What to do and see in New Orleans, LA (NOLA)

The first thing I do when planning a trip is get my bearings.  I study the map and learn where everything is, learn the neighborhoods etc.  (This came in handy when I forgot the map at home and lost the travel book, since it’s in my head I could still navigate  in the city.) Links to NOLA maps are listed at the end of this post.  Also check local news and papers just before and during your visit.

The Touristy things to do

  • Walk around the French Quarter – A collection of houses with ornate

    The French Quarter

    balconies, many street musicians, shops, restaurants

  • Bourbon Street (in the French Quarter) – A collection of loud bars/clubs etc. (Saturday night the crowd is generally wild and people toss beads from the balconies)
  • Walk along the Mississippi River
  • Visit Jackson Square and see the Cathedral
  • Mardi Gras artifacts at the Prebytere Museum in Jackson Square
  • Take the free ferry to Algiers and you can visit the Mardi Gras Museum
  • Visit the Louisiana State Museum
  • Get your fortune told, all over the French Quarter after Dark
  • Sunday Brunch at the House of Blues
  • Ride the Street Car either along the River, along Canal Street, or to the Garden District
  • Walk the streets of the lower Garden District – Upscale Mansions
  • Visit Lafayette Cemetery (people are buried above ground because most of NOLA is below sea level) in the Garden District
  • See Tulane and Loyola Universities in the Upper Garden District, visit Audubon Park across the way
  • Walk around, plan a picnic at Armstrong ParkCity Park at Mid City
  • Visit Metairie Cemetery near Mid City

    Above Ground Tomb

  • Watch a second line parade, if you can find one (weddings, funerals, etc.)
  • Take a Swamp Tour
  • Ride a bike around the city
  • Volunteer with Reconstruction
  • See the Eiffel Tower building

Food Related Activities

  • Eat Beignet’s at Cafe Du Monde
  • Eat a Muffulatta from the Central Grocery
  • Eat Fried Chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House (off the beaten path, lunch only)
  • Eat a Snow Ball (same as a snow cone)
  • Eat Cajun Food, Alligator, Southern Soul Food, I used Urban Spoon iPhone App and Yelp

Music Related Activities

  • Listen to the local Jazz Station, WWOZ, they have an iPhone app.

    Shop Sign

    Also, they list music events around the city each day.

  • Listen to Swing music at Music Legends Park on Bourbon
  • Music Clubs on Frenchman Street – many options that generally do not charge cover before 10 or so.  We just hopped between each club listening to a variety of music.
  • Visit St. Augustine’s Church on Sunday morning, they have a Jazz Choir
  • Preservation Hall on Bourbon Street, well known and charges a hefty cover


  • Carnival – The weeks of celebration leading up to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras)
  • Mardi Gras – Varies between late February and early March
  • St Josephs Day – Sunday closest to March 19 (Super Sunday)
  • French Quarter Festival – April
  • Jazz & Heritage Festival – (2 weekends) April

Do be careful, especially at night.  Crime is an issue in NOLA.  If you are visiting non-touristy areas at night, take a cab.


2 comments on “What to do and see in New Orleans, LA (NOLA)

  1. Pingback: My Weekend in New Orleans | Gallery32 Photography

  2. Pingback: Laissez les Bon Temps Roulez: Part II « A Re-Discovered Life

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