Top attractions in New Orleans
A slow-brewed Gumbo of cultures with a seemingly immortal music scene, New Orleans still drips with the Southern charm chronicled by Tennessee Williams and other famous sons. Here are the best things to see and do in one of the US' most characteristic cities!
There's no better way to cruise the Mississippi than by steamboat! The original Natchez was destroyed in a fire, but the current S.S. Natchez offers dinner and live Jazz tours of Old Man River.
Mit den elegantesten Gebäuden und Denkmälern der Stadt wie dem "1850 House“ oder dem Jackson Square ist das symbolträchtige French Quarter ist ein Muss für jeden Besucher.
Having once suffered from careless overdevelopment, the Lake Pontchartrain are now a great place to swim and picnic, particularly by the Mardi Gras fountain.
New Orlean's rich and famous still gravitate towards this district's 19th-century mansions. Book a Garden District tour to see the best bits, but it's also a great area just to wander and ponder!
Though it's now known primarily for its bars and clubs, by day, Bourbon Street remains one of the best places to tour New Orleans' colonial past.
The governing-offices-turned-courthouse called Cabildo at Jackson Square is where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. Its blend of Spanish and French colonial architecture is now a museum.
The Audubon Institute runs a zoo and aquarium too, but as family attractions go, this is one of the best in the US. There's even a creepy-crawly snack bar – Bug Appétit!
Discover what goes into making Mardi Gras' most breathtaking carnival floats at the giant Mardi Gras World warehouse. It's open 7 days a week, closing only for major holidays. Oh, and Mardi Gras!
Louisiana may have a short history but it's one that warrants 9 state museum buildings! The Cabildo is one, but their flagship is just across Jackson Square at The Presbytère.
Here's another branch of the Louisiana State Museum worth visiting. No longer used to mint coins, the Old US Mint is now a huge Jazz museum, exhibiting old recordings, photos, and live music!
The height of summer (June-August) can get intolerably hot, but it's worth checking what events are happening the rest of the year before settling on dates. The famous Mardi Gras carnival takes place the day before Ash Wednesday (in February or March). If you want to sample some traditional street food though, arrive for November's Oak Street Po-Boy Festival to try the best Po-Boy sandwiches in town!
For sightseeing, four days should be enough time to cover the French Quarter and Garden District, however, New Orleans is a city full of life and culture that penetrates deep beneath its surface. Book a few extra days if you can, keep your itinerary loose, and be prepared to get drawn into a few pleasant surprises!
Walking is by far the best way to see New Orleans, but when it's raining you can easily hail one of the city's many reasonably priced taxis. (Bear in mind though, that most cabs are more expensive and harder to come by on special event days.) There is also a well-connected bus network, but why not opt for the streetcars for which the city is famous? The St. Charles Avenue route, between downtown and Uptown, is a National Historic Landmark!
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- Best time to visit
- Spring, fall and winter tend to be more pleasant times to visit the city, not only to avoid the heat, but also to experience Mardi Gras, or one of the city's famous festivals. Check event calendars while planning your trip!
Things to Do in New Orleans
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What people are saying about New Orleans
Our tour guide could tell us about the basics of the history and vodoo religion, but there was no real passion for the topic. Also, it's hard to find the meeting location, it would've helped to know that it's a red phone booth - that would've made it clear who to approach right away. She was very nice though and really cared about the well-being of the group in the heat. The tour was still worth it and I can recommend seeing the cemetery when you're in town.
Personally I chose to take the slow boat, this was much better than the exceptionally noisy fast boat, in addition the Captain could narrate on the history of the Swamp and provide detailed information. Don’t expect to see 12 foot Aligators though. We saw 4 and the largest was about 3 ft long.
We enjoyed our tour on day 1 in the city. Beth was our tour guide and shared the history and her experience as a long time resident of the city and her ongoing participation with mardi gras floats. Dee was our driver and all went smoothly. Especially enjoyed the views of the Garden District.
I would recommend spending this 3.5 hours to anyone. It's not a strenuous bike ride and it's very informative. We went back to many of the neighborhoods we cycle 3. It gave us a great lay of the land and so much to talk about! Thank you Jack!
First timers in the Big easy! Our tour guide was awesome! Felt safe, very knowledgeable, informative. He was very respectful and kept us interested the whole time. Would go again