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Guide to New Orleans - Things to do

A guide to New Orleans featuring the best things to do whilst visiting.

New Orleans is one of the best cities in the world to eat and there is abundance of restaurants to explore. There are so many good places to eat and a lot of different dishes, snacks and cocktails to try that are iconic to this city.

New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana

We did a lot of research to find the best things to do in New Orleans whilst we were there and managed to pack a lot in. Here is a guide to New Orleans with some of the things we did across 5 days in the city:

1. See a Jazz Performance at Preservation Hall

This was INCREDIBLE which is why it is number 1 on my list of things to do in New Orleans.

Preservation Hall is a historic concert venue in the French Quarter and what was once an art gallery is now an intimate music venue. New Orleans is the home of Jazz music and to experience it first hand, you need to go to a concert at Preservation Hall. The venue is small and intimate and that is what makes these acoustic jazz sets so amazing.

There are multiple concerts each day (most days of the year), but because the venue is small and intimate there aren't a lot of tickets available for each concert, so book in advance to get the times you want.

You aren't allowed to take photos or videos of the concert whilst it is going on, which allows no distractions to the audience and performers.

Preservation Hall, New Orleans
Preservation Hall, New Orleans

2. Try all the amazing food and drinks

Some of the foods you need to try:

  • Beignets (Cafe du Monde and Cafe Beignet)

  • Creole Cuisine (Cafe Sbisa)

  • Po'Boys (Killer Po'Boys)

  • The Best Breakfasts (Ruby Slipper Cafe)

  • Voodoo and Hurricane Cocktails (Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar)

  • Oysters (all over town)

Beignets, New Orleans
Beignets, New Orleans

3. Do an Alligator Swamp Tour

Get outside the city of New Orleans for a morning (or afternoon) and visit the swamps of Louisiana. You can go on boat tours for a couple of hours that take you to the swamps to see the alligators and you see a lot of them!

We were recommended to not do an 'Airboat Tour' because they have an electric motor on them which is really noisy and can scare away the alligators. We opted for a quiet boat which had about 30 people on-board and was an enjoyable journey down the Bayou. We saw so many alligators (way more than I was expecting) and overall it was a great experience.

Alligator tour new orleans

4. Go for Drinks on Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street is pretty chaotic, but worth experiencing. Here is where you head if you want to party or just check out what all the fuss is about! It's one of the only places it's legal and acceptable to drink on the street which makes it pretty rowdy as it is full of bachelor and bachelorette parties. Here is where you can get giant plastic cups of frozen cocktails alongside fried chicken. Inside the bars you can ride rodeos, sit in a shot chair (where you get spun around and shots poured in your mouth), as well as listening to live music whilst you dance the night away.

Bourbon Street, New Orleans

5. Go on a Voodoo Tour

The practice of voodoo has been embedded in New Orleans culture for hundreds of years. Before arriving in this city I had my own preconceptions of what voodoo was (turns out it was all wrong) and a tour was a great way to get insight into what makes this city unique as well seeing some of the sights and learning about New Orleans as a whole.

We picked a tour that covered voodoo, Vampires and true crime as we knew there was a lot to learn about New Orleans. I would recommend wearing sunscreen, a hat and bringing water to drink as you are walking around and standing in the sun a lot.

St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans

6. Hire Bikes and Cycle Around New Orleans City Park

Go down to New Orleans City Park where you can hire bikes through the Blue Bikes app. The bikes are electric so you can do a mix of cycling but it doesn't take too much out of you when the weather is hot or you need to go uphill. Explore the park as well as the surrounding neighbourhoods.

New Orleans City Park

7. Go to the Jazz Bars down Frenchmen Street

Head to Frenchmen Street in the French Quarter where a lot of the Jazz bars are. We did a bar crawl going from one bar to another and all the jazz music was great, with so much amazing talent.

Frenchmen Street, New Orleans

8. Eat, Drink & Shop at the French Market

Go down to the French Market where you can wander around sampling some of New Orleans' food and drinks as well as pick up souvenirs from the market sellers. When we got to the market it was all closing down and it was earlier than we thought it would close, so check times before you go.

French Market, New Orleans

9. Take the Tram to the Garden District

The new Orleans tram is something to experience, so ride it to the Garden District. Here is where loads of the of the grand historic mansions were built and you can see them in all their glory along the oak tree lined streets. It's nice to get away briefly from the business of the New Orleans city and the Garden District is the perfect escape. You can visit the cafes and restaurants as well as look around the cemeteries ( with their massive tombstones that are iconic to New Orleans).

Garden District, New Orleans

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