Cultural Asset and Tourism Destination: City Park

Chances are, if you live in New Orleans, you probably know (and love) City Park. Trails, gardens, and ancient oak trees dot the sprawling, 1300-acre park, but that’s not all. The park also features boating, golfing, an amusement park, a world-class art museum, and everyone’s favorite… beignets.

An ancient oak tree in City Park. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

An ancient oak tree in City Park. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Perhaps we take the park for granted as a convenient place to walk the dog or admire nature. It’s easy to forget that City Park is also a backbone of our local tourisms and hospitality industry. About 13% of the park’s total budget comes from state funding, says City Park CEO Robert Becker. Moreover, the park draws about 16 million visitors each year. Here are a few more reasons why City Park is part of our local tourism economy:

It’s Hosting the International China Lights Exhibit

Did you know that after a stint in the Netherlands, the internationally acclaimed exhibit China Lights chose New Orleans City Park as its next destination? From now until May 1, 2016, beautiful lighted silk structures have overtaken the City Park Botanical Garden. These incredible installations highlight the history and beauty of China while also bringing in revenue.

It’s Home Base for Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

Many people outside of New Orleans come to know City Park through the annual Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, a festival bringing in some of the world’s top talent in late October/early November.

It Gets into the Holiday Spirit

More than just a local favorite, City Park’s annual holiday tradition of “Celebration in the Oaks” is a popular destination for families in the region, who drive in to admire the incredible light installations all over City Park.

It’s an Affordable Attraction for Families

Just as families might come into town for Celebration in the Oaks, City Park presents opportunities on a daily basis to make lasting memories at a reasonable price. Storyland Amusement Park is fun and affordable, as are other attractions like the New Orleans Museum of Art, putt-putt golf, and boating. Even better, attractions like the Besthoff Sculpture Garden are completely free! This frees up money for families to spend in other parts of the city, whether they’re buying dinner in the Garden District or attending a concert in the French Quarter.

Even Its Free Assets Bring in Money

As we mentioned before, City Park’s free attractions leave more room in people’s wallets to spend money elsewhere in the city. And with on-site attractions like Morning Call, many people find extra cash in their pocket for an afternoon snack (and who can blame them?).