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This article is part of the Hipmunk #CityLove Project

While New Orleans is a mainstream tourist destination, there are still many unexpected attractions around town the everyday tourist will miss.

While the crowds head straight for Bourbon Street to discover the lively French Quarter, there are many unique and unusual spots around town that will allow you to discover a completely different side of the New Orleans you thought you knew.

Jackson Square, New Orleans. Photo CC by

Jackson Square, New Orleans. Photo CC by Christian Senger

The following sites are well off Bourbon Street’s beaten path, and they are ready and waiting to be discovered once you’ve gotten your fill of the French Quarter.

Urban Kayaking

Who would have thought kayaking through New Orleans was possible? This may sound like an unorthodox way to spend your day; however paddling through NOLA’s historic waterways is a fantastic way to see the sights while enjoying a bit of light exercise at the same time.

Kayak tours usually last around four hours and take the historic Bayou St. John through town. Paddle through some of New Orleans’ most thriving neighborhoods, and take in sights such as Spanish Custom House, City Park, and St. Louis Cemetery.

Besthoff Sculpture Garden

Located within New Orleans’ City Park is a lesser known sculpture garden that contains more than 50 sculptures by a range of different international artists.

Set in amongst the mossy oaks and towering pines of City Park, this is a much more serene setting than the more famous New Orleans Museum of Art, and visitors can even enjoy a picnic!

Insta-Gator Ranch

Those who spend their time on Bourbon Street will see alligators in many forms. From handbags to key chains, and menus to mugs, it’s safe to say New Orleans holds this freshwater beast with a certain level of prestige.

Those looking to get up close and personal with Louisiana’s most ancient residents should head away from Bourbon Street and spend some time at Insta-Gator Ranch, a working Louisiana alligator farm.

Insta-gator farm.

Visitors can observe more than 2,000 gators in crystal clear water, and guided tours offer first-hand insights into the Louisiana alligator industry; hear about how the gators go from hatchling to handbag!

Longue Vue House and Gardens

Another lesser known attraction in New Orleans, Longue Vue is the city’s best kept secret! Located on the western edge of New Orleans, the beautiful historic mansion is set on eight acres of spectacular gardens and boasts a large display of native plants for visitors to enjoy all year round.

A self-guided tour of the grounds leads to many amazing photo opportunities, and the collection of Louisiana irises is unlike anywhere else in the world.

Longue Vue House and Gardens

Longue Vue House and Gardens. Photo CC by Navin75

Inside the house is an impressive collection of modern art, and the property itself is now a National Historic Landmark. Guided tours are a great option for further insight into the history of life in New Orleans.

Attractions You’ve Probably Never Heard of in New Orleans

Now that you know what to do off the beaten path in New Orleans, you’ll want to find a cheap hotel in New Orleans.

Check out cheap New Orleans hotels courtesy of Hipmunk, where you’ll discover the average price per hotel during peak season, and tips on whether or not you should tempt fate with lodging at a hostel.

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Meg Jerrard is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure!  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Follow their journey on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

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