New Orleans
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Top sights in New Orleans

Top 10 things to do in New Orleans

A slow-brewed Gumbo of cultures with a seemingly immortal music scene, New Orleans still drips with the Southern charm chronicled by Tennessee Williams and other famous sons. Here are the best things to see and do in one of the US' most characteristic cities!

S.S. Natchez

There's no better way to cruise the Mississippi than by steamboat! The original Natchez was destroyed in a fire, but the current S.S. Natchez offers dinner and live Jazz tours of Old Man River.

French Quarter

Mit den elegantesten Gebäuden und Denkmälern der Stadt wie dem "1850 House“ oder dem Jackson Square ist das symbolträchtige French Quarter ist ein Muss für jeden Besucher.

Lake Pontchartrain

Having once suffered from careless overdevelopment, the Lake Pontchartrain are now a great place to swim and picnic, particularly by the Mardi Gras fountain.

Garden District

New Orlean's rich and famous still gravitate towards this district's 19th-century mansions. Book a Garden District tour to see the best bits, but it's also a great area just to wander and ponder!

Bourbon Street

Though it's now known primarily for its bars and clubs, by day, Bourbon Street remains one of the best places to tour New Orleans' colonial past.

The Cabildo

The governing-offices-turned-courthouse called Cabildo at Jackson Square is where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. Its blend of Spanish and French colonial architecture is now a museum.

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

The Audubon Institute runs a zoo and aquarium too, but as family attractions go, this is one of the best in the US. There's even a creepy-crawly snack bar – Bug Appétit!

Mardi Gras World

Discover what goes into making Mardi Gras' most breathtaking carnival floats at the giant Mardi Gras World warehouse. It's open 7 days a week, closing only for major holidays. Oh, and Mardi Gras!

Louisiana State Museum

Louisiana may have a short history but it's one that warrants 9 state museum buildings! The Cabildo is one, but their flagship is just across Jackson Square at The Presbytère.

The Old US Mint

Here's another branch of the Louisiana State Museum worth visiting. No longer used to mint coins, the Old US Mint is now a huge Jazz museum, exhibiting old recordings, photos, and live music!

Planning Your New Orleans Visit

When to go?

The height of summer (June-August) can get intolerably hot, but it's worth checking what events are happening the rest of the year before settling on dates. The famous Mardi Gras carnival takes place the day before Ash Wednesday (in February or March). If you want to sample some traditional street food though, arrive for November's Oak Street Po-Boy Festival to try the best Po-Boy sandwiches in town!

How long to stay?

For sightseeing, four days should be enough time to cover the French Quarter and Garden District, however, New Orleans is a city full of life and culture that penetrates deep beneath its surface. Book a few extra days if you can, keep your itinerary loose, and be prepared to get drawn into a few pleasant surprises!

How to get around?

Walking is by far the best way to see New Orleans, but when it's raining you can easily hail one of the city's many reasonably priced taxis. (Bear in mind though, that most cabs are more expensive and harder to come by on special event days.) There is also a well-connected bus network, but why not opt for the streetcars for which the city is famous? The St. Charles Avenue route, between downtown and Uptown, is a National Historic Landmark!

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    American Dollar ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-06:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • Best time to visit
    Spring, fall and winter tend to be more pleasant times to visit the city, not only to avoid the heat, but also to experience Mardi Gras, or one of the city's famous festivals. Check event calendars while planning your trip!

Things to Do in New Orleans

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What people are saying about New Orleans

It was an over all nice experience. Most of the staff were very friendly. Docking was very fast easy (on and off). Not exactly sure of the name of the band that played but they were really good! The food was ok. Not many vegetarian choices which sucked because my husband and I are both vegetarian. An overall great experience and I’m sure we will do again in the future!

The driver Alton was great, he made the drive enjoyable and informational. I would have liked more time than the 2 hrs allotted. Further for the price asked comparable to experience I think it was a bit too high. If something else was added like a discount ice cream or meal that would've helped.

New Orleans Oak Alley Plantation Half-Day Tour Reviewed by Anonymous, 11/16/2020

Angie was very personable and made the experience extremely enjoyable. She also was extremely knowledgeable about the city’s history but was a great ghost storyteller.

French Quarter Ghost Tour Reviewed by Catherine, 11/17/2020

Was very informative and fun! Fred was a great guide. Was sad to not be able to go to the cemetery because of it being closed due to covid but still had a good time.

The 3-in-1 French Quarter, Cemetery and Voodoo Tour Reviewed by Toriana, 11/16/2020

This was a great experience especially during Covid times. Grace was very knowledgeable and a great tour guide. We enjoyed the different stops and food tastings.

New Orleans French Quarter Food Tour Reviewed by Rashad, 11/22/2020