New Iberia, Louisiana has such a rich history, it being a melting pot of African-American, Creole, Spanish, and French heritage. It is home to Pulitzer Prize winner James Lee Burke and world-renowned Tabasco hot pepper sauce. Through the efforts of the city government to preserve its cultural history, New Iberia has safe-kept a collection of artifacts and other objects at Shadows-on-the-Teche and Bayou Teche Museum.
It comes with little to no surprise if most tourists regard the city’s traditions and the locals’ culinary skills, highly influenced by the French culture as they occupied it after the Spaniards had founded and fled from it. Truly, this small city has a lot to offer: food, festivals, history, and so much more. To get you started, here are the 10 best things to do in New Iberia, Louisiana.
Nestled on the banks of Bayou Teche in the Main Street District, the Shadow-on-the-Teche was an antebellum home of the Union soldiers before the Civil War broke out. Built in 1894 for a sugar planter named David Weeks, the historic residence has been passed on to four generations already but is now owned by the National Trust the Historic Preservation.
Address: 317 East Main St., New Iberia, Louisiana
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
2. New Iberia City Park
Parks abound in New Iberia—14 of them are scattered along the city streets which are all managed by the New Iberia Park and Recreation Department. The New Iberia City Park has many amenities including a swimming pool, fields, courts, and gazebo, garden, horseshoe pit, and public boat launch.
New Iberia City Park
Address: 300 Parkview Dr., New Iberia, Louisiana
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 – 5 p.m.
Website: New Iberia City Park
3. Bayou Teche Museum
Bayou Teche Museum is limited as it does not open on Sundays through Wednesdays so please be sure to take note of that to avoid wasting your time. This state-of-the-art museum showcases the rich cultural history of New Iberia through a wide collection of artifacts and memorabilia. It is located on the Main Street where New Iberia native James Lee Burke set his Pulitzer award-winning novels about the notable detective Dave Robicheaux.
Bayou Teche Museum
Address: 131 East Main St., New Iberia, Louisiana
Opening Hours: Thursday to Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Website: Bayou Teche Museum
4. Conrad Rice Museum
Operating since 1912, the Conrad Rice Mill has become a major business in the entire state of Louisiana. As a 105-year-old business, the company has morphed into an attraction in New Iberia, thus the Conrad Rice Museum. Today, it now offers a wide variety of products such as Cajun crafts and food.
Conrad Rice Museum
Address: 307 Ann St., New Iberia, Louisiana
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Website: Conrad Rice Museum
5. Evangeline Theater
Evangeline Theater is a 600-seat art deco-style movie house that opened in 1930 and closed in 1960. The Slimans of New Iberia donated it to the city government in 1994 and was subjected to renovations afterward. Today, the National Register of Historic Places manages it as the Sliman Theater for the Performing Arts where live performances are staged.
Address: 129 East Main St., New Iberia, Louisiana
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Website: Evangeline Theater
6. Atchafalaya National Heritage Area: Bayou Teche Corridor
Encompassing a few cities in Louisiana, the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area’s welcome center along the Bayou Teche Corridor is a 55-minute drive from New Iberia. There are so many fun things to do there. In the Bayou Teche Corridor, where the Cajun culture proves rich and robust, you get to listen to the native music of Cajun and eat some boudin, etouffee, and gumbo in time-tested restaurants. And of course, you can go canoeing or fishing.
Atchafalaya National Heritage Area
Address: West Atchafalaya Basic Spillway Levee, Franklin, Louisiana
Website: Atchafalaya National Heritage Area
7. Bayou Boards and Kajun Kites
If you are looking for strenuous adventures or wanting to learn new skills, Bayou Boards and Kajun Kites has local Acadians who can teach you the ropes of kiteboarding and stand-up paddleboarding. They also offer tours to Louisiana’s marshes, lakes, swamps, and bayous.
Bayou Boards and Kajun Kites
Address: New Iberia, Louisiana
Price: from 25 USD
Website: Bayou Boards and Kajun Kites
8. World Championship Gumbo Cook-Off
An annual event happening every second Saturday of October, the World Championship Gumbo Cook-Off this year takes place at Bouligny Plaza on October 14, 2017. Apart from the food, you will enjoy good music here and a fun run.
World Championship Gumbo Cook-Off
Address: 102 West Main St., New Iberia, Louisiana
Website: World Championship Gumbo Cook-Off
9. Rosary House
For the Roman Catholic followers, the Rosary House has handcrafted authentic silver rosaries for sale. But over the years since 1946, it has grown as a manufacturer, importer, and wholesaler of religious trinkets and some beautifully handmade valuable goods.
Address: 200 Ann St., New Iberia, Louisiana
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Website: Rosary House
10. Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival
As agriculturally rich as New Iberia is, sugar cane is one of its major crops that it produces more than 1 billion USD, according to its government. In celebration of the harvest season, the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival was born. A five-day event, the festival brings a carnival-style fair, food market, live music performances, an evening boat parade, street dance, artistic exhibits, fireworks display, and so much more.
Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival Office
Address: 600 Parkview Dr, New Iberia, Louisiana
Website: Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival Office
Amazing New Iberia
New Iberia may be a geographically small city but it proves that size in itself does not matter. It is booming in terms of income, its history is amazing, the community is great, and there are just so many things tourists can do. If you are planning to visit New Iberia, Louisiana, please know that the city goes beyond this list.
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