12 Best Things to Do in Downtown New Orleans

Downtown New Orleans is a vibrant and culturally rich city that offers many activities and attractions for locals and tourists. With its unique blend of history, music, and cuisine, there is never a dull moment in this lively city. Whether you’re a history buff, a music lover, or simply looking for a good time, there are many things to do in downtown New Orleans.

Exploring the historic French Quarter

No visit to Downtown New Orleans would be complete without a stroll through the historic French Quarter. This iconic neighborhood is known for its vibrant atmosphere, beautiful architecture, and lively entertainment. As you wander through the narrow streets, you’ll be captivated by the sounds of jazz music pouring out of the numerous bars and clubs. Don’t forget to indulge in a beignet at Café du Monde or sample some traditional Creole cuisine at one of the many world-class restaurants.

The Spotted Cat Music Club

If you’re a music lover, visiting The Spotted Cat Music Club is necessary. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, this intimate venue is known for its lively jazz and blues performances. Grab a drink, find a cozy spot, and let the music transport you to another era. With its intimate setting and talented musicians, The Spotted Cat is a true gem in the New Orleans music scene.

Ghost Tours

For those seeking a spooky adventure, a ghost tour through the haunted streets of Downtown New Orleans is sure to send chills down your spine. Join a knowledgeable guide as they lead you through the city’s most haunted locations, sharing spine-tingling tales of ghosts and paranormal activity. From the LaLaurie Mansion to the infamous St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, these tours offer a unique and eerie perspective of the city’s history.

Carriage Rides

For a romantic and leisurely way to explore Downtown New Orleans, hop on a horse-drawn carriage and take in the sights and sounds of the city. As you clip-clop through the streets, your driver will regale you with stories of the city’s past and point out notable landmarks along the way. It’s the perfect way to relax and soak in the charm and beauty of Downtown New Orleans.

River Cruise

Experience the beauty of the mighty Mississippi River with a scenic river cruise. Whether you choose a traditional steamboat or a modern riverboat, these cruises offer breathtaking views of the city skyline and the chance to learn about the river’s rich history. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the gentle breeze as you glide along the water, taking in the sights and sounds of Downtown New Orleans.

The Presbytère

Immerse yourself in the history and culture of New Orleans at The Presbytère. This museum, located in the heart of the French Quarter, explores the city’s rich heritage through interactive exhibits and displays. Learn about the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, discover the traditions of Mardi Gras, and delve into the vibrant history of New Orleans’ diverse communities. The Presbytère is a must-visit for anyone interested in understanding the soul of this incredible city.

Garden District

Escape the hustle and bustle of Downtown New Orleans with a visit to the charming Garden District. Known for its stunning mansions, oak-lined streets, and picturesque gardens, this neighborhood offers a tranquil respite from the lively city center. Stroll along Magazine Street, browse the unique boutiques and antique shops and admire the beautiful architecture that makes this district special.

The National WWII Museum

Step back in time and pay homage to the heroes of World War II at The National WWII Museum. Located in Downtown New Orleans, this world-class museum offers a comprehensive look at the war through immersive exhibits, personal stories, and interactive displays. From the D-Day invasion to the Pacific Theater, the museum covers every aspect of the war, providing a truly educational and emotional experience.

New Orleans Museum of Art

Art enthusiasts will be delighted by the New Orleans Museum of Art. Located in City Park, this museum houses an impressive collection of artwork spanning thousands of years and various cultures. The museum offers diverse and thought-provoking exhibits, from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary masterpieces. Take your time to appreciate the beauty and creativity on display, and remember to explore the stunning sculpture garden outside.

Audubon Nature Institute

For nature lovers, a visit to the Audubon Nature Institute is a must. This collection of attractions includes the Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, and Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. Get up close and personal with exotic animals, marvel at the colorful underwater world, and learn about the fascinating world of insects. With its focus on conservation and education, the Audubon Nature Institute offers a fun and enriching experience for visitors of all ages.

Mardi Gras World

Experience the magic of Mardi Gras year-round at Mardi Gras World. This unique attraction offers a behind-the-scenes look at the elaborate floats and costumes that make Mardi Gras spectacular. Take a guided tour of the warehouse, learn about the history and traditions of Mardi Gras, and even try on a costume yourself. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the world of one of New Orleans’ most iconic celebrations.

St. Louis Cathedral

No visit to Downtown New Orleans would be complete without a visit to St. Louis Cathedral. Located in Jackson Square, this iconic cathedral is a symbol of the city and a testament to its rich history. Step inside and marvel at the stunning architecture, intricate stained glass windows, and peaceful atmosphere. Attend a mass or simply take a moment to reflect in this beautiful and sacred space.

French Market

Indulge your senses at the French Market, the oldest public market in the country. This bustling marketplace is a treasure trove of local goods, from fresh produce and seafood to artisan crafts and unique souvenirs. Take your time to browse the stalls, sample delicious local cuisine, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere. With its lively music and colorful characters, the French Market is a true reflection of the spirit of New Orleans.

Attending cultural festivals and events

Downtown New Orleans comes alive throughout the year with various cultural festivals and events. From the world-famous Mardi Gras to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, there is always something happening in this vibrant city. Immerse yourself in the local culture, enjoy live music and delicious food, and celebrate alongside the friendly locals. Check the event calendar before your visit to ensure you get all the exciting festivities.

Downtown New Orleans uniquely blends history, culture, and entertainment. From exploring the historic French Quarter to immersing yourself in the vibrant music scene, this lively city has countless things to see and do. Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, or simply looking for a good time, Downtown New Orleans has something to offer everyone.

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