Mid City New Orleans is one of the neighborhoods of the city that is often overlooked by visitors, who generally concentrate on the much more famous French Quarter that is located just to the south. Despite this, there are many things to do in Mid City New Orleans and the numerous Mid City attractions are very worthwhile.
One of the best museums in the South is located here—the New Orleans Art Museum, which is set in the southern part of spacious City Park. This beautiful urban park covers 1,300 acres; it separates Mid City New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain and offers miles of jogging and cycling paths that wind through the world’s largest concentration of mature live oak trees (some more than 600 years old). Next to the art museum is the Besthoff Sculpture Garden. There is a children’s amusement park with one of the oldest (dating to 1906) and last remaining wooden carousels in the United States. The museum itself contains a beautiful collection of Faberge eggs, among many other magnificent pieces. Other Mid City attractions include the former home of the Impressionist master from France, Edgar Degas. He lived here in 1872, and the beautiful mansion is open to the public for tours. It also boasts one of the lovely historic bed and breakfasts in the city.
Among the things to do in Mid City New Orleans are self-guided or guided tours of the city’s famous atmospheric cemeteries. The majority of cemeteries are located above ground because of the high water table in this Mississippi River Delta region. Many crypts are adorned with elaborate statuary funded by relatives of the deceased. Those who couldn’t afford such extravagance banded together to form organizations that sponsored sculptures and artwork for elaborate group crypts. You will see this in the Masonic Cemetery and the Firemen’s Cemetery on the Mid City New Orleans northern boundary at the end of Canal Street. Just outside the neighborhood boundary is the Metairie Cemetery, considered the most elaborate and atmospheric in the metropolitan area. Streetcars go to the end of Canal Street, and the cemeteries can be reached by short walks from the trolley stops.
One of the most popular things to do in Mid City New Orleans is attend the internationally respected New Orleans Jazz Festival. This is held for a week during the last part of April and first part of May. It is held at the New Orleans Fairgrounds, which is a thoroughbred racetrack during most of the rest of the year. This prestigious festival is one of the major Mid City attractions – drawing thousands of visitors and showcasing live music from stars from Johnny Lang and Aretha Franklin to Pearl Jam and the Allman Brothers. There are also numerous music bars that offer live music during other times of the year.
Mid City New Orleans offers many luxury hotels as well as historic bed and breakfasts, and boutique hotels. These, as well as the many dining spots, are often less crowded and less expensive than those found in the more popular French Quarter and Central Business District.
Image: Infrogmation (Flickr)