Where to Go in New Orleans: 5 things to Do, See, and Eat

Where to Go in New Orleans: 5 things to Do, See, and Eat

So you're headed to 'The Big Easy' - now, what should you do? Make sure to check out these 5 things to do, see, and eat during your stay in NOLA.

So, you're headed to 'The Big Easy', but what should you do? New Orleans has a little bit of everything. With adventure, great food, crazy nightlife, and interesting history, making an itinerary can be overwhelming. Don't worry one bit. If you can't do it all, make sure to check out these 5 things to do, see, and eat in New Orleans.

1. Go to The French Quarter Festival

Everyone likes free events, right? Visit New Orleans in April to experience one of the best. Every year, the historic French Quarter hosts a free music festival, which just so happens to be the largest, free music festival in The South. The festival features classic New Orleans music like jazz and blues, but you're sure to find something you like at one of the 20 stages (yes, 20). If free music isn't enough for you, there's plenty to see and do including enjoying some fresh eats at numerous stands and street vendors, watching street performers, shopping, and checking out local artists' work around the famous Jackson Square.

2. Enjoy a Beignet and Coffee at Cafe Du Monde

Sure, maybe it's a little touristy, but it's also tradition. You don't get any more New Orleans than eating one of the classic deep fried pastries at this historic establishment. Since opening in 1862, Cafe Du Monde has been serving up the fried pastry with a serious amount of powdered sugar sprinkled on top alongside coffee, milk, and orange juice. The menu is simple and the choices are limited, but that's just part of the charm. If you can, visit the original in the French Quarter at 800 Decatur Street. It's open 24 hours a day, so you can even enjoy the sweet treat after a night out on Bourbon Street.

3. Join in a Wedding Procession

Now this one's a little difficult to plan, but if you're wandering around town anywhere close to Canal Street or The French Quarter you're sure to stumble upon a wedding procession or two. If you're picturing a brass band and pretty parasols, you're on the right track. It's a post-wedding parade through the streets - Mardi Gras style. There's something so romantic about a wedding party and 100 guests celebrating in the streets waving handkerchiefs in the air and dancing their way to a reception. If you're lucky you can join on the tail end of the parade and share some of the fun. It's a unique memory you won't soon forget and is a good party alternative after a few late nights with one too many hurricanes.

4. Spice Up Your Life with a Little Creole Cuisine

It's no secret New Orleans is home to some flavorful dishes but where to start? Try a few classics like étouffée, jambalaya, or a po' boy. Here's a run-down on the three - Étouffée is crawfish or shrimp stew served hot over rice. Jambalaya is a spicy concoction of rice with seafood and sausage. Louisiana takes the sub sandwich to the next level with po' boys which are served on French bread usually with fried seafood or roast beef. For a good ol' fashioned po' boy, head to Liuzza's by the Track. For something extra local, try red beans and rice. This dish is exactly what it sounds like. Traditionally, the dish is made on Mondays with spices, beans, and meat, left over from Sunday dinner, all slowed cooked together and served over rice.

Here's a helpful hint- if you're new to the cuisine try out a sampler from the starter menu. You'll get your choice of a few small portions of some creole staples. Try it for one of your first meals out and you might just find your meal of choice for the rest of the trip.

For a different dining experience, try to catch the local food trucks. There's plenty to choose from but for some Louisiana cooking try King Creole.

5. Go For a Swamp Tour

After all that eating, it's time for a Bayou adventure. An important part of Louisiana culture is rooted in its distinctive wildlife and wetlands. There's no better way to see this than from the comfort of an airboat! You'll get up close and (not too) personal with alligators, turtles, and snakes while exploring the wild side of New Orleans. There's plenty of tours to choose from. Tours can last anywhere from 2 hours to a full-day with lunch and plantation tours included.

Now you're ready to visit the heart of Louisiana and enjoy all its southern charm. Be careful, it might just become your new favorite American city.

As Bob Dylan said,

"There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better."

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