New Orleans, the vibrant city known for its rich history, diverse culture, and lively atmosphere, offers a plethora of experiences for visitors. From its iconic jazz music to mouthwatering cuisine and unique architectural beauty, there’s something for everyone in the Big Easy. In this blog, we will explore the top 10 New Orleans where you want to do something, showcasing the city’s must-visit attractions, hidden gems, and insider tips to make the most of your trip. Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of New Orleans and create unforgettable memories in this captivating destination.
Attend The Mardi Gras Festival
Mardi Gras is the biggest and most famous celebration in New Orleans, attracting millions of visitors every year. The festival takes place on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent. However, the festivities begin weeks before, with parades, balls, parties and concerts happening all over the city. The most popular parades are organized by krewes, which are social clubs that have their own themes, costumes and floats. Some of the most famous krewes include Zulu, Rex, Bacchus and Endymion. The best places to watch the parades are along St. Charles Avenue, Canal Street and Bourbon Street. Don’t forget to catch some beads, doubloons and other throws from the floats as they pass by.
Explore Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street is the heart of the French Quarter and the epicenter of nightlife in New Orleans. The street is lined with bars, clubs, restaurants and souvenir shops that cater to every taste and budget. You can find live music ranging from jazz and blues to rock and pop at venues like Preservation Hall, Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub and The Jazz Playhouse. You can also enjoy some of the city’s signature drinks, such as the Hurricane, the Sazerac and the Hand Grenade. Bourbon Street is especially lively during Mardi Gras, Halloween and New Year’s Eve, when crowds fill the street and balconies.
Join A Swamp & Gator Tour
One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty and wildlife of Louisiana is to join a swamp tour. You can hop on an airboat or a pontoon boat and explore the bayous, marshes and rivers that surround New Orleans. You’ll see alligators, turtles, snakes, birds and other animals in their natural habitat. You’ll also learn about the history and culture of the Cajun people who live in the swamps. Some of the most popular swamp tour operators include Cajun Encounters, Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours and Airboat Adventures.
Visit Jackson Square
Jackson Square is a historic park and plaza in the center of the French Quarter. It was originally called Place d’Armes and was the site of many important events in New Orleans history, such as the Louisiana Purchase transfer ceremony in 1803. The square is dominated by the St. Louis Cathedral, which is the oldest continuously operating cathedral in North America. The square is also surrounded by other landmarks, such as the Cabildo (the former seat of government), the Presbytere (a museum dedicated to Mardi Gras) and the Pontalba Buildings (the oldest apartment buildings in America). Jackson Square is a popular spot for artists, musicians, street performers and tourists who enjoy its scenic views and lively atmosphere.
Try The Local New Orleans Cuisine
New Orleans is a food lover’s paradise, with a cuisine that reflects its diverse cultural influences. You can find French, Spanish, African, Native American, Cajun and Creole dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Some of the must-try dishes include gumbo (a hearty stew with meat or seafood), jambalaya (a rice dish with meat or seafood), crawfish etouffee (a spicy dish with crawfish smothered in a roux-based sauce), po-boys (sandwiches with fried seafood or roast beef), red beans and rice (a classic Monday dish with beans cooked with ham hocks or sausage) and beignets (deep-fried doughnuts sprinkled with powdered sugar). You can also sample some of the city’s famous desserts, such as bread pudding (a custard-like dish with bread soaked in milk), bananas foster (a flambeed dish with bananas cooked in butter, brown sugar and rum) and pralines (a candy made with pecans and caramelized sugar).
Tour The Plantation Mansions
If you want to learn more about the history of slavery and plantation life in Louisiana, you can visit some of the plantation mansions that dot the banks of the Mississippi River. These mansions were built by wealthy sugar cane or cotton planters in the 18th and 19th centuries and feature elegant architecture, gardens and furnishings. Some of them also have museums that display artifacts and exhibits related to slavery and plantation life. Some of the most popular plantation tours include Oak Alley Plantation (known for its alley of live oak trees), Whitney Plantation (the only plantation museum dedicated to slavery), Laura Plantation (a Creole plantation with colorful stories) and Houmas House Plantation (a lavish mansion with antiques).
Follow Our Garden District Walking Tour
The Garden District is one of the most beautiful and affluent neighborhoods in New Orleans. It was developed in the 19th century by Americans who wanted to create their own enclave away from the French Quarter. The district is known for its stunning mansions that showcase various styles of architecture, such as Greek Revival, Italianate, Gothic, Georgian, Swiss Chalet and Queen Anne. Some of the mansions belong to celebrities, such as Sandra Bullock, John Goodman and Anne Rice.
The best way to explore the Garden District is by taking a walking tour that will guide you through its history, culture and architecture. You can join a guided tour with a local expert or use a self-guided tour or an audio tour that you can download on your phone. Some of the highlights of the walking tour include the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar (the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world), Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 (a historic above-ground cemetery that features in many movies and books), Commander’s Palace (a famous restaurant that serves Creole cuisine and offers jazz brunches) and Magazine Street (a shopping district with boutiques, galleries and cafes).
See Live Music On Frenchmen Street
If you’re looking for live music in New Orleans, look no further than Frenchmen Street. This street is located in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, just outside the French Quarter. It’s home to dozens of bars, clubs and venues that feature live performances every night of the week. You can find jazz, blues, funk, rock, reggae, zydeco and more at places like The Spotted Cat Music Club, Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, Blue Nile and d.b.a. You can also catch some street musicians and artists along the sidewalk or at the Frenchmen Art Market.
Frenchmen Street is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike who want to enjoy the authentic New Orleans music scene. You can hop from one venue to another or just stay at one place and soak up the atmosphere. The street is especially lively during festivals and special events, such as Mardi Gras, Halloween and Jazz Fest.
Learn About The History Of Voodoo In New Orleans
Voodoo is a religion that originated in West Africa and was brought to New Orleans by enslaved Africans in the 18th and 19th centuries. It blends elements of African spirituality, Catholicism and Native American traditions. Voodoo practitioners believe in one supreme God and a pantheon of spirits called loas who can influence human affairs. Voodoo rituals involve offerings, prayers, dances, songs and ceremonies to communicate with the loas.
New Orleans has a rich voodoo history and culture that you can learn about by visiting some of its voodoo landmarks. You can start with the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, which displays artifacts, exhibits and information about voodoo in New Orleans. You can also visit Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo, which is a shop and museum dedicated to the most famous voodoo queen of New Orleans. You can buy voodoo dolls, candles, oils and other items or get a psychic reading there. Another place to visit is St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, where Marie Laveau’s tomb is located. Many people leave offerings and mark three Xs on her tombstone to ask for her help.
Experience The Haunted Side Of New Orleans
New Orleans is known as one of the most haunted cities in America, with many stories of ghosts, vampires, witches and other supernatural beings. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can join a haunted tour that will take you to some of the most haunted places in New Orleans. You can choose from different types of tours, such as ghost tours, vampire tours, witchcraft tours or cemetery tours.
Some of the places you’ll visit on a haunted tour include the LaLaurie Mansion (the site of horrific torture and murder by a socialite), the Sultan’s Palace (the site of a bloody massacre by pirates), Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (a former hangout of a notorious pirate), Hotel Monteleone (a haunted hotel with a ghostly carousel bar) and Muriel’s Restaurant (a haunted restaurant with a resident ghost). You’ll hear spooky stories and legends from your guide as you walk through the dark streets of New Orleans.
New Orleans is a city that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression on all who visit. From its vibrant music scene and delectable cuisine to its rich history and unique culture, the Big Easy offers an array of experiences to suit every traveler. By exploring the top 10 things to do in New Orleans, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the city’s charm and create memories that will stay with you long after your visit. So, pack your bags, embrace the spirit of New Orleans, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this enchanting destination.