What to see in and around New Orleans: best attractions

New Orleans, the largest city in the state of Louisiana, is a multicultural city with an important past. The great French, Spanish and African influences are reflected today in its architecture, food and music, famous all over the world.

This beautiful city is located in the southern United States, in the state of Louisiana. It is strongly linked to water, as it borders the majestic to the south Mississippi River and north with the lago Portchartrain, which among other things is crossed by one of the longest bridges in the world.

It was devastated in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, but slowly it was rebuilt and we could say that, at least the tourist areas, are already in perfect condition. The city it is easily accessible: here is the main port of the famous Mississippi River and in addition it can be reached in about an hour by flight from the city of Miami.

If you want to find out what are the best things to do and see in New Orleans, in this guide you will find not only the main attractions and places to visit, but also the main ones activities and tours to do.

What to see in New Orleans

The French Quarter 

What to see in and around New Orleans: best attractions
French Quarter in New Orleans -

The French Quarter is the oldest and most emblematic neighborhood in New Orleans. Considered the heart of the city, the neighborhood bordered by the Mississippi River, Rampart Street, Canal Street and Esplanade Avenue, has many hotels, bars and nightclubs.

Do not miss tourist attractions such as Bourbon Street, Jackson square St. Paul's Cathedral Louis (the oldest cathedral in the United States), the French market, Coffee of the world (open 24/24), and the Preservation Hall.

What is striking at first sight is hers colonial architectural style and unmistakable, made up of two-story houses with long balconies full of plants and hidden courtyards. Many of them were built at the end of the XNUMXth century, during the period of the Spanish domination of the city, or in the first half of the XNUMXth century.

Particularly recommended are the streets of Saint Louis (with beautiful facades), Royal street e Charles Street.

Bourbon Street

Known as "the street that never sleeps", Bourbon Street is one of the main places to see in New Orleans. It is the busiest street in the French Quarter and one of the best known in the United States, famous for its tireless nightlife, its bars, strip clubs, restaurants and live music.

The street is lined with beautiful buildings converted into hotels, such as the historic one Royal Sonesta of 1721, and music clubs such asOld Absinthe House from 1807. There are also luxury restaurants with over a hundred years of history and various cafes where the city's specialties are served.

Preservation Hall

New Orleans is the cradle of jazz. There is no need to be a great lover of this musical genre to enjoy the atmosphere of the various concerts held in the different clubs of the city. The most famous place is the Preservation Hall, founded in 1961.

This is not a bar, but a club entirely dedicated to jazz in an old fashioned, simple and authentic style which, over the course of more than five decades, has hosted concerts by the best jazz musicians in history. The building's decadent appearance, dating from the early XNUMXth century, is carefully maintained to preserve the charm of yesteryear.

The New Orleans Trams

What to see in and around New Orleans: best attractions
Tram a New Orleans –

Beyond the French Quarter, there are several emblematic places to see in New Orleans. One of the best ways to visit them is to do it aboard the historic trams, also named by Tennessee Williams in his play "A Streetcar Named Desire".

Four lines currently operate: Riverfront Line, St. Line Channel, St. Charles Line e Loyola Line. The first three are the most recommended.

  • Riverfront Line runs a leisurely fourteen-minute ride between the French market and the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.
  • Another good option is to take the legendary green tram which operates 24 hours a day and connects the center with the Garden District area.
  • The Canal St. Line tramway, inaugurated in 1861, travels in half an hour from the famous Harrah's Casino to the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, offering spectacular views of the Mississippi.

It's best to buy a $ 5 full-day pass, which allows you to hop on and off public transit as often as you like.

The swamps of Louisiana

What to see in and around New Orleans: best attractions
Louisiana swamps -

Louisiana is a swampy state, where water runs deep into the forest. This unique ecosystem is called the “bayou” and is home to many animals, including many alligators! To discover the marshes, nothing better than a boat or airboat ride. If you are planning your visit, remember that alligators hibernate for four months (November to March).

Oak Alley and the must-see plantations in New Orleans

What to see in and around New Orleans: best attractions
Oak Alley – New Orleans –

Along the Mississippi River, there were once more than 350 cotton and sugar cane plantations. Today only a few remain that can be visited. With magnificent architecture and an enchanting setting (such as Oak Alley or Laura Plantation), these homes also have a rich history.

Indeed, their owners have resorted to slavery to exploit the fields that have now disappeared. The discovery of the life of slaves is therefore an integral part of visit of the plantations and makes this activity strong and moving.

A cruise on the Mississippi

What to see in and around New Orleans: best attractions
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA –

Mississippi is probably the most mythical river in the United States! The best way to find out is to board one a few hours cruise aboard an authentic paddle boat. With their white and red colors and paddle wheel, these boats are part of Louisiana history! If you prefer to visit the banks of the river instead, the Moonwalk trail offers a pleasant walk along the banks of the river.

Garden District

The Garden District is the chic neighborhood of the city. This pretty neighborhood is most famous for its beautiful Victorian mansions in neo-renaissance style, surrounded by gardens with lush flora. These homes were built by the Americans shortly after the United States bought Louisiana in 1803. Prior to this date, Louisiana and New Orleans belonged to France.

Just like the French Quarter, which is just a few hundred meters away, it is a perfect place for a nice walk. There are many personalities who have chosen to live here: Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Nicolas Cage, John Goodman, ...

  • Find out how to visit the neighborhood on a walking tour

The New Orleans Cemeteries

A trip to New Orleans isn't complete without knowing something about the mystery surrounding this city. Putting cemeteries among the top sites to visit may seem surprising, but those in New Orleans are truly worth a visit because they have a unique architecture. The most beautiful cemeteries in the city are the Cemetery no. 1 of St Louis and Cemetery no. 1 by Lafayette.

  • Discover the tours to visit the committees of New Orleans

The history of New Orleans is also very much related to mysticism (voodoo worship, ghosts, vampires, witches and other beliefs). Do not miss a guided tour of the haunted mansion of Madame Lalaurie or a walking tour of the sites featured in Anne Rice's vampire novels.

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Whether you are a fan of American football or not, don't miss a visit to the gigantic Mercedes-Benz Superdome stadium, simply dubbed the Superdome by the locals, the home of the Saints team in American football.

With an area of ​​25.000 m², a capacity of 87.500 spectators, a height of 77 meters and a diameter of 207 meters, it is a truly unique and very interesting place to visit.

National Museum of the Second World War

There are many WWII museums around the world, but New Orleans is one of the most interesting! The museum is huge and it is one of the top attractions of the city. The museum pays tribute to WWII fighters through various exhibits, films, soldier stories, etc.

Mardi Gras Carnival

What to see in and around New Orleans: best attractions
Mardi Gras Carnival in New Orleans -

The New Orleans Carnival, also known as Mardi Gras, is the most famous event in the city. It takes place every year from January 6 to Lent, which falls between February 3 and March 9 depending on the year. In this period, huge decorated floats parade through the streets of the city, while the inhabitants dress up and celebrate.

If you don't get the chance to visit New Orleans at this time of year, you can visit the Mardi Gras World, a kind of museum where floats and costumes are on display throughout the year.

Other attractions

The Art District
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Zoo di Audubon
New Orleans Museum of Art

Find out how to save with the New Orleans Pass


Getting around

The city is not very big, most of the sights and tourist attractions can be explored on foot. For all that a little further from the center, the city has a very practical system of trams, which reach the main tourist destinations. The ticket costs $ 1.25, or you can purchase an unlimited day pass for $ 5.

Where to sleep in New Orleans

The ideal stay is of 3 days. Most of the interesting things are nearby, so you can see several attractions in one day. As for the area to stay in, the best would be the French Quarter area or the Business District.

Of course these are also the two most expensive neighborhoods to stay in, although prices start at $ 80 a night, sleeping here allows you to be in the heart of the city.

Find and reserve a hotel in New Orleans


What to see in and around New Orleans: best attractions
Oak Alley – New Orleans –
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