Day or night - New Orleans never sleeps and offers continuous fun times and things to do. Visitors will be entertained at countless live music venues on Bourbon Street every night. They will have plenty of opportunities to walk and stroll through the famed French Quarter or view beautiful homes in the Garden District. Historians old and young will have plenty to see and learn in the National WWII Museum. Don't leave the city before visiting some of the beautiful old cemeteries and Mardi Gras museums. And finally, shop for unforgettable souvenirs at the Magazine Street vintage shops.
Here is our list of 10 must do things in New Orleans:
This is a place for music lovers that want to escape the crowds of French Quarter and Bourbon Street. Frenchmen Street attracts locals and visitors alike with its live music clubs, bars, restaurants, and art scene. Tickets and drinks will be a bit cheaper here.
Come here for local hand-made souvenirs and shopping. Locals say that Frenchmen Street is what Bourbon Street used to be - a laidback place of Jazz and understated entertainment. Night owls are advised to start their experience at 7 pm, when the day nears its end, the bars open up, and great music begins. This street is easily accessible from French Quarter or can be reached by taxis and buses.
This street is the soul of the entire city and should be visited first. The scenery is beautiful, the music is plentiful, and so are the tourists. This part of the city is listed on the National Historic Landmark List and is protected. The scenery here is lively and always entertaining.
French Quarter is the place where French colony was originally settled and is maintained that way with original French street names and spirit. Cobblestone streets will lead visitors to famed Jackson Square and Cabildo house, where the Purchase of Louisiana was signed. Tourists get a chance to marvel at intricate wrought-iron balconies, hanging fern plants, and shady inner yards complete with refreshing fountains. This part of the city offers a wide choice of hotels, but they are pricy here.
Great way to explore the French Quarter is by guided mule-drawn carriage, walking tour, or on a unique Steamboat Natchez Cruise.
The city's most beautiful architectural examples are located in this part. The architecture is almost rivaled by ancient oaks, ivy, and lush gardens lining the street. This part of town is about 3 miles away from the hustle and bustle of the music scene and is often preferred for its serenity and peacefulness.
The famous historic Lafayette Cemetery No.1 is located close by, so are many great restaurants and cafes on Washington Avenue. Garden District is easily accessible from the center of New Orleans via streetcars, carriages or buses. Some companies, like Historic New Orleans Tours and Free Tours by Foot offer leisurely guided tours of the district and its history.
The museum is a point of interest for history lovers and simple wonderers alike. You don't have to be well versed in history to find these expositions amazing. The museum opened in 2000 and is the only National WWII museum in the country. Expositions here cover events of pre-war era, European battles, Normandy invasion, Holocaust, Home Front, and war of the Pacific.
Interactive expositions and movies offer a glimpse into the life of soldiers and their experiences, and will definitely leave you shaken. The museum was created by Stephen Ambrose and might be too graphic for young children. Visitors can hear the war events related on the recordings of WWII veterans. Beyond All Boundaries is a 4D movie produced and voiced by Tom Hanks - another must see at this museum.
Most people will spend at least 3 hours in the museum. That is the bare minimum, so be wary of your schedule. Visitors can come back the next day and pay only $6 to finish their tour. The original price for adults is $27, $10 less for children, and free for WWII veterans.
Bayou country covers area from Houston to Mobile, Alabama, and played an essential role in the development of this region. Those extensive swamps aided in the creation of communication and transportation that eventually enabled the establishment of the city of New Orleans.
Swamps are a very important part of this region's ecological system, and are home to indigenous wildlife and aquatic dwellers. Visitors can take airboat or flatboat tours to hear about the way people and nature coexisted here long ago.
The Louisiana swamps are partially saltwater, partially fresh water bayous. Tourists will definitely encounter fish, shrimp, snakes, frogs, and alligators here. Cajun Encounters, Airboat Adventures, and Cajun Pride Swamp Tours offer various tours through the swamps. The bravest tourists can take a kayak tour and get very close to local alligators. Take the bug spray along and enjoy this unique part of Louisiana.
New Orleans cemeteries are famous for their above the ground structures and architecture. The tombs are protected from rising waters and adorned with intricate ornaments of French and Spanish heritage. Some of the older "cities of the dead" are falling apart and add to the eerie feeling of those places.
The cemeteries are worth a visit for all tourists and can be visited with guides and tours. The most famous and historic cemeteries are St. Louis No. 1 and St. Louis No.2. They are located on the outskirts of the city and listed on National Register of Historic Places. Some famous New Orleans citizens are buried there - Bernard de Marigny (President of the state senate and a known playboy), Marie Laveau (a local Voodoo queen), local musicians Ernie K-Doe and Danny Barker, and a legendary pirate Dominique You. Not surprisingly, some of those resting places, like the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 were featured in Hollywood movies, such as "Interview with a vampire" and "Double Jeopardy".
Visit those cemeteries alone or better yet, join a tour from Save Our Cemeteries. Those guides are very informative and provided by the organization, dedicated to protecting those historic landmarks. You will not be disappointed.
This church stands in the center of French Quarter and is probably the most recognizable symbol of New Orleans. The cathedral was built in the 1700s and is the oldest cathedral in North America. This is the third building in this location, previous two did not survive. It is still an active worship place, but visitors can also enjoy concerts and cultural events there. If you are not willing to participate in services, at the very least come inside to marvel at the beautiful architecture.
Nearby St. Anthony's Garden invites visitors to view the sculpture of Sacred Heart of Jesus and pay respects to the memorial for 30 French ship team members, who died from Yellow Fever in 1857. The church is free for everybody or can be visited with a tour guide for a more informative experience.
This historic house is located in the Jackson Square since 1799. It originally served as a seat of the Spanish government. The famous Louisiana Purchase agreement was signed here and from then on the building housed the city hall and the Supreme Court.
Today the Cabildo is a three story museum of local history. Visitors will find expositions about Native Americans in this area and some Colonial-era artifacts. The entire floor is dedicated to 2005 Hurricane Katrina that devastated the city and the region. This exposition includes media displays and many objects from cleanup efforts.
Cabildo house is definitely a point of interest for architecture lovers.
New Orleans 12-acre Botanical garden is located in this park and offers 2,000 varieties of flora. Visitors enjoy spending afternoon in this shaded park right in the city. The park is kids-friendly and boasts a Storyland complete with a giant book, fairytale characters, a vintage carousel, and a Train Garden.
This park occupies 1,300 acres of land and has 26 tennis courts, 12 soccer fields, and a golf course. In addition to entertainment opportunities, this park is also home to ancient oak trees, some of them as old as 900 years.
Tourists are encouraged to allow some time to really enjoy everything this park has to offer and get some rest from crowds. The park is open to everybody all day and is free , but some attractions there can be paid.
This facility is heaven to all visiting children that are sometimes lacking entertainment in New Orleans and have to deal with rowdy crowds on Bourbon and other streets. The museum offers two stories of hands-on expositions and playrooms. The youngest New Orleans visitors can enjoy learning about everything from body movement to architecture and history.
Kids are entertained with daily story times and holiday-related activities. And best of all - this is a great place to hide from heat and humidity on those hot summer days.
The museum is easily accessible from the French Quarter or via St. Charles street car.