Greeting travellers! Welcome to New Orleans, Louisiana! Not sure what to do or see in the Jazz Capital of the World? Worry not fellow travellers! As we – Hyannisholiday have got you covered with our list of 20+ most amazing things to do in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Introducing New Orleans, Louisiana
Famous all over the world for its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras, as well as its distinctive music, Creole cuisine, and unique languages. The French Quarter is the city’s historic center, and it is famous for its French and Spanish Creole architecture and lively nightlife along Bourbon Street.
Because of its bilingual and multicultural history, the city has been called “the most unique in the United States.” As a result of its growing importance in the media and entertainment industries, New Orleans is also called “Hollywood South.”
If this is your first time in New Orleans or if you’ve been here before, you’ll be energized by the city’s infectious vibe and eager to dive into all the sights, sounds, and experiences it has to offer. Narrowing the playing field when faced with several options and activities can be difficult.
Top 20+ best things to do in New Orleans, Louisiana
In the city that gave birth to jazz, where Creole food, centuries-old Spanish oak trees, and clacking streetcars can all be found, people love to eat and every day is a celebration. New Orleans has the right ingredients to enchant anyone: city life, swamp tours, festivals, historical significance, and Mardi Gras mayhem. Find out with me the top New Orleans attractions!
Explore the French Quarter (The Vieux Carre)
The French Quarter is the best place to start your tour of New Orleans because it is the city’s historic center and is home to many landmarks, including traditional-style hotels, a thriving nightlife, and colourful buildings with cast-iron balconies. The Vieux Carre is the city’s oldest neighbourhood and is home to many interesting people, including long-time residents, friendly tour guides, and skilled street performers. It also features stunning architecture and a lot of historical information. Enjoy the vistas of the Mississippi River from the edge of the Quarter and don’t miss out on the city’s rich history by skipping places like the Historic New Orleans Collection.
Bourbon Street, New Orleans’ world-famous entertainment district, is undeniably the main pull of the French Quarter. This street is full of noisy pubs, fortune tellers, and other street performers. While a visit to New Orleans would be lacking without a stroll down Bourbon Street, visitors should be aware that the rowdy nightlife on this street is more suited to those of legal drinking age. Don’t set up shop on Bourbon Street if you want to keep your head on straight. While being in the thick of everything is exciting, there’s no escape the late-night din.
Stroll down Frenchmen Street
The vibrant Frenchmen Street is the place to go if you want to get away from the crowds of tourists in Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. Frenchmen Street is a length of several blocks in New Orleans’ French Quarter known for its abundance of bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and art galleries.
There are fewer people here (though not by much) and the food and drink are cheaper, and the music is better; it’s like the cool, trendy cousin of Bourbon Street. The Palace Market is a nighttime shopping wonderland where residents sell handmade art and jewelry (open Sunday through Wednesday from 7 p.m. to midnight and Thursday through Saturday from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.).
Visit the National WWII Museum to see the formidable war machine
Recent visitors agree that you need not need an interest in history to appreciate The National WWII Museum. The museum, which opened on June 6, 2000 (the 56th anniversary of D-Day), features an extensive collection of relics and educational films depicting all elements of World Conflict II, from D-Day to the war in the Pacific to the Holocaust.
Recent visitors have noted that while the museum is an excellent learning opportunity, some of the exhibits may be too upsetting for young children. Former guests recommend the 4D film “Beyond All Boundaries,” which has Tom Hanks as the film’s narrator.
Visit the well-known St. Louis Cemetery
The majority of the region’s burials are placed in above-ground vaults due to the city’s swampland foundation; they are artistically designed and eerily stunning.
When you tour the tombs with a guide, you’ll gain insight into their history and get to see the graves of notable people like Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.
Even if you don’t like being a part of huge groups, you can still have a fantastic experience on a private trip.
At Mardi Gras World, admire the floats
If you ask me, Mardi Gras is essential to New Orleans!
Every year in February, New Orleans has a massive party.
If you have the chance to see how one of the most famous (and rowdy) American festivals is put together, don’t let it pass you by just because you won’t be in attendance. Mardi Gras World provides an up-close examination of the elaborate floats and costumes worn at the world-famous New Orleans celebration.
Mardi Gras World is a 300,000-square-foot warehouse where visitors can learn about the history, traditions, and history behind the world-famous celebration.
Keep in mind that you are not in a museum, but rather in a warehouse workshop where both finished and unfinished floats are kept. Explore the history of the event at your own pace by wandering around the various displays.
Kiddos will have a blast playing dress-up!
Enjoy modernize New Orleans soul at JAMNOLA
The “joy, art, and music New Orleans” (or “JAMNOLA”) sign is a relatively recent and one-of-a-kind addition to the city’s tourist landscape. The pop-up art project launched in 2020 in the Faubourg Marigny/Bywater neighbourhood, and its inventor has called it a “cultural funhouse” with 12 displays spread across 5,400 square feet. In contrast to other galleries, JAMNOLA actually features works by local artists.
Twenty-plus local artists came together to create an experimental space, each of which rooms is perfectly suited for Instagram since it tells a story about a different aspect of life in New Orleans. You may try on Mardi Gras masks in one room and take pictures with a life-size crawfish lounging in a beach chair in another.
The French Quarter is only a 15-minute stroll away from JAMNOLA, and the area is well-served by public transportation, including buses and streetcars.
Kayak through the swamp of Manchac
The bayous, wetlands, and slow-moving rivers on New Orleans’ outskirts are begging to be explored by kayak.
Tandem paddling entails sitting side by side with a lucky friend or family member and gliding past vegetation and wildlife, with the near certainty of seeing an alligator or two.
Just be sure you don’t fall out of your kayak! These waters are not suitable for swimming.
Return to Laura Plantation in the past
The Laura Plantation is one of the oldest and most well-preserved homes in the New Orleans area, having been constructed in 1805.
The manor home, slave quarters, sugar fields, and gardens are all part of the tour, and there are interesting anecdotes and facts to be learned at each stop. Discover the gloomy pleasures and the once-thriving Creole culture.
Listen “live” music at the New Orleans Jazz Museum
Jazz has been and always will be the city’s beating musical heart.
The New Orleans Jazz Museum is a superb representation of the city’s passion for jazz music. Attend one of the free performances or participate in one of the engaging exhibits happening every day.
After seeing the museum, if you still can’t sleep thinking about trombones and saxophones, you may catch live music at one of the French Street bars or embark on a citywide jazz tour.
See lovely natural life at the Audubon Butterfly Garden And Insectarium
The largest freestanding American display dedicated to insects can be seen in the United States Custom House on Canal Street, just a few blocks from the Mississippi River.
If the thought of bugs gives you the creeps, you might want to avoid this area. For the rest of us, though, this nature-centred attraction offers an opportunity to get up and personal with some of the most stunning and misunderstood animals on the planet.
The Asian Garden, with its myriad beautiful butterflies, is a must-see on any trip to Japan.
Discover at the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum
Even though there are only two galleries in this museum, don’t discount it only because of its modest size. Located smack dab in the middle of the French Quarter, the Voodoo Museum is one of the few museums in the world that is devoted exclusively to voodoo art.
Since 1972, we’ve been providing locals and tourists with an approachable and intriguing look into the Voodoo traditions of New Orleans in an effort to keep the city’s rich history alive.
All the secrets, history, and traditions of New Orleans’s rituals, zombies, gris-gris, Voodoo Queens, and jazz will be gathered in one place—the French Quarter.
This attraction teaches visitors about the fascinating (and spooky) voodoo culture while also providing a fun and entertaining experience.
Visit the Whitney Plantation And Museum
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you visit the hauntingly beautiful Whitney Plantation. The Whitney Plantation is older than both Laura and Oak Alley combined, having been around for more than three centuries.
The purpose of Whitney Plantation is to teach visitors about slavery’s impact on American culture and society. The museum’s exhibits on slavery’s past will provide visitors with a wealth of information.
But this plantation is also a museum, the only one in Louisiana dedicated exclusively to the topic of slavery and featuring exhibits from both the slaves and the owners’ points of view.
An airboat swamp tour takes you past alligators
The swamps that surround New Orleans have a significant cultural significance.
An unforgettable family day may be had by hopping on an airboat and whizzing through the marshes while learning about Cajun history and keeping an eye out for snapping alligators, wild hogs, and other native species.
There are lots of slower boat tours available, and you can even rent kayaks if you’d want to take things easy for a while.
One of the must-do activities in New Orleans is a visit to the marshes, which may be done in a variety of ways.
Visit the infamous Jackson Square
Jackson Square, located in the middle of the French Quarter, is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
To honour Andrew Jackson, the victor of the Battle of New Orleans, this monument was built.
Join a guided tour to learn more about its history; practically all routes that include Jackson Square will have stops for walking, segway, or bicycle.
Visit the St. Louis Cathedral
St. Louis Cathedral, located in the heart of the French Quarter, is a well-known symbol of New Orleans. St. Louis Cathedral was constructed in the early 1700s and is the oldest Catholic cathedral in the United States that is still in regular use.
Since the first two cathedrals built at this site were demolished, the current one is the third to exist here. The building is still used for religious services and hosts other cultural events such as free concerts. People who have been there before say that it is “beautiful inside and out,” so even if you’re not interested in going to a service, you should at least go have a look.
Stroll through St. Anthony’s Garden to see the magnificent statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus after visiting the church and the Old Ursuline Convent (the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley). Also included in the park is a memorial to the thirty members of a French ship’s crew who perished from yellow fever in 1857.
Enjoy a jazz tour on the Mississippi River aboard the historic Steamboat Natchez
Enjoy a relaxing cruise through beautiful scenery on the historic Steamboat Natchez and get swept up in the ambiance of the early 20th century. This genuine riverboat has been bringing guests to New Orleans since 1975, making it a true New Orleans landmark.
Enjoy a two-hour cruise down the Mississippi River while listening to live, foot-tapping jazz, dining on a delicious buffet, and learning about the region’s rich history.
Explore the National Historical Park and Preserve of Jean Lafitte
Wetlands at the Barataria Preserve, the historic Chalmette Battlefield, the French Quarter Visitor Center, the Acadian Cultural Center, the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center (where you can watch a Cajun cooking show! ), and the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center are just some of the highlights of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, which honours a pirate from the 19th century.
A pirate’s chest might have been packed with silver and gold in Jean Lafitte’s day, but modern pirates’ treasure chests are full of people, places, and memories. Explore the city’s diverse cultural scene. Discover authentic Cajun culture by talking to locals. Observe an alligator relaxing on the side of a bayou. Experience what it was like to follow in the footsteps of the men who fought in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.
Take an airboat ride through the swamps of the preserve for a memorable afternoon.
Visit the Presbytere Museum to learn all about Mardi Gras
Along with St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter, the Presbytère was built in 1791 to resemble the Cabildo. Its graceful preservation symbolizes the state of Louisiana’s distinct history and its promising future.
The Presbytere Museum in New Orleans, which showcases a beautiful collection of vibrant objects related to the world-famous Mardi Gras celebration, encapsulates the greatest qualities of this unique and exciting event.
This exhibit chronicles the disaster, its immediate aftermath, and the ongoing recovery efforts in southeast Louisiana. You won’t want to miss this collection, which features engaging displays and artifacts reflecting the city’s citizens’ unique character.
Its proximity to Jackson Square makes it an easy stop on any tour of the French Quarter.
Try one of Cafe Du Monde’s famous beignets
Anyone who visits New Orleans and considers themselves a foodie absolutely must stop by the iconic Café du Monde.
The iconic cafe is where locals and tourists alike go to enjoy coffee and the state doughnut of Louisiana, the beignet. Deep-fried dough squares dusted with powdered sugar are stuffed with fruit and were brought to Louisiana by French Acadians in the 17th century.
Café Du Monde Riverwalk, on the banks of the Mississippi, is the original of the city’s ten Cafe Du Monde coffee stands.
Cafe du Monde is famous for its beignets and its café au lait, which is produced from a mixture of milk, coffee, and chicory (made from roasted, ground, and brewed chicory root).
When in New Orleans, you must have a beignet, the city’s famous fried dough pastry dusted with powdered sugar, and this French market is the place to do it. Try one, or five, and then have a Cafe au Lait to wash it down.
Run from the ‘bulls’ during San Fermin
They avoid the bulls at all costs in Spain. They escape to New Orleans from… Female roller derby players wielding toy baseball bats?
The Crescent City of New Orleans celebrates its own version of the Spanish Encierro de Pamplona every year in July. New Orleanians don the traditional colours of Spain’s bull run and flee from New Orleans Roller Derby Girls armed with plastic bats on rollerblades.
Even though it’s completely out there, many people look forward to it every year.
Thousands of people celebrate San Fermin in New Orleans every year, donning the city’s distinctive red and white attire before heading to one of the Warehouse District’s watering holes.
Commander’s Palace serves authentic Creole cuisine
It has been well over a century since this popular eatery first opened its doors, and it has never stopped drawing in new customers.
Commander’s Palace, a restaurant in the heart of Crescent City’s tree-lined Garden District, is renowned for serving the best Creole food in the city.
Built in 1893, Commander’s Palace has stood as a symbol of New Orleans’ Garden District. This historic restaurant has long been considered the best place to experience Haute Creole cuisine and whimsical Louisiana charm, and its history provides a window into New Orleans’ colourful past. Commander’s Palace is now an iconic restaurant thanks to its seven James Beard Foundation Awards.
Don’t miss out on a seat at the legendary jazz brunch; just in case, phone ahead to book a table.
Visit the architecture of The Cabildo
The historic Cabildo structure, a wonder of Spanish colonial architecture, was first constructed in 1977.
It was the Spanish colonial government’s official residence and is now a museum devoted to the city’s past.
The Cabildo is now a three-story division of the Louisiana State Museum that showcases artifacts from the state’s past, including items from the state’s Native American population, paintings from the state’s Colonial era, and even Napoleon Bonaparte’s death mask. It is also possible to visit the actual room where the Louisiana Purchase was signed.
The Cabildo is also a good place to go if you want to learn about recent local history. Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans and the surrounding area in 2005, is the subject of a whole floor’s worth of exhibits. Multimedia exhibits and artifacts recovered after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are on show here.
You can take a break from enjoying the numerous antiquities on display to appreciate the structure itself. Even if you’re not interested in the building’s history, the Cabildo’s architecture is reportedly worth a visit.
Attend a concert at Orpheum Theater
The Orpheum Theater has recently undergone extensive renovations, making it an attractive location for a wide variety of professional performances.
Located in the center of the Central Business District, the Orpheum Theater has been hosting world-class performances for almost a century. Events of international appeal, such as symphonies performed by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, concerts by Platinum performers, all-night concerts following Jazz Fest, and the world premieres of Best Picture Academy Award winners, are all brought to this renowned location.
One of the few remaining vertical hall designs in the United States, it offers unparalleled acoustics and sightlines. The Orpheum has recently undergone renovations that included the installation of a retractable orchestra floor, allowing for the venue to hold exclusive events on the same stage as international superstars.
Weddings, Mardi Gras balls, corporate parties, and business meetings are just some of the many events that the Orpheum Theater hosts throughout the year, giving each and every guest a front-row seat to the action.
The building is over a century old, yet it is equipped with cutting-edge equipment that allows it to host concerts of the highest quality.
Observe the awesome art at Studio Be
Studio Be, located in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, is a gigantic warehouse turned into an eye-popping and brilliant public art display. Brandan “BMike” Odums, the project’s originator, teamed together with more than forty other artists to paint massive murals and design extensive exhibitions that examine activism, resistance, and the history of Black Americans.
The majority of the exhibits feature spray paint and graffiti-style displays, and the whole thing was finished in a span of six months. Totalling 35,000 square feet, the complex consists of four buildings (the tallest of which has five floors). Tourists from all over the world flock to see the largest public art display ever held in one location in the American South.
Studio Be, in the Bywater neighbourhood’s shopping mecca on Royal St, is devoted entirely to showcasing the work of the well-known regional artist BMike (AKA Brandon Odums).
Royal Street is a great place to shop until you drop
Royal Street is a shopper’s dream because it is lined with everything from antique shops to art galleries to souvenir stands to upscale jewelry boutiques.
The Royal Street Inn and Bar, located at the intersection of Royal and Kerlerec Streets in the Faubourg Marigny, is a bed & beverage that exemplifies the relaxed vibe of your favourite local drinking hole while also providing the excellent standards of hospitality for which New Orleans is known. It’s not only a great bar but also a truly one-of-a-kind hotel experience.
Once you’ve finished gawking at the buildings and picking up a few souvenirs, head to one of the city’s most beautiful spots, the courtyard of Café Amelie (you could even spot a celebrity).
Allow the kids to run wild at the Louisiana Children’s Museum
The Louisiana Children’s Museum is often overlooked while discussing New Orleans’ appeal as a family vacation destination.
This 56,000-square-foot pavilion in New Orleans City Park is actually a playtopia in disguise. Everything from food to wildlife is represented in the museum’s hands-on exhibitions. Special events range from nearly daily story times to seasonal workshops at the museum.
The Louisiana Children’s Museum is a great place to take the kids to tire them out while teaching them about “big child stuff” like a faux radio studio, painting studio, and cafe.
The City Park, in which the museum is located, is large enough to provide children with ample area to run around once they’ve finished exploring the museum’s exhibits.
Take a leisurely ride on the Creole Queen Paddlewheeler
A trip to New Orleans isn’t complete without a cruise on the mighty Mississippi. The amiable Creole Queen paddle wheeler, along with the more famous Steamboat Natchez, is a major reason why people visit Mississippi.
The trip lasts for 2.5 hours and gently winds along the Mississippi River, stopping at the tranquil Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.
Before returning to the boat, the guides will provide an informative talk about the events leading up to and during the Battle of New Orleans.
Now that you have a comprehensive list of more than 20 best things to do in New Orleans, Louisiana, Hyannisholiday enchanted you with the most magical journey while visiting there! Share with us your wonderful stories in the comment section down below. Have a nice Holiday!