Best Things to do in New Orleans
New Orleans is fabled a city of spirits, a city of street jazz, and traveling drag quartets.
In New Orleans, the only thing one can expect to find is the unexpected — there are hundreds of places to find something new. If you weren’t in love with it as a concept, visiting will change your life forever.
Visit the city once and you’ll know what we mean, New Orleans will follow you long after you drive away from its marshes and dimly-lit cobblestone streets.
There are always new things to do in New Orleans, no matter how many times you’ve found yourself wandering along the streets of Mid-city. Or perhaps the city has finally seduced you into a long-term stay, and you want to learn the rich history of your new locale.
Regardless of the nature of your visit, we’ve put together a guide for every traveler on their way to New Orleans. Read below to discover who you are and where in New Orleans to find yourself.
For Your Inner Tourist
Inside the park, visit Morning call for a beignet and a coffee before heading to the park’s carousel, or simply wander along over 1300 acres of lush green forest and river blue at the New Orleans City Park, where it feels less like a park and more like a venture into the lair of a friendly alligator.
This free park is open 30 minutes before sunrise and stays open until sunset.
Blain Kern’s Mardi Gras World
You can’t visit New Orleans without thinking of Mardi Gras.
If you miss the actual event but still want to see how Mardi Gras comes together in the city each year, Blain Kern’s Mardi Gras World is the place to go to get an exclusive, behind-the-scenes view into the makings of one of the world’s most creative events.
St. Louis Cathedral
Located in the heart of the French Quarter, the St. Louis Cathedral was built in the 1700s and is the oldest Cathedral in North America. Take a look inside or attend a service to and witness a piece of living history amongst the modern architecture of the Quarter. Attendance is free, but visitors can pay one dollar to take a self-led tour.
Strangely enough, cemeteries are some of New Orleans’ most fascinating spots.
The mausoleums are built above ground to prevent the caskets from floating away during storms and crumbling grass, patchy walkways, and street signs make for great ghost story backdrops. Generally, tours cost between $15-$20 and last a few hours, but your money goes to cemetery preservation all across the city.
Visit the Save Our Cemeteries website for more information.
For The Bit of Culture, Find Art
Any visit to New Orleans is not complete without a stop through this gorgeous and historic museum. The Cabildo is home to Napoleon’s Death Mask, only one of four existence, and an exhaustive collection of artifacts that catalog the history of Louisiana.
The building itself was home to the signing of the Louisiana purchase and charges an entry fee of six dollars.
The New Orleans Museum of Art
The NOMA hosts everything from private events to guest lecturers and workshops, and visitors to the city would be remise without a visit to one of New Orleans oldest, most distinguished art museums.
It’s also a great place to stop for lunch, where visitors can stop at Café Noma for a quick, mid-gallery snack.
Backstreet Cultural Museum
The Backstreet Cultural Museum rightfully calls itself a ‘powerhouse of knowledge’. The museum holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of New Orleans’ African American community-based masking and processional traditions.
It’s also home of over 500 filmed events of these traditions, and guests are encouraged to peruse the archives.
Enter the Night Life
Visit Frenchmen Street for a night full of amazing music and dance performed by some of the world’s most renowned musicians.
Located in the Marigny neighborhood of the French Quarter, explore over 20 venues that host any and every music imaginable, whether that’s funk, zydeco, electronic, or edm.
No visit to New Orleans is complete without a trip to the French Quarter — it is the place to be in the evening.
Whether you find yourself stumbling down Bourbon Street with a hurricane in your hand or meandering along one of the neighborhood’s many art walks, there is something to find for every kind of evening-goer here in this vibrant community neighborhood chalk-full of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and shops.
Pat O’ Brien’s
You can’t go wrong with a stop at the famed Pat O’ Brien’s Piano bar and club when you’re looking for an exciting spot to unwind and listen to some great live music. Their drinks are generously poured into their signature Pat O’ Brien’s glass and the venue in the French quarter opens into a lush courtyard where the musicians play until the early morning.
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