Things to do in New Orleans
Are you an early bird or a night owl? No matter what time of day, New Orleans has something in store for all visitors.
Early Morning in New Orleans
The early hours in New Orleans were made for quiet walks with a café au lait and a camera. Get a light breakfast at Café du Monde (open 24 hours) or Café Beignet, then set out on foot to photograph sights such as the waterfront at Woldenberg Park, Crescent Park or the Algiers Point levee. Adventurous types can start the day with an early morning paddle on Bayou St. John - New Orleans has numerous kayak and canoe outfitters to get you set up.
Then get ready to see the sights, Amazing Scavenger Hunt New Orleans and Dat NOLA Race send guests on scavenger hunt-style guided tours that turn the city into a giant game board. Royal Carriages guides visitors through the French Quarter, and American Bicycle Rental Company & Free Wheelin' Bike Tours help visitors see the city on two wheels.
Afternoon in New Orleans
Lunchtime in New Orleans means endless dining options for visitors. The Ruby Slipper Café, Angeline and Court of Two Sisters Restaurant are a few local favourites. Po-boy sandwiches are the stuff of New Orleans legends; see why at Parkway Bakery & Tavern and Mother's Restaurant. If you're dining in the French Quarter, listen for street performers in and around Jackson Square.
Make time in your schedule (and your luggage!) for some New Orleans souvenirs and gear. Magazine Street stores offer everything from jewellery to luxury men's and women's clothing and unique locally handcrafted goods. New Orleans' premier destination for unique antiques is Royal Street, where high-end shops sell historical, one-of-a-kind objects. The outdoor French Market has local crafts and clothing and Louisiana sauces and spices.
Satisfy your cultural curiosity with a trip to New Orleans' museums. Art, science, history - we have it all. Noteworthy museums include The National WWII Museum, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Louisiana State Museum's Cabildo and Presbytere, the Contemporary Arts Center and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
An Evening in New Orleans
New Orleans is one of America's top food cities. You'll see why at legendary restaurants such as Arnaud's and Commander's Palace, and at newer spots like Cane & Table. Dine on classic and contemporary Creole, French and American dishes at Meril, Restaurant R'evolution, Herbsaint and Tableau - and at James Beard award-winning Chef Justin Devillier's restaurants La Petite Grocery and Balise.
The rest of the evening is for entertainment. Catch an early show at Frenchmen Street clubs and see big-name musical acts at the Civic Theatre, the Joy Theatre and the Saenger Theatre. For an entirely different vibe, embark on a guided nighttime ghost tour of the French Quarter - if you're not afraid of the dark!
Late-night revellers can make an evening to remember at Harrah's Casino and at music venues along St. Claude Avenue and Bourbon Street.
5 Free Ways to Explore New Orleans
- Go on a self-guided tour of St. Louis Cathedral or the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park.
- Visit New Orleans urban retreats such as City Park, Crescent Park, Louis Armstrong Park and Lafitte Greenway.
- Fest for free at the French Quarter Festival (April) and Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo (May)
- Get an eyeful of art at Julia Street and Royal Street galleries.
- Visit The New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old US Mint, a free museum with an outstanding collection of jazz and money-related artifacts.
Find even more cost saving fun by visiting neworleans.com/things-to-do/fifty-free-things
Neighbourhoods of New Orleans
Here are a handful of New Orleans neighbourhoods, providing information to help you explore the different flavours of New Orleans and all it has to offer:
Downtown and Warehouse District
Due to its close proximity to the French Quarter many of the city’s hotels are here, with some of New Orleans favourite cocktail bars and many fabulous restaurants.
Two of New Orleans’ most distinct and best kept secrets are only minutes away from the French Quarter: the Faubourg Marigny and Bywater neighbourhoods. Tucked back into their own diverse communities, combining old-time New Orleans culture with a hip & contemporary bohemianism.
The original settlement of New Orleans, called Vieux Carré, French Quarter or simply The Quarter, is the oldest neighbourhood in the city. The district as a whole, bound by Canal Street, Decatur Street, Esplanade Avenue and Rampart Street, is a National Historic Landmark. So much of what makes New Orleans unique is captured in the melting pot atmosphere of the French Quarter. Take a walk through the French Quarter to discover the famous 'spirits' of New Orleans on a Cocktail Walking Tour.
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 certainly stands out as one of the country's most lovely neighbourhoods and a popular destination for visitors.
The Tremé is heralded as a vital American landmark for African-American and Creole culture. Many consider the Tremé to be the cultural heart of New Orleans from dance to music to architectural design.