Louisiana is undoubtedly the melting pot of culture, food, and music in the United States.
This southeastern state is home to different nationalities, such as French and African, making it a famous travel destination because of its unique and vibrant culture.
It’s mainly famous for southern jazz music, the Cajun and Creole culture, the famous Mardi Gras festival, and its rich history.
Commonly, most people assume that everything amazing about Louisiana is mainly concentrated in New Orleans.
The truth is, New Orleans is part of this beautiful state, which has a lot more to offer than its popular trends.
Outside New Orleans are towns and cities that represent what southeastern culture is all about.
One of these towns is Metairie, a Census-designated community of Jefferson Parish County on the outskirts of New Orleans with a population of 143,000.
Although Metairie is tied closely to New Orleans, this town has recently undergone numerous developments as the top alternative to the latter.
Metairie is home to several shopping centers, famous restaurants, and entertainment establishments displaying authentic southern culture.
Metairie’s culinary cuisine follows traditional creole and cajun recipes that you can taste, from the famous comfort gumbo, jambalaya, shrimps, crawfish to the po’boys.
Its downtown features several high-end shopping centers housed in buildings dating back to the 1920s;
It also has several historical landmarks that take you back in time.
The town is also home to several professional sports teams worth watching.
Indeed, Metairie is a place you need to go one way or another.
So, what’s really in store for you in this southeastern Louisiana charm?
Here are the 15 things to do in Metairie, Louisiana:
Relax at the Lafreniere Park
Metairie is home to several recreational areas and parks where you can breathe fresh air and relax.
One of these parks is the Lafreniere Park in 3000 Downs Blvd, a public open space known for its lush green vegetation.
It’s where many locals spend their mornings exercising and afternoons to hike because of its paved trails, hilly portions, and picnic areas.
Plus, it has an artificial lake where you can go boating and fishing.
There are tons of outdoor activities you can enjoy at Lafreniere Park.
The park opens from 5 am to 9:45 pm daily.
Watch Sports Events at the Shrine on Airline
Metairie’s The Shrine on Airline is a vast baseball stadium converted into a rugby stadium in the heart of the town.
It is where most professional sports teams in New Orleans play and train for their respective leagues.
This stadium at 6000 Airline Dr. can occupy more than ten thousand spectators.
It is once the home stadium of the New Orleans Baby Cakes baseball team.
Catching up baseball games and rugby matches at the stadium always brings excitement and action.
So, it’s a must-visit place when you’re in Metairie.
Witness Entertaining Performances From the Jefferson Performing Arts Center
To experience local stage plays and theater acts, head to the Jefferson Performing Arts Center at 6400 Airline Dr.
It’s where most of Metairie’s live performances from musical, opera, symphonies to ballet performances happen.
Its modern theater is equipped with state-of-the-art sound and acoustics systems, giving you another level of entertainment experience.
The Jefferson Performing Arts Center is a theater that greatly impacts Jefferson County’s arts and culture scene.
To check out their upcoming shows, visit the Jefferson Performing Arts Center’s official website, or perhaps see the theater itself, which is open on Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am to 12 midnight.
Visit the St. Ann Catholic Church and National Shrine
Lousiana’s dominant religion, in particular, is mostly Catholic and Christian.
Thus, you will frequently come across churches and religious landmarks in and nearby Metairie and New Orleans.
This church, in particular, is a national shrine to pay homage to St. Ann, who was the Virgin Mary’s mother and supposed grandmother of Jesus Christ.
When you get to the shrine, you’re welcomed by a life-sized cave at the back of the sanctuary.
From there, you can climb a stair that takes you to the Stations of the Cross made from stained glass.
The place is solemn and holds historical significance in Metairie since the shrine was honored way back in 1584.
Thus, an annual feast day celebration happens every July 26th.
Cross the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
This major thoroughfare connecting Metairie and the towns of Chinhuba, Lewisburg, Mandeville stretches 24 miles crossing Lake Pontchartrain.
Crossing the causeway is a must-do thing for those who want to have a scenic view of the lake and the surroundings of Louisiana.
The lake alone covers a vast area of 630 square miles.
Furthermore, Lake Pontchartrain is not an actual lake but rather an estuary of the Mexico Gulf.
The lake was part of the thousands of years of evolution of the Mississippi River Delta.
Crossing the causeway takes about 25 minutes in good weather conditions.
However, if there’s rain or fog, the travel takes about an hour.
Pay Tribute to Those Who Serve at the Veteran’s Memorial Square
Every Memorial Day, Metairie’s locals and those from Jefferson and New Orleans gather at the Veteran’s Memorial Square along Veterans boulevard to pay tribute to those who served and those who have fallen in America’s great wars.
However, you can visit the memorial anytime since it is open to the public 24/7.
The place only lights up and is filled with inspirational speeches, patriotic music, and great war stories every Memorial Day.
The memorial square is specifically built to honor those who have died during World War 2 and the Korean War.
Munch on Delicious Seafood at Station 6 Seafood & Oyster Bar
Metairie is home to dozens of restaurants that mainly serve seafood cooked the southern way or the Cajun and Creole style.
Generally, Creole and Cajun are the two most common methods in cooking and preparing food in the US’s southeastern region, particularly Louisiana.
Creole and Cajun are two different styles, but these are practiced together in serving delicious food in Lousiana and Metairie.
To taste authentic Creole and Cajun seafood cooking, head to Station 6 Seafood and Oyster Bar.
The restaurant is nestled on Bucktown Harbour Marina facing Lake Pontchartrain.
They are well known for their jicama, fish ‘n’ chips, seafood platter, oysters, shrimps, crawfish, and pompano cooked the southern style way.
The Station 6 Seafood & Oyster restaurant is only open on Friday to Saturday from 12 noon to 9 pm, and on Tuesday to Thursday from 5 pm to 9 pm.
Treat Your Tastebuds at Drago’s Seafood Restaurant
A huge part of your itinerary in Metairie will be focused on eating scrumptious southern cuisines.
The town itself is home to dozens of delicious restaurants that serve southern-style seafood dishes, and one of them is Drago’s Seafood Restaurant at 3232 N. Arnoult Rd.
Locals around Jefferson Parish County widely know the restaurant as one of the neighborhood’s best and most affordable seafood restaurants.
The place itself welcomes you with cozy vibes, making it a perfect spot to unwind while having an excellent evening with your loved ones or friends.
Don’t miss trying their charbroiled oysters, the restaurant’s best-seller, and other delectable seafood items.
Drago’s Seafood Restaurant opens from 11 am to 9 pm daily.
Shop for Great Finds at the Lakeside Shopping Center
The Lakeside Shopping Center is one of the most extensive shopping malls in Jefferson Parish County.
It has more than 130 shops, restaurants, and boutiques that will surely provide you with the best shopping choices.
It has five movie theaters and a very spacious food court.
Visiting in Metairie isn’t complete without window shopping or perhaps legitimately shopping in Lakeside Shopping Center.
You can choose from mainstream brands such as Zara, JCPenney, Dillard’s, and many more.
To visit this mall, it is at 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd, Metairie, LA.
It would be better to check its official website since its business hours may differ.
Chill at the Bobby Hebert’s Cajun Cannon
If you want to immerse with the public and experience what Cajun culture is all about, head to Bobby Hebert’s Cajun Cannon at 4101 Veterans Memorial Blvd.
The bar is well-known for its fine craft beer, authentic Lousiana food, and vibrant sports culture.
Bobby Hebert designed the restaurant where sports fans and food lovers converge to have fun.
The restaurant serves one of the best po’boys in town, where you can pair it with their famous craft beer on tap.
You can enjoy good food and beer while watching live games on their large televisions.
The bar opens from 11 am to 11 pm daily.
Stroll Along La Salle Park
Head to La Salle Park and Playground in downtown Metairie if you want a relaxing walk during the mornings or afternoons.
It has a vast open space with numerous paved trails perfect for hiking, while multiple playgrounds will keep kids busy.
Furthermore, the park also has numerous sports facilities such as a soccer field and a baseball diamond.
Locals love to do outdoor activities in La Salle Park because of its relaxing atmosphere near the Shrine on Airline Stadium and establishments.
La Salle Park opens from 5 am until 10 pm daily.
Explore the Scenic Pontchartrain Lakefront Trail
To get a much closer look at Lake Pontchartrain, the Pontchartrain Lakefront Trail offers you the most scenic view of this natural attraction in Metairie.
The paved trail skirts the southern shores of Lake Pontchartrain, covering the entire town of Metairie.
The trail stretches from the West Edge of Kenner to Bucktown Marina.
If you have a bike with you, traverse the Linear Park Bicycle trail, a 31.2-kilometer path within the Pontchartrain Lakefront Trail.
After a long hike, you can head straight to Bucktown to eat more seafood.
Enjoy Mouthwatering Seafood at Deanie’s
Deanie’s is popularly known by many to serve fresh Lousiana seafood.
They have a vast menu offering the freshest catch from the Mexico Gulf and Lake Pontchartrain.
The restaurant offers you a hot and friendly place where you can unwind and enjoy great food at the same time.
It has been operating for more than 50 years and has many branches in Lousiana already.
The one in Metairie is seated in front of the scenic Lake Pontchartrain.
Deanie’s has an excellent score by the Zagat Food and Service Rating.
The restaurant serves delicious seafood daily, while its business hours may differ.
Spot Wild Animals at the Bucktown Marsh Boardwalk
If you’re done roaming around Metairie’s parks, historical landmarks, and restaurants, head to the Bucktown Marsh Boardwalk for animal sightings.
The place is teeming with wildlife that thrives on Lake Pontchartrain.
Along the 1,000-foot boardwalk, you can spot wild birds, amphibians, and mammals that aren’t shy for photos.
The place is taken care of by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation Coastal Sustainability Program.
If you’re tired of spotting animals, take a seat on one of its benches and spend the rest of your afternoon watching the majestic sunset.
Join the Gastronomic Adventure of the Lousiana Oyster Trail
The Louisiana Tourism Recovery Program initiated the Louisiana Oyster Trail in 2012 after Hurricane Katrina.
It was focused on reviving the tourism industry in Louisiana through this delicious adventure that takes you to 10 cities and towns in the Jefferson Parish County.
The entire trail includes tasting different oyster recipes from 13 restaurants in Metairie.
Currently, there are more than 20 restaurants in Jefferson County participate in the Louisiana Oyster Trail.
This experience serves as the culmination of your visit to Metairie.
So, check the Louisiana Oyster Trail’s official website to book your reservation and join them on their next food adventure.
Metairie offers you a plethora of activities, mainly on arts, culture, and food.
This small town packed with so many great things is the best alternative destination in southeastern Louisiana.
Whenever you’re ready to travel there, make sure to bookmark this page and visit any of those listed above!