When it comes to New Orleans there is so much I have to say and much more things I would like share about this beautiful city. It is one of the very few cities in the United States that is unique with its own specific culture, food, language, music, and rich history. Many U.S. locals associate New Orleans to Mardi Gras or a party scene and Internationally, many others know little to no knowledge about this city. That’s where I come in, to uncover these hidden gems. As a starter, I am happy to share with you a 4+ day New Orleans Itinerary to get you started.
Disclaimer: This post contains activity discounts from New Orleans CVB, however, all opinions are mine.
Downtown New Orleans isn’t very big, making it easy to walk around and check the main tourist attractions in a day or two. Once in New Orleans, you’ll quickly notice that the ambience changes during the day and at night. Right before noon on your first day in New Orleans, I’ll suggest that you walk around the french quarters, say hello to its friendly locals and admire its colorful houses. I must warn, that you’ll be highly tempted to take a ton of selfies by every house you pass by. I mean, after seeing an image like the one below
I mean, how can’t you?
Hang out at the Jackson Square
The Jackson square is kind of the unofficial center or meeting point for tourists. The Andrew Jackson statue placed in the middle with the St. Louis Cathedral neatly tucked behind it, is an iconic landmark that represents the city of New Orleans. The Jackson square and the St. Louis Cathedral share deep rootedhistorythat is worth learning about. St. Louis Cathedral is open to visitors from all walks of life.
Do a ghost tour
I did a ghost tour activity with the Travel Zoo. I didn’t initially think too much of it but it turned out to be an interesting experience. My tour group was led by a charismatic Lady, who could tell you the horror backstory of any place/street in New Orleans. We learned about Zach and Addie, the couple that became famous from surviving Katrina and then later infamous for a messy murder. We later stopped by the most haunted house in New Orleans which its story has been featured on the America’s horror story series.
Walk through the Frenchman street
This is the liveliest street in New Orleans. Here you can find all sorts of performers making concerted efforts to keep you entertained. From buskers playing live Jazz music to Men dressing up little dogs and having them pose in a “cool” fashion.
Watch a liveJazz show
New Orleans is the home of Jazz. It isn’t hard to find quality Jazz music in the crescent city. Here’s a list of great Jazz places to check out.
My personal favorite is the Jazz Playhouse. The location is fancy, the performance is always spectacular and the best part is that, entry is free! However, you do have to pay for a drink.
This has been an activity, I always looked forward to trying. The state of Louisiana has a lot of swamps and there are tour companies such as Cajun Encounters that take tourists on a 1 and a half hour boat ride. This is no ordinary ride where you just admire the swamps. You also get to see alligators, turtles, raccoons, boars, and other swamp wild life animals. It’s truly an amazing experience.
Note: Bring a jacket to keep you warm especially if you are doing these tours in non summer months. It gets cold when the boat is speeding through the swamp.
Walk through Magazine street
Magazine street is a long street full inquisitive and interesting shops. Taking a walk through this enchanting street, will prepare you for a pleasant surprise.
Visit Mardi Gras world
If you are into costumes and carnival, Mardi Gras world my just be the best place for you. Entry for adults is $22 and for students is $17. See the Mardi Gras World for more information.
The New Orleans flea market has a legendary and historic significance in the city. It is the oldest public market that assumes a leading economic role for the local government. It serves as a cultural, commercial and entertainment treasure. You can find all sorts of international items as well as fresh food products.
Cemetery tour & Garden district
Rather than keeping the dead in grave yards underneath the earth, New Orleans residents keep their dead in tombs. This is mostly due to the fact that the city is under sea level. As with many things in New Orleans there are stories and rich histories behind every cemetery. The Garden district is a nice neighborhood with beautiful architecture and breathtaking mansions. Celebrities like Sandra Bullock, and Brad Pitt own houses in the Garden district. I did both the Cemetery and Garden district tour with Tour New Orleans which lasted for 2 hours.
Visit the New Orleans Museum of Arts
Address: 1 Collins Diboll Cir, New Orleans, LA 70124
If you like arts and culture, you might enjoy a trip to the New Orleans Museum of Arts aka NOMA. Here you’ll find art work from famous artists like Picasso, Joan Miro, Georgia O’ Keffe, and also some local Louisiana artists. The art exhibition are divided into arts from different regions of the world. NOMA has a nice cafe, a cute garden to enjoy a picnic and a lake behind to kayak.
The National World War II Museum is a humongous cultural center that can take nearly the whole day to explore. The museum tells the story of why the war was fought, how it was won and its significance today.
Have Brunch at the Steamboat Natchez
The steamboat Natchez takes tours and locals on a two hour tour through the Mississippi river. In the past, the Steamboat Natchez was a means of transport for cotton pickers. Today, it is a used mainly for tourism. It runs throughout the year at certain hour intervals of the day. One of the activity tourist look forward to, are the meals offered with live Jazz included. The most popular one is the Jazz brunch. As of October, 2018 The Steamboat Natchez would be offering a Mardi Gras tour which has a Mardi Gras twist to it. Check their website to find out more information.
Learn about the history of Slavery and get to experience a pinch of what slaves went through in the past. The state of Louisiana has many Plantation mansions which also offer tours to the public. I wouldn’t recommend many of them. For now, the two plantation tours I suggest you visit are the Whitney tour plantation and the Laura Plantation. The Whitney plantation is the first American museum dedicated to slavery. It has records of memoirs from literate slaves and their experiences. The Whitney plantation focuses on the institution of slavery. The Laura plantation is a creole owned plantation whereby the family tell the history of the their generation.
Ride a cable car
One of the oldest forms of transport in the United states. New Orleans is one of the only 7 cities in the U.S. that has surviving first-generation streetcars. Riding one in New Orleans costs $1.25 per ride. For more information about street cars in New Orleans check out this site.
New Orleans isn’t a cheap city. Finding budget friendly accommodation can be a bit of a challenge. The best bet for a budget friendly accommodation is Airbnb. For medium priced accommodation I would recommend Ace Hotel
I hope you found this post useful! Stay tuned for more updated content
New Orleans looks like a party city with a lot of history attached to it. Loving it a lot and was planning on visiting next year. You showed really every part of this city and not just the party side.
Your breakfast recommendations are AMAZING! I’ve only been to Cafe Du Monde, but that Willa Jean warm chocolate chip cookie looks right up my alley! I would love to do a swamp tour and a cemetery tour! This is a very well-done New Orleans guide!
Looks like you had an amazing trip to NoLa!! I hope to go back one of these days.
Ahhhh NOLA! Your photos and description has made me hungry and has really amped up my wanderlust for today! NOLA – Imma coming for ya!
I have, what is possibly the dumbest question in history: What is a Poboy? I’ve never heard of it before. It sounds like a sandwich or a pie to me. Am I close?
My dad is actually from New Orleans, so I’ve been many times! Though honestly, it’s one of my least favorite cities in the US. Lol. It just always gives me a creepy feeling. BUT, I’m glad you made it to Sucre and Cafe du Monde, because those really are awesome!!
What an awesome post! You managed to cram in some amazing things to your trip!
I love those bright houses and the food all looks gorgeous. But, I think if I make it to NoLa I’d love the trip through the swamp seeing all those animals. That sounds brilliant! Although, did you end up being bitten by mozzies during that trip?
There are French quarters in the city that I live in and they are my fav part of the city!! You have an awesome itinerary there :)
What city do you live in?
New Orleans is a fabulous, lively melting pot of cultures and energies. I loved my time there! Were there any special celebrations this year? I couldn’t visit Cafe du Monde for its never-ending queues! Carmo and Le Croissant d’Or are two other eateries you can try. And I also highly recommend City Park and the Garden District. Here’s my post on NOLA: https://tbbtravels.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/field-notes-new-orleans/
Wow – you did some many things on your trip. New Orleans look like a fantastic place to explore. I just love the bright houses. Great photographs :)
Have not been to New Orleans yet, though been thinking of it many times. You covered it beautifully, saved it for future reference (hopefully we will make it one day).
New Orleans is super high on my list for the USA. This is so much fun. I’d love to walk down Magazine Street and love even more to try some of the unreal food described here…
This is so cool! Thank you for such a great itinerary :) Can’t wait to visit and explore all of this!
Thanks! They always have the Mardi Gras and Jazz Festival :)