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Inside one of New Orleans' popular museums
Ciao, sono Lydia!

Lydia Schrandt is a writer, editor, and award-winning photographer currently based in Houston. She’s a contributor for USA TODAY 10Best and serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in Draft, Time Out Beijing, Travel+, USA TODAY, San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

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Hi, I'm Lydia!

Lydia Schrandt is a writer, editor, and award-winning photographer currently based in Houston. She’s a contributor for USA TODAY 10Best and serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in Draft, Time Out Beijing, Travel+, USA TODAY, San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

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New Orleans’ vibrancy, history, and multicultural heritage are perhaps best encapsulated in its numerous museums and collections. With a culture that celebrates individuality and expression, the city offers much to take in. Here are some of our favorite must-see museums in the Big Easy.

National World War II Museum

Outside the National World War II Museum. | Foto di: William A. Morgan / Shutterstock

The city’s National WWII Museum tells the story of the American soldiers who fought in the war that changed the world. Considered one of the top museums in the United States, this collection re-creates moments from World War II through vintage propaganda, weapons, personal items, short documentaries, and some 7,500 oral histories from the men and women involved. Visitors can feel what it’s like to be inside a submarine, see a replica of a Higgins landing craft, and learn about the German Enigma machine.

Audubon Nature Institute

This nature center is a fascinating visit. | Foto di: Teammilitello / Tripadvisor

The Audubon Nature Institute comprises several museums in one. Explore the wild side of New Orleans with visits to the Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, and the Audubon Nature Center. Visit individual attractions à la carte or with a combo ticket for better value.

Mardi Gras World

An idea of what you'll see at Mardi Gras world. | Foto di: Lori Monahan Borden / Shutterstock

If you can’t make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, the next best thing is a visit to Mardi Gras World. This quintessentially New Orleans museum gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at how the whimsical parade floats of the city’s biggest party are made. Sample king cake, see floats up close, and learn about the thousands of props and costumes that go into the annual celebration.

Cabildo Museum

The Cabildo Museum is beautiful inside and out. | Foto di: Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock

A historic tour of the French Quarter wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Cabildo on Jackson Square, the Spanish colonial building where the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803. This Louisiana State Museum’s historic New Orleans collection recounts Louisiana history through artifacts like Napoleon’s death mask and a self-portrait of Julien Hudson.

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