12 New Orleans Attractions Everyone MUST See
Visiting Louisiana? Don't miss these attractions for a special taste of New Orleans' history and culture.
New Orleans is considered one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. With a rich history, diverse culture, great Cajun food and jazz cafes, it’s not hard to see why everyone is flocking to this melting pot of American, African, French and Spanish influences.
Here are some attractions that you must not miss when visiting the Big Easy. (Even if it’s not Mardi Gras!)
1. Frenchmen Street
If you want the authentic New Orleans vibe, head on over to Frenchmen Street, which is less crowded than the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. Frenchmen Street is where the locals go and have fun.
The Frenchmen Street has all the bells and whistles you need for a fun time - it has cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, bars and more. With live music, especially jazz, playing along the street, you will surely enjoy your walk along the Frenchmen Street.
Some of the jazz bars are The Spotted Cat, d.b.a, and Three Muses, beloved my locals and tourists alike. If you are not keen on drinking, the Frenchmen Street also has some stores that sell handmade jewelry and artisan crafts and products.
Compared to Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, Frenchmen Street is more laid back and cheaper as well. I guess you could say Frenchmen Street was the old Bourbon Street back in the day.
Accessible by car and bus, Frenchmen Street is just walking distance from the French Quarter. So if it ever gets too crowded, you know where to go.
2. The French Quarter
A must-go if you are in New Orleans. The French Quarter or Vieux Carre is the heart and soul of the city, and is a National Historic Landmark.
The French Quarter is where it all began – where the original French colony was established on 1718. Walk the streets of the French Quarter and let it take you in with its cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture. Walk around Jackson Square, visit the Faulkner House, the Cabildo and, of course, Bourbon Street.
Bourbon Street is the party hub of New Orleans. The streets are often filled with musicians, street performers, and fortune tellers. Bars stand side-by-side on this street, and it is practically a pilgrimage for alcohol lovers to go to Bourbon Street when in New Orleans.
There are tours that can accommodate groups. Meet ups are in Jackson Square. The tour consists of going around the French Quarter by day and giving the full French Quarter Experience.
3. Jackson Square
Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960, Jackson Square was designed by designer/architect Louis H. Pilié. The one-hectare square is one of the most iconic places in New Orleans, and definitely a must-see for everyone coming to New Orleans. Jackson Square has a diverse, eclectic collection of restaurants, cafes, museums and street performers that makes its environment such a joy to walk in while taking in the Louisiana culture.
The gorgeous architecture here is influenced by colonial French and Spanish. Overlooking the Mississippi River, Jackson Square is one of the most beautiful places in New Orleans, if not the world.
Jackson Square is located at 700 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116. Hours: 8:00-19:00. Open daily. Store hours vary. Website: http://www.jackson-square.com/
4. St. Louis Cathedral
St. Louis Cathedral is one of the oldest and most famous landmarks of New Orleans. The iconic St. Louis Cathedral, which was built in the 1770s, is also the oldest cathedral in the United States of America
With its beautiful Renaissance architectural style, don’t miss the intricately-painted church ceiling, the beautiful stained glass windows, and the great Cathedral organ.
St. Louis Cathedral is located at 615 Pere Antoine Alley, New Orleans, LA 70116. Hours: 8:30-16:00. Open daily. Admission is free, but you may get self-guided brochures at the entrance for a $1 donation. Website: http://www.stlouiscathedral.org/
5, The Cabildo
The Cabildo was built in 1799, when New Orleans temporarily became a Spanish Colony before being handed back to the French. The Cabildo was the seat of the Spanish government, and it was where the Louisiana Purchase took place.
At present, the Cabildo is a three-story museum, which is also the Louisiana State Museum. Here, you can find exhibits on the the history and culture of New Orleans. Enjoy the Colonial era paintings and even Napoleon Bonaparte's death mask. One of four known to exist.
If you love history, you will surely lose track of time while enjoying the artifacts and reliving history of the beloved New Orleans.
The Cabildo – Louisiana State Museum is located at 701 Chartres St., New Orleans, 70116. Hours: 10:00-16:30, Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed Mondays and state holidays. Admission is $6.00. Website: http://louisianastatemuseum.org/museums/the-cabildo/
6. Commander's Palace Restaurant
Named “Best Restaurant in New Orleans” in 2014, “Most Popular Restaurant” for 18 years by Zagat, winner of the James Beard Foundation’s “Most Outstanding Restaurant”, Commander’s Palace Restaurant has no shortage of awards under its belt.
Commander's Palace is an institution in New Orleans. Opened in 1880, it is now a cultural and historical landmark. If you want to try authentic Creole cuisine, then this restaurant is surely the place to go to. With its gorgeous chandelier, it is also famous as an elegant jazz brunch establishment. Its distinct Louisiana charm Commanders Palace has been legendary in the culinary scene for many, many years.
One must try is their Wild Louisiana White Shrimp, Sunflower Crusted Hake, Chicory Coffee Lacquered Quail, and for dessert Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé, which is to die for!
Commander’s Palace Restaurant is located at 1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130. Hours: 11:30-13:30, 18:00-22:00, Mondays to Fridays. 11:00-13:00, 18:00-22:00, Saturdays. 10:00-13:30, 18:00-22:00, Sundays. Website: http://commanderspalace.com
7. Garden District
Tired of the lights and sounds of the French Quarter and the crowded tourist spots? Head on over to Garden District, where you can recharge and reconnect with nature through its peaceful atmosphere and historic streets.
In the Garden District, the streets are filled with trees, ivy, and gardens. The street is also well-known for its architecture and beautiful homes. To gain a deeper understanding of the history of this place, why not sign up for one of the many walking tours to go around the Garden District?
8. The National World War II Museum
Opened on the 6th of June 2000, which is the 56th anniversary of D-Day, the National World War II Museum (formerly known as the National D-Day Museum) has an extensive collection of artefacts from that unforgettable part of World War II, for which the Holocaust was a dark era for mankind.
The museum features a wide range of educational exhibits where war veterans and civilians alike share their experiences throughout the 1940s. One of the museums’ attractions is the movie "Beyond All Boundaries", narrated and produced by Tom Hanks.
The National WWII Museum is located at 945 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130. Hours: 9:00-17:00. Open daily. General admission is $24.00. Website: http://www.nationalww2museum.org/
9. The Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery
The Battle of New Orleans 1815 was a battle fought from December 24, 1814 to January 8, 1815, between the United States Army and the British Army. It is believed to be the final battle of the War of 1812. Chalmette Battlefield has historical markers that guides the tourist and visitors trace back what has happened in this battle.
The park also has a cemetery, so that visitors can pay their respect to the fallen men that have fought for the freedom of the United States of America.
Check out their websites for events and programs that you can participate in.
The Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery is located at 8606 W St Bernard Hwy, Chalmette, LA 70043. Hours: 9:00-16:00, Tuesdays-Saturdays, Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Website: http://www.nps.gov/jela/chalmette-battlefield.htm
10. The Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center
Learn more about the Acadians, or colloquially, the Cajuns of New Orleans. Artifacts and films will give you a glimpse of their history, culture and daily lives.
Interactive programs, such as the Cajun Music Jam on Mondays, allow the visitor to play along with the local musicians.
Don’t miss the Thibodaux Farmer's Market every Saturday for baked goods and local produce. Held in spring and fall, every Saturday, 8:00-12:00, next to the Cultural Center.
Lastly, take a boat ride through the Bayou for a better understanding of Louisiana’s past. Tickets are $32, cruises held in spring and fall.
The Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center is located at 314 St Mary St, Thibodaux, LA 70301. Hours: 9:00-19:00, Mondays and Tuesdays. 9:00-17:00, Wednesdays-Fridays. General admission is free. Learn more through their website: http://www.nps.gov/jela/wetlands-acadian-cultural-center.htm
11. Louisiana Children's Museum
The Louisiana Children's Museum features interactive and fun learning experiences that will surely bring smiles to your little ones. It would be a good break for kids from all the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street.
The Louisiana Children's Museum has interactive exhibits that will allow your children to learn the body mechanics of the human body, an art studio, a story-telling nook, an architecture exhibit with drafting boards exclusively for kids. There’s also a space for toddlers to crawl in and explore, and have their “first adventures”.
Oh, and did I mention an entire wing of exhibits for grown-ups?
Not only will kids enjoy this educational interactive experience, but adults will as well.
The Louisiana’s Children Museum is located at 420 Julia St, New Orleans, LA 70130. Hours: 9:30-16:30, Tuesdays to Saturdays. 12:00-16:30, Sundays. Admission is $8.50. Website: http://lcm.org/
12. New Orleans Museum of Art
New Orleans Museum of Art, or also known as "NOMA, has more than 40,000 objets d'art. With such an impressive and extensive collection of art ranging from the European masterpieces of the 16th century and 20th century to beautiful Asian artistry, not only art lovers will have a great time enjoying the sculptures, paintings, and artifacts. These works show the history and the artistic side of our ancestors, and also the creativity of new artists that live for art’s sake.
The New Orleans Museum of Art is located at 1 Collins Diboll Cir, New Orleans, LA 70124. Hours: 10:00-18:00, Tuesdays to Thursdays. 10:00-21:00, Fridays. 11:00-17:00, Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $10.00. Website: https://noma.org/
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