6 Things to Do in New Orleans That Everyone Should Try Once
While known for Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras and debauchery, New Orleans offers much more to visitors of all ages. Take a look at our short list of things to do!
You’ve seen pictures of the craziness of Mardi Gras and maybe even heard stories from visits to Bourbon Street, but New Orleans is more than partying. Full of history, New Orleans boasts a wide variety of fun things to do. If you have the chance to visit this eccentric city, you’ll want to be sure to add these activities to your itinerary.
1. Eat your way through the city
Chock full of restaurants serving French, Creole, Cajun and Southern cooking, New Orleans is a foodie’s dream. To help you navigate, try a New Orleans food tour and let the experts lead you to the best the city has to offer. Tastebuds Tours Food Tours offers three different walking food tours, including a dessert tour, that take you on a two to three-hour eating adventure. Along the way, you’ll also get to see some of New Orleans’ historic and not-so-historic, but still famous, sites and learn more about the city. No matter what tour you choose, be sure it includes New Orleans’ favorites like jambalaya, beignets, crawfish, pralines and gumbo.
Tastebuds Tours Food Tours
Desoto Street, New Orleans, LA 70119
Hours: Varies, but most tours run seven days a week
Prices: Starting at $44
2. Ride the New Orleans streetcar
There’s no better way to experience the history of New Orleans than on an authentic, historic streetcar. The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority runs the three lines, which all start in downtown and go to different parts of the city. The lines include the St. Charles, Canal Street and Riverfront. You can pay as you go or purchase a one, three or 31-day unlimited ride pass. Popular sites along the routes include Loyola and Tulane universities, New Orleans Museum of Art and the French Market.
New Orleans Regional Transit Authority
2817 Canal St. New Orleans, LA 70119
Prices: $1.25 a person per ride; 1-day unlimited ride pass for $3, 3-day unlimited ride pass for $9 and 31-day unlimited ride pass for $55
3. Enjoy some jazz music
New Orleans claims fame as the birthplace of jazz and so a trip to the Big Easy wouldn’t be complete without taking in some jazz music at a club or restaurant. Some of the most popular jazz clubs include the Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro and Preservation Hall. Depending on the venue, you may also be able to snag an authentic New Orleans meal while enjoying the smooth sounds.
Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro
626 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA 70116
Hours: Daily shows at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.; dining open at 5 p.m.
726 St. Peters Street, New Orleans, LA 70116
Hours: Daily shows at 8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
4. Visit the French Quarter
Beyond Bourbon Street, the French Quarter is steeped in history and a must-see when in New Orleans. The city is just as family-friendly as it is party central with sites like St. Louis Cathedral and the famous Café du Monde serving café au lait and some of the best beignets in the city. Take in the street performers at Jackson Square, enjoy a buggy or riverboat ride to see NOLA from a different perspective or explore the Louisiana Children’s Museum. Guided tours of the French Quarter are also available if you don’t want to explore on your own.
Louisiana Children’s Museum
420 Julia Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Hours: Varies depending on season
Prices: $8.50 per person
Toulouse Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
5. Take a swamp or plantation tour
Just outside the city of New Orleans is another world packed with historical homes and creatures from the swamp. Consider venturing outside the city limits a day or two to experience a swamp or plantation tour. While on a swamp tour, you’ll see alligators, wild boars, snakes, turtles, bald eagles, black bears and maybe even a real Cajun village. The plantation tours view some of Louisiana’s most famous homes including the Whitney, Laura and Oak Alley Plantations. Many of the tour operators offer combination tours that allow you to experience the swamp and plantations in one trip.
55345 Highway 90 East, Slidell, LA 70461
6. Go on a ghost and voodoo tour
New Orleans also has a haunted history full of stories of witches, ghosts and voodoo doctors. The tours take you through haunted homes, bars, buildings and cemeteries throughout the city with guides telling all the spooky stories behind the hauntings. During a tour you may also visit a voodoo altar and learn all about the mysterious religion.
New Orleans Ghost Tour
723 St Peter Street, New Orleans, LA 70119
Prices: Starting at $14 a person
Whether you have a few hours or a few days to explore New Orleans, these are some of the must-dos to get the real NOLA experience.
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