No matter what your passion, New Orleans has a treasure trove of offerings—for foodies, history buffs, museum fans, romantics and, of course, art and music lovers. With so much to do and see, it’s hard to know where to begin! So we’ve put together a list of “must-do’s”…sights and spots that define the very essence of the NOLA experience:
- The French Quarter: Stroll along the streets, and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to old-world Europe. This fabled part of the city is home to all variety of shops, restaurants, historic homes (some can be toured) and of course, a host of live music venues. Jazz is king, but you can also find folk, reggae, blues and rock…and an amazing nightlife.
- Marigny/Bywater: It’s a fun and funky part of the city, where you can shop, browse and sample local cuisine just like a native. Enjoy coffee or dessert at the Orange Couch coffee shop, try a classic New Orleans brunch at Elizabeth’s, poke around the flea markets in the Bywater. Places like the Frenchman Art Market and Everything: An Artists’ Bazaar, lets you glimpse a variety of creative work from area artisans. All in all, the Marigny/Bywater area is a colorful, memorable place to spend a free afternoon.
- Café du Monde: Founded in 1862, Café du Monde is located in the French Quarter. You can start your day with some café au lait and a delicious beignet —a sweet doughy pastry that’s the state doughnut of Louisiana—in this well-known New Orleans landmark.
- Garden District: Stately mansions, lush foliage... the city’s Garden District offers a beautiful glimpse into New Orleans’ past. You can join a walking tour to learn more about the area’s rich history and stunning architecture. Be sure to check out some of the cemeteries, too; they’re a unique city attraction.
- Magazine Street: It’s a shopper’s paradise! Magazine Street is a major thoroughfare filled with shops, boutiques, antique stores, galleries, coffeehouses, bars and restaurants. Whether you come to buy or browse, you’ll find options galore.
- Audubon Zoo: Come and see 58 acres of animals in their natural habitats! The Audubon Zoo has been long-recognized as one of the finest in the country—it dates back to the 1884 World Exposition in Audubon Park, and attracts visitors from all over the country. And you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it!
And no visit to New Orleans would be complete without a taste of the city’s signature cuisine! Make sure your restaurant visits include a taste of gumbo, Jambalaya, crawfish, Bananas Foster…if your visit is between Three Kings Day and Mardi Gras, you can sample some cinnamon-laced King Cake, a can’t-be-missed New Orleans treat.