The Singing Oak at Big Lake
Not to be confused with that other “big lake” just outside of the city, City Park’s Big Lake has been one of the Park’s most popular recreational attractions. The lake is surrounded by 25 acres filled with art installations, wildlife and wetlands, paths for walking, jogging and biking, the New Orleans Museum of Art and much, much more!
Parking is available on Lelong Avenue and in a lot on the north side of Big Lake on Friedrichs Avenue.
The Singing Oak
City Park’s Singing Oak is one of the many unexpected delights visitors stumble upon when exploring the park. This large oak tree, which sits adjacent to Big Lake near the intersection of Wisner and Lelong in the John S. McIlhenny Meadow, is strung with a set of wind chimes that ring a pentatonic (five notes per octave) scale. This musical art installation was designed by artist Jim Hart, and is proof positive that there’s always music in the air in New Orleans! Fun fact: one of the chimes in the Singing Oak is 14-feet long.
The outdoor classroom at Big Lake
Boating and Biking
Wheel Fun Rentals provides both our boats and bikes for rental from the Boat House on Big Lake. Boats and bikes can be rented 7 days a week. Please see the boating and biking City Park page for hours of operation.
See City Park from a new perspective! Spend a lazy afternoon floating with the ducks, swans and geese on the park’s historic bayous and lagoons. Boat Rental Rates can be found on our Boat City Park page.
Explore City Park on two wheels!
City Park’s four miles of bike paths take riders from Bayou St. John to Lake Pontchartrain. Plus there are trails around Big Lake (3/4 of a mile) and the Festival Grounds (1 mile).
No bike? No problem. Bikes can be rented from the City Park Boat House on Big Lake. Take s troll with a friend on a tandem bike. Have fun on a surrey bike with a canopy.
Wheel Fun Rentals provides both our bikes and boats for rental. Bike Rental Rates can be found on our Bike City Park page.
Fair warning: after a walk, run or spin around this three-quart-mile trail ringing Big Lake, you may never go back to a drab gym. This scenic path is designed for walking, jogging or biking, and is one of the most beautiful places in New Orleans to burn off a few po-boys.
New Orleans Museum of Art
The New Orleans Museum of Art celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011 and is the city’s oldest fine arts institution. The museum sits just steps away from Big Lake and is home to a permanent collection of 40,000 objects ranging from French and American art to photography, glass and Japanese exhibits. Don't miss the the five-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden holds more than 60 sculptures collectively valued at $25 million. It's located just to the left of the entrance to NOMA. Fun Fact: Just to the left of the sculpture garden is the famous Dueling Oak.
Take your bikes out to Big Lake!
And Much Much More!
At every turn, you’ll find something to love around Big Lake: rare and native birds, including brown pelicans and the park’s waddling gaggles of ducks and swans; the Pump House; the lake’s fountain, which shoots water 40 feet into the air; the Louisiana Trail dotted with trees representing our state’s seven distinct tree regions. The lake is divided by the Enrique Alferez bridge, and the tranquil, smaller section of the lake – a popular spot for picnickers and the Park’s geese – flows into the Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Our advice? Take your time, explore all of the nooks and crannies around Big Lake, and come back for more as often as you like!
The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with City Park, developed this trail and meadow to commemorate the indomitable spirit of the residents of Greater New Orleans for their resilience and commitment to rebuilding their homes and neighborhoods after Hurricane Katrina. We believe parks and open spaces are essential elements that support vibrant, thriving communities, and we believe growing City Park is key to a healthy New Orleans.
Big Lake at dusk