Top Things To do In New Orleans

Discover all the best things to do in New Orleans, from music, tours, bars, musuems and more. Many ways to spend a day in New Orleans.

Top Things to Do In New Orleans – Your Ultimate Travel Guide

When exploring the top things to do in New Orleans with family and friends, you’ll find Mardi Gras parades, Bourbon Street’s lively vibe, Creole cuisine, jazz, beignets, art galleries, and live music—New Orleans has it all! Despite its small size on the map, the city offers endless activities. Here are the 10 top things to do in New Orleans, with a bonus of  3 additional activities to enjoy your visit!

1. Stroll Along Bourbon Street and Royal Street

Bourbon Street is always lively with bars, restaurants, hotels, and live music. It’s one of the most exciting streets in the USA. Walking down Bourbon Street is a must-do New Orleans experience you can’t miss. Next to Bourbon Street is Royal Street, which is quieter and has art galleries instead of bars. The French-style buildings add charm, making it more relaxed and pretty compared to busy Bourbon Street.

2.  Explore Steamboat Natchez

When exploring the top things to do in New Orleans French Quarter, don’t miss the Steamboat Natchez. This beloved New Orleans staple offers two daily harbor cruises, plus dinner and Sunday brunch cruises. It’s one of the top things to do in New Orleans for couples, showcasing the sights and history of the city and the Mississippi River. With the calliope organ playing as the boat docks, it’s a unique and informative experience. You can buy tickets at the walk-up booth along the river, though reservations are recommended during the busy season or you get it here

3. Go to Café du Monde

Just like Bourbon Street, grabbing a beignet at Café du Monde is a must in New Orleans, especially when exploring top things to do in New Orleans with family. There are several locations, but people always recommend the one in the French Quarter next to Jackson Square (the French Market location). At this spot, there are two lines: one on the Decatur Street side for table service and another on the opposite side for takeout.

4. Enjoy the Backstreet Cultural Museum

When exploring the top things to do in New Orleans in April, visit the Backstreet Cultural Museum in the historic Treme neighborhood. This unique museum showcases African American traditions, vibrant Mardi Gras masks and costumes, and exhibits on jazz funerals, second lines, and social aid clubs. The museum also hosts special events, including live music performances featuring local musicians. You can book ticket here

5. Explore the Best View of Jackson Square

When seeking the top things to do in New Orleans for couples, don’t miss the ultimate view of Jackson Square. Head up the ramp next to Café du Monde on Decatur Street for one of the finest vistas of New Orleans and Jackson Square. And don’t forget to turn around for a stunning view of the mighty Mississippi River.

6. Go to The Spotted Cat Music Club

When seeking fun things to do in New Orleans at night, make sure to visit the Spotted Cat Music Club on Frenchmen Street. Despite its humble appearance, this intimate bar is the heartbeat of New Orleans jazz, bursting to life every night with soulful old-school jazz. Get ready for brass quartets, clarinet solos, and swing tunes, especially when the Cotton Mouth Kings take the stage. Don’t be afraid to squeeze in and stay for multiple sets—you won’t regret it.

7. Step Inside the St. Louis Cathedral

When exploring the top things to do in New Orleans in March, be sure to visit the St. Louis Cathedral. Dating back to 1721, this iconic landmark was originally dedicated to King Louis IX of France. After a devastating fire in 1788, it was rebuilt and expanded in the 1850s to its current grandeur. Stepping inside reveals stunning stained-glass windows and a majestic ceiling, making it a must-visit attraction in New Orleans.

8. Explore The National WWII Museum

If you’re wondering what not to miss in New Orleans, the National WWII Museum is an absolute must-visit. Situated in the Warehouse District, this top-notch history museum attracts thousands of visitors daily, offering an immersive experience into “the story of the war that changed the world.” Its modern complex features large narrative exhibits showcasing personal accounts from eyewitnesses through various mediums like film, immersive displays, and oral histories. While the exhibits are spread out, the museum provides ample rest stops and benches for visitors’ convenience.

9. The New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

For those intrigued by the origins and history of voodoo in New Orleans, a visit to this museum is a must. Despite its small size, it offers several captivating exhibits. While enjoyed by many, the $10 admission fee per adult (in 2022) might seem a bit steep for what’s on display. Additionally, the museum can quickly become crowded, particularly with larger groups.

10. Enjoy Bananas Foster at Brennan’s

Bananas Foster, originating from New Orleans, is a must-try dessert. It features bananas, vanilla ice cream, and a sauce made with brown sugar, butter, dark rum, cinnamon, and banana liqueur. The sauce is flambéed and poured over the ice cream for a deliciously sweet treat. One of the best places to enjoy Bananas Foster is at Brennan’s, where Chef Paul Blangé adapted the iconic recipe for Owen Brennan’s Vieux Carré restaurant. It’s a quintessential New Orleans experience not to be missed! 

11. Go to the Contemporary Arts Center

Located in the vibrant Central Business District, the Contemporary Arts Center is housed in a striking redbrick building, standing out amidst the cityscape. It’s a renowned hub for contemporary arts, showcasing a diverse range of mediums including painting, film, theater, and music. The exhibits, changing every four to eight weeks, encompass various visual art forms such as photography, sculpture, and painting. Curated with care, they often revolve around themes or spotlight individual contemporary artists

12. Take a Streetcar Ride

Exploring New Orleans by streetcar is a delightful experience. Take the St. Charles Streetcar from Canal Street to the charming Garden District for scenic views. It’s an easy way to travel from the French Quarter to this beautiful part of the city. A single ride costs $1.25, or you can get an all-day pass for $3.00. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the sights of New Orleans as you ride along!

13. Enjoy a Drink at the Carousel Bar

Located inside Hotel Monteleone, the Carousel Bar is one of New Orleans’ most unique bars. It’s the city’s only bar that rotates, with twenty-five seats moving around like a merry-go-round. The Carousel Bar is famous for its special vibe and has been recognized as one of the Top 20 Bars in the World by Vogue Living.

Final Verdict: 

In conclusion, New Orleans offers a vibrant cultural experience that captivates visitors from around the world. By exploring the historic French Quarter, savoring the city’s renowned cuisine, and enjoying live jazz music, you can fully immerse yourself in its unique charm. Whether indulging in beignets at Café du Monde, cruising on the Mississippi River, or joining the lively Mardi Gras parades, New Orleans promises an unforgettable blend of history, flavor, and rhythm.

Common Questions Top  Things to Do in New Orleans

In New Orleans, live music is the heartbeat of the city, but there’s much more beyond the headlines. Explore hidden gems like City Park, take local cooking classes, and discover natural wonders on a swamp tour guided by locals. Discover the true essence of NOLA beyond the obvious attractions!

Visitors love the beautiful houses and architecture of the Garden District, often preferring its peaceful atmosphere over the bustling Bourbon Street. New Orleans’ cemeteries are also must-see attractions, offering unique historical insights.

One of the oldest streets in the French Quarter, Basin St. offers plenty to explore with its curio shops, concept stores, and art galleries. Basin St. Station welcomes thousands of visitors daily, offering an authentic introduction to New Orleans’ rich history and diversity.

One of New Orleans’ most unique bars is located in Hotel Monteleone. The Carousel Bar is the city’s only rotating bar, where twenty-five seats slowly circle a colorful Merry-Go-Round. Vogue Living named it one of the Top 20 Bars in the World for its distinctive charm.

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Justin Gonzalez

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