If you’re a fan of jazz, seafood, and stunning architecture, New Orleans, Louisiana, lovingly known as The Big Easy, is the place for you. It’s a city like no other in the USA, with a laid back ethos, a blazing hot tropical sun, and a friendly greeting of “how y’all doin’?” If you’re looking for a city break with a difference and New Orleans floats your boat, here are five things you’ve got to check out while you’re there.
Take a Tour of the Garden District
Even if you’re not a “building person”, the Garden District of New Orleans is something else. With beautiful, grand, and even colorful houses dating back to the early 1800s, it’s a history lover’s dream. Originally named because there were so few houses per block, and such huge gardens, it’s now a popular historical destination, with some of the best mansions of the Southern USA. A walking tour of the area demonstrates the town’s history of plantations and French influence, and is a must see for anyone visiting the city.
Visit the ‘Gators
New Orleans is built on a vast plain at sea level, so much of the surrounding area is swampland. These swamps are inhabited by a huge number of plants and animals, but the alligators draw the biggest crowd. Swamp tours leave from central New Orleans regularly throughout the year, and safely tour excited tourists around the cypress trees, pointing out snakes, alligators, deer, and raccoons, from a safe distance of course.,
Check Out Some Big Band Jazz
When you’re there you have to head down to the Maple Leaf in the Carrollton neighborhood to see the world famous Rebirth Brass Band do their weekly show every Tuesday, almost without fail. If you want to experience true Southern Jazz, this is the place to go. Preservation Hall is also a great place to catch some classic Big Band Jazz and Blues. Jazz greats have played here for over 60 years. Otherwise, a tour around the French Quarter’s jazz clubs shows the sheer range of styles available in the city. It’s any music lover’s dream.
Try the Delicious Cuisine
The Creole and Cajun influences in New Orleans make for truly exceptional food. Make sure you get to a crawfish boil and taste the freshest seafood of your life. Other dishes you simply have to experience include jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, deep fried catfish, beignets, muffulettas and pralines. Don’t worry, if you’re not a seafood-lover, plenty of those foods exclude seafood. There’s a reason that the people of New Orleans are so proud of their food, and you’ll never want to leave once you’ve got a taste for it.
Take Some Sort of French Quarter Tour
Whether it’s a cemetery tour, a voodoo tour or a history tour, there’s so much more behind this eclectic city than the things you can see with your eyes. Really dig into this city by trying one of many tours offered. You can even try a free city tour, just remember to leave your guide a tip.
Check Out the Nightlife
Don’t miss out on the nightlife. A lot of people feel like Bourbon Street is the place to party in New Orleans. Although, it does have a frat-party charm to it, I prefer visiting bars with more old-world charm. My favorites are the Olde Absinthe House and Hotel Monetelone. Hotel Monteleone’s bar is actually a revolving carousel. How cool is that?!
Things to Remember Before You Leave
If you’re travelling to New Orleans from outside the country, remember to fill in your ESTA visa waiver by visiting their official website.
It’s also useful to remember to turn up with a handful of quarters, as the streetcar, by far the best means of public transport in the French Quarter, only accepts exact change for a $1.25 fare.
Some wards, or neighborhoods, may be wise to avoid at night, but staying around Uptown, Carrollton, and the French Quarter will have all the entertainment you could ever need.
Don’t forget to talk with the people at your hotel, hostel, guesthouse for their insider tips of what to see.
A trip to New Orleans one of the ultimate United States trips, and a totally unique city break destination. New Orleans has its own totally unique old-time feel, European architecture and so many amazing sights to see and museums to visit! Don’t miss out on this amazing city!
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