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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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-
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:
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 Tour–We 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 Plantations–There 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 Tour–I 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!
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.
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
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.
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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