immersive experience that delves into the life of a World War II sailor. The ship’s collections include artefacts, weaponry, and personal stories that pay homage to the brave men and women who served their nation.

Beyond the exhibits, the museum hosts events and educational programs that highlight the significance of military service. The USS Kidd Veterans Museum serves as a bridge between past and present, allowing visitors to connect with the legacy of those who safeguarded freedom on land and at sea.

Mall of Louisiana

The Mall of Louisiana is a retail paradise and entertainment hub that provides a premier shopping experience and a diverse range of amenities. With over 180 stores and services inside, it is the largest mall in the state of Louisiana.

From high-end fashion boutiques to popular brand outlets, the mall offers a vast selection of shopping options. Beyond retail therapy, visitors can explore a plethora of dining choices that range from casual eateries to fine dining establishments.

The Mall of Louisiana is a dynamic space that hosts community events, live performances, and entertainment options that cater to all ages. In addition to a movie theatre, arcade, and aquarium, it is home to the world’s third-largest indoor carousel.

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Louisiana’s swamps are home to many species – including aligators.

BREC’s Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center

BREC’s Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center is a hidden gem within Baton Rouge, offering a serene escape into the beauty of Louisiana’s natural landscapes. This 103-acre nature preserve showcases a diverse range of ecosystems, from cypress-tupelo swamps to hardwood forests, providing a haven for wildlife.

As you explore the network of trails and boardwalks, you’ll encounter an array of native flora and fauna, including vibrant wildflowers, turtles, and birds. The centre also hosts educational programs and exhibits that shed light on the delicate balance of these ecosystems and the importance of conservation.

Baton Rouge Riverfront

The Baton Rouge Riverfront is a dynamic and scenic area that brings together the beauty of the Mississippi River and the vibrancy of the city’s cultural offerings. From leisurely walks along the riverbank to bustling festivals and events that animate the waterfront, this area encapsulates Baton Rouge’s sense of community and celebration.

As visitors stroll along the promenade, they are treated to panoramic views of the water, the historic USS Kidd, and the majestic Louisiana State Capitol in the distance. The Riverfront is also a cultural and culinary destination, hosting live music performances, farmers’ markets, and a range of dining options that showcase the flavours of the region.

Great Activities in Lafayette, Louisiana


Vermilionville in Lafayette, Louisiana, is a living history museum that offers a captivating journey into the cultural heritage and traditions of the Acadian, Creole, and Native American peoples who shaped the region.

Louisiana Riverfront
Louisiana is located along the Mississippi River.

This meticulously reconstructed village features authentically restored homes, artisans’ workshops, and lush gardens that transport visitors back in time. As you wander through the streets, you’ll encounter costumed interpreters who share stories, crafts, and music that bring the past to life.

Vermilionville is a celebration of Louisiana’s unique melting pot of cultures, providing insight into the daily lives, customs, and cuisines of the people who settled in the area. With its interactive exhibits, educational programs, and charming ambience, Vermilionville offers an immersive experience to all visitors.

Alexandre Mouton House

The Alexandre Mouton House, an exquisite antebellum mansion located in Lafayette, offers a glimpse into the opulent past of Louisiana’s elite society. Built in the 19th century, the mansion showcases Greek Revival architecture, complete with imposing columns, intricate ironwork, and luxurious interiors

The house, which once belonged to Louisiana’s first Democratic governor, reflects the grandeur of the era through its elegantly furnished rooms, ornate chandeliers, and period-appropriate décor.

Guided tours provide visitors with insights into the Mouton family’s legacy, the architectural details of the house, and the historical context of Lafayette during the 1800s. The Alexandre Mouton House invites visitors to step into the past and marvel at the architectural splendour and societal nuances of a bygone era.

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There are many plantation houses throughout Louisiana.

Festival International de Louisiane

The Festival International de Louisiane is a celebration that showcases Lafayette’s cultural vibrancy and global spirit. Held each April, this internationally acclaimed event transforms the city into a dynamic hub of music, art, and cultural exchange.

With its diverse lineup of musicians, artists, and performers from around the world, the festival showcases global cultures while celebrating the unique essence of Lafayette’s heritage. The city’s streets come alive with music, vibrant art installations, and international cuisine.

Interesting Destinations in Shreveport, Louisiana

Louisiana Boardwalk

The Louisiana Boardwalk in Shreveport is a premier shopping and entertainment destination, offering a vibrant blend of retail therapy, dining, and riverside charm. Situated along the picturesque Red River, the boardwalk’s picturesque setting enhances the shopping experience.

With a mix of outlet stores, boutiques, and well-known brands, visitors can indulge in a diverse range of shopping options. The boardwalk’s festive atmosphere features live music, street performers, and restaurants offering delicious local favourites.

Sci-Port Discovery Center

The Sci-Port Discovery Center is an interactive wonderland that caters to curious minds of all ages, making it a hub of scientific exploration and discovery in Shreveport. This educational institution seamlessly merges entertainment with education, offering a variety of hands-on exhibits, immersive experiences, and engaging demonstrations.

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The Sci-Port Discovery Center is a great attractions in Louisiana for kids.

From the depths of space exploration to the intricacies of human anatomy, the centre covers a diverse range of scientific disciplines. The interactive planetarium, live science demonstrations, and themed exhibits invite visitors to engage with scientific concepts in a fun and approachable manner.

Barksdale Global Power Museum

The Barksdale Global Power Museum, located on the grounds of the Barksdale Air Force Base, offers a captivating exploration of aviation history and the evolution of military air power.

The museum showcases an impressive collection of aircraft, artefacts, and exhibits that highlight the technological advancements in aviation and the pivotal role of the Barksdale Air Force Base. From vintage planes to modern aircraft, visitors can admire the engineering marvels that have shaped aerial warfare.

The museum’s knowledgeable staff provide insights into the history of the base, the significance of the aircraft on display, and the stories of the men and women who have served.

The Barksdale Global Power Museum offers a unique opportunity to connect with the legacy of military aviation and gain an appreciation for the innovation and dedication that have defined this aspect of American history.

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The Barksdale Global Power Museum is one of the most interesting attractions in Louisiana.

The R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport is a cultural haven that houses an impressive collection of European and American art, decorative pieces, and rare artefacts. The gallery’s elegant setting and meticulously curated exhibits transport visitors into a world of artistic mastery and historical significance.

From Renaissance paintings to delicate porcelain, the collection spans centuries and genres, offering a comprehensive journey through the evolution of art and human expression. Additionally, the gallery’s lush gardens and reflective pools provide a serene backdrop for leisurely strolls.

The R.W. Norton Art Gallery serves as a sanctuary for art enthusiasts, history buffs, and those seeking a tranquil escape, providing a window into the creativity, beauty, and cultural heritage that enriches the human experience.

American Rose Center

The gardens of the American Rose Center in Shreveport showcases colours, fragrances, and natural beauty that transports visitors into a world of floral enchantment. Spanning 118 acres, the gardens boast a stunning collection of over 20,000 rosebushes, representing a diverse array of rose species and varieties.

From vibrant hybrid tea roses to delicate miniature roses, the expertly tended gardens showcase the remarkable diversity and artistic potential of these timeless flowers. Visitors can meander through themed gardens, admire intricate sculptures, and find tranquillity in the serene surroundings.

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There are over over 20,000 rosebushes at the American Rose Center in Louisiana.

Louisiana is a Lively Destination in the United States

Louisiana is a vibrant and multifaceted destination for anyone visiting the Southern United States. It beckons tourists with its rich cultural heritage, natural splendour, and distinctive charm. 

Louisiana’s unique blend of history, art, music, cuisine, and natural wonders captivate the hearts and minds of all who visit. Each attraction paints a fragment of the state’s identity, showcasing the tenacity of its people, the beauty of its landscapes, and the diversity of its culture.

Louisiana beckons tourists to experience its magic, to immerse themselves in its stories, and to leave with a piece of its soul forever imprinted upon their own. The tourist attractions of Louisiana offer an unforgettable journey, showcasing the Bayou State’s history, traditions, innovation, and timeless spirit.

If you want to see the best of the Southern USA, check out these 10 Fun Things to do in Sarasota, Florida – The Sunshine State.

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