Planning a trip to New Orleans? This exciting city is one of the best travel destinations in the United States! Here are 19 ways to “laissez les bon temps rouler” (let the good times roll) while you’re visiting.
1. Live Jazz Music
New Orleans is home to some fantastic musicians, especially when it comes to jazz. This is no surprise since jazz originated in New Orleans. Although many events feature jazz music, you’ll get the most variety by attending the annual Jazz Fest in the spring!
2. Exceptional Seafood
New Orleans has some of the world’s best seafood! Eating crawfish is an art here. There are amazing fish markets all over the city, and just about every restaurant has fresh seafood on the menu. Whether you’re in the mood for shrimp gumbo or fried catfish, you can’t go wrong with New Orleans seafood.
3. Stunning Swamps
The swamplands just outside New Orleans are beautiful! You can even book a tour by boat to get an up-close look at the forested wetlands. Make sure you bring your camera! You’ll probably spot a few alligators and exotic birds along the way.
4. Fun Halloween Celebrations
If you’re enthusiastic about all thing spooky, there’s no better place to spend Halloween than New Orleans. Everything about the haunted city’s Halloween celebrations is over the top: the costumes, the events, and the decorations. One of the most popular Halloween events is the Voodoo Music and Arts Festival.
5. Anything-But-Boring Museums
It’s easy to connect with the past when you’re in New Orleans. This city is home to the fantastic National WWII Museum. If you prefer art to history, check out the New Orleans Museum of Art or the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
New Orleans has a long history of being one of the most inclusive cities when it comes to the LGBTQ community. New Orleans goes all out for Pride in June, but also has events for the LGBTQ community during Halloween and Mardi Gras. It’s easy for everyone to feel comfortable here.
7. A Melting Pot of Cuisine
New Orleans is so diverse and rich with culture, especially when it comes to food. It’s where southern food meets Cajun food meets Creole food. Not only is New Orleans the birthplace of gumbo and jambalaya, but it also hosts a fried chicken festival every year. The food here is spicy and flavorful and totally worth the trip!
8. Breath-Taking Architecture
If you’re an architecture buff, you’ll find some of the best in New Orleans. There are lots of different styles thanks to the many cultural influences in the city. New Orleans loves bright colors—even on their buildings. You’ll find stunning modern architecture as well as classic buildings with historical significance.
9. A Night Owl’s Dream Come True
If you wish you could live your life nocturnally, New Orleans is the perfect place for you. The city truly comes alive at night! You can find amazing bars, clubs, and live performances late at night. There are even restaurants open 24 hours a day!
10. The Famous French Quarter
The French influence on New Orleans is most apparent in the French Quarter. This is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans, making it an important part of history. The French Quarter is alive with plenty of attractions including Bourbon Street and lots of amazing restaurants.
11. Memories of Hurricane Katrina
It may seem strange to have such a tragic event on a list of reasons to visit a city. But Hurricane Katrina is such an important part of American history. New Orleans has done a great job of educating people on the 2005 storm. You can find tours that take you around the city showing the hurricane’s impact.
12. A Fun Alternative to Running of the Bulls
You don’t have to go to all the way to Spain to experience the running of the bulls. New Orleans has its own fun twist on this tradition! Every year the Big Easy Rollergirls, a New Orleans roller derby league, chase residents who are dressed in red and white. It’s entertaining to watch and even more fun to participate.
13. The Centuries-Old St. Louis Cathedral
Whether or not you’re religious, you can appreciate the beautiful architecture of the St. Louis Cathedral. This French-style structure is the oldest cathedral in North America. But if you’re superstitious, be warned: rumor has it the St. Louis Cathedral is haunted!
14. The Historic Jackson Square
You’ll find this historic park in the French Quarter. This location is significant because it was where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. Concerts and other exciting events are regularly held in Jackson Square. In December, you’ll find Christmas carolers here ushering in the holiday season.
15. The Picturesque Sculpture Garden
The Besthoff Sculpture Garden is a great way to enjoy art while soaking up the great outdoors. The garden features sculptures of many mediums and styles. You’ll find pieces by Joel Shapiro, Robert Indiana, and Pierre Auguste Renoir. It’s open every day of the week and completely free!
16. Serious Football
If you’re a football-lover, New Orleans can offer you the NFL’s Saints and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. When expanded, this stadium can fit over 76,000 fans, making it the ninth-largest stadium in the entire NFL. If you prefer college athletics, you’ll be happy to know that the stadium also hosts the Sugar Bowl and the New Orleans Bowl every year.
17. Tranquil Parks
New Orleans is known for being a busy city where something’s always going on. But if you want some peace and quiet, New Orleans also has some beautiful parks with botanical gardens, golf courses, and even horse stables. Audubon Park is a famous location with amazing live oak trees and flowers. No matter what season you’re visiting, you can expect the parks to be beautiful!
18. The Exciting Aquarium
Aquatic lovers rejoice! The Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans houses 10,000 marine animals like turtles, seahorses, and sharks. Touring the aquarium is a fun, educational activity for all ages.
19. Extravagant Mardi Gras Celebrations
No guide to visiting New Orleans would be complete without mentioning Mardi Gras. You won’t find a place that does Mardi Gras quite like New Orleans! The city celebrates with lots of live music, an extravagant parade, and dancing in the streets. People wear fun costumes and indulge in King Cake. The celebration keeps going strong for two weeks!
Visit the Big Easy!
There’s truly no place like New Orleans! It’s where culture, history, art, and great food abound! Don’t wait any longer to book your flight. You won’t regret it!
Tracy Freese owns a boutique online marketing agency, Strong Estate LLC. She specializes in listicle blogging.