What to do on a Rainy Day in New Orleans?
Something all those beautiful shots of New Orleans you see on Instagram never show is that it rains something around 200 days of year in New Orleans. We think everyone that visits should pack an umbrella. In the winter months from December to February, it is often cold rain or even freezing rain. In the summer months, the heat is usually cooled off by a late afternoon sprinkle though sometimes these can turn into serious down pours. Either way, you need indoor activities, keep in mind it is also quite hot here in the summer, so these indoor activities could also be a great way to dodge the heat and often over 70% humidity. We’ve broken down our list by neighborhood so where ever you find yourself stuck, you’ll find something to do close by.
The French Quarter is the perfect place to dodge the raindrops, thanks to cover provided by the historic wrought and cast iron balconies and galleries that give shelter to walkers.
Breakfast – We like Toast on Dectuar, there is often a line because their breakfast is wonderful and inexpensive. They have excellent omelets and crepes.
Shopping – You might be surprised to learn that the French Quarter has an outlet mall! Dodge the rain and spend the day at the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk or the Shops at Canal Place, both havens for upmarket brands and iconic designer boutiques. Bourbon Street might be famous for drinking but Royal Street should be equally famous for it’s shopping. The highlight has to be MS Rau 622 Royal Street; it’s collection might have you exclaim, this should be in a museum!
Lunch – If it’s between Thursday and Sunday you can pop into Antoine’s, New Orleans oldest restaurant and grab their lunch special. This fixed price ($22 as of this writing) deal will get you three courses and an experience that can’t be beat. Another great option is Dian Xin, which offers some of the best dim sum in the city. Their soup dumplings will put you in the perfect cozy, rainy-day mood. Looking for a more traditional New Orleans fare at a reasonable price? We love the Jazz Brunch at Court of Two Sisters.
Museums – There are many great museums to explore indoors in the French Quarter. Our favorite is probably The New Orleans Historical Collection on Royal Street. This free museum in the French Quarter (yea you read that right–FREE MUSEUM!) offers a detailed look into the history of New Orleans. Other museums include The Cabildo and the Presbyterian, which flank the St Louis Cathedral. There is also the 1850s House and The Herman Grimma house which offers a Urban Enslavement tour, which digs into the darker history of the French Quarter in the Antebellum era. Interested in seeing some of the best views of the city? The recently renovated and reopened Vue Orleans provides panoramic, 360-degree views from the top of the Four Seasons New Orleans.
Drinks – Have you ever dreamed of drinking at the same bar famous writers like Tennesse Williams, William Faulkner, and Truman Capote? Then check out the revolving Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. After a couple spins and a couple drinks, you might be ready to write the next great American novel. Looking for something a bit more off the beaten path? We love Bar Tonique on Rampart. It has a fun vibe, craft cocktails, an eclectic mix of locals and tourists and awesome drink specials to wait out a rainy day.
Catch a movie – Check out The Prytania in the Canal Place mall. They have 8 screens with all sorta of films from the newest blockbuster to some more obscure art films.
There’s lots to do indoors in the Central Business District, called the CBD for short (not to be confused with the other CBD). This area was historically where Americans settled in New Orleans in the early 19th century and used to be known as “The American Sector”. Today it is host to museums and an arts district.
Museums- You don’t have to be a war buff to enjoy an afternoon at The National World War II Museum and put yourself in the boots of the soldiers that defeated the Nazi war machine. Perhaps you prefer art to war? Then check out The Ogden which dazzles visitors with art from 15 Southern states and the District of Columbia and right across the street is The New Orleans Contemporary Art Center which focuses on contemporary art in a beautiful brick museum.
Dinner – We can’t say enough about Cochon in the CBD. Their spin on New Orleans style fare with the best ingredients should be on everyone’s bucket list. They also offer much of their fare in a more casual situation in the back at the Cochon Butcher.
There are a host of indoor activities in Uptown read on and find out our favorite places in uptown to dodge the rain.
Breakfast – Molly’s Rise and Shine has a funky vibe with a full menu of breakfast classics to start your day off right.
Tours – We think everyone should check out Mardi Gras World on the Uptown edge of the Port of New Orleans/CBD and a rainy day is the perfect day to do this. Is beer your thing? Then check out the NOLA Brewery Tour to get an up-close look at the crafting of some the best beers New Orleans has to offer.
Lunch – If you find yourself trapped on a rainy day in the Irish Channel (near the Garden District), pop into Parasols. Parasols is a real authentic divey neighborhood pub offering some of the best roast beef po-boys in town. We also love the Family owned and operated, Domilise’s, which is famous for its fried shrimp and fried oyster po-boys.
Nightlife – Catch a flick at Prytania Theater, New Orleans’ historic single-screen theater that shows new, classic, family and indie films.
If you’re looking for some live music, check out Tipitina’s, which is one of the best live-music venues in the entire city. We also love Columns. It has a beautiful covered front porch where you can enjoy a midsummer rainstorm. Charles Avenue . Also on St. Charles, The Chloe ‘s front patio offers a haven from the storm. Craft cocktails at Cure Freret Street is another splendid option.
Mid-City is a neighborhood filled with local treasures, from art museums to restaurants.
Museums – The New Orleans Museum of Art is ranked among the top art museums in the United States. This makes it a treat for any New Orleans visitor. If the weather clears be sure to check out the neighboring Besthoff Sculpture Garden it’s one of favorite activities.
Drinks – Dry out with a drink at Pals a local pub with a lot of local color.
Gambling – Are horses your thing? Check out The Fairgrounds. They have horse racing in all kinds of weather. The season starts on Thanksgiving day and stretch to late March
Shopping – Do you love records? Then do yourself a favor and head down bayou road and check out Domino Sound, arguably one of the best record shops in town.
Dinner – Check out 1000 Figs for Mediterranean fusion food and get a break from the heavy French Creole food New Orleans is so famous for.