Dusk falls over Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral
Brass band parading through the French Quarter
Cruise ship passing by downtown along the mighty Mississippi River
Strolling along colorful Royal Street
Browsing the art created by local vendors in Jackson Square
Revelers enjoying the French Quarter’s storied nightlife
The Superdome and glowing city skyline
Looking up at St. Louis Cathedral
A charming French Quarter courtyard restaurant
Seafood gumbo and a local Louisiana beer
- Major Airports:
- Louis Armstrong New Orleans (MSY)
It’s easy to love and hard to leave the Big Easy
Absorbing History and Architecture
Hop on the St. Charles, Canal Street or Riverfront streetcars to explore the 300-year-old city split by the Mississippi River and surrounded by lakes, bayous and bays. Admire the architecture in more than 20 historic districts, more than any other city in the USA. See mansions on St. Charles Avenue, opulent estates in the Garden District and a revolving carousel bar at Hotel Monteleone. In the heart of the French Quarter, you’ll want to linger in lively Jackson Square. After admiring artists’ work hanging on the iron fence and, perhaps, getting your fortune told, cross the street to visit the 18th century St. Louis Cathedral, the USA’s oldest continually operating cathedral. For a different perspective, tour the area aboard the Natchez steamboat or the Creole Queen paddle wheeler.
Eating Your Way Through the City
To fuel all that sightseeing, make a pit stop at the French Market for a cup of café au lait paired with a beignet, or get a cold drink on Bourbon Street. Plot your course for the rest of the day, ensuring you’ll have a chance to sample signature foods, including gumbo, jambalaya, po’boy sandwiches, boiled crawfish and charbroiled oysters. The city’s restaurants, and chefs, consistently earn spots on lists ranking the best places to eat in the USA.
Tuning in to Music
A music lovers’ paradise that’s home to Jazz, Zydeco, R&B and Soul, New Orleans has produced its share of musical giants, from greats like Louis Armstrong to contemporary acts like Trombone Shorty, Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. Explore Frenchmen Street in the Faubourg Marigny, an original Creole neighborhood that’s a mecca for nightclubs, bars and restaurants. Live music occurs every day and night of the year, and many venues feature award-winning performers throughout the week. A must-stop is Preservation Hall, dedicated to preserving the New Orleans Jazz tradition.
The Fun, Funky and Enlightening
Also worthy of your time are visits to the National World War II Museum and the Presbytere and Cabildo state museums. Learn about voodoo traditions at shops and museums dotting the city. Learn about the history of Mardi Gras and see how its famous parade floats are made at Mardi Gras World. See something you like while exploring? Buy it. Remember to show your passport and ask for a tax refund voucher; redeem it at Louis Armstrong International Airport, The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk or Macy’s in Jefferson Parish.
Contrary to popular belief, the buildings in the French Quarter are not in the style of French architecture; rather, they are Spanish.
New Orleans is a 24-hour city where patrons are permitted to take drinks from an establishment and walk around outside provided it is in a plastic “to-go” cup.
Mardi Gras celebrations began in the early 1800s, but the first organized parade was 1857.