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Top Things To Do In New Orleans

New Orleans is an iconic U.S. destination, and for good reason — its unique attractions and things to do are hard to find anywhere else in the country. Cajun food, a haunted past, and beignets galore are just a few reasons to visit New Orleans. But more than that, the legendary French Quarter houses live music and stunning architecture all times of year. Plus, if you travel to NOLA during Mardi Gras, you can join the never-ending party and cross the celebration off your bucket list. Continue reading for some of the best things to do in New Orleans.

When people talk about New Orleans, images of French Quarter landmarks appear in their heads. The downtown area hosts the some of the best places to visit in the city. Plan to spend a portion of your time in New Orleans exploring the French Quarter attractions.

The best attractions in New Orleans include:

  • Cafe du Monde, a renowned open-air coffee shop in the French Quarter
  • Watching live music at the Preservation Hall
  • Watching a New Orleans Saints’ game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome
  • Planning a trip to Mardi Gras World
  • Taking a walk through the French Quarter

Jackson Square is where New Orleans comes alive. It’s a good starting point when filling your NOLA itinerary with activities.  

Popular things to do near New Orleans include:

  • Going on a self-guided tour of The National WWII Museum
  • Exploring the local art and street vendors on Jackson Square
  • Seeing the iconic Besthoff Sculpture Garden
  • Walking through the St. Louis Cathedral
  • Listening to the sounds at New Orleans Musical Legends Park

Feeling spontaneous? New Orleans has plenty of attractions to discover. Start at the French Quarter and move to the surrounding streets — there are plenty of fun things to try.

Exciting activities near New Orleans include:

  • Looking into the past at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
  • Exploring the foodie history of Southern Food and Beverage Museum
  • Seeing a show at Saenger Theatre
  • Scaring yourself at Abita Mystery House
  • Buying shaved ice at Hansen’s Sno-Bliz

If anything, the best of New Orleans should be experienced at night. With well-lit streets, sounds crowding every corner, and spooky ghost tours, there’s plenty of nighttime attractions offered in New Orleans.

Nighttime activities near New Orleans include:

  • Taking a peek at Harrah’s New Orleans
  • Sneaking into Hotel Monteleone Carousel Bar
  • Booking a night at the theatres at Canal Place
  • Listening to live music at the Spotted Cat Music Club
  • Starting up French Quarter Ghost and Legends Tour (New Orleans Ghost Tour)

Though New Orleans may be a playground for adults, there’s plenty to of NOLA kid-friendly activities too. Take them to the aquarium, zoo, or amusement park to keep them entertained.

Family-friendly things to do near New Orleans include:

  • Seeing the marine life at Aquarium of the Americas
  • Exploring wildlife in a natural habitat-style exhibits at Audubon Zoo
  • Planning a day trip to Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
  • Learn something new at Louisiana Children’s Museum
  • Taking the storybook sculpture playground for a whirl at Storyland

With so much hustle and bustle, you need to know where the relaxing spots in New Orleans are located. Take a self-guided tour of a museum — it’ll help you recharge while also exploring the city’s unique culture.  

Things to do indoors near Near Orleans include:

  • Exploring all that New Orleans Museum of Art has to offer
  • New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, which tells stories of NOLA’s mystic past
  • New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, a retired apothecary dedicated to exhibiting early medicine
  • Burgundy Picture House, an underground cinema on the cutting edge
  • Tour the Cabildo, the seat of the Spanish cultural seat of New Orleans

Some of the most quirky, historic, and delicious U.S. landmarks and attractions can only be found in The Big Easy. Explore its voodoo past, get rowdy on Bourbon Street, and visit the famous New Orleans bayous.  

Outdoor activities in New Orleans include:

  • Seeing all there is to see at Woldenberg Park
  • Learning more about the Old Ursuline Convent
  • Exploring Bayou Segnette State Park
  • Visiting the chapel at the St. Roch Cemetery
  • Stopping to smell the flowers at Longue Vue House and Gardens