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Things to do in New Orleans

Things to do in  New Orleans

Welcome to New Orleans

Rowdy yet refined, New Orleans is a city that unabashedly mixes all-hours fun with a deep respect for tradition and culture. Late night revelers spill into Bourbon Street, trombone players and tap dancers vie for attention on street corners and in famous clubs, and both old school cuisine and the chefs it inspired entice visitors into the city's varied restaurants. Tour the Garden District and the French Quarter; cruise down the Mississippi River on a steamboat; and watch live jazz all over town. A day trip to the countryside reveals New Orleans’ roots, with opportunities to tour historic plantations and ride airboats through the swamps.

Top 10 attractions in New Orleans

#1
French Quarter

French Quarter

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The French Quarter, with its vibrant atmosphere and unique blend of architectural styles, is easily New Orleans’ most famous and most popular area to visit. It's also the city's oldest neighborhood, and its elegant streets are lined with an appealing mix of lively bars—especially along the legendary Bourbon Street—historic monuments, delicious restaurants, and inviting jazz clubs.More
#2
Garden District

Garden District

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New Orleans' Garden District is the epitome of Southern charm. Plantation-style mansions, which are among the most impressive in the city, feature wrap-around porches, verandas, and manicured gardens where there’s always something blooming. Streets are separated by stretches of green parks, and the historic cable car line runs along St. Charles Avenue.More
#3
French Market

French Market

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Located in the heart of New Orleans’ vibrant French Quarter, the French Market is a grand bazaar that serves as much as a cultural meeting place as it does a market space. In addition to hosting stall after stall of vendors hawking handmade goods and artisanal foods, the market doubles as a venue for a daily flea market and a twice-weekly farmers market. The French Market boasts the superlative as the oldest continuously operating open-air market in the United States, making it a part of living Louisiana history.More
#4
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

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Back when apothecary was not an antiquated term alluding to potions and snake oil, the pharmacist was near synonymous with potion-maker, and it was anything but the hallowed profession it is today. All that changed in 1804 when the Louisiana governor Claiborne passed a law requiring licensure of Louisiana pharmacists. Sworn-in after a three-hour oral exam held in another famous New Orleans attraction – the Cabildo building – pharmacists were required to practice a fair and honest craft in the Unites States from thereon out. Louis Dufilho was the first licensed pharmacist in the United States, and the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum was once his proud shop.Today, the building stands as a testament to how far the profession has come, and is filled with antiquated vials, scales, and a fun old-timey feel. Come learn about the history of administrative medicine and step back in time for a moment to discover all that this extensive collection and interpretive educational programs represent.More
#5
Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

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The infamous Bourbon Street, also known as Rue Bourbon, conjures up images of endless partying, drinks of all shapes and sizes, bachelorette parties, and of course, Mardi Gras. Outside of Mardi Gras season, visitors flock to this playground of the South for its Creole restaurants, live music venues, souvenir shops, and well-known drinking establishments.More
#6
Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation

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Famed for the 300-year-old allée of live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss that flank its main entrance, Oak Alley Plantation has more to offer visitors than a quintessential view of a Southern plantation. Highlights include numerous exhibitions exploring the complexities of Southern and Louisiana history, 1,300 acres (526 hectares) of grounds, and the historic house itself—all within easy driving distance of New Orleans.More
#7
Jackson Square

Jackson Square

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In the heart of the French Quarter lies Jackson Square, one of New Orleans’ most famous locations. A National Historic Landmark, it is home to St. Louis Cathedral and is often filled with locals and tourists who come to stroll the paths, catch the buskers and street performers in action, or just sit in the shade and watch the world go by.More
#8
Mississippi River

Mississippi River

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A central character in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the mighty Mississippi River has long captured the American imagination. Originating in Minnesota and sweeping across 95 river miles (153 kilometers) south to New Orleans where it spits out into the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi is the largest river system in North America and has gained an almost mythical place in American history.More
#9
LaLaurie Mansion

LaLaurie Mansion

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LaLaurie Mansion is not your regular tourist attraction. Also known as LaLaurie House, this French Quarter spot has a gruesome past involving torture, murder, and acts of brutality. The house is a regular stop on ghost tours of New Orleans and attracts visitors who want to learn more about the property’s spine-chilling history.More
#10
St. Louis Cathedral

St. Louis Cathedral

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A prominent landmark on Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral (officially the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis King of France) stands tall and proud, beckoning French Quarter visitors to take a little time out from drinking and dancing to admire the oldest continuously used cathedral in the United States. The seat of the city's Roman Catholic Archdiocese, the cathedral was built in 1789 and rebuilt in 1850, and today, its all-white, Spanish Colonial façade with three black spires is one of the most instantly recognizable landmarks in the South. The inside is just as beautiful.More

Trip ideas

Best Weekend Getaways from New Orleans

Best Weekend Getaways from New Orleans

Literary History in New Orleans

Literary History in New Orleans

How to Tackle New Orleans as a First Timer

How to Tackle New Orleans as a First Timer

Top activities in New Orleans

New Orleans #1 Ghost, Voodoo, & Vampire Walking Tour

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New Orleans #1 Ghost, Voodoo, & Vampire Walking Tour

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New Orleans Food and History Walking Tour
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New Orleans Airboat Ride

New Orleans Airboat Ride

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US$55.00
Oak Alley Plantation Tour

Oak Alley Plantation Tour

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Whitney Plantation Tour

Whitney Plantation Tour

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Three Hour City Tour of New Orleans

Three Hour City Tour of New Orleans

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Recent reviews from experiences in New Orleans

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Chilling tales and history
Susana_H, Feb 2021
New Orleans #1 Ghost, Voodoo, & Vampire Walking Tour
The 7:00 tour was a great way to see the French Quarter at night, and it made the stories seem even spookier.
star-5
Best boat ever
Colin_H, Feb 2021
Steamboat Natchez Evening Jazz Cruise with Dinner Option
The gift shop lady told me all the fun things to do in new Orleans
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Best tour in New Orleans
Shawntae_W, Feb 2021
New Orleans City Tour: Katrina, Garden District, French Quarter & Cemetery
You actually get to see a lot of different parts of New Orleans including sections effected by hurricane katrina.
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Excellent
Felicia_B, Feb 2021
Full Day New Orleans City Tour and Swamp Boat Tour
We even had an opportunity to see two alligators.
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Awesome tour!
Tonya_S, Feb 2021
New Orleans Swamp and Bayou Boat Tour with Transportation
Due to the weather, we didnt get a chance to see any alligators in their habitat but it was great just the same.
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Great family experience!
Robin_P, Jan 2021
New Orleans Steamboat Natchez Harbor Cruise
We look forward to seeing more activities open soon!
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Family Fun in New Orleans
Jessica_L, Dec 2020
New Orleans French Quarter Kids and Family Tour
Snacks and activities were included during the tour and were COVID safe and interactive.
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Great experience!
Maksim_V, Nov 2020
Experience Cajun Country: Swamp Boat Adventure and Plantations Full-Day Tour from New Orleans
We were able to see the swamps and two plantations along with learning a lot of new things about Louisiana and New Orleans.
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Excellent
Jacqueline_P, Nov 2020
Three Hour City Tour of New Orleans
Good to see and learn about New Orleans especially during Covid.
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A GOT TO TOUR
Ron, Oct 2020
Three Hour City Tour of New Orleans
Well first the trip was very informative and aloud us to see and learn more about New Orleans then we could ever even if we were here a month.
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Spooky and fantastic!
Race_C, Oct 2020
Lewd Spirits Haunted Tour & Bar Stops
If you are into paranormal activities you will absolutely love a tour with Jess.
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Coach ride of New Orleans
DeeRivera, Oct 2020
New Orleans City Tour: Katrina, Garden District, French Quarter & Cemetery
It enabled me to see first hand which places I want to go back too.
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Very nice
Jermika_G, Sep 2020
New Orleans Steamboat Natchez Harbor Cruise
Can’t wait to visit again.
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Had a Blast in the Bayou
Joe_D, Feb 2021
New Orleans French Quarter and Garden District Bike Tour
We were here to visit Tulane with my 16yr old son.
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Let the Good times roll
Boniery_B, Feb 2021
New Orleans Sightseeing City Tour
We were given recommendations for other places to visit and see and restaurants to eat at.
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Great Tour for New Tourists
Luis_C, Jan 2021
New Orleans #1 Ghost, Voodoo, & Vampire Walking Tour
We especially appreciated the in depth responses to our questions and attention to detail Chrystal provided about the various attractions along the way since they provided for us a guide of places to check out the next day as we explored NOLA.
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Great Tour and Guide!
Chloe_W, Nov 2020
New Orleans Small-Group French Quarter Food Tour
She went out of her way to give us recommendations for other activities as well, and had a hot tip for frozen Irish coffees from Molly’s at The Market (amazing!
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Oak Alley exceeded expectations!
Lisa_D, Nov 2020
Oak Alley Plantation Tour from New Orleans
If you've ever wanted to see Oak Alley don't hesitate to book this tour.
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Perfect Afternoon Excursion
Creole_Queen, Nov 2020
Paddlewheeler Creole Queen Historic Mississippi River Cruise
We also enjoyed going to the battlefield in Chalmette, not as much to see there but we learned a lot!
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A historic jaunt through the Garden District
Morgan_Sindy, Oct 2020
New Orleans Garden District Walking Tour
As a bonus, we also got to see a nearby cemetery and learned so much about local burial traditions.

All about New Orleans

When to visit

New Orleans’ best weather makes its debut in February and lasts until May, coinciding with carnival season and the world-famous Mardi Gras celebrations. If you’re looking to skip the madness, and the inflated prices, opt to visit in winter when hotels are cheaper and you won’t melt from summer’s heat, or worry about fall’s possible hurricanes.

A local’s pocket guide to New Orleans

Maggie Bennett

Maggie is both Viator's New Orleans account manager and a New Orleans enthusiast. Countless visits to the region, including three trips for Mardi Gras, make her a go-to gal for things to do there.

The first thing you should do in New Orleans is...

hit Bourbon Street to people-watch, grab a fried shrimp Po’ Boy sandwich or fried oysters, and enjoy a famous Hurricane cocktail.

A perfect Saturday in New Orleans...

includes venturing outside the city for a high-speed airboat and plantation combo tour, or heading to the Garden District for jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace. Save room for bananas Foster for dessert!

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Mardi Gras, of course. The parades, parties, and elaborate costumes are not to be missed.

To discover the "real" New Orleans...

head to Frenchman Street to check out jazz clubs frequented by locals, or take a bike tour to easily explore neighborhoods outside the French Quarter.

For the best view of the city...

hop aboard the Steamboat Natchez to experience the New Orleans skyline from a unique vantage point. Alternatively, stay on dry land at the Pontchartrain Hotel’s Hot Tin rooftop bar.

One thing people get wrong...

thinking New Orleans is just a place to party. It’s packed with history, culture, and outdoor activities as well.

Frequently Asked Questions