40 Best Things to Do in New Orleans

New Orleans, known as the Big Easy, is a vibrant and culturally rich city that offers visitors a unique experience. From its lively music scene to its delicious cuisine and historic architecture, there is no shortage of things to do and explore in this enchanting city. Whether you’re a jazz enthusiast, a history buff, or a food lover, New Orleans has something for everyone. Let’s explore the best things to do in New Orleans, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this captivating city.

Preservation Jazz Hall

No visit to New Orleans is complete without experiencing the city’s famous jazz scene. And there’s no better place to do so than Preservation Jazz Hall. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, this historic venue has showcased the city’s best jazz musicians since 1961. Step inside and immerse yourself in the soulful sounds of live jazz music that will transport you to another era. Whether you’re a seasoned jazz enthusiast or a first-time listener, Preservation Jazz Hall is a must-visit for music lovers.

The intimate setting of Preservation Jazz Hall allows you to get up close and personal with the musicians, creating a truly immersive experience. Be prepared to tap your feet, sway to the rhythm, and even join in on the occasional jam session. The talented musicians who grace the stage at Preservation Jazz Hall are not only masters of their craft but also passionate about sharing their love for jazz with the audience. So sit back, relax, and let the music wash over you as you experience the magic of New Orleans’ jazz scene at Preservation Jazz Hall.

Wonder of Music Box Village

If you’re looking for a truly unique and interactive musical experience, look no further than the Music Box Village. Nestled in the Bywater neighborhood, this outdoor art installation is a whimsical playground of musical architecture. Created by a collective of artists, musicians, and builders, the Music Box Village is a place where imagination and music come together in perfect harmony.

As you explore the village, you’ll come across various musical structures with distinct sounds and characters. From the towering Singing House to the spinning Music Box Drum, every corner of the village invites you to play, experiment, and create your music. Whether you’re strumming the strings of a giant harp or banging on a set of drums, the Music Box Village encourages you to let your inner musician shine. It’s a place where adults can feel like kids again and where kids can unleash their creativity.

Maple Leaf

For a taste of the local music scene, head to Maple Leaf on Oak Street. This iconic music venue has been a staple in the New Orleans music scene since 1974 and is known for its lively atmosphere and top-notch live performances. Whether you’re into blues, funk, or jazz, you’re guaranteed to find a show that suits your musical taste at Maple Leaf.

The intimate setting of Maple Leaf allows for an up-close and personal experience with the musicians. You can expect to be surrounded by a crowd of fellow music lovers who are just as passionate about the local music scene as you are.

Bacchanal’s Backyard Parties

If you’re looking for a unique and laid-back dining experience, look no further than Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits. This hidden gem in the Bywater neighborhood offers a wide selection of wines and spirits and a charming backyard where you can enjoy live music, delicious food, and good company.

Bacchanal’s backyard parties truly reflect New Orleans’ vibrant and eclectic culture. As you sip on your favorite wine and savor the flavors of the delicious cuisine, you’ll be serenaded by local musicians who bring the courtyard to life with their soulful tunes. From jazz to blues to Latin rhythms, the music at Bacchanal’s backyard parties is as diverse as the city itself.

Audubon Nature Institute

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in nature at the Audubon Nature Institute. With its diverse array of attractions, including the Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, and Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, this nature institute offers something for everyone.

At the Audubon Zoo, you can get up close and personal with exotic animals worldwide. From majestic lions to playful monkeys, the zoo is home to many species that will delight animal lovers of all ages. After exploring the zoo, head to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, where you can marvel at the beauty of marine life from the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. And if you’re feeling adventurous, don’t miss the chance to visit the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, where you can face a fascinating world of insects and butterflies.

Mosquito Supper Club

For a truly authentic New Orleans dining experience, make a reservation at Mosquito Supper Club. This charming restaurant in the Bywater neighborhood offers a unique twist on traditional Louisiana cuisine. With its focus on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, Mosquito Supper Club takes farm-to-table dining to a new level.

The menu at Mosquito Supper Club changes regularly to reflect the freshest ingredients available, ensuring you always get a taste of the season. From crawfish étouffée to blackened catfish to pecan pie, every dish is a celebration of Louisiana’s culinary heritage. And let’s not forget the drinks – the restaurant’s carefully curated wine list and creative cocktail menu are the perfect accompaniments to your meal.

French Quarter

No visit to New Orleans would be complete without exploring the iconic French Quarter. This historic neighborhood, with its charming streets and iconic architecture, is the heart and soul of the city. As you stroll through the French Quarter, you’ll be captivated by its vibrant energy, lively music, and mouthwatering cuisine.

One of the highlights of the French Quarter is Jackson Square, a picturesque park that is home to the stunning St. Louis Cathedral. Take a moment to admire the cathedral’s beautiful architecture and soak in the peaceful atmosphere of the square. From there, wander through the narrow streets and discover hidden courtyards, art galleries, and charming shops.

Frenchmen Street

If you’re looking for live music and a lively atmosphere, head to Frenchmen Street. Located just outside the French Quarter, this vibrant street is known for its jazz clubs, music venues, and bustling nightlife. From intimate jazz bars to lively music halls, Frenchmen Street offers diverse music experiences.

As you make your way down Frenchmen Street, you’ll be greeted by the sounds of live music pouring out of every venue. Step into one of the clubs, order a drink and let the music transport you to another world. Whether you’re a jazz aficionado or simply appreciate good music, Frenchmen Street is the place to be.

The National WWII Museum

For history buffs, visiting the National WWII Museum is a must. This world-class museum is dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of World War II, and it offers a comprehensive and immersive experience for visitors of all ages.

As you explore the museum, you’ll be transported back in time to the tumultuous days of the war. From interactive exhibits to personal stories of soldiers and civilians, the museum provides a deep understanding of the events that shaped the world. Don’t miss the chance to visit the museum’s signature exhibit, “The Road to Berlin,” which chronicles the Allied forces’ journey through Europe.

Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience

Located in the Garden District, the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of the Jewish community in the American South. Through its exhibits and interactive displays, the museum tells the story of Jewish life in the region, from the early settlers to the present.

As you explore the museum, you’ll learn about the contributions of the Jewish community to the South’s cultural, economic, and social fabric. From the music of Jewish jazz musicians to the impact of Jewish business owners, the museum showcases the rich and diverse heritage of Southern Jewry. It’s a truly enlightening experience highlighting the often-overlooked history of the Jewish community in the South.

New Orleans Cemetery Tours

New Orleans is famous for its above-ground cemeteries, which are historic and incredibly beautiful. A cemetery tour is a unique way to explore the city’s rich history and learn about its unique burial traditions.

One of the most famous cemeteries in New Orleans is St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. This historic cemetery is the final resting place of many notable figures, including voodoo queen Marie Laveau. As you wander through the maze of tombs and mausoleums, you’ll be transported back in time and gain a deeper understanding of the city’s past.

New Orleans City Park

Escape the urban hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in nature at New Orleans City Park. This expansive green space, spanning over 1,300 acres, offers a peaceful retreat from the city’s vibrant energy. Whether you’re looking to take a stroll, have a picnic, or simply enjoy the beauty of nature, City Park is the perfect place to unwind.

The park is home to various attractions, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, and the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. Don’t miss the chance to explore the park’s majestic oak trees, some of the city’s oldest.

Crescent Park

Located along the Mississippi River, Crescent Park offers stunning views of the city skyline and a peaceful escape from the bustling streets. This 1.4-mile-long park is perfect for a leisurely walk or bike ride, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the river and enjoy the fresh air.

As you stroll along the park’s winding paths, you’ll come across a variety of sculptures, art installations, and scenic overlooks. Take a moment to sit on one of the park benches and watch the river flow by, or simply enjoy the tranquility of the park’s green spaces. Crescent Park is a hidden gem that offers a different perspective of New Orleans.

Lafitte Greenway

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Lafitte Greenway is a must-visit. This 2.6-mile-long linear park connects the French Quarter to Mid-City, offering a scenic pathway for walking, running, and biking. As you pass along the greenway, you’ll pass through vibrant neighborhoods, lush green spaces, and historic sites.

The Lafitte Greenway is a great way to explore the city and a testament to New Orleans’ commitment to sustainability and urban revitalization. The park features native plantings, stormwater management systems, and public art installations, creating a vibrant and environmentally friendly space for locals and visitors.

The Cabildo

Step back in time and explore the rich history of New Orleans at The Cabildo. This historic building, located in the French Quarter, was the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer in 1803 and now serves as a museum that showcases the city’s history and culture.

As you wander through the museum’s exhibits, you’ll learn about the city’s colonial past, its role in the slave trade, and its unique blend of cultures. Don’t miss the chance to visit the museum’s famous exhibit, “The Battle of New Orleans,” which tells the story of the city’s role in the War of 1812. The Cabildo is a must-visit for history buffs and anyone interested in learning more about New Orleans’ fascinating past.

Know NOLA Tours

For a truly immersive and informative experience, book a tour with Know NOLA Tours. Led by knowledgeable and passionate guides, these tours offer a unique perspective on the city’s history, culture, and hidden gems.

Whether interested in architecture, food, or history, Know NOLA Tours has a tour for you. From exploring the historic neighborhoods of the French Quarter and the Garden District to indulging in a culinary tour of the city’s best eateries, these tours provide a deeper understanding of what makes New Orleans so special.

Chalmette Battlefield & Jean Lafitte National Park

History enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the chance to visit the Chalmette Battlefield and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park. Located just outside the city, this historic site commemorates the Battle of New Orleans, a decisive battle in the War of 1812.

As you explore the battlefield, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the events that unfolded during the battle and its role in shaping American history. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Chalmette National Cemetery, where many soldiers who fought in the battle are buried. It’s a sad reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought for their country.

Café du Monde

No visit to New Orleans would be complete without indulging in a beignet from Café du Monde. This iconic coffee stand in the French Quarter has been serving up its famous beignets and café au lait since 1862.

As you take your first bite of a warm, fluffy beignet, you’ll understand why Café du Monde is a New Orleans institution. The powdered sugar-coated pastries are a delight, especially when paired with a cup of the café’s signature coffee. Don’t be deterred by the long lines – the experience is worth the wait.

Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

Located within City Park, the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. This outdoor sculpture garden showcases an impressive collection of modern and contemporary sculptures amidst beautiful landscapes. As you stroll through the garden, you’ll encounter works by renowned artists such as Henry Moore, Louise Bourgeois, and Fernando Botero. The tranquil atmosphere and stunning artwork make this a perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon walk or a picnic surrounded by art.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Step back in time and explore the fascinating history of medicine and pharmacy at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. Housed in a historic building dating back to 1823, this museum offers a glimpse into the world of 19th-century medicine. Explore the exhibits showcasing antique medical instruments, potions, and remedies, and learn about the pharmacist’s role in the past. The museum also provides insight into the yellow fever epidemic that plagued New Orleans in the 19th century. It’s a unique and educational experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Louisiana Children’s Museum

If you’re visiting New Orleans with kids, the Louisiana Children’s Museum is a must-visit. Located in the Warehouse District, this interactive museum offers many hands-on exhibits and activities for children of all ages. From exploring the sensory garden to learning about the water cycle in the Water World exhibit, there’s no shortage of fun and educational experiences here. The museum also hosts special events and workshops throughout the year, so check their schedule for any upcoming activities.

Steamboat Natchez

Experience the charm of the Mississippi River with a cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez. This authentic steam-powered paddlewheel boat offers daily cruises along the river, providing a unique perspective of New Orleans. As you glide along the water, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the city skyline, live jazz music, and a delicious Creole-inspired buffet. Don’t forget to explore the boat’s engine room and learn about the fascinating history of steamboat travel. A journey on the Steamboat Natchez is a quintessential New Orleans experience.

Mardi Gras World

Immerse yourself in the magic and grandeur of Mardi Gras at Mardi Gras World. This working warehouse and museum offers visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the iconic Mardi Gras floats. Take a guided tour and witness the skilled artisans at work as they craft these elaborate and colorful floats. Learn about the history and traditions of Mardi Gras, try on costumes, and even take home a piece of Mardi Gras memorabilia from the gift shop. It’s an enchanting experience that captures the essence of this beloved New Orleans celebration.

Backstreet Cultural Museum

For a deeper understanding of New Orleans’ vibrant African-American culture, a visit to the Backstreet Cultural Museum is a must. This small but impactful museum houses an impressive collection of Mardi Gras Indian costumes, jazz funeral memorabilia, and other artifacts that showcase the city’s rich cultural heritage. The museum’s founder, Sylvester Francis, is often present to provide insightful commentary and share personal stories. It’s a unique opportunity to learn about the traditions and customs that have shaped New Orleans’ cultural landscape.

Preservation Hall

No visit to New Orleans would be complete without experiencing the city’s renowned jazz scene. And there’s no better place to do that than at Preservation Hall. This historic jazz venue has been a cornerstone of the New Orleans jazz scene since 1961. Step into the intimate setting and be transported back in time as you listen to traditional jazz performed by some of the city’s most talented musicians. The atmosphere is electric, and the music will leave you tapping your feet and craving more of that authentic New Orleans sound.

The F.P.C. Museum

If you’re interested in learning about New Orleans’ unique history and culture, visit The F.P.C. A museum is a must. This museum focuses on the story of the free people of color, a significant population in New Orleans during the 18th and 19th centuries. Through exhibits and artifacts, the museum explores the contributions of free people of color to the city’s economy, politics, and culture. It’s a thought-provoking and enlightening experience that sheds light on an overlooked aspect of New Orleans’ history.

Magazine Street

For a taste of New Orleans’ vibrant local scene, stroll along Magazine Street. This eclectic and bustling thoroughfare stretches for over six miles, offering many shops, boutiques, restaurants, and bars. From trendy fashion boutiques to antique shops and art galleries, there’s something to suit every taste and interest. Explore the vibrant local businesses, sample delicious cuisine, and soak in the lively atmosphere. Magazine Street embodies New Orleans’s spirit and is a must-visit for any traveler looking to experience the city like a local.

New Orleans Swamp Tours

Escape the city and venture into the enchanting Louisiana swamps with a swamp tour. These guided tours take you deep into the heart of the bayous, where you’ll have the opportunity to spot alligators, turtles, birds, and other wildlife in their natural habitat. Glide through the waterways on a flat-bottomed boat as your knowledgeable guide shares fascinating insights about the surrounding ecosystem and its inhabitants. It’s a peaceful and immersive experience that offers a unique perspective on the natural beauty of Louisiana.

Jackson Square

Located in the heart of the French Quarter, Jackson Square is a historic and picturesque public square that is a must-see for any visitor to New Orleans. Marvel at the stunning St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States. Take a leisurely stroll through the square, admiring the beautiful architecture and soaking in the vibrant atmosphere. You’ll also find local artists and street performers showcasing their talents, adding to the charm and liveliness of the area. Jackson Square is a true gem and an iconic symbol of New Orleans.

Audubon Zoo

For a fun-filled day with the whole family, head to the Audubon Zoo. This award-winning zoo is home to a diverse collection of animals from around the world. From elephants and giraffes to jaguars and flamingos, there’s a wide variety of species to discover. The zoo also offers interactive experiences, such as animal encounters and behind-the-scenes tours, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with some of their favorite animals. With beautifully landscaped grounds and a focus on conservation and education, the Audubon Zoo is a fantastic destination for animal lovers of all ages.

St. Louis Cathedral

No visit to New Orleans would be complete without a visit to the iconic St. Louis Cathedral. Located in Jackson Square, this stunning cathedral symbolizes the city and is a masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture. Step inside and admire the intricate stained-glass windows, ornate altars, and beautiful artwork. Take a moment to soak in the peaceful atmosphere and reflect on the history and significance of this historic landmark. Whether religious or not, a visit to St. Louis Cathedral is a must for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of New Orleans’ cultural and architectural heritage.

Ride the St. Charles Streetcar

Experience a charming and nostalgic mode of transportation by riding the St. Charles Streetcar. This historic streetcar line has been in operation since 1835 and is the world’s oldest continuously operating streetcar system. Hop on board and take a leisurely ride through New Orleans’ most picturesque neighborhoods, including the Garden District and Uptown. Admire the stunning architecture of the historic mansions and oak-lined streets as you go along the route. It’s a delightful way to explore the city and soak in its charm.

Longue Vue House and Gardens

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and retreat to the peaceful oasis of Longue Vue House and Gardens. This historic estate, nestled on eight acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, offers a serene and picturesque setting. Take a guided tour of the stunning Spanish Colonial Revival-style house and learn about the history and legacy of the Stern family, who once called this place home. Explore the meticulously maintained gardens featuring a variety of plant species and stunning sculptures. It’s a tranquil and enchanting experience that allows you to reconnect with nature and appreciate the beauty of New Orleans.


For an unforgettable culinary experience, head to Bacchanal in the Bywater neighborhood. This unique wine bar and restaurant combines live music, delicious food, and an extensive selection of wines worldwide. Take a seat in the enchanting courtyard, surrounded by twinkling lights and lush greenery, and listen to live jazz or blues as you indulge in a delectable meal. The menu features a variety of small plates and charcuterie, perfect for sharing and sampling different flavors. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply looking for a memorable dining experience, Bacchanal is sure to impress.

New Orleans Museum of Art

Art enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to visit the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). Located in City Park, this world-class museum houses an extensive collection of art spanning thousands of years. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, there’s something to captivate every art lover. Explore the diverse galleries, attend special exhibitions, or participate in one of the museum’s many educational programs. NOMA also boasts a stunning sculpture garden featuring works by renowned artists such as Henry Moore and Robert Indiana. It’s a cultural gem that showcases the artistic richness and diversity of New Orleans.

Studio Be

Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of street art at Studio Be. Located in the Bywater neighborhood, this massive warehouse-turned-art installation is the brainchild of local artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums. Odums has transformed the space into a sprawling gallery featuring larger-than-life murals and thought-provoking artwork that explores racial, identity, and social justice themes. As you walk through the space, you’ll be surrounded by powerful images and messages that inspire reflection and dialogue. Studio Be is a testament to the transformative power of art and a must-visit for anyone interested in street art and social activism.

Jazz Fest

If you happen to be in New Orleans during late April or early May, don’t miss the opportunity to attend the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, commonly known as Jazz Fest. This iconic music festival celebrates the rich musical heritage of New Orleans and features performances by local and international artists across various genres, including jazz, blues, R&B, and rock. In addition to the music, Jazz Fest also showcases local cuisine, arts and crafts, and cultural exhibits. It’s a vibrant and festive event that captures the essence of New Orleans’ vibrant music scene and cultural heritage.

Vue Orleans

For a unique and breathtaking view of New Orleans, head to Vue Orleans. This observation deck at the top of the Hyatt Regency Hotel offers panoramic views of the city skyline and the Mississippi River. Take the elevator to the 17th floor and step onto the open-air deck, where stunning vistas greet you in every direction. Watch the sunset over the city, admire the twinkling lights at night, or simply soak in the beauty of the landscape. Vue Orleans provides a fresh perspective of New Orleans and is a great spot for capturing memorable photos.

New Orleans Jazz Museum

No visit to New Orleans would be complete without experiencing the city’s rich musical heritage. And there’s no better place to do that than at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Located in the historic Old U.S. Mint building, this museum is a treasure trove of jazz history. As you explore the exhibits, you’ll learn about the origins of jazz and its evolution over the years. From Louis Armstrong to Jelly Roll Morton, the museum showcases the contributions of legendary musicians who have shaped the genre.

One of the museum’s highlights is its extensive collection of musical instruments. You’ll get a chance to see and even play some of the iconic instruments that jazz greats have used. The museum also hosts live performances and educational programs, allowing visitors to experience the magic of jazz firsthand. Whether you’re a die-hard jazz fan or simply curious about the genre, a visit to the New Orleans Jazz Museum is a must.

Garden District

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, a visit to the Garden District is highly recommended. This charming neighborhood is known for its beautiful historic homes and lush gardens. Take a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined streets and admire the stunning architecture of the grand mansions. Many of these homes date back to the 19th century and showcase a unique blend of architectural styles, including Greek Revival and Victorian.

Aside from the impressive homes, the Garden District is also home to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, one of New Orleans’ most famous cemeteries. Take a guided tour and learn about the city’s unique above-ground burial practices. The cemetery’s elaborate tombs and mausoleums are a testament to the city’s rich history and cultural traditions.

New Orleans Nightlife

New Orleans is renowned for its vibrant and lively nightlife, and there are plenty of options to choose from when the sun goes down. One of the most iconic spots in the city is Frenchmen Street, a vibrant and bustling hub of live music venues, bars, and restaurants. Whether you’re a jazz enthusiast or prefer other genres, you’ll find many talented musicians performing throughout the night.

If you want a unique and immersive experience, consider visiting one of the city’s famous jazz clubs. The Preservation Hall is a historical venue that has been showcasing traditional New Orleans jazz since 1961. Prepare to be transported back in time as you listen to the soulful melodies local musicians play in an intimate and authentic setting.

For those who prefer a more laid-back atmosphere, the French Quarter offers a wide range of bars and lounges where you can unwind with a cocktail and soak in the vibrant ambiance. From historic bars like Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop to trendy rooftop lounges, there is a venue to suit every taste and preference.

New Orleans is a city unlike any other, with its vibrant culture, rich history, and unique blend of influences. Whether exploring the city’s art scene, indulging in its delicious cuisine, or immersing yourself in its lively music culture, there are countless things to do and see in the Big Easy. From the tranquil beauty of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden to the lively atmosphere of Preservation Hall, each attraction offers a distinct experience that contributes to the overall charm of the city.

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