As a native New Orleanian, I am often asked “What is there to do in New Orleans
besides getting drunk on Bourbon street?!” Aside from eating (which would be another article in itself) there are many wonderful things to do in New Orleans. Granted, New Orleans is the “Party Capitol of the World,” but if you are going to come here for a visit, you should explore the rest of the city and outlying areas.
Be sure to:
Take the battlefield paddlewheel cruise down the Mississippi River. It is a great opportunity to view landmarks (with a narrator), enjoy music, and eat New Orleans cuisine. The ship docks to give riders time to tour the battlefield. Adult ticket price without lunch: $20, with lunch $27. (Kid friendly)
For a more romantic setting, take a dinner jazz cruise down the Mississippi River at night. The Creole Queen and Cajun Queen paddleboats both have cruises that offer New Orleans cuisine and jazz. Adult ticket price without dinner: $30; with dinner $53.
Go on a Swamp Tour. The best time to do this is Spring and Summer when the wildlife is active. You can go on a walking tour, boat tour, or airboat tour. (Kid friendly)
Take a streetcar ride from N. Carrollton ave. to Canal street- a great way to sightsee uptown, the garden district, business district and downtown. (Kid friendly)
Visit at least one plantation. Many are within 45 minutes of New Orleans, along the old River Road. Oak Alley Plantation and Laura Plantation are only a few minutes apart and offer a look back into the history of the Deep South. (Kid Friendly)
Visit a cemetery. We bury our dead above ground! Some of the tombs are elaborate enough for royalty! Check out Metairie Lawn Cemetery, it has some of the most extravagant and famous.
Take the Audubon Cruise to the Aquarium, IMAX and the Audubon Zoo.
Eat beignets at CafÃ?Â© du Monde.
Take a picnic to Audubon Park
Visit Storyland and Carousel Gardens (a small amusement park) in City Park. A great way to spend the day, City Park has the New Orleans Museum of Art, ancient Oak trees, a sculpture garden, botanical garden, pavilions and lagoons, fishing, boats, and a train that takes you on a tour of the park. Storyland makes the Nursery Rhymes come alive. Carousel Gardens houses one of the oldest running carousels with antique horses, among other rides.
Visit the Louisiana Children’s Museum, lots of fun for everyone!
Visit Three Dog Bakery (and bring home a treat for your pooch)! This bakery is especially for the 4 footed canine in your family, but kids love seeing a cafÃ?Â© made for dogs (dogs are welcome to dine in or take home).
Walk around the uptown campuses of Loyola and Tulane Universities.
Shop Magazine Street. A favorite of the locals, Magazine Street is THE place for unique shops and antiques, it is also a good place to go for local dining.
Frenchman Street offers a different “party atmosphere” in the evening. A local hangout, the bars are less touristy and there is even a Hookah cafÃ?Â©.
Take the ferry to Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World. See how and where Mardi Gras floats are made. (Kid friendly)
Take a walking tour of the Garden District, see beautiful and historic homes up close.
New Orleans is believed to have many ghosts and hauntings- take on a Haunted City Tour.
Wander around the French Quarter, wonderful and unique shops that are unique to New Orleans.
Instead of Bourbon Street, try club 360 at the top of the World Trade Center. It offers a 30 story high, 360 degree view of the city. Beautiful during the day or evening, it offers comfortable and relaxing seating (sofas, over-sized ottomans and chairs). It takes one hour for the cabin to make the 360 degree turn.
Of course, a major part of New Orleans is FOOD!
Cheap restaurants that are only found in New Orleans:
Camellia Grill, located on the Streetcar line, Serves Burgers and “diner style” foods. A fun place to pick up a cheap meal, but be sure to go at off times because the place is always packed and lines form for breakfast and lunch (especially on the weekend). (kid friendly)
Crescent City Brew House is a microbrewery in the French Quarter (right on Decatur street!) It offers New Orleans’ style food and live music on the weekends (kid friendly)
Cannon’s is Located on the streetcar line on St. Charles Avenue. It offers a blend of New Orleans and traditional American cuisine in a casual dining atmosphere. (kid friendly)
House of Blues is a fun place to grab a bite and watch entertainment.
Court of two sisters is known for its daily Jazz Brunch buffet and beautiful courtyard. Dinner, which is served nightly and features a four-course dinner and an a la carte menu.
Pascal’s Manale serves steak, seafood and pasta. Located uptown right off of the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line.
Commander’s Palace is “THE” place to eat. Located in Garden District, Commander’s Palace is truly “one of the finest dining experiences in the world.”
Antoine’s serves a French-Creole cuisine. Frequented by both locals and tourists it is old and historical. Wonderful ambiance!
Louis XVI internationally acclaimed courtyard restaurant serves a French cuisine and fine wines. Located in the heart of the French Quarter it offers an amazing 360 degree view!