The Huge Straightforward, the Crescent Metropolis, NOLA. No matter you determine to name it, there’s no denying that New Orleans is likely one of the coolest cities within the US! With a vibrant tradition, fascinating historical past, and world-class culinary, music, and nightlife scenes, New Orleans is a unbelievable journey vacation spot.
Whereas New Orleans is legendary for its epic festivals (Mardi Gras!), there’s way more to town than its yearly carnival. On this information, we’ll check out a few of the finest issues to do in New Orleans that will help you plan an unforgettable journey there.
The town’s motto is “let the nice instances roll,” and that’s exactly what you’ll do on a visit to New Orleans. Whether or not you’re catching some dwell music on Frenchmen Road, feasting on gumbo and jambalaya, or simply wandering the streets with a large to-go cocktail, you’re just about assured a very good time.
I’ve been to the Huge Straightforward just a few instances now, and each time I’m going I discover one thing new to like concerning the metropolis. There’s simply one thing concerning the power of New Orleans that’s onerous to place into phrases, however I’ll do my finest.
When you’re questioning what to do in New Orleans, this text will provide you with a very good begin!
1. Get Misplaced within the French Quarter
For many guests to NOLA, their journey is centered across the French Quarter. This is likely one of the metropolis’s most historic neighborhoods, and is commonly known as the Crown Jewel of New Orleans.
Identified regionally because the Vieux Carré, this space was based by the French again in 1718 alongside the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. Sadly, many of the French colonial buildings have been destroyed by fireplace. Many of the buildings you see at the moment have been really constructed throughout a time of Spanish rule, though French tastes remained.
Lately, the French Quarter is the vacationer middle of New Orleans. Right here you’ll discover numerous lodges, eating places, retailers, cafes, and bars. There’s additionally loads of sightseeing to be executed right here, with well-known landmarks corresponding to Jackson Sq. and the St. Louis Cathedral in addition to lots of the metropolis’s finest museums.
Top-of-the-line issues to do in New Orleans is just getting misplaced within the French Quarter. It’s a comparatively compact space and there’s one thing fascinating round each nook, so go forward and simply wander. Make sure to carry your digicam, as there are many wonderful photograph ops on this historic neighborhood.
When you’d favor a little bit of steering in your exploration of the French Quarter, you’ll be able to at all times join a free strolling tour. Free Tours By Foot presents excursions at 10AM Thursday-Tuesday and in addition at 2PM on Thursday-Monday.
In search of the very best lodges on Bourbon Road? Try our epic submit on where to stay in New Orleans to study extra concerning the French Quarter and the highest lodging choices.
2. See Reside Music on Frenchmen Road
New Orleans is named the birthplace of jazz, which is alleged to have developed from drumming and voodoo rituals right here earlier than the Civil Warfare. Music has been an integral a part of the tradition of town ever since.
Whereas there’s dwell music all over the place you go within the Huge Straightforward, among the best locations to jam out is Frenchmen Road. A 3-block part of the road within the metropolis’s Faubourg Marigny neighborhood is residence to dozens of dwell music venues, that are rocking each evening of the week. It’s positively one of many high New Orleans points of interest.
Some bars on Frenchmen Road have a canopy cost, however a lot of them don’t. This lets you bounce round and catch a number of completely different bands in a single evening. In your means in between bars, you’ll possible discover marching bands jamming out on the street. I instructed you music is all over the place in New Orleans!
3. All Issues Mardi Gras
We are able to’t speak about the very best issues to do in New Orleans and never point out Mardi Gras. The primary Mardi Gras parade occurred in New Orleans again within the 1830s, and the social gathering hasn’t stopped since.
Mardi Gras is likely one of the most well-known events on the planet, and rightfully so. It’s an extremely festive time stuffed with music, parades, costumes, and naturally loads of colourful beads.
Whereas the most well-liked time to go to NOLA throughout Mardi Gras is the prolonged weekend earlier than Ash Wednesday, there are occasions occurring for a number of weeks main as much as it.
Make sure to examine the parade schedule to see what’s taking place, and positively guide your lodging nicely prematurely.
Even should you don’t make it to New Orleans for the precise Mardi Gras celebrations, you’ll be able to nonetheless expertise this world-famous vacation. Head to Mardi Gras World to see the place the floats are made and saved. It’s open 7 days per week from 9-5:30 with tickets costing $22 for adults, $17 for seniors and college students, and $14 for kids. Yow will discover it on the map here.
Mardi Gras could also be the most well-liked occasion in New Orleans, however the metropolis has quite a few different superior festivals that you simply received’t wish to miss. Be taught extra in our checklist of the Top 10 New Orleans Festivals!
4. Strolling Tour of the Backyard District
While you want a break from the busy French Quarter, an incredible place to go is town’s Backyard District. Right here you’ll discover loads of historic buildings and stately mansions, a lot of which are actually residence to movie star actors and athletes.
To get there, you’ll be able to take pleasure in one other quintessential NOLA expertise by driving the streetcar. Get on at Canal and trip the St. Charles line to Washington Avenue. A trip on the streetcar prices $1.25 per particular person, so attempt to have precise change.
After we explored the Backyard District on our first go to to New Orleans, we simply adopted this wonderful self guided tour. It has a map with a route you’ll be able to simply observe, detailed descriptions, and even an audio information. When you’d moderately expertise the Backyard District with others, there are many choices for guided excursions of the world.
The Backyard District is a wonderful place to probe for just a few hours. When you want a break, you have got a number of selections for locations to seize a drink, do a little bit of window buying, or sit down for a meal. It’s positively one of many high New Orleans points of interest.
5. Feast on Conventional Meals
When you’re a foodie, you’re going to like visiting New Orleans. Actually, you could possibly spend your complete journey right here simply consuming your means throughout town and there can be completely nothing fallacious with that.
New Orleans food is a mix of Cajun, Creole, and soul meals, with seafood that includes prominently. When you’re ever not sure of what to do in New Orleans, simply sit down and eat once more!
There are too many must-eat dishes to checklist all of them, however listed below are just a few you’ll be able to’t miss out on: gumbo, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, purple beans & rice, and po’ boy sandwiches. That may hold you busy for a minimum of just a few days.
Critically, my mouth is watering simply writing concerning the meals! Your style buds are in for an actual deal with whenever you come right here, so get excited. Sampling the entire scrumptious native dishes is certainly one of many high issues to do in New Orleans.
6. Attend Native Festivals
Mardi Gras might get all the eye, however there are tons of different superior festivals going on in New Orleans. The town has festivals devoted to music, artwork, movie, meals & drink, literature, and a lot extra.
Relating to music festivals, it’s onerous to high the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. This legendary competition is celebrating its 50th anniversary this yr by bringing in icons like Fleetwood Mac, Santana, Diana Ross, Buddy Man, and a whole bunch of different acts. Along with the competition itself, there are late evening exhibits galore.
One other wonderful alternative is the French Quarter Festival. This 4-day music and meals competition is held each April and is tons of enjoyable. The French Quarter is stuffed with over 100 phases taking part in every kind of genres of music and there’s wonderful meals on each nook. Better of all, it’s completely free!
7. Go to a Few Museums
While you encounter a brilliant sizzling or wet day in New Orleans, you’ll be able to head inside to take a look at a few of the metropolis’s many unbelievable museums. Whether or not you’re considering studying about historical past, artwork, music, and even voodoo, there’s a museum for you.
Top-of-the-line museums to go to right here is the National World War II Museum. This spectacular museum tells the story of the American expertise within the warfare that modified the world. It’s open each day from 9-5 with tickets costing $28 for adults, $24 for seniors, and $18 for college kids. You may get instructions to the museum here.
When you’re in search of an alternate museum expertise, you may wish to go to the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum. Take a tour of their two rooms filled with voodoo-related artifacts to study extra about its historical past within the space. It’s open each day from 10-6 with tickets costing simply $7 for adults. It’s positioned within the French Quarter and you will get instructions here.
8. Take a Swamp Tour
Whereas there are many issues to do in New Orleans to maintain you busy, it’s price it to go out of town on a swamp tour. Due to its location within the Mississippi Delta, there’s loads of swamp simply outdoors of New Orleans.
On a typical tour, you’ll cruise by way of the swamp on a small boat as you study concerning the atmosphere and its many inhabitants. Alongside the way in which, you may even see wild boards, egrets, snakes, and perhaps even alligators.
One firm that comes really useful is Cajun Pride. They’ve just a few completely different choices, together with their common sundown swamp tour. Kayaking excursions are additionally accessible by way of New Orleans Kayak Swamp Tours. Whichever you select, a swamp tour is certainly one of many high New Orleans actions.
There are quite a few corporations you’ll be able to be part of for a tour of the swamp. Try our checklist of the best 7 Swamp Tours in New Orleans.
9. Eat Beignets at Cafe du Monde
That is most positively some of the touristy issues to do in New Orleans, however we simply can’t go away it out. Cafe du Monde is an establishment within the metropolis — it’s been round since 1862.
Be part of the gang and get in line for a plate of beignets and a cup of espresso. In case you’re questioning, beignets are tasty little morsels of fried dough lined in powdered sugar.
Amazingly, Cafe du Monde is open 24/7. The one time it closes is on Christmas Day or “when an occasional hurricane passes too near New Orleans.” Yow will discover Cafe du Monde on the map here.
10. Stroll Alongside the Riverfront
With a pleasant sugar excessive and caffeine buzz out of your journey to Cafe du Monde, you’ll have loads of power to burn. Fortunately you’ll be proper subsequent to the scenic Moonwalk Riverfront Park.
This lengthy stretch of park alongside the Mississippi River is a good place for an informal stroll. Watch steamboats as they transfer alongside the river and take a look at the numerous sculptures and monuments alongside the way in which, together with the Holocaust Memorial.
Everytime you don’t know what to do in New Orleans, you’ll be able to simply head right down to the riverfront and take within the surroundings alongside the river. Go forward and convey a beer or a to-go cocktail with you should you like. It’s all good right here in NOLA!
11. Go On a River Cruise
Talking of the Mississippi, taking a river cruise is likely one of the hottest issues to do in New Orleans. There are fairly just a few choices for a NOLA river cruise relying in your tastes and finances.
For a traditional expertise, head out for a river cruise with Steamboat Natchez. There’s lots of historical past behind this identify, as they’re presently on the ninth Steamboat Natchez. Right here’s an fascinating piece of historical past for you — Natchez VI really beat Robert E. Lee in a race alongside the Mississippi.
They’ve just a few choices for 2-hour cruises across the river and all of them embrace dwell jazz. You may select between their afternoon cruises with lunch, dinner cruises within the night, or their well-known Sunday brunch cruise. Try all of the choices and costs here.
When you’re travelling to New Orleans on a finances however nonetheless wish to expertise being on a ship within the Mississippi, simply take the native Algiers ferry for less than $2.
12. Drink: New Orleans Model
New Orleans is certainly one of only a few locations within the US the place you’ll be able to legally devour alcohol in public. There are even bars right here which might be open 24/7. No marvel that is such a preferred place to social gathering.
When you’re out partying within the Huge Straightforward, you’ll positively wish to attempt some native drinks. Essentially the most famous New Orleans cocktail is the Hurricane, which is made with mild and darkish rum. It additionally has ardour fruit, orange, and lime juice together with easy syrup and grenadine.
One other native traditional is a Ramos Gin Fizz. This gin-based cocktail additionally has lemon & lime juice, orange flower water, egg white, powdered sugar, and milk. It takes lots of time to make this frothy cocktail, however little or no to place one down.
For a singular New Orleans bar expertise, hit up a drive-thru daiquiri place. That’s proper, you didn’t misinterpret. You may get frozen daiquiris from a drive-thru right here. They only must provide the straw on the aspect and also you technically can’t drink it till you get out of the automotive.
13. Discover the Bywater District
When you’re into quirky retailers, colourful road artwork, and rowdy dive bars, head to the Bywater space of New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina, this neighborhood has skilled a renaissance due to a thriving artwork and music group.
When costs rose dramatically within the French Quarter, many artists and musicians moved over to Bywater. This bohemian/hipster hood is now residence to some wonderful report retailers, artwork galleries, eating places, music venues, and bars.
The Bywater is positioned only a 10-minute trip east from the French Quarter, and is a fast bus or Uber trip away. For these in search of a extra native expertise than the touristy French Quarter, you’ll want to add a visit to Bywater to your checklist of issues to do in New Orleans.
14. Attempt Your Luck on the On line casino or Observe
When you’re feeling fortunate in New Orleans (or simply tipsy), you’ll be able to head into Harrah’s On line casino. They’ve acquired tons of machine and desk video games, in addition to loads of bars. You may even order your drinks straight from the slot machines right here.
An alternative choice for making an attempt to win some chilly onerous money is heading to the Honest Grounds Race Course & Slots. That is the third-oldest racetrack in your complete nation, relationship again to 1872.
The racing season on the Honest Grounds begins on Thanksgiving Day and runs till the tip of March. Their greatest race is the annual Louisiana Derby, which takes place in late March. Yow will discover the Honest Grounds on the map and get instructions here.
15. Go to a Nationwide Historic Park
One of many high New Orleans points of interest is the Jean Lafitte Nationwide Historic Park & Protect. This park seeks to guard the pure and cultural heritage of the Mississippi River Delta area of Louisiana.
There’s loads to see and do right here, together with boat and canoe excursions, climbing trails, and a battlefield. When you’re hoping to see a gator out within the wild, that is certainly one of your finest possibilities!
The park is positioned a couple of 30-minute drive outdoors of downtown New Orleans. When you don’t have your individual wheels, there are many choices for excursions that go to the park. You may get instructions and discover it on the map here.
16. Cheer on the Native Groups
Because it’s residence to 2 skilled sports activities franchises, cheering on the native groups has to make our checklist of the very best issues to do in New Orleans. The Huge Straightforward is residence to the Saints (NFL) and the Pelicans (NBA).
Going to a Saints sport is kind of the expertise, as they’ve a few of the most passionate followers within the nation. When you’re going to a sport, you’ll want to study the mantra first:
“Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?”
The Saints play on the Mercedez-Benz Superdome downtown. They play eight residence video games all through the common season, which lasts from early September to late December.
For these basketball followers on the market, the Pelicans play subsequent door on the Smoothie King Heart. The NBA common season lasts from mid-October to early April, so there are many possibilities to catch a house sport.
17. NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Artwork)
Artwork lovers will wish to you’ll want to embrace a go to to NOMA – the New Orleans Museum of Artwork. Dwelling to over 40,000 items, it is a huge and spectacular assortment of artwork from all over the world.
Along with all of the wonderful artwork contained in the museum, there’s additionally a wonderful sculpture backyard outdoors. With a lot unbelievable paintings to see right here, it’s no marvel the NOMA is likely one of the high New Orleans points of interest.
The museum is positioned in Metropolis Park (examine the map here) and is open from Tuesday-Sunday. Make sure to examine their hours as they differ from day-to-day. Tickets vary from $6 (kids) to $15 (adults). Because it’s a part of the park, the sculpture backyard is free to go to.
18. Chill Out in Metropolis Park
When you got here all the way in which to Metropolis Park to take a look at the artwork museum, you may as nicely hang around for some time. It’s an enormous park — about 50% bigger than New York’s Central Park, to be precise — so there’s lots to see and do right here.
Probably the most common points of interest within the park is the New Orleans Botanical Backyard. That includes greater than 2,000 vegetation from all over the world, it’s a wonderful place for a leisurely stroll. The backyard is open daily from 10-5 and admission prices $Eight for adults or $Four for kids.
The park can also be residence to a number of athletic fields, an amusement park, a golf course, and a lot extra. It’s a large park, so that you may wish to contemplate renting a motorbike to correctly discover it. Or you could possibly simply calm down and hire a paddleboat to cruise across the lake. The choices are practically limitless right here.
19. Day Journey to a Plantation
It’s nonetheless potential to journey to the Antebellum south, and also you don’t even want a time machine. Simply head out on a tour to one of many many historic plantations that’s inside a brief drive from New Orleans.
On a typical tour, you’ll get to go to one of many very well-preserved stately mansions and study all about their historical past. It’s a window into the agrarian previous of the world and a darkish time in American historical past. You’ll see examples of the ability and wealth that the plantation house owners loved, whereas additionally seeing the brutal circumstances that slaves lived and labored below.
A number of the hottest plantations to go to close to New Orleans embrace Laura, Whitney, and Oak Alley. You may get your self there and be part of a guided tour on the property or join an organized tour that features transportation. It’s potential to see all three in at some point as they’re all so shut collectively.
20. See a Present at Preservation Corridor
There are many superior locations to see dwell music in New Orleans. One venue that you simply positively received’t wish to miss within the Huge Straightforward is Preservation Hall.
This historic venue was based in 1961 to “defend, protect, and perpetuate conventional New Orleans jazz.” Preservation Corridor is way over only a venue, although. It’s additionally a non-profit group, report label, and home band. You may have loads of possibilities to catch a present at Preservation Corridor, as there are performances nightly at 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10PM.
You may guide reserved “Huge Shot” seats on-line prematurely for $35-40, however these are inclined to promote out nicely prematurely. There are many basic admission tickets for $20 (money solely), and it’s really useful that you simply arrive a minimum of 30-45 minutes earlier than the present begins.
Preservation Corridor is positioned within the French Quarter, so it’s proper within the thick of all of the motion. Yow will discover it on the map and get instructions here.
21. Get together on Bourbon Road
You knew this was coming ultimately, didn’t you? Like it or hate it, partying on Bourbon Road is undoubtedly some of the common issues to do in New Orleans. For guests, that’s. You received’t discover too many locals out on Bourbon Road.
Though it’s noisy, chaotic, and sure, extremely touristy, it’s nonetheless a enjoyable place to take a look at a minimum of as soon as. Order up a “large ass beer” or a large Hurricane to-go and be part of within the insanity as you bounce across the many alternative bars.
In my humble opinion, it’s price going to Bourbon Road only for the prospect to go to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar. Constructed someday within the 1700s, it’s stated to be the oldest bar within the US.
It’s simple to really feel such as you’ve stepped right into a time machine right here, because the bar is lit solely with candles. Seize a drink and head to the again to take heed to the piano participant. On a road stuffed with so many horrible bars, it is a diamond within the tough.
Prepared for New Orleans?
Are you able to see why New Orleans is my favourite American metropolis to go to? With so many desirable cultural and historic websites, a world-class music scene, most likely the very best regional delicacies within the nation, and a wild social gathering each evening of the week, what’s to not love?
I like New Orleans a lot that it was certainly one of twelve stops on our “year-long party” in 2018, as we attended WrestleMania on the Superdome.
Whereas I lined a few of the finest issues to do in New Orleans, there’s a lot extra to see and do on this unbelievable metropolis. Do your self a favor and get there ahead of later. It’ll be among the best journey selections you ever make.
Photos on this article courtesy of Shutterstock.com.
Like This Article? Pin it!
Disclaimer: Some hyperlinks on this article are affiliate hyperlinks, which signifies that if you buy by way of them, we obtain a small fee. It will by no means value you further and in lots of instances you obtain a particular low cost. We recognize your assist!