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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.

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Top 10 attractions in New Orleans

French Quarter
#1

French Quarter

The French Quarter, also know as the Vieux Carré, is the oldest and most famous neighborhood in New Orleans. The Quarter, as it is commonly known, runs from the banks of the Mississippi River to Rampart Street and between Canal Street and Esplanade Avenue. Much more than a historic district, the appeal of the French Quarter is easy to see. It's walkable, picturesque, always busy, and filled with an extraordinary range of great restaurants, bars, nightclubs, courtyard cafés, art galleries, rummage shops and museums. A visitor can walk these blocks time and time again and always notice something new. Here you'll find beautiful ironwork details on historic buildings branching out from St. Louis Cathedral. Barter for knick-knacks at the French Market or take a carriage ride around Jackson Square and see the colorful assortment of artwork, merchants, and street performers that give New Orleans its quirky character....
Steamboat Natchez
#2

Steamboat Natchez

Experience New Orleans from the Mississippi River with a scenic cruise on the historic Steamboat Natchez. Take a two-hour cruise from the heart of the French Quarter that takes you back in time to the atmosphere of the Old South while enjoying a creole lunch onboard and a Calliope Organ concert. Learn about New Orleans foundation as a harbor city on the daytime cruise, or hop on the nighttime Jazz Cruise for dinner with live band, "Dukes of Dixieland". The views of the New Orleans' skyline from the Steamboat Natchez are picturesque, day or night. These sights, sounds, and smells of a cruise along the muddy bottomed Mississippi create the perfect southern ambiance expected from culturally-rich New Orleans....
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
#3

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is comprised of six sites, offering everything from outdoor activities to history lessons and boat tours. The Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette teaches the history of the Acadian or Cajun people who settled southeast Louisiana, while the Barataria Preserve in Marrero is a 23,000-acre wetland. The visitor center includes exhibits, dioramas and hands-on displays. Head to the Chalmette Battlefield to visit the site of the War of 1812’s Battle of New Orleans. The Chalmette National Cemetery is also nearby. Meanwhile, the French Quarter Visitor Center is conveniently located on Decatur Street in New Orleans, and in Eunice, the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center offers music, stories, dancing and craft demonstrations. Learning about Louisiana’s bayou country includes boat tours, history walks and sessions with local musicians at the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux....
Lake Pontchartrain
#4

Lake Pontchartrain

New Orleans is home to one of the largest lakes in the world, were it really a lake, that is. Lake Pontchartrain, while spanning 630 square miles, is really an estuary connected to the Gulf of Mexico, but proud New Orleanians and those from surrounding parishes know and love this open body of water as “Lake Pontchartrain.” A natural habitat that supports innumerable species of life, this important environmental habitat was once in jeopardy from years of dredging. Today, however, recovery and conservation efforts have revitalized the “lake” and so events ranging from Saturday picnics to triathlon races take place every day in the brackish waters of Lake Pontchartrain. A 24-mile-long causeway that spans the lake (technically the longest bridge in the world), and delivers eager explorers to Mandeville and the “North Shore” where you’ll find quiet communities that love boating, fishing, and life on the lake....
Jackson Square
#5

Jackson Square

Bordered by Chartres, St. Peter, St. Ann and Decatur Streets near the Mississippi River in the French Quarter, Jackson Square is a colorful city plaza and home to the elegant St. Louis Cathedral. A National Historic Landmark, the square attracts visitors and locals who gather to listen to street performers and buskers, have their palm read by a gypsy, browse the shops, have a chicory coffee and beignet at Café du Monde or just relax under a tree while life in the French Quarter moves around them. Jackson Square is a great place to pick up some local art, as well. Artists must have permits to sell their work in the square, and only 200 are issued annually, meaning you’ll be browsing through pieces by legitimate and talented artists. Across Chartres Street sits the Cabildo, the 18th-century building where the Louisiana Purchase was signed....
LaLaurie Mansion
#6

LaLaurie Mansion

Not your typical attraction, the LaLaurie House is one New Orleans icon that is usually viewed in something of a different light. Part of any good New Orleans ghost tour, the LaLaurie House history is far from pristine or pretty, though the house itself is beautiful. Once home to the wealthy socialite, slave-owner, and serial killer Marie Delphine LaLaurie (aka Madame LaLaurie), a fire in the late 1834 brought to light (quite literally) the skeletons in the LaLaurie’s closets. Seemingly supernatural stories of great horror were unearthed here, where the LaLauries committed acts of unspeakable brutality and torture upon their slaves. Iron collars, disfigurement, and other mechanisms of torture occurred here that were so gruesome that stories about them continue to this day....
St. Louis Cathedral
#7

St. Louis Cathedral

Across Chartres Street from Jackson Square and adjacent to the Cabildo, where the Louisiana Purchase was signed, St. Louis Cathedral stands tall and proud, beckoning French Quarter visitors to take a little time out of their drinking and dancing to admire the oldest continuously used cathedral in the United States. The seat of the city’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese, St. Louis Cathedral was built in 1789 and rebuilt in 1850. The cathedral is also known as the Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, and 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 – go in for a break from the sun and a chance to admire the frescoes on its arched ceiling....
Garden District
#8

Garden District

New Orleans' Garden District is the epitome of "Southern Charm". Plantation style mansions have wrap-around porches and verandas, where friends and family enjoy sweet tea and stories in the humid New Orleans climate. Streets are separated by stretches of green parks and the historic cable car line that runs along St. Charles Avenue. Take a walk around the Garden District's lush avenues and you'll feel transported into a southern oasis shaded by blossoming magnolia trees. This district is more than a picturesque neighborhood, some of New Orleans' best boutique shopping can also be found along Magazine Street. Stroll by historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 where the last names of New Orleans' wealthy families dot the headstones, while establishments along the "Irish Channel" testify to the city's history of immigrant populations....
Bourbon Street
#9

Bourbon Street

The infamous Bourbon Street, also known as Rue Bourbon, conjures up images of endless partying, drinks of all shapes and sizes, strips clubs, bachelorette parties, and of course, Mardi Gras. The Las Vegas comparisons are well deserved with enough alcohol and revelry to rival Sin City for the title of America's party capital. Outside of Mardi Gras season, visitors flock to Bourbon Street for its well-known drinking establishments including the Old Absinthe House, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, Johnny White's Bar, not to mention Pat O'Brien's- home of the hurricane cocktail and dueling piano bar....
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
#10

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

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....

Trip ideas

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

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