New York, Chicago, Paris, Rome . . . great museum cities, all. New Orleans isn’t included in that list, but it’s a surprisingly excellent museum city. Museums also make stellar retreats when the elements become overbearing.

* Backstreet Cultural Museum: To truly appreciate them, you really must see the Mardi Gras Indians’ astounding beaded suits up close (if not in action, then in this collection) and learn about this unique tradition. 

* The Cabildo: Louisiana and New Orleans history, including terrific Mardi Gras exhibits. And Napoleon’s death mask. 

* The Insectarium: Yes, it is what it sounds like. It’s especially good for families, but unexpectedly captivating even for the bug-averse. 

* Louisiana Children’s Museum: So much hands-on, interactive fun (for all ages) you don’t even realize you’re also learning. 

* National World War II Museum: It's the best museum of its kind. Period. Do not miss its world-class collection and interactive displays. 

* New Orleans Museum of Art: Consistently well-curated exhibits and an excellent permanent collection of all forms of fine art, housed in a stunning, neoclassical-meets-modernist building in beautiful City Park. 

* Ogden Museum of Southern Art: A splendid collection of the art of the American South, new and old, in a modern atrium nestled between two historic buildings.

* Pharmacy Museum: Leeches and opium and Voodoo spells, oh my. A mightily worthwhile, off-the-wall diversion. 

* The Presbytère: The excellent exhibit on hurricanes captures their impact from all aspects; other rotating exhibits are consistently good. 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.