New Orleans Travel Guide: Things to Do in New Orleans

New Orleans, the largest city of Louisiana, is one of the most well-known travel destinations in the world. Nicknamed “the Big Easy”, New Orleans is renowned for its laid back atmosphere, its unique culture, its jazz music connection, its tasty Creole cuisine and the famous Mardi Gras festivities. For many people, New Orleans is a dream destination in America. This New Orleans travel guide will provide you with lots of useful information about New Orleans.

A map of New Orleans will reveal its location in southeastern Louisiana on the banks of the Mississippi River adjacent to Lake Pontchartrain. The Gulf of Mexico is roughly 105 miles south of New Orleans.

Jackson Square & St Louis Cathedral

Jackson Square & St Louis Cathedral (image bywallyg)

The weather in New Orleans is subtropical, with short, generally mild winters and hot, humid summers. The ideal period to visit this city would be the fall and the spring. Hurricane season in New Orleans lasts from June to November, so it’s best to avoid travel during these months.

Hurricane Katrina devastated this historical city on August, 29 2005. 80% of the city was flooded and 1836 people died in the deadliest U.S. hurricane since 1928. But today, most areas of New Orleans have been rebuilt and the city is thriving again with visitors. This enchanting city is waiting to welcome you with open arms.

Things to Do and See in New Orleans

New Orleans has many major attractions, such as the world-renowned French Quarter and Bourbon Street’s notorious nightlife, St. Charles Avenue, Magazine Street with its many boutique stores and antique shops, and many others. The capital of Louisiana is one of the top ten most visited cities in the United States.

French Quarter

French Quarter (image by wallyg)

French Quarter
The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré, is the oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. This is the area where New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. The entire district has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Bourbon Street
This famous and historic street spans the French Quarter. Most of the popular tourist attractions can be found in an eight-block section of the street that is called “Upper Bourbon Street”. This area is home to countless restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, entertainment venues and strip clubs.

Garden District
This upscale neighborhood of New Orleans is home to the best preserved collection of historic southern mansions in the United States and is a National Historic Landmark. Formerly an area composed of plantations, the 19th century buildings with their large gardens illustrate the wealthy past of the city.

The historic Garden District

The historic Garden District (image by Karim Rezk)

New Orleans Walking Tours
This town was definitely made for walking, however, it is best to avoid the hot weather. You can stroll in the French Quarter, the Garden District or along St. John’s Bayou while marveling at the city’s unique stunning buildings. You can also join an organized New Orleans walking tour to learn more about the history of the city.  New Orleans is easily manageable on foot.

Biking in New Orleans
Exploring New Orleans by bike is another great way of discovering this city. The flat terrain makes it easy to explore the different parts of New Orleans and to immerse yourself in every nook and cranny of this city.

Jazz Clubs
New Orleans is intricately connected with the history of jazz that had its origin with the Dixieland genre in the early 1910s in this city. Musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino and Little Richard have left their permanent imprint on the musical history of New Orleans. Today, jazz clubs are alive with vibrant music every night of the week. From traditional to acid jazz to hip hop and Cuban-influenced rhythms, there’s something for every ear, every day of the week.

Saint Louis Cemetery
St. Louis Cemetery encompasses three Roman Catholic cemeteries in the city that date back to 1789. Two of the cemeteries are part of the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

St Louis Cemetery

St Louis Cemetery (image by wallyg)

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA)
The New Orleans Museum of Art was initialy funded through a charitable grant by local philanthropist and art collector Isaac Delgado. This Museum is home to an invaluable collection of more than 40,000 objects that include paints by Renoir, Manet, Picasso, Matisse and many other famous artists.

The Louisiana State Museum
This museum consists of five historic buildings in the French Quarter and exhibits thousands of artifacts that relate to Louisiana’s history and unique cultural background.

 

Bayou Segnette State ParkBayou Segnette State Park is located to the southwest of New Orleans on the west bank of the Mississippi River and houses remarkable plant and wildlife, including alligators, armadillos, opossums and raccoons.


Festivals in New Orleans

 

This colourful and vibrant city is world-renowned for its diverse celebrations and festivals.

 

Mardi Gras:
New Orleans’ Carnival celebrations are well-known throughout the world. Celebrations, including the famous bead tossing, take place during the two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday and feature one major parade each day.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras in New Orleans (image by pieter morlion

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival:
Also called “Jazz Fest”. This festival takes place the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May every year at the New Orleans Fairgrounds. It is mainly a celebration of music but also a cultural feast with food and crafts. There are numerous musicians, cooks and craftspeople at the festival that attracts about 500,000 visitors each year.

 

French Quarter Festival:
This popular free music festival is held at multiple locations all around the French Quarter each spring.

Essence Festival:
This big music festival is held in early July and celebrates African American musical talent.

Satchmo Summer Festival:
It was first held in 2001 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of New Orleans jazz legend Louis Armstrong. It takes place the first weekend in August every year.

Jazz legend Louis Armstrong

Jazz legend Louis Armstrong (image by shoehorn99)

 

Southern Decadence: Every summer, this week-long event for the gay and lesbian community is capped off with a parade through the French Quarter and is attended by up to 300,000 people from all around the world.

 

Halloween:
Hallowen is a popular time for parties in New Orleans and is celebrated with haunted tours and many costumed events.

Voodoo Experience:
This multi-day music and arts festival features musicians from a wide variety of genres and has attracted close to a million fans over its 10 year existence.

Voodoo Festival

Voodoo Festival in New Orleans (image by cybercode)

New Orleans is an exciting city thanks to its colorful and rich cultural mix. Its diverse neighbourhoods, its numerous festivals and celebrations as well as its lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere make it a perfect destination for curious visitors in search of history and entertainment.

 

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