12 Things to See and Do in New Orleans

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  • Discover America’s hippest French Quarter and enjoy the city’s unforgettable and unique nightlife.
  • If you’re looking for a little outdoor adventure, take a kayaking trip or a boat ride down the Mississippi River.
  • Catch the rhythm of the music with the jazz that plays in every corner of the city.

It’s not hard to fall in love with New Orleans, Louisiana. The city is a boiling cauldron of good music, haute cuisine, history and leisure. To the rhythm of jazz, you’ll discover neighborhoods with beautiful colonial-era mansions, try its typical foods and enjoy the nature surrounding the Mississippi River.

Are you planning a trip to New Orleans? Take advantage of these tips when planning your tip to ensure an unforgettable experience. To show that it’s worth setting aside a few days to discover this rare gem, here are 12 things to see and do in the city.

1. Hop a Street Car for a Tour of the City

The streetcars are charming and run all through the streets of New Orleans, giving tourists, travelers and locals an easy and unique way to experience the city. It’s just over 12 miles connecting New Orleans’s hippest neighborhoods.

One of the most popular lines is St. Charles Streetcar Line, which takes you to the famous Garden District. If you’re new to the city, you can buy your ticket directly on the car itself when you hop in.

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2. Take the Whole Family to Audubon Park

Whether you want to get in a workout while on vacation or have a picnic with the family, Audubon Park in Uptown New Orleans is the ideal spot. This little oasis has a jogging track, tennis court, soccer field, golf club and workout equipment.

While you’re at the park, you can also pay a visit to the Audubon Zoo and the Aquarium of the Americas, which are perfect attractions for those traveling with children or if you feel like connecting with your inner child! Visit the new Shark Discovery area – a 13,000-gallon shark and ray pool where you can touch the animals!

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3. Learn About New Orlean’s Haunting Ghost Stories

The city of New Orleans has a curious relationship with stories involving ghosts, vampires and witches. If you have the courage and want to find out about them, one option is to participate in a night tour of the city.

For about two hours, you’ll walk through the city’s streets, listening to the horrifying stories that haunt the residents. In addition to legends and mysteries that were never solved, you’ll hear about real crimes that still frighten residents. In New Orleans, it’s all too easy to find these nighttime tours of terror for those who like a good horror story.

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4. Take a Stroll Through the Garden District

Invest a few hours of your day to discover the charming and leafy Garden District, one of the most beautiful areas in all of New Orleans. With grandiose southern-style mansions and pretty gardens, it’s a delight to walk calmly through the neighborhood, which has renowned restaurants, cafes and bars — especially on Magazine Street.

The neighborhood’s history is also told by Lafayette Cemetery, which has been home to ornate tombs since the 19th century, attracting thousands of tourists every year.

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5. Have a Busy Night in the French Quarter

Take a day or more to explore one of the oldest neighborhoods in the country, the French Quarter. The neighborhood is the postcard of New Orleans and impresses with the beauty of the architecture in the houses and buildings, the popular restaurants and the vibrant nightlife.

The most popular place for tourists in the neighborhood is Bourbon Street. You can hear music everywhere, especially jazz. Another popular attraction is to visit the Preservation Hall, a traditional jazz house in the city. Arrive early or buy your ticket in advance: The line to enter is lengthy.

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6. Pay a Visit to a Renaissance Church and Taste a Delicacy

Continuing the tour of the French Quarter, it’s worth visiting St. Louis, which is located on the main square in the area, Jackson Square. Built in the 18th century, it has three Renaissance-style towers, making it one of the most beautiful in the South.

After visiting the church, finish the day at the trendy Café Du Monde, where you can feast on its famous beignets, a pastry made with deep-fried dough. The place usually has a line to enter, but it’s worth waiting to taste the most famous delicacy in the city.

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7. Visit a Plantation and Learn About Louisiana’s History

It’s impossible to disassociate New Orleans’s history with the farms of the colonial era, where sugar cane was cultivated. Better known today as plantations, they are large properties with mansions and beautiful gardens, but they carry a past of slavery.

One of the most famous in the city is the Houmas House. You can tour the mansion, which has several historical artifacts. Tickets can be purchased online or at the entrance. Another well-visited site is the Laura Plantation, which represents Louisiana’s Creole culture.

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8. Learn More About Slavery’s Impact on the City

In New Orleans, many visitors make a point of visiting the sugarcane plantations, but if you want to have a different perspective on the subject, you should see the Whitney Plantation, the only museum in the entire state that focuses on slavery.

Open to the public since 2014, the site underwent a restoration that took about 15 years. During the tour, you’ll learn about the stories of the enslaved people on the farm and the marks and legacy this period left on the city and community.

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9. Take a Boat Ride or Kayak Through the Swamps

For those who like adventure and want a little nature on their visit to New Orleans, taking a kayak tour through Louisiana swamps is a great option. Several companies usually offer the service in the city. During the tour, which generally lasts about three hours, you’ll experience all the nature the region has to offer, including alligators, a myriad of bird species and more.

If floating next to alligators in a kayak sounds a little off putting, there are other boating options that are better suited for outings with the family or a group of friends.

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10. Take a Mississippi River Boat Tour

Steamboat rides on the Mississippi River are very popular in New Orleans. The attraction’s prices, duration and format may vary, but the fun is always guaranteed. There are options for night tours with dinner, and the trips are usually packed with live music.

Along the way, in addition to enjoying the beauty of the river, you can also learn more about the history of the city, especially about the steamboats, which have become a historical reference for the region.

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11. Learn About Jazz in a Musical Museum

If you are passionate about music, visiting a museum dedicated to jazz is an unmissable proposition. Through interactive exhibits, you can explore and celebrate the history of this striking and unique musical style.

Located in the former Mint, the New Orleans Jazz Museum has an incredible collection of instruments previously used by music legends. On the second floor, there are several rooms with acoustics that usually hold concerts and parties. With a little luck, you can visit the place and experience a live jazz show.

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12. Taste and Learn to Make Your Own Cocktails

Located in a three-story building, the Sazerac House is a blend of museum and interactive bar that’s a must for those who like history and enjoy a good cocktail.

Visitors have the opportunity to discover the entire history of the Sazerac Cocktail, learn how to make the drink with the help of Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender′s Guide, visit a distillery and sample some Sazerac cocktail variants.

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Tim Kaechle

Tim Kaechle

Tim Kaechle is a freelance writer and digital nomad who loves learning and creating things for the web. When he’s not busy writing about his myriad of interests, he’s brushing up on his programming and digital design skills, all while wandering the world. He’s currently kicking around in Brazil and planning his next big adventure.

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