13 Fun Things to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana

Updated: Dec 26, 2020

New Orleans is known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy cuisine. It has a history of being a melting pot of French, African, and American cultures. Indulge in the delicious food, listen to the amazing music, and soak in the incredible vibes. Here are 13 things to do in this city:

1. French Quarter

This is probably what you're picturing when you think of New Orleans in your head. The gorgeous architecture, the jazz music playing in the street, and the delicious restaurants. Yes, it's exactly how you picture it. Walk around and shop, eat, and enjoy the music.

2. Bourbon Street

Party-lover's paradise. It's a historic street in the middle of the French quarter famous for its high number of bars and strip clubs. I will say it's not as cool as I thought- in reality I thought it was pretty dirty and smelled strongly of urine. Not a place I wanted to hang out for long.

3. Cafe du Monde

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week the original Café du Monde is a coffee stand that opened in 1862 at the upriver end of the French Market. Order a coffee and beignet- basically a square donut covered in a mountain of powdered sugar. Aka heaven.

4. Jackson Square

This is a historic park in the French Quarter. In 1803, this site was where the Louisiana purchase was made and became a US territory. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

Image from Access Health Louisiana ©

5. St. Louis Cathedral

This is the longest continually active Roman Catholic church in the United States, dating back to 1789. It was reconstructed in 1850, and still remains a top sight to see in the city!

Image from Sean Pavone / Shutterstock ©

6. Visit a Swamp

The state of Louisiana is known for its swamps and alligators, so why not visit one? There are tons of tours you can do to see alligators & even take an airboat through a swamp. They're typically $49 for an adult.

Image from Cajun Encounters ©

7. Attend a Sporting Event

You can go to the famous Superdome to watch a New Orleans Saints game like a local! Or if you're more of a basketball fan, watch a Pelicans game instead. I also highly recommend going to an LSU game because the atmosphere and band is INSANE- I know it's not technically New Orleans, but it's close!

(I was lucky enough to go to an LSU game in the Superdome which was AWESOME!)

8. Eat a Po Boy

A Po Boy is basically an over-stuffed sandwich on French bread. The filling can vary from fried oysters to fried shrimp, fried crawfish, fried fish, fried chicken, Louisiana hot sausage, alligator (yeah you read that correctly), and a few more. I can recommend Johnny's Po Boys in the French Quarter- they have Po Boys starting at just $6.95.

Image from Bon Appetit ©

9. Visit a Cemetery

New Orleans is known around the world for the unique way they bury their dead: in above ground cemeteries and mausoleums. Some great ones to visit are:

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1: 1400 Washington Ave.

Metairie Cemetery: 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd

Greenwood Cemetery: 120 City Park Ave

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1: 501 Basin St

St. Louis Cemetery No. 2: 720 St. Louis St

St. Louis Cemetery No. 3: 3421 Esplanade Ave

St. Roch Cemetery No. 1: 1725 Saint Roch Ave

St. Roch Cemetery No. 2: 1725 Music Street

Carrollton Cemetery: 1701 Hillary St

Image from Get Your Guide UK ©

10. St. Roch Market

This old market hall originally opened in 1875, but had to be renovated from 2012-2015 due to damages from Hurricane Katrina. It's now a modern food hall with 11 dining options and a craft cocktail bar.

Image from strochmarket.com ©

11. Drive-Thru Daiquiris

Yes, you read that correctly. In Louisiana it is quite common to get your daiquiris via drive thru. There used to be no laws prohibiting drinking alcohol and driving in the early 1980's, which is when these businesses started booming. And even though there are laws now in place that prohibit drinking and driving, there is a loophole permitting frozen beverages with a proper lid.

Image from In the Spirit of the Law ©

12. Indulge in Louisiana Specialities

There are so many amazing specialty dishes you have to try besides Po Boys, like:

Alligator (in any form)

Jambalaya (typically andouille sausage, shellfish, celery, and rice stew- similar to the Spanish dish Paella) Gumbo (spicy seafood and meat stew)

Boudin (spicy pork sausage made with green onions and rice)

Boudin Balls (boudin, but rolled into balls & deep fried)

A Crawfish Boil (a spicy one-pot dish made for parties & events)

Étouffée (a smothered seafood stew served over rice).

13. Mardi Gras

Obviously this one is a little more specific because it only happens 1 day per year. But Mardi Gras is an awesome carnival celebration that happens every year on "Fat Tuesday" or the day before Ash Wednesday. It's basically a huge party before the fasting season of lent where you get different colored beaded necklaces: purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. It has become quite common in modern times for women to flash their boobs in order to gather more beads!

Image from French Quarter ©

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