Top New Orleans Attractions
The first time you visit New Orleans, or any new destination,
the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be
scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get
there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice,
and other information about the top tourist attractions in New Orleans
to help with your itinerary planning.
The French Quarter
There’s no place that’s more perfect for long scenic walks then
New Orleans’ French Quarter. The historic streets and buildings
throughout the French Quarter are remarkably preserved. Almost anywhere
you look is a visual delight. Browse the many art galleries along
Royal Street then make your way down past the St. Louis Cathedral,
where you’ll see paintings by local artists on display, on
your way to Jackson Square. Walking though Jackson Square is like
walking through history. The perfectly landscaped park is filled
with willows and oozes with southern charm. Pass by the French Market
and head down to the Mississippi. The Moonwalk brings you right
up against Old Muddy. You may stumble upon some street performers
singing the blues on your way to Woldenberg Riverfront Park. Take
a stroll through the 20 acres of lush greenery or sit, relax, and
watch the riverboats glide across the Mississippi from one of the
many benches throughout the park. No matter where you go in the
French Quarter you’ll feel like you are a million miles from
your busy life back home.
Street became famous for hosting New Orleans’ yearly Mardi
Gras celebration. However, Bourbon Street remains a popular tourist
attraction year-round. The ½ mile pedestrian only street
is filled with bars restaurants, and souvenir shops. Many people
that visit New Orleans never leave Bourbon Street and are perfectly
happy not doing so. However, there are many other attractions around
New Orleans that are worthwhile. It’s common practice, on
Bourbon Street, to buy your alcoholic beverages “to go”
so that you can stroll along the street checking out all the interesting
characters, as opposed to just sitting at the bar. Red Beers and
Grenades are amongst the most popular pedestrian beverages. Bar
hopping can also be fun. There are a wide variety of bars and clubs,
ranging from trendy European jazz clubs to wild dance houses, to
chose from. Much of the action along Bourbon Street can be found
on and below the most prominent wrought iron balconies. These balconies
serve two purposes: they are the perfect place for petitioning and
bribing female pedestrians to flash their “goodies”
in exchange for Mardi Gras beads as do the balconies provide a stage
for reveling feminine charms to all that would like to see.
The good times never stop on Bourbon Street.
The French Market
The French Market is generally crowded all day long and for good reason. Here
the wanna-be Cajun chef can find everything that they’ll ever
need including Cajun spices, hot sauce, beans, hurricane drink mix,
and specialty items such as Voodoo coffee.
There’s a flea market at the far end where you can find deals
on everything from sunglasses to home furnishings. If you need a
break, there are a few outdoor cafes where you can get a drink,
listen to some music and, if you are daring, try some traditional
New Orleans style crawdaddies.
Mississippi Steamboat Tours
If you happen to be taking a stroll along the Riverwalk you may notice a lot
of commotion around the Toulouse Street Wharf. Well the commotion
is over the Steamboat Natchez. There are only six true steamboats
that are still active on the Mississippi and the Natchez is considered
the river’s champion. True to tradition in every detail. It’s
the 9th steamboat to be named Natchez and was officially christened
in 1975. Since then its been providing entertainment and tours of
Old Muddy Mississippi. Get there early if you want to catch a ride
on the famed Steamboat. Long lines fill up quickly.
There has been a lot written about the Mississippi River and most
of us remember stories and folklore about this great river system.
This is your chance to journey back in time and experience life
as it was a century ago. The boat’s authentic steam calliope
blast upbeat tunes and depending on the time of your tour, an optional
lunch or dinner is served. Views of the French Quarter are fantastic.
St. Louis Cathedral
Louis Cathedral is one of New Orleans major landmarks. Located within
the French Quarter, the cathedral is said to be the oldest continuously
operating church in the United States. The church formed the center
of the original settlement until it was destroyed by a hurricane.
St. Louis Cathedral was rebuilt then destroyed a second time by
fire. The reconstruction of the church after the great fire is what
stands today. Free tours are offered that provide some interesting
facts about New Orleans’ St. Louis Cathedral.
Anne Rice's New Orleans
There was little talk of vampires in New Orleans before Anne Rice’s
A-list novels were published. Anne Rice was born and raised in New
Orleans and many of her stories were inspired by actual places in
and around New Orleans. Anne Rice did more for the tourism industry
in New Orleans then anyone would have imagined. Witchcraft and voodoo,
on the other hand, have long been a part of New Orleans’ history.
Today, there are a number of bone chilling tours offered throughout
New Orleans’ French Quarter and the Garden District including
Voodoo Cemetery Tours, Haunted History Tours, Witchcraft Tours,
and, of course, Vampire Tours. Many ghost and vampire enthusiasts
have been attracted to the area and what else can be frightening
are the costumes they wear.
There’s story that’s going around New Orleans, at the
moment, about how these vampire wannabes target drunk, unsuspecting
tourists and are somehow able to cut their underarms without the
tourists knowing so that they can steal and drink the tourists’
blood. A made up tale to frighten visitors no doubt.
All tour guides must pass a history exam administered by the state.
Furthermore, all narration must be based on actual New Orleans’
history obtained from city archives, official police reports, and
so on. The tours take you to buildings with real historic significance
including the Gallier House, which was the inspiration for Lestat
and Louis’ house in Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire.
All of the tours offered provide a unique look into New Orleans
history and are without a doubt worth the money you pay for them.
New Orleans Travel Guides
Frommer's New Orleans
Lonely Planet New Orleans
Let's Go New Orleans
Fodors New Orleans