Explore New Orleans Architecture
New Orleans has a wonderfully charming look, mostly due to the city’s unique architecture. As you wander around the city, you’ll find a wide variety of architectural styles, from Shotgun Houses to Creole Cottages to Townhouses . Here’s a fun guide to the 17 most iconic buildings in NOLA. Check it out, then let me know if you think anything was left off the list!
How Much Should I Budget For A Trip To New Orleans
I was on a very tight budget in New Orleans. I was backpacking through the USA for three months and had a lot of ground I wanted to cover. If youre doing New Orleans super cheap, Id say an absolute minimum of $60 a day. This is $25 for your hostel, $10 for some food, $15 for an activity and $10 for tips. Id definitely recommend you budget more than this though, but if you want to do New Orleans as cheap as possible, thats what Id account for.
Tour St Louis Cathedral
The beautiful St. Louis Cathedral is the U.S.’ oldest continually-used Catholic cathedral, and it’s one of the most iconic sites in the French Quarter. You may visit the cathedral daily, from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, or attend daily mass at 12:05 PM. Self-guided tour brochures are available for a $1.00 donation.
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Ride A Fan Boat In The Bayou
If you want to see the more cajun side of New Orleans, sign up for a fan boat tour of the Bayou. These boats have flat bottoms and no underwater propeller which allows them to glide over the tall grasses of Louisianas swamps and waterways. Youll encounter plenty of wildlife and probably a few interesting locals as well. A fan boat tour is one of the most fun things you can do around New Orleans.
Let The Kids Run Loose At The Louisiana Childrens Museum
Offering kid-friendly activities like a climbing wall, fake broadcasting studio, art studio, and mock cafe, the Louisiana Childrens Museum is a fantastic way to tucker out the youngsters while they learn a thing or two about grown-up life.
The museum sits inside the sprawling City Park, with plenty of outdoor space for the kids to run around after the visit.
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Listen To More Music On Frenchman Street
Escape the crowds and neon of Bourbon Street and head over to Frenchman Street, just outside the French Quarter, where locals and visitors-in-the-know go for live music and art. Along a three-block stretch you’ll find legendary venues like The Blue Nile, The Spotted Cat, and The Apple Barrel Bar with exceptional musicians playing everything from jazz and blues to funk, rock and more. Admission to most places is typically cheaper than more touristy spots and you’ll usually find plenty of free performances in the streets. Grab cheap, late-night bites at places like Dat Dog or 13 Monaghan.
Watch A Free Concert At Lafayette Square
In the spring, catch the free concert series Wednesday at the Square. The Young Leadership Council, a nonprofit civic organization, puts on 12 three-hour concerts from March to June. In addition to hearing local bands playing jazz, rock, funk, swamp pop, and Latin rhythms, visitors can enjoy browsing the works of artists who set up nearby to sell their work. Look out for their 2017 schedule.
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Go On A Literary Walking Tour
For such a colorful, character-filled city, it’s not surprising that a number of authors have lived in and / or written about New Orleans. Everyone from Tennessee Williams to Anne Rice , has darkened the city’s doorsteps. Here’s a great guide to 10 famous literary landmarks you’ll find in the city … you may even be inspired to grab a pen yourself after the tour!
Journey Through Jean Lafitte National Historical Park And Preserve
Paying homage to a 19th-century pirate, the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve boasts six areas more than worthy of a visit: the Barataria Preserve , historic Chalmette Battlefield, French Quarter Visitor Center, Acadian Cultural Center, Prairie Acadian Cultural Center , and the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center.
Join an airboat tour for an unbeatable afternoon on the preserves swamplands.
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Explore A Voodoo Shop
The French Quarter is peppered with voodoo shops playing off the the tradition that originated with West African slaves and refugees from the Haitian Revolution. Stop by the small New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum for a quick tour. Enthusiasts can join a name-your-own-price walking tour to explore more voodoo temples and learn more about its history.
Take A Steamboat Cruise On The Mississippi
When I was a boy, there was but one permanent ambition among my comrades in our village on the west bank of the Mississippi River. That was, to be a steamboatman. Mark Twain
Sailing on a steamboat along the mighty Mississippi River is on many peoples bucket lists after reading stories of the old south and the westward expansion of America. Youre in luck because the Steamboat Natchez is still plying the waters in New Orleans and they offer daily departures.
If you opt for a daytime cruise youll be treated to stories about the history of New Orleans. Or you can choose the evening cruise which features a live jazz band on board!
Book your cruise here: steamboat cruise on the Mississippi. Its one of the best things to do in New Orleans.
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Fun Things To Do In New Orleans With Kids Of All Ages
New Orleans is home to a wide variety of attractions for children and their families, including the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Louisiana Childrens Museum, the Audubon Zoo, the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, and the Audubon Butterfly Garden, and Insectarium. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
Editors Note: This Post May Be Outdated Head To Neworleanscom For The Latest On Whats Open And How To Safely Enjoy New Orleans Right Now
Ahh, December the most magical month of the year. There are lots of ways to get into the holiday spirit here in New Orleans. Hang out with Kris Kringle at NOLA Christmas Fest, or go caroling in Jackson Square. Marvel at the holiday lights in Celebration in the Oaks, LUNA Fête, or the gorgeously decorated, historic Roosevelt Hotel. For a taste of New Orleans during the holiday season, watch our video below.
Heres what to do this December in New Orleans.
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Taste The Nola Flavors On A French Quarter Food Tour
Cancel that restaurant reservation, take a food tour instead!
Led around the French Quarter on foot by a local expert in gastronomy, hungry travelers will have to chance to visit a number of famous eateries, sampling quintessential dishes such as seafood gumbo, Creole brisket, and beignets just to name a few.
Best of all, you can tweak the tour to suit your palate.
Look Around Marie Laveaus House Of Voodoo
Even if you decided to pass on the Voodoo Tour, you can still get your witchcraft fix while in New Orleans. Stop by and browse through the extensive collection of voodoo-related knickknacks. Whether its voodoo dolls, talismans, charms, mojo, or gris-gris youre after, youve come to the right place!
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Feed The Ducks At Louis Armstrong Park
Named after the music icon himself, Louis Armstrong Park is a welcome breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter.
The 32-acre space is lined with sculptures, duck ponds, water features, and plenty of tributes to Amstrong and other musicians. If you happen to be strolling through on a Sunday, dont miss the drum circle at Congo Square.
Top Things To Do With Kids
Here too is the top 10 list from our master post on family-friendly things to do in New Orleans, where you can find dozens of more kid-focused activities. Of course, many of the things in our top 10, free things to do and night activities sections of this post are great for kids and their parents.
We elaborate on a few previously mentioned items to go deeper into why a particular entry is a great choice for some families.
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Commune With Nature In A Park
There are loads of parks in NYC, but these are our favorites:
- Central Park with expansive green spaces and statues and monuments
- Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village for great people-watching and a funky, fun vibe
- Prospect Park is a bit off the beaten track and located in gorgeous Park Slope neighborhood
Time Travel To The 1800s At Antoines Restaurant
In 1840, a young French immigrant named Antoine opened up a cafe.
Over 180 years later, that same cafe has passed from generation to generation. With that little anecdote in mind, Antoines earns itself the acclaim of being Americas oldest family-run restaurant and the staff will happily tell you all about its glowing history.
Considering their specialty in French-Creole cuisine, dont leave without sampling the Oysters Rockefeller and Pommes de Terre Souffles.
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Get A Free Round Of Crawfish
Visit New Orleans during crawfish season, December through May, to enjoy crawfish boils — heaping mounds of juicy, seasoned crawfish and plenty of hands-on nibbling. The Royal Street Inn Bar throws free crawfish boils every Friday while the mudbugs are in season. There’s a round of free crawfish at 6 p.m. and another an hour later.
Run From The Bulls During San Fermin
In Spain, they run from the bulls. In New Orleans, they run from roller derby girls carrying plastic baseball bats?
Its weird and wacky but its a beloved annual tradition nonetheless!
The event is held every July, with thousands of participants dressing up in traditional red and white before quenching their thirst at one of the bars in the Warehouse District.
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Grab A Beignet After Dinner
These delightful pastries are a wonderful treat at any time of the day, but you might want to consider grabbing one for dessert.
Depending on how and where you get them, you can order a beignet with flavors as simple and delicious as chocolate, or as adventurous as crab & crawfish.
One of the most popular places to find this dish is Cafe du Monde, located in the heart of the French Quarter just across the street from Jackson Square.
For more information, read our post about beignets and where to find them!
Pay A Virtual Visit To A Real
VirtualWhile the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art are both open for masked visitors, you can also check out some of their offerings online. Both NOMA and the Ogden have great programming available virtually, including some designed especially for kids such as the Ogdens Movement Mondays with special activities just for the youngest of art lovers.
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Stroll Through Central Park
This pastoral escape from the hustle and bustle of the city streets is everything you imagined it would be.
With wide-open spaces, rides, zoos, sculptures, shade trees, ponds, and lakes, there are so many things to do.
Watch this 32-minute long abridged version of our live guided tour.
See Turtles At The Aquarium Of The Americas
Nestled against the Mississippi River, right next to the French Quarter, the highly-regarded Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is an easily accessible activity that promises fun for the whole family.
Visitors get a wonderful insight into many different underwater ecosystems, including the Caribbean, the rivers of the Amazon, the Gulf of Mexico, and NOLAs own Mississippi River.
In total, the aquarium houses over 3,600 animals from over 250 species. Keep an eye out for the African penguins and glowing moon jellies both of which are crowd favorites.
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Join The Cats Of Jackson Square
It might sound odd, but Jackson Square is known for more than just festivals and parades.
When the sun goes down, the cats come out and take over this public space.
Since the square never officially closes, you are free to come and spend some time with these cats whenever you wish.
Although these felines are technically wild, reports indicate that they are pretty calm and docile around most people.
Animal lovers will definitely want to consider this fun and interesting activity!
Find out what else you can see at Jackson Square.
Mystery Awaits At The New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum
This museum might be small, with just two rooms in total, but dont let that fool you. The Voodoo Museum which sits smack-bang in the heart of the French Quarter is one of the only museums on the planet solely dedicated to voodoo art.
Preaching a combination of education and entertainment, this attraction showcases the intriguing mysteries, legends, and traditions of the voodoo culture.
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Stay At The Hyatt Centric French Quarter
When visiting the Big Easy, you’re going to want to stay in the thick of things and there’s no better vantage point that being in the heart of the city’s oldest and most popular neighborhood. The historic Hyatt Centric French Quarter is handily adjacent to NOLA’s Central Business District and a short walk from many of the city’s main attractions. There are even three restaurants and bars on-site including Red Fish Grill for casual New Orleans seafood, Batch, an upscale lounge with hand-crafted cocktails and locally sourced shared plates, and Powdered Sugar for grab-and-go salads, paninis and entrees. After a day of exploring Bourbon Street, should you feel the need to get away from it all, the hotel’s courtyard is equipped with a pool and ample cabana space.
Hear Some Music At Tipitinas
Its standing room only at Tipitinas but that wont be a problem youll be toe-tapping and swaying until your legs fall off with some of the most revered local musical acts making regular appearances on the venues roster.
While tickets usually cost a few bucks, there is a loophole: visit during the summer on one of the Free Music Fridays to see whoevers on the event calendar without spending a penny .
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Get Some Thin Fried Catfish At Middendorfs
Southern Living Magazine once declared that the thin fried catfish from Middendorfs was possibly the best fried fish in the world. Thats high praise coming from a magazine that probably reviews more fried food than any other publication in the US. Head on out to the remote town of Akers, Louisiana to try it for yourself its a worthy day trip from New Orleans.
Watch The Mardi Gras Indians
Mardi Gras krewes were originally segregated, which meant African Americans couldn’t participate. So they developed their own krewes and created their own way of celebrating Mardi Gras. You will only see these elaborately costumed krewes on Mardi Gras and Super Sunday, and their routes are never publicized in advance.
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Ogle At The Enormous Plantations On A Garden District Tour
The Garden District might not receive the same attention as the French Quarter, yet only to the detriment of those who choose to overlook it!
This historic and beautiful locale is home to plantation-style mansions juxtaposed by quaint cottages and enormous overhanging trees the epitome of Southern charm.
Whether you prefer to explore on foot, or wheels, or even with a beignet in hand, theres a tour thats right for you.
Take The Kids Out For Dinner
There are several family-friendly restaurants in New Orleans, but some of them are more popular than others.
One of the best options for kids is Dat Dog, a location that offers up some of the most unique hot dogs youll ever eat.
With over 30 different toppings to choose from, chances are that everyone in your family will find something they love at this restaurant.
For additional ideas, make sure to check our list of kid-friendly restaurants in New Orleans.
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Discover The Best Concerts In New Orleans
Find tickets to all live music, concerts, tour dates and festivals in and around New Orleans in 2020 and 2021.
Discover when your favorite artists are next coming to New Orleans or browse upcoming concerts in the area. Use the filters to search for New Orleans concerts and shows by date or genre.
New Orleans has 317 upcoming live music events taking place in some of its 1562 venues, such as House of Blues – New Orleans, The Howlin’ Wolf, and Tipitina’s, so get browsing the New Orleans concert calendar and make sure you dont miss the biggest events this coming year.
Remember, you can track your favourite artists and Songkick will let you know when they are next performing in the New Orleans area.