Visit the National WW2 Museum in New Orleans
This post is a review of the National World War II Museum, one of the most popular and most satisfying experience one can have during a visit to New Orleans. But don’t just take our word for it — the Museum is ranked the #1 activity to do in New Orleans on TripAdvisor.
- What to see at the Museum
- Hours and Tickets
- Navigating the Museum
- Getting to the Museum
- Dining and Entertainment at the Museum
Nearly 15,000 people have reviewed the Museum which has a 5-star rating. The Museum’s impressive five-building campus is located outside of the French Quarter, inside the Warehouse District. Because it is a popular attraction and requires a minimum of 2-3 hours to have a satisfying visit, we have created this guide to help you organize your visit in advance.
You may be wondering what does the museum have to offer that earns it such consistently high ratings. The Museum is more than just a place to look at objects. It is a venue in which visitors are metaphorically transported to another time and place, where they can virtually experience the challenges faced by the nations who fought in World War II. Immersive and interactive exhibits bring you into the emotional world of the people who lived through WWII, who fought overseas or who remained on the Home Front. It is a museum like no other and you need not be a military buff to find a visit rewarding.
The Museum’s permanent collection fills a five-building complex focusing on different themes. Additionally, the Museum hosts a number of limited run traveling exhibits and special events throughout the year that you will not want to miss or may conflict with exhibits you wish to see.
Plan to spend several hours at the Museum — there is much to see and do. Some people even buy a second-day pass at (just $6 extra) so as to give themselves the luxury of not rushing through this comprehensive and unforgettable collection of artifacts, stories, simulations, and films.
This area is a 32,512 square-foot pavilion where visitors can experience in a personal way how the Allies were able to defeat two formidable enemies on two sides of the world simultaneously.
Two exhibits, Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries and Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries are immersive and dynamic: you’ll see dramatic displays, listen to oral histories and view digital artifacts and newsreels.
Through recreated battle sites and beaches, jungles and bunkers, visitors learn about the challenges that confronted the Allies in their effort to win the war.
This center relays the story of a country as it mobilized for war and the men and women who did their part on the home front by producing airplanes, submarines, and military machinery. You will see vintage aircraft, tanks, and personnel carriers.
A highlight of a visit to the museum is the immersive exhibit called Final Mission: The USS Tang Submarine Experience. Step aboard the most successful submarine in WWII history and relive its final mission.
Show times begin at 9:35 am and run at 15, 35 and 55 after the hour until 4:35 pm. On Fridays and Saturdays, shows are at 4:55 pm, 5:15 pm and 5:35 pm will also be available.
Note: you must purchase it as an add-on to your general admission ticket (see ticket prices below). Purchasing tickets in advance for the USS Tang is highly recommended.
This pavilion is dedicated to telling the story of the dozens of mass amphibian landings by the Allies, such as D-Day, that turned the tide of the war. Within the pavilion are distinct galleries that allow you to experience different aspects of the Allies’ coordinated efforts to be victorious.
From the sentimental Train Car exhibit – a five-minute recreation of the tearful goodbyes said at train stations across America as our Armed Forces left home, to the Home Front Gallery telling the stories of those who supported our forces overseas by working hard here at home to build military equipment so fundamental to winning the war.
The impressive D-Day Planning and D-Day Beaches galleries put you in the shoes of those who had to make world-changing tactical decisions and into the combat boots of those who made those battle plans a reality.
Inside the pavilion is the Malcolm Forbes Theater that shows two films daily: Price for Peace showing at 9:30 am and 3:30 pm and D-Day Remembered at 2:30 pm. Each runs approximately 45 minutes long.
This complex is where you can view Beyond All Boundaries narrated by Tom Hanks. Daily showtimes start at 10:00 am and run hourly until 4:00 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, the last showing time is 5:00 pm. Advance tickets are highly recommended and the price can be added on to your General Admission ticket purchase (see ticket prices below).
On the second floor, you will find the Merchant Marine Gallery, a 940-square-foot gallery honoring civilian merchant mariners.
Look through the pavilion’s glass to witness the restoration of WWII artifacts in progress. Currently under restoration is a Higgins Industries PT boat, PT-305 that was built in New Orleans and saw service in the Mediterranean theater.
When restoration is complete the patrol torpedo (PT) boat PT-305 will be launched into her home waters of Lake Pontchartrain. Following two to three months of testing, PT 305 will be moved to a custom-built boathouse and opened to the public.
Follow the progress on the Museum’s blog.
The Museum’s campus is quite large and you may want to plan in advance which pavilions you want to visit and in which order. Most people who visit this museum feel overwhelmed by the amount there is to see and are disappointed when they can’t squeeze it all into the amount of time available.
For a cursory visit seeing just the highlights, give yourself at least 3 hours. If you want to go deep, you’ve got 8 hours to use your ticket as the Museum is open 9 am-5 pm.
If 8 hours is STILL not enough for you – and it might not be if you are fascinated with the history of World War II, you can buy a second-day pass for just an additional $6.
For a rounded visit in 3 hours, we recommend that you visit The Campaigns of Courage Pavilion and check out either Road to Berlin or Road to Tokyo. Both of these will take you through the path of the war, but on different fronts, the European Theater of War or the Pacific Theater of War.
Take time to check out the U.S. Freedom Pavilion with planes and bombers suspended over the attractive indoor space.
If you have purchased your tickets in advance online, (highly recommended), choose one of the add-on multi-sensory exhibits: either The Final Mission or the longer Beyond All Boundaries.
If you want to be victorious in your quest to see it all, arm yourselves with these weapons before you go: download the official Museum campus map and also the free WWII Museum App (available for both iPhone and Android).
Note: If you are buying a New Orleans Pass, be aware that general admission to the museum is included at no extra charge.
Walk-up tickets are available at the box office, however, if you plan to visit during the busy season we highly recommended that you buy your tickets in advance online. Tickets purchased online may be picked up at the box office with a confirmation number. The box office is located at 945 Magazine Street.
General Admission tickets include access to the all the pavilions and centers listed above but does NOT include the film Beyond All Boundaries, the Final Mission submarine experience, or a second-day pass. Those must be purchased for an additional fee.
- Adult $ 27.00
- Senior (65+) $23.50
- Child (k-12) $17.50
- College Student (with ID) $17.50
- Military (with ID) $17.50
- WWII Veterans – Free
- Beyond All Boundaries film ticket – additional $5.00
- Final Mission: USS Tang Submarine Experience – additional $5.00
- Second Day Pass – additional $6.00
(10 or more people) Call 1-877-813-3329 ext. 222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org at least one week in advance to determine if your preferred date and arrival time are available.
The museum is located at 945 Magazine Street, nine blocks from Canal St. and the French Quarter (map + directions).
Note: As of July 2016, Andrew Higgins Drive is temporarily closed to vehicles and pedestrians between Camp Street and Magazine Street due to construction. Enter the museum at 945 Magazine Street.
Using public transportation
You can get maps and ticket prices by looking at the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority. Also, take a look at our post on How to Ride the Streetcar in NOLA.
By Streetcar The WWII Museum is located 1 block from the St. Charles Streetcar stop at Higgins Dr. and Lee Circle.
- From The French Quarter, catch the #11 Magazine Street bus at the corner of Canal St. and Magazine St. Travel 9 blocks to 945 Magazine St. The Museum entrance will be on your right.
- From The Garden District/ Uptown catch the #11 Magazine Street Bus anywhere along Magazine St. The bus will veer onto Camp St. (1 block W of Magazine St. in the Lower Garden District), travel to the corner of Higgins Dr. and Camp St. Note: Due to construction as of July 2016, you will need to walk around the Museum and enter from the Magazine St. entrance.
By car See the museum’s website for directions, a map and information about parking.
The American Sector Restaurant and Bar is open every day of the week and serves lunch from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and dinner 4:00 pm- 8:00 pm. Happy Hour with discounts on drinks is 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. daily. Reservations are suggested. The restaurant has a 1940s theme to complement the Museum’s atmosphere. The food is American, with salads, sandwiches and assorted meat, poultry and seafood entrees. Prices are ok and it is certainly a convenient location, but the consensus seems to be that you probably want to eat somewhere else. With many other finer restaurants in the area, you have options. (See our list just below).
The Soda Shop is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This cute eatery recreates a typical mid-20th Century “soda fountain” shop where you can grab a milkshake and a burger at lunch or late in the afternoon.
Stage Door Canteen is a live show venue that showcases the music that served as the soundtrack to the WWII era. Listen to swing bands and other musical performances like the signature Victory Belles vocal trio. It is highly recommended that you purchase tickets in advance online.
There are several nearby restaurants ranging from are simple and satisfying to world-renown and classic New Orleans cuisine.
Warehouse Grille is just a lone block north of the Museum at 869 Magazine Street. It has a casual environment that is kid-friendly. They serve up burgers, sandwiches, salads and New Orleans classics like a Shrimp Creole Po-Boy.
Magazine Pizza 1068 Magazine St. is one block south of the Museum and makes creative and delicious pizzas, as well as calzones and finger foods like mozzarella sticks. Seating space is limited but you can grab your food to go.
If you walk west two streets along Andrew Higgins Drive you will find a few restaurants to choose from including the famed Cochon Butcher at 930 Tchoupitoulas St. which is one part actual butcher shop and the other part sandwich shop/wine bar. Just next door is the sister restaurant, the world-renownedChochon known for its authentic Cajun cuisine from fried alligator to incredible Gumbo.
Speaking of gumbo, if you arent sure where to get yourself some, we’ve got the low-down on NOLA’s best gumbo. See our post on Where to eat the best Gumbo in New Orleans.
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