Visiting New Orleans in the fall is a great time to take advantage of the outdoors and an opportunity to spend a day in City Park.
The first thing that you notice upon arriving at the park, are the tremendous live oaks, it is the largest collection in the world and they are just one element that lends to the park’s allure. The park has so much to offer, there are pedal boats & even a gondola for rent to explore all the lagoons that meander through the park. You can also rent bicycles if you would prefer wandering the green space by land. If you’re just looking to relax, there are also endless spots to lay down a blanket and have a picnic…eat, drink, read a book, take a nap, enjoy this massive outdoor oasis in the middle of an urban metropolis (one of the largest urban parks in the country).
City Park has a unique history, once a plantation; the 1300 acres of land were left to the city by John McDonogh, specifically for the creation of a public park. During the great depression, the WPA gave employment to 20,000 men and women who built bridges, roadways, fountains, gardens, a stadium, and dug 10 miles of lagoons. All of this work was done by hand and still today makes City Park one of the most enchanting places in the city. You can find great examples of both Neo-Classical revival & art deco architecture throughout the park.
The illustrious Botanical Gardens are a favorite among many. Next door you’ll find a grand old carousel in the amusement park , which is just as appealing to adults as it is to children. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you may want to climb up to the observation deck (the highest point in the city) within the Couturie forest and arboretum.
City Park is also home to the New Orleans Museum of Art. The museum has an impressive permanent fine art collection, wonderful special exhibitions, along with docent-guided tours. The Sydney & Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden just next door to the museum. The landscaping is gorgeous and the collection of sculptures is outstanding. The sculpture garden is open free to the public every day that the museum is open. The museum is free to the public on Wednesdays.
City Park is now and will always be one of the city’s most prized possessions.