Top Recommended Layover Activities & Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions:
French Quarter and Bourbon Street
New Orleans, LA
It’s not just the bars and tourists that make the French Quarter and Bourbon Street hot destinations. The historic area, settled in 1718, is home to artists, musicians, and various professionals. The French Quarter offers a variety of sightseeing and activities for everyone. The best ways to see Bourbon Street are by strolling along the Mississippi River, or taking a walking tour, to peek through iron gates at the hidden courtyards. Bourbon Street is the heart of the action with bars, restaurants, unbelievable Jazz music floating in and out of restaurants and clubs. This area is what makes New Orleans known worldwide. Twenty five million visitors a year come to the area to partake in the fun and festivities.
Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
1400 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130-5752 · 504-525-3377
GARDEN DISTRICT. This cemetery is noted in Anne Rice's book "Interview With The Vampire," and has become a tourist attraction as a result. Offers hour-long tours of the cemetery; you'll learn about burial practices, the history of New Orleans, and see the tombs of famous people.
1 Palm Dr, New Orleans, LA 70124 · 504-482-4888
MID CITY. With attractions like the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art, the Botanical Gardens and a working carousel, this local park is a must see. City Park is comprised of 1500 acres and visitors can walk among a series of live oak trees, more than 200 of which are registered with the Live Oak Society. Strollers can also see the beauty of Spanish moss draping trees as they walk along this enchanting park’s many trails. City Park is renowned for its recreational space and locals congregate here for tennis, jogging or Sunday pick-up games of football. The park is located near the Bayou St. John and sits at the corner of City Park and Wisner Blvd. BUS: 46 City Park, 48 Esplanade
Garden District Walking Tour
2203 St Charles Ave, Corner of Washington and Prytania, New Orleans, LA 70130-5821 · 504-592-0560
GARDEN DISTRICT. Antebellum mansions and weeping willows line the streets of New Orleans' historic Garden District. See the beauty of this exquisite neighborhood, which was home to the city's plantation-wealthy and entrepreneurs, on an informative and relaxing stroll. The walking tour begins at the Garden District Hotel and participants will stroll through sites such as Lafayette Cemetery, gardens, and places made famous by the books of literary haunts writer Anne Rice. Call ahead for details.
Haunted History / Ghost Tour
723 Saint Peter St, Rev Zombies's Voodoo Shop, New Orleans, LA 70116 · 504-861-2727
FRENCH QUARTER. Tombstones and voodoo keep drawing tourists to this popular attraction. The New Orleans Haunted History / Ghost Tour meets at Rev. Zombie’s Voodoo Shop (between Bourbon and Royal), then cruises the historically haunted landmarks of the French Quarter. Walkers get to visit the St. Louis Cemetery and see the tomb of Marie Laveau, a legendary voodoo priestess. If this tour does not make your skin crawl try one of the other 6 tours, Ghost, Garden District, Haunted Garden District, Spellbound, Vampire, or Voodoo/Cemetry Tour. STREET CAR: St. Charles Ave to Canal St
Aquarium of the Americas
1 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130 · 504-861-2537
FRENCH QUARTER. More than 7,000 fish and other marine life are housed at this aquarium located right on the Mississippi River. There is a large collection of jellyfish and sharks, and you can also watch sea otters. Last tickets are sold one hour before closing. Adjacent IMAX theater has shows hourly from 10am-6pm at an additional charge.
Mardi Gras Season
New Orleans, LA · 504-566-5011
Beginning with the Feast of Epiphany, this annual pre-Lent celebration may be what makes the Crescent City shine. Mardi Gras got its biggest boost in 1872 when Russia's Grand Duke Alexis Romanov visited the city. It was Carnival season and New Orleans decided to seize the moment with excess revelry and developed the “King of Carnival” tradition. Today, city streets fill with revelers and numerous parades as well as hundreds of partygoers who eat and drink at special Mardi Gras Balls. Carnival season starts January 6 and Mardi Gras tends to fall between February 3 and March 9. The event day coincides with Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
1205 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116 · 504-522-4786
MID CITY. For over 30 years, this 10-day event has packed the New Orleans' Fairgrounds. Jazz Fest is renowned for the caliber of musicians it attracts. Concertgoers can enjoy everything from gospel and jazz to rock and swing. Past performers include the Allman Brothers, Marcia Ball, and Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie. Event goers can also enjoy savory food, modern crafts and the musical musings that resonate from a dozen stages.
Louisiana Black Heritage Festival
800 N Rampart St, Armstrong Park, New Orleans, LA 70116-3010 · 504-827-0112
FRENCH QUARTER. With both jazz and gospel stages, this annual celebration livens up the neighborhood as it honors the city's heritage. At Armstrong Park in March, visitors can enjoy a variety of musical entertainment as well as food vendors and artists' booths. The Louisiana Black Heritage Festival draws a large crowd and is renowned for its New Orleans "historic" characters that roam the park and mingle with the crowd to share history.
1500 Poydras St, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, LA 70112 · 504-525-8573
CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT. The first of January marks a landmark college gridiron battle – The Sugar Bowl. The event pits two of the best college football teams around in a match that's part of the College Bowl Championship Series. Nokia sponsors the event and locals and tourists flock to the Superdome to watch their favorite teams fight to the end! Tickets go on sale in March, so call ahead for exact dates and pricing information.
1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130 · 504-899-8221
GARDEN DISTRICT. This elite French Creole restaurant is one of the best in the city. The brunch offerings are prix-fixe - the "jazz brunch" is the most economical choice (includes one of the best Bloody Mary's in the city, eggs Sardou, quail and the famous bread pudding soufflé dessert, all at $29). The dinner menu has a $75 multi-course prix-fixe as well as à la carte options. The service is perfect as well. Outdoor seating available. Dressy attire (coat and tie required for dinner) and reservations required. STREETCAR: Stop 16 Washington Avenue
K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen
416 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 · 504-524-7394
FRENCH QUARTER. If it's "blackened," its Cajun! K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen is manned by world renowned Chef Paul Prudhomme, who introduced the world to Cajun cooking. Diners can enjoy spicy meals that feature starters such as seven steak okra gumbo and entrees such as crawfish étouffée and blackened Louisiana Drum, a fish. Dessert choices include bread pudding and sweet potato pecan pie. The decor is elegant and features patio and balcony seating. K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen is a nonsmoker’s haven, and reservations are recommended for the formal dining room. Casual dress attire.
800 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130 · 504-528-9393
WAREHOUSE DISTRICT. In an up-and-coming area of New Orleans, this is Emeril Lagasse's 10-year old restaurant. He has since opened the fabulous NOLA as well as others in New Orleans and in other US cities. Known for his now-famous TV cooking show, Emeril and the menu options do not disappoint those coming to try his famous dishes. American meals with a Creole touch are served by great wait-staff. Avoid the late 10:30pm seating - main items are sometimes sold out. Dressy attire (jackets for men highly recommended) and reservations required four months in advance. TAXI: Warehouse District
813 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70112-3191 · 504-523-5433
FRENCH QUARTER. A classic, legendary New Orleans favorite of locals and tourists, Arnauds has been serving great meals such as Shrimp Arnaud and Oysters Bienville since 1918. Jazz brunch on Sunday, jazz every night, and many dining rooms make this restaurant a popular and tasty destination. There is a Mardi Gras museum on the second floor of the restaurant - great place to visit while waiting for your table! Recipient of the DiRoNA award. Attire depends on dining room - ask in advance. Reservations required. STREET CAR: St. Charles line to Canal Street
914 N Peters St, New Orleans, LA 70116 · 504-529-1583
FRENCH QUARTER. Redfish in pesto crust, and lobster with fettuccine are just some of savory creations that diners can enjoy at Bella Luna. The menu is eclectic and offers a blend of Continental favorites with a Creole touch. The decor showcases large windows overlooking the Mississippi River, as well as a terrace area that offers balcony seating. The ambiance is intimate and romantic, and the dining experience quite unique. Dress attire recommended. Reservations accepted.
25020 Hwy 190, Big Branch, LA 70445 · 504-626-7662
Noted by "Traveler" magazine as one of the top 10 restaurants in America, La Provence justifies the 40-minute drive to get to it! Located across Lake Ponchartrain in Big Branch, the restaurant is in a country inn and features quite a Provencal atmosphere. The chef may savor the seclusion from New Orleans, and La Provence's idyllic spot only enhances its dining ambiance. Meals frequently commence with a series of pates and languish well into the evening. Entrees feature a mixture of Fine French and Creole cuisine and the service is good. Reservations suggested.
4. Bars & Nightlife
Pat O'Brien's Bar
718 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116 · 504-525-4823
FRENCH QUARTER. Home of the New Orleans' Hurricane, Pat O’Brien’s is as good as it gets! This bar is THE BAR tourists visit when making a first trip to the Crescent City. Pat O'Brien's features dueling pianists in its cocktail lounge, and there are a total of five bars available. The main bar area features a family ambiance and a classic jukebox. There are also two intimate bars and a relaxing patio area on site. Food is also available and drinkers can take home a souvenir from the gift shop.
Old Absinthe House
240 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130 · 504-523-3181
FRENCH QUARTER. A favorite with locals, this popular French Quarter bar makes a great stop after a day of sightseeing. The Old Absinthe House is rich in tradition and its building dates back to1807 when it was first used as a grocery then coffee house. In 1874 a bartender concocted the "Absinthe Frappe," which gained notoriety and changed the coffee house's name. Today the bar attracts both locals and tourists and has a sports bar-like ambiance that even includes a jukebox. Casual dress attire. STREET CAR: St. Charles Line to Bienville St
726 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116 · 504-522-2841
FRENCH QUARTER. The lines are long but the music is great! Preservation Hall is a historic New Orleans tradition. The jazz musicians who take the stage nightly are well into their 70s, but when they "jazz" – you'll see why this landmark is a must see. The decor is basic and consists of benches and cushions. There is NO food or drink allowed in the hall and crowds are usually standing room only. Set times are 35 minutes with 10 minute breaks in between. The music begins at 8:30pm. Casual dress. STREET CAR: St. Charles Ave line to Canal. BUS: Vieux Carré, 42 Canal St.
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