Recently I was asked by a friend, “what are the things that I must do while in New Orleans?” “Well, laissez les bon temps rouler, of course,” I replied. New Orleans has something to appeal to everyone.  History lovers can check out the New Orleans Plantations or participate in French Quarter walking tour while foodies find themselves surrounded by incredible New Orleans food.  There was a reason that New Orleans made the Top 18 Places to Visit in 2018 by CNN.  No matter what your taste, we have you covered in this post so keep reading!

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Are you planning a trip to New Orleans? Then you don't want to miss this list of the 7 Things You Have to do in New Orleans. From eating at the famous Cafe du Monde, to visiting Frenchmen Street, our list will have you loving New Orleans. #NOLA #neworleans #bourbonstreet #visitneworleans

1. Eat-Where to Get the Best Food in New Orleans

You definitely don’t want to go to New Orleans on a diet! New Orleans is known for its great cuisine. That’s why New Orleans is home to many world-renowned chefs. Put on your elastic waisted pants and get your taste buds ready for a culinary adventure!

Best Beignets in New Orleans-

Indulge in this delicious powdered sugar topped pastry with a steaming hot cafe au lait while visiting Cafe du Monde. It’s guaranteed to not disappoint.

Best Jazz Brunch in New Orleans-

Hands down, you have to go to the Court of Two Sisters.  Their beautiful courtyard and 5-star cuisine will have you never wanting to leave.

Best PoBoys In New Orleans-

Head to either Johnny’s PoBoys, or Killer PoBoys to grab one of these New Orleans staples. A delicious sandwich made from your choice of meats including shrimp, roast beef, or fried oysters!

Best Cajun Cuisine in New Orleans

No trip to New Orleans would be complete without some great Cajun food. Cruise down to Jacques-Imo’s Cafe and feast on crab stuffed shrimp, jambalaya, shrimp etouffee, or Boudain balls.

Suggested New Orleans Food Tours:

New Orleans Food and History Tour

New Orleans Food Walking Tour of the French Quarter

Combo Cocktail and Food History Tour

French Quarter Cocktail and Foodie Crawl

Planning a trip to New Orlean? Great idea! New Orleans is a city of food, fun, and intrigue. Let us show you what to see, eat, and do during your time in New Orleans. #neworleans #visitneworleans #visitneworleans

2.  Go On a Tour

New Orleans is a city full of intrigue, history, and culture.  Taking one of the many tours offered is a great way to get to know New Orleans better.  The options for tours are almost endless!

New Orleans Ghost TourWe love booking “ghost” walking tours in historic cities.  During these tours, you learn so much history, and in New Orleans, you start to understand why it’s considered one of the most haunted cities in the world!

Visit New Orleans PlantationsThere are numerous plantations surrounding New Orleans.  Consider visiting Oak Alley Plantation, Houma’s House, or Evergreen Plantation.  There are several tour companies that will pick you up and do all of the driving for you!  Now that makes for a relaxing day!

Garden District Walking TourI love strolling through the Garden District dreaming of which mansion I would choose if I won the lottery.  LOL!  Take a self-guided walking tour like this one, or sign up for one of the many guided tours using this link.  If you opt for the self-guided tour, check out our New Orleans itinerary for information on getting to the Garden District.

New Orleans Alligator Tour– OK, so they aren’t really called alligator tours, but you get the idea.  A New Orleans swamp tour is a fun way to experience the naturally wild side of New Orleans.  You can choose a calm tour on a barge or an adrenaline rushing airboat tour, the choice is yours!

Houmas House Plantation

Houmas House Plantation

3.  Visit a Cemetery

I know, I know, you must be thinking a cemetery, really?  I’m serious though, the cemeteries in New Orleans are incredible and are always on our “must-do” list.  Take a New Orleans Cemetery Tour into St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to hear stories of the infamous Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau.  You will have the opportunity to see her grave as well as hear many other haunting stories from the city of the dead.

Cemetery in New Orleans

4.  Explore the French Quarter

The French Quarter is much more than just Bourbon Street.  Take time to walk around and just get lost.  Marty and I love just roaming the streets, peering into the corridors and popping into the shops.  There is just so much to love about this historic area.

Royal Street-Royal Street is one of the oldest streets in New Orleans!  It begins at Canal Street and runs right through the French Quarter. Marty loves taking photographs on Royal Street.  The architecture is amazing, and there always seems to be street performers on every corner.   I love admiring the gorgeous wrought-iron balconies that are prevalent up and down this street.  Royal Street is lined with something for everyone.  Here you will find antique shops, art galleries, thrift stores, cafes, restaurants, and courtyards.

Bourbon Street-I know that Bourbon Street is touristy and lined with bars, but it does scream New Orleans.  In my opinion, you have to visit Bourbon Street at night.  It is full of life and excitement.  Go to have a drink, listen to some great live music, or just people watch.

The French Market-Visit the vendors and find a unique New Orleans souvenir at The French Market.  The French Market is located riverside in the lower French Quarter area.  This market stretches six city blocks, but my favorite part is the outdoor flea market.

Jackson Square-Jackson Square is the perfect selfie spot!  I mean, come on, you know you take selfies.  Despite the fact we have visited New Orleans countless times, Marty and I still make our way to the stairs across the street from St. Louis Cathedral and pose for our selfie. After your picture, make your way over the square.  Admire the work of the artist that is always displayed on the perimeter fence.  Sit in the gardens of the square, and then go inside the cathedral.

Recommended French Quarter Tours

New Orleans French Quarter Walking and History Tour

French Quarter Historical Sights and Stories Small Group Walking Tour

Sinister Criminal Intentions-True Crime Tour

New Orleans French Quarter & Garden District Combo Tour

Jackson Square

5.  Take In NOLA’s Music Scene

Once you’ve checked Bourbon Street off of your list, go to where the locals go, Frenchmen Street.  If it is music you crave, you will not be disappointed.  Music seems to pour out of every doorway on Frenchmen Street.  Clubs line the street, ranging from jazz to blues to rock and reggae.

Of course, you have to include some jazz in that mix.  Check out the schedule at the historic Preservation Hall to have an authentic jazz experience in NOLA.

Recommended Tours:

Total New Orleans Tour:  Food, Cocktails, & Jazz

New Orleans Jazz Tour with Live Music and a Beer

New Orleans Behind the Scenes Jazz Lovers Experience

Preservation Hall

Preservation Hall

6.  Drink (alcohol or not)

Not only is New Orleans home to famous food, it is equally popular for its great drink offerings.  We recommend Pat O’Brien’s for a Hurricane (splurge for the souvenir glass).  The Carousel Bar inside the Monteleone Hotel, I mean they have a carousel that is a bar! Molly’s at the Market for a great Irish coffee or Hansen’s Sno Bliz for a yummy snow cone topped with sweetened condensed milk.

7.  Watch a Parade or Attend a Festival

Of course, New Orleans most famous celebration is Mardi Gras, but New Orleans is always looking for a reason to party!  On our most recent trip, we had the opportunity to see the Chris Owens Annual Easter Parade.  Next on our list of festivals is San Fermin in Nueva Orleans festival.  This is the running of the bulls New Orleans style!  Check out a great listing of festivals here.

Best Places to Stay in New Orleans

New Orleans is full of great places to stay.  For a great location on Canal Street, we like to stay in The Sheraton or the JW Marriott, both are an easy walk into the action of the French Quarter and close to the trolley stops to access other parts of the city.  If you prefer to stay right in the heart of the French Quarter, then go with Royal Sonesta or the Monteleone.  Staying down by the river is also a great treat.  You have marvelous views and are out of the hustle and bustle.  For a riverfront stay, go with the Hilton or Westin.

Best New Orleans Tours

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Are you going to New Orleans? Lucky you! Well, you're in the right place. We love New Orleans! In this post we've outlined all of the must do items for any visitor to New Orleans. #neworleans #frenchquarter #louisiana #neworleansitinerary #neworleansthingstodo

Planning a trip to New Orleans? Then you have to read this post! We've outlined 7 things you have to do when you visit The Big Easy! #nola #neworleanstravel #neworleansitinerary #unitedstatestravel #itinerary #thingstodoneworleans

Headed to New Orleans? Man are you in for a treat! In this post we've outline the 7 must do things for any first time visitor to New Orleans. #neworleans #neworleansitinerary #louisinan #travel #unitedstatestravel

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  1. New Orleans has always been on my bucket list. Definitely saving this post when I finally get around to heading out there. Great info, thanks a bunch!!!

    • Hi Chelsey! I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. We absolutely love New Orleans. It’s always such a great time!

  2. I didn’t think your cemetery comment was creepy. I like looking at the dates . EG : seeing them very far back. Sound creepy ? haha

    • Thank you, Bryce. The cemeteries are fascinating. And I also like to look at the dates and imagine the history. The cemeteries in New Orleans just create a sense of mystery and intrigue.

  3. I live in Nola so as for po boys Sammys is the spot. There are great spots such as Commanders Palace, New Orleans Seafood and Spirit. As for alcohol try at of hundred drive thru daiquiri shops our walk up to Tropical Iisle on bourbon street. I can go on. Never a dull moment and I live here. Love your article and thanks fir sharing this great city.

    • Hi Amanda! We do love your city. New Orleans is always so fun. I agree you could just go on and on about food, drinks, and activities. Thanks for your suggestions!

  4. I live in Texas too and we often take a weekend trip to New Orleans! Cafe Du Monde is amazing! I think we will have to try Frenchmen Street next time! I will be studying abroad in France (and blogging about it) so I always get excited for anything French!

    • Hi Carlee, fellow Texan! Thanks for reading and yes, please go to Frenchmen Street it is a different vibe than Bourbon. How fun that you will be studying in France. Be sure and check out our section on France. We only have a couple of posts right now, but Chateau Fontainebleau is one of them, and I highly recommend visiting it if you can :). Safe travels!

  5. I have never travelled to New Orleans but it is so high on my bucket list. I will save this for later. Especially your foodie tips are great!

  6. What a lovely list! I haven’t been in New Orleans, but I will definitely save this for later. Because it is really high on my bucket list. Especially the foodie tips are great.

  7. I loooove New Orleans! Been there last year and for sure would love to come back. 🙂 This post brings back good memories.

    • I’m so happy to hear that, Unta!

  8. There’s just so much history to explore here, isn’t there? We have to do one of the walking tours next time, although to be honest we normally just meander and stumble on all kinds of fascinating things, including the cemeteries. I’m deeply jealous of those po-boys and beignets; being coeliac, I have to smell the wonderful aromas rather than taste them, although it leaves me with room for the rest of the delicious local cooking.

    • You said it, Bernie, history just surrounds you in New Orleans. We tend to stumble around and pop into quirky little places as well. I think that is part of the charm of NOLA. I’m sorry you don’t get to enjoy the delicious beignets. I guess I can eat your portion!

  9. Really liked this post, debated going to New Orleans this year but ended up in Japan instead. New Orleans is so high on my US bucket list though, together with the rest of the state. Will save this list for when I finally go 🙂

    • Thank you, Helena! You really should go. It is such a unique city. I think you either love it or hate it though, and we love it!

  10. Thank you for such a great tips. I would like so much to visit New Orleans and try all that stuff from your list! Saving for later 🙂

    • Thanks for reading and saving Lenka!

  11. This a great list. I especially like the walking tour recommendations – I love taking walking tours when I travel because I think you get so much better local insight into a place.

    • Thanks, Taryn! We love walking tours also. They are such a great way to get to know the city and we always get recommendations from the tour guides!

  12. So I hate to admit it but I have never been to New Orleans but love all the suggestions!! I would love to take a tour and explore some cemetaries!! And don’t even get me started on the food. I am dying to devour a beignet!!

    • You have to go, Kelly! Once you go, you will be addicted!!

  13. This just makes me want to go back to NOLA…I’ve done nearly everything on this list!

    • NOLA is great!!! Thanks for reading!

  14. Eating would be my #1 in New Orleans, too. 😉 Despite living within a reasonable distance for many years (we’re from Nashville), I have never actually visited NOLA. When we make it back to the USA someday, that’s going to change. Saving your post for when we do!

    • Thank you, Sarah. Be careful, once you go to NOLA you will be addicted. We find ourselves going back once or twice a year, and yes, eating is #1! LOL!

  15. Your article gets me so excited for my upcoming trip! I can’t wait to try all the delicious food! Thanks a lot for sharing your tips and experience.

  16. I love New Orleans, it’s definitely one of the cities I want to take my husband to, I know he would love it. I used to stay at the Sheraton too, its a nice hotel with a great location.

  17. I’m sad to say I’ve only been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras but am hoping to plan another trip this year to explore the rest of the city! I am happy to see though that I’ve checked off a couple items on your list – hurricanes and beignets for the win! Will definitely be saving this for next time. Great round up!

    • I’m sad to say we’ve never been during Mardi Gras, it’s just so expensive! We do love New Orleans though!

  18. I visited New Orleans two years ago and I can 100% agree that the food is incredible! I’m still craving the pecan pie I had.

    • Oh yum! I would love to know where this unforgettable pie is 🙂

  19. OMG, You’re really making me want to go to NOLA again. Those beignets alone are worth the drive from Houston! My mom even partied at two sisters decades ago, such great spots!

    • Thanks, Erin. NOLA does have some amazing food, it is truly one of the reasons we go back time and time again! LOL!

  20. I would love to go here! My friend went in July and said the heat was unbearable! But she enjoyed the city and all its history. As a Canadian, I would love to hear the French spoken here to compare it to what it sounds like at home!

    • You should go, Olivia! New Orleans is so awesome. I don’t recommend it in the summer though, it is unbearable and you know that says a lot if I’m saying so as it’s super hot in Texas also. LOL!

    • Hi Olivia! Well, your friend is right, it’s a scorcher there in the summer. We are from Texas, so you know it’s super hot if I’m saying that. But the spring and fall are usually amazing times to visit. I hope you get to go soon.

  21. I sometimes thought about visiting New Orleans, but my husband has a bad memory when visiting the city when he was little. And now we have a tween in the house, so I better wait for a few years. Or, maybe visiting with girlfriends and try all those food and visiting places you recommended.

    • I understand that, Umiko. It really makes for a fun girls trip. My first visit to NOLA was with a group of girls and we had a great time!

  22. The food in New Orleans sounds amazing! I think that alone is enough to make me want to visit haha. Great post – I love the sound of court of two sisters 😊

    • Thanks, Hayley. The food is incredible and it is one of the reasons we keep going back. 😉

  23. There has always been something about New Orleans that has appealed to me, but I never really knew what there was to DO. I think the idea of starting my day with a beignet and ending it with a ghost tour sounds great! Plus, I never knew there was such a variety of architecture. I am now utterly determined to visit in the next year…even if it is just to eat a proper Po Boy!

    • I understand you thinking that Rosie, but New Orleans really does have a lot to offer. Granted, there are several ways to “party” but there are also so many other things to do. We love taking just walking around listening to music, checking out the street art, taking history tours, and of course, eating!

  24. I really want to visit New Orleans! I have heard so much about the food, especially cafe du monde. Not sure I have any interests in ghost tours or plantation visits. The history of slavery is painful enough as it is :/

    • Cafe du Monde is a must-do. It’s so amazing. I agree that the history of slavery is awful, but I appreciate that it is also something we can’t just forget about. All of the plantation tours we have participated in have done an excellent job covering the history.

  25. There are so many things to do in New Orleans. I am really intrigued by the ghost tour and the alligator tour. I would love to know about the history of the place. Thanks for the informative guide.

    • Thank you for reading, Amrita! You’re right, NOLA is full of things to do. I guess that is why we continue to go back time and time again :).

  26. I would love to spend mardi gras in New orleans – bucket list there! I loved your food guide though and a souvenir glass is must while you’re there! Thanks for sharing such a great post

    • Thank you, Amber. Mardi Gras is on our bucket list as well. LOL!

  27. It’s been many many moons since I have traveled to New Orleans, but I still remember the beignets at Cafe De Monde!!! OMG I am drooling just thinking about it 😉 And you are right, it is absolutely a foodie heaven. I can go on and on about all the amazing food I had in New Orleans. I say food alone is worth the visit!

    • You are so right, Mo. The food is one of the reasons that we go back again and again! LOL! Thanks for reading.


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