Haunted attractions, partying in the French Quarter, and visiting local museums are all part of the best things to do in New Orleans. Add in a few beignets and other delicious cuisines, and you have a family vacation you may never forget. How do you know what to put on your itinerary for a vacation in New Orleans, though? You could do hours of research. Or you could check out some of the best things to do in New Orleans that I have discovered over the years.
The French Quarter is usually at the top of the list for people on vacation in New Orleans. Start your day by standing in line at Café du Monde. They sell what is considered the best beignets in the city.
After devouring those beignets, snap a few pictures of the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. Purchase souvenirs from the French Market. Wander around and enjoy the atmosphere.
If you happen to be in the French Quarter at night, dine at Antoine’s. It’s one of the five oldest restaurants in the US. Or grab a drink at Jean Lafitte’s Old Absinthe House.
You cannot spend time in New Orleans and not take a ride on the streetcar. This mode of transportation is one of the best ways to get around the city. There are only four routes to choose from. So, getting lost isn’t possible.
The streetcar routes include:
The Saint Charles Streetcar Line – This is the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world. This route is six miles long. It goes through the Central Business District. During your ride, you will pass by antebellum mansions, Audubon Park, and the universities of Tulane and Loyola.
The Canal Street Line – This route is five and a half miles long. It also goes through the Central Business District. However, it extends to Canal Street and the Mid-City area. This is the best streetcar route when you want to visit the historic cemeteries in New Orleans.
The Riverfront Line – This streetcar route takes you from the French Market past the Aquarium of the Americas. This is the perfect route for shopping adventures since it passes the Outlet Collection at the Riverwalk and Canal Place.
Loyola/UPT Line – This streetcar route opened in 2013. It is only a mile and a half long. However, it is the perfect option for those people who arrive in the city by train or bus because they can take it to their hotel. This streetcar goes through the Warehouse Arts District, Financial District, and Medical District.
The streetcar in New Orleans costs $1.25 per ride. You can also get a Jazzy Pass for $3. That pass allows you to ride the streetcar all day long for one low price.
Ferry rides to Old Algiers are popular amongst people on vacation in New Orleans. But if you want a unique experience, I recommend adding a river cruise on the Mississippi River to your itinerary.
One of the best things to do in New Orleans is to eat the local cuisine. I know I mentioned the beignets above. During your vacation in New Orleans, you should also try the po-boys, red beans, gumbo, and traditional seafood dishes.
The food scene in New Orleans is quite diverse. So, you will always find something you love.
There is plenty to do inside New Orleans City Park. You can simply wander around for an hour or make a full day of your visit. Inside this park, you will find the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.
There are many historic neighborhoods to visit in New Orleans. One of the best things to do in New Orleans is to take a guided tour of one of these neighborhoods. I recommend choosing from the French Quarter, the Garden District, Uptown, or Tremé.
Okay, so you will need to plan your vacation in New Orleans carefully if you want to attend the Mardi Gras festivities. But it will be worth it when you get to be a part of all the action. Check out my blog post on celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans to learn more.
If you happen to miss Mardi Gras in New Orleans, you can always check out Mardi Gras World. This warehouse is filled with floats, costumes, and the history of this tradition.
One of the favorite things to do in New Orleans visits the National WWII Museum. This museum is located in the Warehouse District. Inside the museum, you will find Higgin landing crafts, tanks, artillery, and WWII artifacts.
There are six permanent exhibits, as well as a 4-D film you can watch.
Getting out of the city can be fun for a few hours. The Louisiana wetlands are filled with plants, flowers, and animals like alligators.
During your swamp tour adventure, you can learn about the Cajun culture and history of the Bayous. In between, you will spot gators, minks, boars, and turtles.
Live jazz concerts can be appreciated at Preservation Hall almost every day of the year. The non-profit organization that runs the music venue uses the revenues to teach kids all about jazz music.
This park and preserve contain more than twenty-two thousand acres of land. It is divided into six areas. The Barataria Preserve is all wetlands. Those wetlands are comprised of swamps, marshes, and bayous.
The Battle of New Orleans was fought in the area named the Chalmette Battlefield. And the French Quarter Visitor Center is the best place to learn about the history of the city.
In the other three areas, you will learn about the Acadians.
The cemeteries in New Orleans mostly have decorative vaults. This ensures a unique experience during your visit. Add in the haunted tales, and you may get scared inside one of these cemeteries filled with ghosts.
I recommend starting with St. Louis Cemetery #1. It is closed to the public. However, you can enter during a guided tour. This cemetery opened in 1789. It is the oldest cemetery in the city.
Other haunted cemeteries in New Orleans include St. Louis Cemetery #2 and Lafayette Cemetery.
These are the best things to do in New Orleans. You can easily enjoy many of them with the kids during a family vacation. Plus, I can find other incredible things to add to this list if you have extra time to spend in this vibrant city.
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