New Orleans: Where to Go and What to Do

Garden District
If you’d like a break from the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter, look no farther than the Garden District. Oak tree-lined streets and historic homes with elaborate architecture and lush landscaping make this neighborhood a favorite among visitors. Head to Commander’s Place for authentic Cajun and creole fare (try the turtle soup).

Just as good to eat as it is fun to say, jambalaya is a rice dish that is said to have originated in the French Quarter. The recipe varies but includes the “holy trinity” of diced onion, celery, and green pepper, plus smoked pork sausage (usually). Some cooks also throw in chicken, ham, or even seafood. Try it in the French Quarter at Mother’s or Coop’s Place.

For the Foodie
The Southern Food & Beverage Museum is located in the Garden District and features an exhibit for each of the southern states, plus a top-of-the-line demonstration kitchen. The exhibits describe cultural traditions surrounding southern food and recipes. The location also houses the Museum of the American Cocktail, which celebrates mixology. Visitors also can enjoy a meal from Chef Isaac Toups at Toups South inside the museum.

Ghost Tours
Known as one of the most haunted cities in America, New Orleans embraces a colorful history that includes legends of vampires, ghosts, and voodoo. “Haunted” tours that promise exposure to the city’s spooky side are some of the most popular around. French Quarter Phantom’s Ghost & Vampire Walking Tour will lead you on a 2-hour exploration of the area with a master storyteller describing historically accurate tales of hauntings and vampire lore. New Orleans Ghost Adventures offers a Voodoo & Cemetery Tour that includes a stop at a voodoo museum where you can purchase “magic” potions before heading to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, where famed voodoo queen Marie Laveau is buried.

All that Jazz
Of all the things the Big Easy is known for, jazz music may easily top the list. The Spotted Cat Music Club is a casual favorite for jazz, while Preservation Hall offers acoustic concerts with an intimate feel (purchase tickets ahead of time to get seats in the front row; otherwise, it may be standing room only). 

Traditionally a breakfast item, these French-inspired pastries are tasty any time of day. Deep-fried and covered with powdered sugar, beignets are similar to a donut without the glaze. Top spots for these puff pastries are Café du Monde (cash only) and Café Beignet.

One of the best ways to see New Orleans is to stroll through its scenic—and compact—neighborhoods. If you don’t feel like walking, hop on one of the city’s famous streetcars. These trolley-style rides are an iconic part of New Orleans and generally have stops every two or three blocks. Just look for the words “Car Stop” on orange signs to spot the nearest streetcar pick-up. A one-way ride costs $1.25 (exact change required), or you can purchase an unlimited 1-day pass for $3. 

Did You Know?
New Orleans has been described as the “northernmost Caribbean city and the westernmost European city.” The birthplace of jazz, the city is home to beautiful architecture, a rich art scene, and its own brand of cuisine that combines Caribbean and French flavors with some down-home cooking. Long a popular tourist destination, New Orleans is now one of the fastest-growing cities for millennials in the country.