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Visiting New Orleans

Visiting New Orleans

New Orleans is one of the world's most fascinating cities. Founded in 1718 and steeped in a myriad of influences from Europe, the Caribbean, Africa, and beyond, the city is home to a truly unique melting pot of culture, food, and music. Nicknamed “The Big Easy” or “Crescent City,” New Orleans is one of America's most culturally and historically rich destinations.

Hugging the curve of the Mississippi River, New Orleans is eminently walkable and known for its distinct neighborhoods, each with its own unique flavor: Warehouse Arts District, French Quarter, Garden District, Faubourg Marigny, Bywater, and Tremé.

The city lures thousands of visitors each year to experience its fabulous dining experiences, vivid nightlife, centuries-old architecture, and one-of-a-kind attractions. We’ve put together a few suggestions to acquaint you with all that New Orleans has to offer and encourage you to explore this captivating city during your stay.

Dining

New Orleans is famous for its cuisine and offers an exceptional—and diverse—dining scene. From Cajun, Creole, Soul, and Contemporary French, award-winning chefs create food for your taste buds and nourishment for your soul. The New Orleans Visitors Bureau website has a variety of dining options and you can search by location as well.

Music

In New Orleans, jazz and blues clubs abound. Experience live music performances in venues from swank lounges to tiny honkytonks. Legendary Bourbon Street swings all night and into the wee hours.  Don’t miss Preservation Hall for Jazz and Pat O’Brien’s for the courtyard and “hurricane” experience. In the Faubourg Marigny, Frenchmen Street is music central, with bars, restaurants, and jazz clubs that have an authentic feel.

Neighborhoods

New Orleans neighborhoods are where the culture and creativity of the city come to life. From the historic French Quarter to the elegant Garden District to the music-filled Marigny, there is great food, music, and more to be found all across the city.

Close to the Convention Center / Warehouse Arts District

The Convention Center / Warehouse Arts District is filled with activities celebrating the arts and top dining experiences. Museums such as the Contemporary Arts Center and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art can be found here, as well as dozens of art galleries, restaurants and shops. The neighborhood is also home to some of New Orleans favorite cocktail bars and many fabulous restaurants. And, as a designated Louisiana Cultural District, there is no sales tax charged on any original works of art sold in the Arts District!

The French Quarter

Much of what makes New Orleans unique is captured in the melting pot atmosphere of the famous French Quarter. From the party atmosphere of Bourbon Street to the bohemian elegance of Royal, it’s a neighborhood full of restaurants, music venues, and boutique shopping. No trip to the French Quarter is complete without a trip to the French Market for souvenirs. Walking in the oldest part of New Orleans is easy and practical – and you can do it at your own pace with a self-guided French Quarter walking map in hand.

The Garden District

Tradition, opulence and beauty can all be used to describe New Orleans’ historic Garden District. With its well-preserved collection of antebellum mansions, pristine gardens and southern charm, the Garden District stands out as one of the country’s most lovely neighborhoods and a popular destination for visitors.

Things To Do

New Orleans is home to one of the busiest ports, yet the city is remarkably compact and easy to navigate. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that many of the city’s attractions, accommodations, and event venues are within walking distance of each other. Take a look at some online maps of the city. You can always peruse the visitor brochures at your hotel as well.

Take a City Tour

A professionally guided city tour is always recommended to see "The Big Easy." Sort out the many historic neighborhoods with a sightseeing tour; enjoy a walking tour, a ghost and cemetery tour, and food tours.  Tours are available by bus, van, private car, horse-powered carriage, or bicycle.

River Cruises

Take a leisurely cruise down the Mississippi River on the Creole Queen Paddlewheel or the last authentic steamboat on the river, Steamboat Natchez. Both boats offer dinner or daytime jazz cruises and historical cruises.

Experience New Orleans Parks

Walk among the centuries-old oaks of City Park, picnic in picturesque Audubon Park, or enjoy views of the Mississippi River at Woldenberg Park.

Bike along the levee

Rent a bike and go for a ride along the levee while taking in the sights and sounds of the mighty Mississippi River.

Streetcars of New Orleans

New Orleans streetcars are the oldest in the United States. The St. Charles Avenue line was named a National Historic Landmark in 2014 and provides a particularly scenic view of historic New Orleans’ homes.  The Canal Street line runs down the major thoroughfare of the city, transporting residents and tourists to shops, restaurants, and entertainment.

Cities of the Dead

New Orleans is known for its cemeteries, many with colorful histories. Worth a visit is Metairie Cemetery  to view the incredible tombs set in lovely garden areas. The St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is a very old and famous cemetery with notable African-Americans such as voodoo queen Marie Laveau and former mayor Ernest “Ditch” Morial buried here.  Cemetery tours are conducted daily by a number of tour companies.