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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 The French Quarter
Bourbon Street Bourbon Street
The French Market The French Market
Steamboat Tours Mississippi Steamboat Tours
St. Louis Cathedral St. Louis Cathedral
Anne Rice's New Orleans Anne Rice's New Orleans

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.


Bourbon Street

Bourbon 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

 Address 615 Pere Antoine Alley
 Hours M-S 9-5pm, Sun 2-5pm
 Phone 504-525-9585

St. 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