New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is nicknamed as the "Big Easy," due to its nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy, singular cuisine reflecting its history of French, African and American cultures.
Things to Do in New Orleans
- French Quarter-
A trip to New Orleans has to start with the biggest draw, which is the French Quarter. So much of what makes New Orleans unique is captured in the atmosphere of the French Quarter, from the party vibe of Bourbon Street to the elegance of Royal Street. Every street in the French Quarter has something to offer, from classic restaurants to music venues and boutique shopping to voodoo temples. Some of the most popular areas include: Royal Street, Chartres Street and Bourbon Street. Also, no trip to the Quarter is complete without a stop at the historic French Market. A variety of guided tours are available covering topics such as ghosts, historical, culinary and even cocktails! We recommend, when exploring the French Quarter for the first time, use the neighborhood's original mode of transportation, the mule-drawn carriage.
- Garden District-
Another must-see neighborhood is the Garden District. You will find a well-preserved collection of antebellum mansions, pristine gardens and southern charm. The Garden District certainly stands out as one of the country's most elegant neighborhoods and is a popular destination for visitors. A great starting point would be the intersection of Prytania Street and Washington Avenue. Here, in the heart of the neighborhood, you will find shopping, cafes and the historic Lafayette Cemetery, which is a popular attraction for many tourists. Guided tours of the cemetery are available as well. Directly across the street you will find Commander's Palace Restaurant, where celebrity chef Emeril LaGasse was executive chef for many years prior to his TV fame. In operation since 1880, Commander's is a New Orleans culinary institution.
- Faubourg Marigny Neighborhood-
Located just down the Mississippi river from the French Quarter is one of New Orleans well-kept secrets, the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. It's only a few minutes away from the French Quarter but is its own diverse community. Marigny has a funky vibe, the gardens of Washington Square Park is a perfect place for meeting local artists, performers and neighborhood characters. Visit the famous Frenchmen Street, known as the local's version of Bourbon Street. Frenchmen is a live entertainment district that has many clubs featuring musical styles like traditional jazz, blues, reggae and rock.
- Swamp Tours-
One of the most enjoyable things that a traveler can do in New Orleans is take an airboat swamp tour. Louisiana's swamplands are only accessible by these high-speed airboats and vacationers will see alligators, snakes and other critters that call the bayou home. The captains that guide these tours are natives of the region who love and know the land better than anyone.
New Orleans is a very casual city, jeans, shorts and T-shirts get you in the majority of places and is ideal for the southern weather. Pack comfy walking shoes, as there is lots of standing and walking. Don't forget the camera or your smartphone to take pictures of it all. Sunscreen and a hat to escape the hot sun is also rather important. Like wise, an umbrella, as it tends to rain somewhat often due to humidity. The rain, however, in no way ruins your trip because there is so much to do indoors. For more packing tips, watch our Sundance Vacations Packing Tips video!
- Mardi Gras Begins
- Mardi Gras Ends
- In the French Quarter many of New Orleans private homes are open to the public. Tour plantation homes, French Quarter Creole cottages and patios and Garden District mansions. Free classical concerts and opera performances are held all around town. Spring Fiesta
- Wednesday from mid-March through May there is a free live concert from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Lafayette Square. The event showcases local artists as they play a variety of music. Expect performances by some of New Orleans’ big name brass bands as well.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is 11 miles west of downtown New Orleans. A $25 taxi ride to the heart of the city is the best bet. Once your in the French Quarter most places you can get to by walking and really a car rental is not even needed in New Orleans. If you plan on exploring locations that your legs can't handle then New Orleans has a very affordable and easy to use streetcar system as well as friendly and affordable taxi service. The New Orleans streetcar is as much a tourist destination as they are a way for people to get around the city, they are a historic treasure and very special to the people of New Orleans. The street cars can take you to various destinations around the city. Also, it's just a great way to relax as you sight see around town.
Transportation to Destination
- Drive to Louisiana Swamps
- Drive to New Orleans Plantation County
- Drive to Baton Rouge
- Drive to Mobile AL
Amount of Time
- 20 Minutes
- 30 Minutes
- 1 Hour 24 Minutes
- 2 Hours
- New Orleans is known as the the place where Voodoo was introduced into the United States.
- New Orleans and the surrounding areas were sold to Napoleon via the Louisiana Purchase.
- The New Orleans Superdome is called "Superdome" because it is the largest enclosed arena in the world.
- New Orleans is the place where Jazz was born, along with two other music genres related to it - rock and roll and blues.
- It is known as the most haunted city in America.