The 16 Best Things to Do in New Orleans (Updated 2023)

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One of the many old, colorful buildings in bustling New Orleans
Posted: 5/23/2023 | May twenty third, 2023

New Orleans is without doubt one of the finest cities on this planet. Synonymous with debauchery, it’s turn out to be well-known for the boisterous Mardi Gras competition that takes over town every February.

But there’s extra to “NOLA” than simply partying. Much extra.

I first went in 2006 and have been drawn again numerous instances, diving deeper and deeper into town. From feasting on scrumptious Creole meals to studying about voodoo and its cultural roots, New Orleans is a metropolis with layers — layers which might be usually neglected by partying vacationers.

New Orleans is magic. It is such an exceptional place. I’ve by no means not had a good time there. It’s considered one of my favourite locations within the WORLD! That’s how good it’s!

To assist you will have enjoyable and profit from your go to past the vacationer path, right here’s my listing of the very best issues to do in New Orleans:

1. Celebrate Mardi Gras

People celebrating Mardi Gras during a wild parade in New Orleans
Mardi Gras — French for “Fat Tuesday” — is considered one of the most well-liked festivals on this planet. It kicks off in January and lasts till Ash Wednesday. There are parades with floats and reside music, balls, and a nonstop celebration ambiance identified for getting rowdy. Upwards of 1,000,000 guests flock right here every year to have fun, turning town into a large celebration.

While it may be a blast, ensure you ebook every thing effectively prematurely, as costs skyrocket and every thing sells out shortly. But it’s a celebration to not be missed!
 

2. Listen to music on Frenchmen Street

Buskers, jazz, blues, large band: yow will discover all of it in NOLA. Live music is massively fashionable right here, and there are tons of bars and golf equipment in which you’ll be able to absorb a efficiency. The important space to search out them is on Frenchmen Street, which grew to prominence within the Nineteen Eighties and has been a staple of the music scene ever since.
 

3. Take a ghost or voodoo tour

New Orleans is taken into account one of the vital haunted spots within the nation, because of town’s voodoo roots. Voodoo is a set of underground spiritual practices that got here out of the African spiritual traditions that enslaved individuals dropped at America within the seventeenth and 18th centuries. Over the years, voodoo and the occult grew to become synonymous with New Orleans. From tales of ghosts and vampires to Marie Laveau (essentially the most well-known voodoo practitioner), New Orleans has a sure unsettling facet.

To be taught extra, take a voodoo tour by the French Quarter and its cemeteries. Witches Brew Tours and the Ghosts, Vampires, and Voodoo French Quarter Tour are two of the very best.

400 Royal St, +1 504-454-3939, witchesbrewtours.com. They host a number of excursions each day, together with some just for adults. Its Cemetery Insiders Walking Tour lasts two hours and prices $35 USD.
 

4. Visit the Voodoo Museum

This small museum is the place to be taught extra about voodoo and to really see objects utilized in its practices. Comprised of simply two rooms, it opened in 1972 and is full of every kind of artifacts, talismans, taxidermied animals, and voodoo dolls. And if that’s not sufficient, the museum can facilitate psychic readings and different rituals with native practitioners for those who’re so inclined.

You can go to the museum at your individual tempo through the self-guided possibility, or take the strolling tour, which features a guided tour of the museum.

724 Dumaine St, +1 504-680-0128, voodoomuseum.com. Open each day 10am-6pm. Admission is $10 USD for a self-guided tour or $32 USD for the guided museum and strolling tour.
 

5. Tour the French Quarter

People walking and playing music in the French Quarter of bustling New Orleans, USA
The well-known French Quarter was settled by the French (therefore the identify) in 1718. The district is now a haven for revelers on Bourbon Street, vintage customers on Royal Street, and foodies searching for a number of the finest Cajun meals on the town. Here you’ll additionally discover Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral (the oldest within the nation, relationship again to 1789), stunning houses, bars blaring top-notch jazz, and iconic 18th century French-style houses with wrought-iron balconies.

I begin off each go to to a brand new metropolis with a free strolling tour. Try the one from NOLA Tour Guy. You’ll be taught concerning the historical past of the neighborhood and get entry to an skilled native information who can reply all of your questions. Just you’ll want to tip your information on the finish!

For a extra in-depth tour, go together with Take Walks. It is my go-to firm with regards to detailed strolling excursions that go above and past the guidebook.

For extra ideas, right here’s my listing of the very best strolling excursions in NOLA.
 

6. Stop by Sazerac House

Opened in 2019, Sazerac House is a component bar, half museum, highlighting the significance of the Sazerac cocktail, born at this very location and regarded by many to be the oldest American cocktail. This is an immersive expertise, with a number of flooring of interactive displays. You can chat with digital bartenders about their favourite drinks and see what the French Quarter seemed like within the 1800s. It’s an excellent detailed and enjoyable expertise that’s among the finest in New Orleans.

You may also take a 90-minute free tour (which incorporates samples) or attend one of many occasions or workshops (which begin at $30 USD), comparable to a whiskey tasting or a workshop that teaches you how one can craft whiskey-based cocktails.

101 Magazine St, +1 504-910-0100, sazerachouse.com. Open Tuesday-Sunday 11am-6pm. Admission is free, however reserving prematurely is required.
 

7. Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

The historic Steamboat Natchez on the river in sunny New Orleans, USA
This boat launched in 1975; nonetheless, it’s the ninth steamboat to bear the Natchez identify (considered one of its predecessors took half in essentially the most well-known steamboat race in historical past, in 1870). Today, it’s town’s solely genuine steamboat and makes for a touristy (however enjoyable) method to spend the afternoon. There are brunch and dinner cruises and reside jazz music. You’ll additionally get to benefit from the scenic skyline as you cruise on the placid waters of the Mississippi.

400 Toulouse St, +1 800-233-2628, steamboatnatchez.com. Cruises depart at 11:30am, 2:30pm, and seven:00pm. Evening jazz cruises value $50 USD ($95 USD with dinner); the Sunday jazz brunches are $68 USD.
 

8. Learn about 1850 House

For the centuries main as much as the Civil War, the widespread reliance on slavery within the South allowed white plantation house owners to get extremely rich (there have been round 4 million slaves within the US then, about one-eighth of your entire US inhabitants). Like the wealthy and highly effective as we speak, they constructed elaborate houses to indicate off that wealth — and a few of these are nonetheless standing as we speak.

Located subsequent to Jackson Square, 1850 House is an instance of what lots of these townhouses seemed like earlier than the Civil War. Built by the rich aristocrat and Nineteenth-century New Orleans persona Baroness Micaela Almonester Pontalba, this specific edifice had many various occupants over time. When the Louisiana State Museum took it over, it adorned the constructing to be consultant of upper-class life on the time of its building. It’s the very best place to get an immersive understanding of simply how prosperous white slave house owners have been within the south (as a result of they have been rich!).

523 St Ann St, +1 504-524-9118, louisianastatemuseum.org. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-4pm. Admission is $5 USD.
 

9. Take a Bayou tour

A lush, swampy bayou near New Orleans, USA
The bayou, a swampy part of a slow-moving river, offered early settlers with bushes for houses, fish for consuming, and waterways for commerce. It’s nonetheless the lifeblood of the area and an necessary a part of its tradition. Spend your morning on this stunning and stress-free space by getting again to nature.

Kayak excursions value round $50-60 USD and final a few hours. Wild Louisiana Tours affords guided outings that may get you out on the water and educate you concerning the ecosystem. It additionally affords leases from $40 USD for those who don’t need a tour.

1047 Piety Street, +1 504-571-9975, neworleanskayakswamptours.com.
 

10. Relax within the park

The greenery of City Park is beautiful New Orleans, USA
When it is advisable to relaxation your legs, seize a ebook, pack a picnic, and head to considered one of New Orleans’ beautiful parks, each with ponds, bushes, strolling and biking trails, and loads of house to calm down.

City Park is a large inexperienced house 50% bigger than NYC’s Central Park — one of many greatest city parks within the nation! It is residence to centuries-old oak bushes, the New Orleans Botanical Garden, the New Orleans Museum of Art, cafés, and eating places, amongst different sights. Audubon Park was previously a plantation, a staging space for each the Confederate and the Union armies in the course of the Civil War, and host to a World’s Fair in 1884–85.
 

11. Visit Oak Alley

The famous Oak Alley lane enveloped by trees at a plantation near New Orleans, USA
Over a dozen oak bushes (every of them over 250 years outdated) line the lane resulting in this antebellum manor proper on the Mississippi River. Once a sugar plantation and a cattle ranch, it opened to the general public in 1976.

Personally, I discovered the house’s inside to be much less spectacular than the outside. However, wandering the grounds was completely worthwhile, because the indicators/placards have a whole lot of data on the horrible establishment of slavery. It’s a really sobering however necessary expertise.

It’s situated an hour from town by automotive. Try to reach early (or keep late) to keep away from the day excursions that come from New Orleans, so you may beat the crowds.

3645 Highway 18 (Great River Road), +1 225 265-2151, oakalleyplantation.org. Open each day 8:30am-5pm. Admission begins at $25 USD. For excursions that embody transportation from New Orleans and admission to the plantation, anticipate to pay $70-80 USD per individual.
 

12. Tour the National World War II Museum

Opened in 2000 because the National D-Day Museum, that is the biggest museum devoted to World War II in your entire United States. The displays give attention to the American contribution to the conflict, which lasted from 1939 to 1945 (the US entered the conflict in 1941).

Even for those who’re not a historical past buff like me, I extremely suggest visiting. Many veterans spend time right here, and you’ll hearken to firsthand accounts of the conflict, in addition to see a few of their photos. It’s sobering however extremely insightful.

945 Magazine St, +1 504-528-1944, nationalww2museum.org. Open each day from 9am-5pm. Admission is $31.50 USD (shopping for advance timed tickets is very advisable).
 

13. Take a meals tour

A coffee and small fried snacks on a table in New Orleans, USA
From po’boys to gumbo and every thing in between, meals, tradition, and historical past are a part of town’s DNA. If you need to be taught extra about New Orleans’ finest eats, take a meals tour. You’ll not solely get to eat extra of the very best chow on the town, however you’ll find out how and why sure dishes got here to prominence. A tour will add rather more perception and nuance to your time right here.

Doctor Gumbo Tours runs among the finest meals excursions. It additionally affords a cocktail historical past tour that goes to historic venues (with a cocktail at every cease, in fact) whereas instructing you about famed drinks and liquors.

+1 504 473-4823, doctorgumbo.com. Tours final three hours and price $75 USD per individual.
 

14. Explore the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum

This is without doubt one of the oldest museums within the state and is residence to the second-largest assortment of Confederate gadgets on this planet. I’m at all times intrigued by Civil War historical past museums, particularly these in the Deep South, the place the reminiscence of “Northern aggression” remains to be very sturdy.

The museum accommodates over 5,000 historic artifacts, together with the uniforms of Generals Bragg and Beauregard and private gadgets owned by Confederate President Jefferson Davis (together with his Bible and a chunk of the crown of thorns he acquired from the Pope). The museum highlights Southern patriotism and reiterates the historic argument that the South was preventing for “honor” and “states’ rights.”

I discovered the absence of a dialogue of slavery right here unsurprising, on condition that the museum desires to fake that that wasn’t the primary reason behind the conflict. It’s at all times fascinating to find out how individuals body their historical past, even when they achieve this in such a biased gentle. Despite the one-sidedness — and in reality, due to it — this museum is price visiting.

929 Camp St, +1 504-523-4522. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm. Admission is $10 USD.
 

15. Tour the NOLA Jazz Museum

I really like jazz: listening to it, studying about it. I can’t get sufficient. This museum not solely has a ton of artifacts (over 25,000) nevertheless it hosts a number of concert events and over a dozen festivals all year long. The museum is housed in an outdated US Mint constructing and options devices, art work of and by musicians, memorabilia, and extra. Most occasions are free, and lots of of them are broadcast reside as effectively, so you may watch them without spending a dime from residence too.

400 Esplanade Ave., 504-568-6993, nolajazzmuseum.org. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-4pm. Admission is $8 USD.
 

16. Visit Studio Be

Located within the hip, artsy neighborhood of the Bywater, Studio Be is a singular artwork gallery created by native artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums. In the 35,000 sq. foot warehouse, you’ll discover colourful spray-painted murals and large-scale items in addition to multimedia installations by Bmike and different native artists, largely centered on social justice points. Meandering by is a shifting method to glean insights into the Black expertise in New Orleans.

2941 Royal St, 504-252-0463, studiobenola.com. Open Wednesday by Saturday, 2pm-8pm and Sunday 2pm-6pm. Admission is $15 USD.

***

New Orleans is without doubt one of the liveliest (and fashionable) locations within the USA. But there’s rather more to it than letting unfastened on Bourbon Street. With unimaginable reside music, scrumptious meals, a wealthy historical past, and world-class museums, NOLA has one thing for everybody. It’s a spot with layers and, for those who take the time to discover beneath the floor, you’ll uncover one of the vital distinctive cities within the nation.

Book Your Trip to New Orleans: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to discover a low cost flight. They are my favourite search engine as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can ebook your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the most important stock and finest offers. If you need to keep someplace apart from a hostel, use Booking.com as they persistently return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost accommodations.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance coverage will shield you in opposition to sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes fallacious. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many instances previously. My favourite firms that supply the very best service and worth are:

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my useful resource web page for the very best firms to make use of once you journey. I listing all those I exploit to save cash once I’m on the highway. They will prevent cash once you journey too.

Need a Guide?
New Orleans has some actually attention-grabbing excursions. My favourite firm is Take Walks. They have skilled guides and might get you behind the scenes on the metropolis’s finest sights. They’re my go-to strolling tour firm!

Want More Information on the United States?
Be certain to go to our sturdy vacation spot information on the United States for much more planning suggestions!

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