New Orleans is one of the most amazing and unusual places to visit in the United States, known for its combination of ethnicities, cuisines, and music scenes. It is located in southeast Louisiana and is surrounded by marshes. It has unique historic tourist attractions, great architecture, incredible live music, nightlife, and street celebrations.
With its French, Spanish, Caribbean, and Creole cultural influences, the ‘Big Easy’ has a rich history and legacy to explore along the Mississippi River. The city is a must explore, with fascinating things to do in New Orleans and its surroundings, thanks to its outstanding multicultural makeup and active atmosphere.
With wonderful local cuisine, scenic plantations to visit, and fun-filled festivities like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, one could easily spend weeks, if not months, learning about New Orleans’ distinct culture.
1: French Quarter
Exploring the colorful French Quarter is unquestionably the highlight of any vacation to New Orleans. The oldest and most well-known neighborhood in the city. It has something for everyone, with interesting historic sights, vibrant music venues, and lively commerce.
The Quarter, which dates back to 1718, is flanked by charming ancient buildings that now house a plethora of stores, restaurants, taverns, and music venues. Bourbon Street, with its bustling nightlife, the abundance of street performers, and fortune-tellers, is a must-see.
2: Jackson Square
This is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in New Orleans, is located in the historic core of the French Quarter. The historic park, which is lined with spectacular buildings including the Saint Louis Cathedral, the Cabildo, and the Pontalba Buildings, marks the site of the famous Louisiana Purchase.
This is widely regarded as one of America’s best public spaces, and it was even designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1960. A spectacular statue of Andrew Jackson, the seventh US president, stands in the midst of its immaculate grounds, with various street performers, musicians, and fortune-tellers adding to the lively ambiance.
3: City Park
City Park, which covers a big portion of New Orleans and is larger than Central Park in New York City, is sure to please nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. The park features numerous attractions, including the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Louisiana Children’s Museum, in addition to its rich green spaces and canals.
It has been protected since 1854 and features the world’s greatest collection of mature live oaks, whose towering moss-covered trees add to the park’s atmosphere. There are numerous pathways, picnic spaces, and playing fields to enjoy, as well as botanical gardens and sculpture gardens, as well as a few tiny theme parks. Also read Best Things to Do in Curacao.
4: National WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum is a fascinating destination to see, with an astounding collection of relics and exhibitions. Its fascinating collection, which focuses on America’s role to the Allied victory in WWII, is housed in a state-of-the-art site in New Orleans’ Warehouse District.
Its wide galleries and exhibitions, which opened in 2000, are beautifully presented. Photos, films, and other immersive multimedia are among the artifacts and exhibitions on display. Its estimated 250,000 artifacts, vehicles, and planes depict the tale of not just America’s Pacific amphibious invasions, but also hard-fought fights on the D-Day beaches, in the trenches, and in the sky. The traveling museum is undoubtedly one of the top things to see in the city for anyone interested in history.
5: Frenchmen Street
The lively Frenchmen Street is lined with some of the city’s top live music establishments. It stretches many streets and is just a short walk from the French Quarter, with a plethora of restaurants, art galleries, pubs, and boutiques.
People flock to the laid-back strip because of the superb, authentic, and unpretentious live music establishments. Not only The Spotted Cat and Snug Harbor but also Favela Chic, with the quaint Creole houses that line the street adding to the area’s inviting atmosphere.
6: New Orleans Cemeteries
Because New Orleans is known for its historic cemeteries, you should set aside some time to visit at least a handful of them. There are over forty of them, with Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 and Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1 being among the most popular, prominent, and remarkable.
The cemeteries are aesthetically attractive to walk around because of their distinctive above-ground graves and magnificent and grandiose mausoleums. They also house prominent personalities from the city’s past, with overgrown gardens and worn graves adding to its charming ambiance. The centuries-old ‘city of the dead,’ with their crumbling crypts and stately mausoleums, have also been featured in a number of films. Also read Best Things to Do in Las Vegas.
7: St. Louis Cathedral
The stunning St. Louis Cathedral, with its three rising spires, stands in the heart of the French Quarter, overlooking historic Jackson Square. It was built in 1789 and is dedicated to King Louis IX of France. It is the oldest cathedral in continuous use in the United States.
The third cathedral was built in the same location, it has a lovely front with stained-glass windows lining the Spanish Colonial structure’s sides. The interior is equally enticing, with excellent religious artworks, a massive altar, and an organ. Important masses, gatherings, and festivities are still held at the old church.
8: New Orleans Museum of Art
At the southern end of City Park, you’ll find the exceptional New Orleans Museum of Art. It is housed in an attractive and imposing structure, with a magnificent sculpture park adjacent to it.
Founded in 1911, the museum presently has over 40,000 works of art, including photographs, ceramics, and sculptures. African, Asian, and Oceanic art are presented alongside European masterpieces and works by local Louisiana artisans. The museum is the best place to visit if you have the opportunity, with great names like Monet, Renoir, and Picasso. Also. read Best Things to do in Anchorage.
9: Audubon Zoo
The Audubon Zoo is within a twenty-minute drive southwest of the city center. It is home to an incredible variety of creatures, ranging from tigers and gorillas to alligators, elephants, and orangutans.
While animals have been held on the site since the 1884 World’s Fair, the zoo did not open until 1914. Animals and ecosystems from Africa, Asia, and South America are now featured in its world-class exhibitions. The Louisiana Swamp and Reptile Encounter exhibitions are particularly popular.
10: Longue Vue House and Gardens
Longue Vue House and its beautiful gardens are just ten minutes northwest of the city center. The old house, which is now protected as part of a museum, features excellent architecture and its surrounding grounds are equally enjoyable to explore.
The huge four-story estate, built-in 1939 for Edith and Edgar Stern, includes twenty finely designed rooms filled with English and American antiquities. To see the lovely fountains and flowerbeds, take a stroll through the estate’s verdant gardens.