Things to do in New Orleans

Introduction

New Orleans is a city known for its live music scene, festivals, and fun-spirited people – all year round! There is so much to do in a city like this that it may be a little overwhelming for someone who’s never visited before. So, whether you have a trip planned to New Orleans or are still considering it, here is a list of 20 things to do while visiting that will ensure an unforgettable experience!

Short on time? Top 20 Things To Do in New Orleans

  1. Check out Garden District
  2. Take a look at Frenchmen Street
  3. Go to the French Quarter
  4. Grab a bite to eat at Brigtsen’s
  5. Walk around New Orleans City Park
  6. Go to Magazine Street
  7. Check out Preservation Hall
  8. Go to Washington Artillery Park
  9. See the Napoleon House
  10. Go to Bourbon Street
  11. National WWII Museum
  12. Eat at Café du Monde
  13. New Orleans Museum of Art
  14. Go for a gondola ride
  15. Ride in a streetcar
  16. Jackson Square
  17. Historic New Orleans Tour
  18. Go to a Jazz Show
  19. St. Louis Cathedral
  20. Get some ice cream at Gelato on Canal and Royal

20 Best Activities To Do in New Orleans  – In Detail

1. Check out Garden District

The garden district is a scenic neighborhood in New Orleans that is a must see for first-timers. The beautiful houses and streetcars all around this District are the epitome of what you think of when New Orleans comes to mind! Weather its just stopping by one of the restaurants along the way or looking in an old Antique shop, the Garden District is a must add to your New Orleans itinerary.

Courtesy of Take Walks

2. Take a look at Frenchmen Street

Frenchmen Street is yet another scenic part of New Orleans that always catches the eyes of travelers. Live music is best known on this street which an essential New Orleans experience – plus amazing food! A win, win street! Frenchmen Street is home to many jazz performances and street food that is sure to impress any visitor.

Courtesy of WebJet

3. Go to the French Quarter

The French Quarter is a New Orleans staple. I mean, who doesn’t love a great nightlife and tons of beautiful historic buildings? The French Quarter is filled with fun jazz clubs, cast-iron balconies, and Cajun restaurants. Quite possibly the most New Orleans sentence ever made.

Courtesy of Trip Advisor

4. Grab a bite to eat at Brigtsen’s

Needing a place to eat? Brigsten’s got you! With amazing bites like the Pan Roasted Pork Chop and Boiled Gulf fish, it is sure to make your mouth water. On top of that, Brigtsen’s is located in a gorgeous Victorian style home for a picturesque vibe. Brigtsen’s is an essential for those visiting New Orleans because of its historic element mixed with tasty meals for a dinner. It’s located in the Uptown part of New Orleans close to all the places you will want to check out!

Courtesy of NewOrleans.com

5. Walk around New Orleans City Park

Need a break from the city? New Orleans City Park is the perfect. It’s beautiful greenery and bridges are a breath of fresh air that many people love. Plus, New Orleans City Park is 50% bigger than Central Park in New York City so there is tons of room to explore! This park is a must-see located on Palm drive.

Courtesy of Trip Advisor

6. Go to Magazine Street

Magazine Street is for anyone who loves shopping! With plenty of shops and restaurants, you may be leaving Magazine Street a little heavier than when you arrived. This street hold many antiques, boutiques, and fun trinket shops. This is definitely a great place to grab any souvenirs you may need!

Courtesy of NewOrleans.com

7. Check out Preservation Hall

Preservation Hall is a great jazz spot when checking out New Orleans. However, it doesn’t have AC so summertime may not be the best time to visit! It’s known for its fun vibe and amazing music – I promise the historic feel and architecture will make you want to come every night.

Courtesy of Conde Nast Traveler

8. Go to Washington Artillery Park

Washington Artillery Park is a park for history buffs visiting New Orleans for the first time. If you love monuments, historic buildings, and street performers, Washington Artillery Park is the place for you! It’s scenic views really make you soak in the New Orleans culture as it feels like an experience that’s uniquely its own.

Courtesy of Washington Artillery

9. See the Napoleon House

Napoleon House in New Orleans is restaurant filled with history and amazing food. It’s Italian-inspired cuisine is perfect for a dinner after a long day exploring the city. This house is a beloved landmark in the eyes of New Orleans locals, located near the French Quarter. With yummy Italian dishes, you will never want to leave.

Courtesy of Conde Nast Traveler

10. Go to Bourbon Street

You didn’t go to New Orleans if you didn’t see Bourbon Street! This is the infamous part of the French Quarter that seems to be the most popular place for visitors – especially at night. Weather it’s a fun bar, party scene, or great music, Bourbon Street will ensure for a fun time.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

11. National WWII Museum

The National WWII Museum is an essential for anyone stopping by New Orleans. It takes between 2-3 hours to take a tour, but is filled with so many artifacts and history you can’t miss. This museum is a New Orleans staple that seems to embody the importance of what history means to the city of New Orleans.

Courtesy of the National WWII Museum

12. Eat at Café du Monde

If you’ve heard of New Orleans, Louisiana, you have definitely heard of the famous Café du Monde. This bakery is known for its beignets, a deep dish pastry topped with powdered sugar, that is nearly addicting. Café du Monde seems to be the place where many tourists go, as it has a very Instagrammable aesthetic and filled with so many tasty treats.

Courtesy of Cafe du Monde

13. New Orleans Museum of Art

The New Orleans Museum of Art is any art majors dream. It’s beautiful architecture, mixed with amazing historic paintings are something everyone has to experience at least once in their lifetime. Located north of Jackson Square, this is a place that will really spruce up your New Orleans itinerary.

Courtesy of Conde Nast Traveler

14. Go for a Gondola Ride

What’s a better New Orleans date than a Gondola ride?! Going around New Orleans in a gondola is an experience that seems like it would be the best date ever, especially considering it is in a main part of the city so you don’t even have to travel far. If you get the time, this experience won’t disappoint!

Courtesy of Trip Advisor

15. Ride in a streetcar

Streetcars are a New Orleans staple thats seem to always be fun no matter how many times you ride one. Weather is for a picture or just a easy way to get transported throughout the city, the streetcars are always a useful activity. And it can serve as a rest after all that walking around the city! Plus, they are located all around the city so super easily accessible!

Courtesy of Louisiana Travel

16. Jackson Square

Jackson Square is a beautiful, historic park in the French Quarter that is filled with so much New Orleans culture. The square was considered a national landmark in 1960 because it is where the Louisiana Purchase took place. So if your a history lover or just love a good view, Jackson Square is for you!

Courtesy of NewOrleans.com

17. Historic New Orleans Tour

Overwhelmed yet? A historic New Orleans Tour may be your best bet. These tours take you throughout the city and give you all the historical and cultural insight you may never know if you just visit it yourself. If you like tours, I definitely recommend as you will definitely benefit from it!

Courtesy of cntraveler

18. Go to a Jazz Show

The music in New Orleans is considered one of the best parts, so a jazz show is a must! Weather it’s at the French Quarter or Preservation Hall, I would consider seeing a Jazz show in New Orleans to be like seeing a Broadway show in New York… you just have to!

Courtesy of cntraveler

19. St. Louis Cathedral

The St. Louis Cathedral is another beautiful landmark in New Orleans that is quite-literally jaw dropping. The white detailing of the building stands out among the other buildings in New Orleans as it has a sort of angelic presence that surrounds it.

Courtesy of St Louis Cathedral

20. Get some ice cream at Gelato on Canal and Royal

And last but not least, everybody loves good Gelato! Gelato on Canal and Royal is a perfect place to grab a treat after a long day of touring the great city of New Orleans. With delicious different flavors and assortments, gelato is the perfect end to a busy New Orleans day.

Courtesy of Trip Advisor

Things To Do in New Orleans

As travel becomes a part of our lives again, we found no better option than driving just a few hours east to New Orleans. Whenever we consider going to a city, we always look at what is there to eat + do and where we can stay at. In the case of New Orleans, we had unlimited answers to each of those questions and thanks to Visit New Orleans we were able to assemble the perfect itinerary for a weekend trip to The Big Easy.  

Where to Stay

Sheraton New Orleans – located on Canal Street, just minutes away from all of the hot spots was our home base. We valeted our car for the weekend and literally did not need it until we left. The hotel is a quick ten-minute walk to Jackson Square, two blocks from the French Quarter, and a fifteen-minute walk from the iconic Superdome.  

We stayed in the executive suite on the 43rd floor and had amazing views of the Mississippi River, Canal Street, and the rest of downtown. The spacious room had a bar area, couches, multiple TVs, and the best part…. being greeted by a King Cake! The executive suite allowed us access to the 42nd-floor lounge with 24/7 snacks, Starbucks coffee, and a daily happy hour.

The staff was friendly and very helpful in guiding us to the spots to check out while we were in town. The Pelican Bar is located in the lobby and is great for people to watch or just chill after a long day. And although we didn’t get a chance to go, Roux Bistro is located on-site with regional cuisine and we heard great things.  

Best Place to Eat Food

Y’all already know any trip of ours is going to be centered around food and this trip was no exception. To make sure we didn’t miss any gems, we went on a food tour of the French Quarter with Destination Kitchen. The 3-hour walking tour had multiple stops at restaurants and included the history of the city and its people along the way.  

French Market

The first stop on our tour was the French Market – a historical trading post that dates back to the 1700s. Originally a Native American trading post along the Mississippi River, it later evolved into a cultural and commercial hub as French and Spanish colonists opened the market up to ships and traders from all over the world.

Currently, the area is a good place to shop for wares from local artisans, food purveyors, and souvenir stands. Upfront is the food kiosks, in the middle are the handicrafts, and toward the back are the souvenir and t-shirt tables. We had some gator bites from one of the local vendors and loved the spice and rich taste of gator – our first time trying!

The Market Café

Situated right off Decatur St, the restaurant has views out into the French Quarter no matter where you sit. They have live Jazz music performed by local artists and AMAZING food. We had a shrimp Po’Boy here – the shrimp were huge and flavorful. We saw some of the patrons had ordered gumbo and it looked amazing – we’ll be back to try for sure! 

New Orleans Creole Cookery Seafood

A Real Taste of New Orleans, we enjoyed this food experience, the courtyard is beautiful the food is delicious, great friendly service and staff! We had gumbo, jambalaya, and char-grilled oysters. Hands Down the Best oysters in the French Quarter in our humble opinion.  

New Orleans School of Cooking

If you come to New Orleans this is a must! You get to learn a lot about the food and get that authenticity! The classes teach the essence of Cajun cooking, especially how to properly make that roux-based classic, gumbo. Although, we didn’t get a chance to take a class during the tour we did try some amazing pralines that left us wanting for more.  

What to Do

There is simply so much to do year-round in New Orleans that any weekend trip will simply scratch the surface. We enjoyed a parade, a relaxing Brunch at the Four Seasons, and JAMNOLA.  

JAMNOLA

JAMNOLA stands for Joy, Art & Music – New Orleans. JAMNOLA is New Orleans’ first experiential pop-up that takes audiences of all ages on a topsy-turvy stroll through the cultural gems that make the city so special.   

Enjoy 12 exhibits celebrating the iconic art, music, food, and theatrics of New Orleans through the eyes of 20+ local artists and creative partners.

It was a fun experience! The artwork was incredible. It’s basically one giant Instagram photo op, but all while learning but the rich history and culture of New Orleans. Our guide was super energetic and informative.

Parade Season

Although we were in town a few weeks before Mardi Gras, we got to catch a parade from the Chewbacchus. The 900-member Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus is a Sci-Fi themed Mardi Gras parade, as well as a self-described satirical space cult. Chewbacchus consists of over 150 distinct sub krewes, each of which pays loving (and sometimes satirical) homage to the full spectrum of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and everything in between. We loved the creative costumes from both the spectators and the Krewe.  

Miss River at The Four Seasons

Our visit to Miss River inside Four Seasons New Orleans was nothing short of incredible. We absolutely loved the Food Stage where chefs extravagantly plated our signature dishes. We could write an entire blog about our experience here, the immaculate dining room, and out of this world menu, but inshore Miss River is a love letter to New Orleans.

The whole covered buttermilk fried chicken was sumptuous and plush. It was served with dipping sauces and our favorite.  Other dishes we enjoyed:

Crab Au Gratin
Blackened Fish
Shrimp and Grits
Crab Meat Omelet

We were only in town for a weekend but felt like we were transported to another world on a week’s long vacation. The food, culture, and activities New Orleans has to offer makes it a worthy destination for the special occasion or just a weekend away. We can’t wait to be back soon and continue exploring what NOLA has to offer