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Things to do in New Orleans

Things to do in  New Orleans

Welcome to New Orleans

Rowdy yet refined, New Orleans is a city that unabashedly mixes all-hours fun with a deep respect for tradition and culture. Late night revelers spill into Bourbon Street, trombone players and tap dancers vie for attention on street corners and in famous clubs, and both old school cuisine and the chefs it inspired entice visitors into the city's varied restaurants. Tour the Garden District and the French Quarter; cruise down the Mississippi River on a steamboat; and watch live jazz all over town. A day trip to the countryside reveals New Orleans’ roots, with opportunities to tour historic plantations and ride airboats through the swamps.

Top 10 attractions in New Orleans

#1
French Quarter

French Quarter

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The French Quarter, with its vibrant atmosphere and unique blend of architectural styles, is easily New Orleans’ most famous and most popular area to visit. It's also the city's oldest neighborhood, and its elegant streets are lined with an appealing mix of lively bars—especially along the legendary Bourbon Street—historic monuments, delicious restaurants, and inviting jazz clubs.More
#2
Garden District

Garden District

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New Orleans' Garden District is the epitome of Southern charm. Plantation-style mansions, which are among the most impressive in the city, feature wrap-around porches, verandas, and manicured gardens where there’s always something blooming. Streets are separated by stretches of green parks, and the historic cable car line runs along St. Charles Avenue.More
#3
Mississippi River

Mississippi River

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A central character in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the mighty Mississippi River has long captured the American imagination. Originating in Minnesota and sweeping across 95 river miles (153 kilometers) south to New Orleans where it spits out into the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi is the largest river system in North America and has gained an almost mythical place in American history.More
#4
French Market

French Market

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Located in the heart of New Orleans’ vibrant French Quarter, the French Market is a grand bazaar that serves as much as a cultural meeting place as it does a market space. In addition to hosting stall after stall of vendors hawking handmade goods and artisanal foods, the market doubles as a venue for a daily flea market and a twice-weekly farmers market. The French Market boasts the superlative as the oldest continuously operating open-air market in the United States, making it a part of living Louisiana history.More
#5
Jackson Square

Jackson Square

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In the heart of the French Quarter lies Jackson Square, one of New Orleans’ most famous locations. A National Historic Landmark, it is home to St. Louis Cathedral and is often filled with locals and tourists who come to stroll the paths, catch the buskers and street performers in action, or just sit in the shade and watch the world go by.More
#6
Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

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The infamous Bourbon Street, also known as Rue Bourbon, conjures up images of endless partying, drinks of all shapes and sizes, bachelorette parties, and of course, Mardi Gras. Outside of Mardi Gras season, visitors flock to this playground of the South for its Creole restaurants, live music venues, souvenir shops, and well-known drinking establishments.More
#7
LaLaurie Mansion

LaLaurie Mansion

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LaLaurie Mansion is not your regular tourist attraction. Also known as LaLaurie House, this French Quarter spot has a gruesome past involving torture, murder, and acts of brutality. The house is a regular stop on ghost tours of New Orleans and attracts visitors who want to learn more about the property’s spine-chilling history.More
#8
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

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This vintage apothecary in the French Quarter is a national historic landmark and the site of the first licensed pharmacist in the US. Shelves of potions, perfumes, surgical devices, and other questionable curiosities are on display behind the old-time soda fountain for a fascinating look into medical practices of the past. More
#9
Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation

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Famed for the 300-year-old allée of live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss that flank its main entrance, Oak Alley Plantation has more to offer visitors than a quintessential view of a Southern plantation. Highlights include numerous exhibitions exploring the complexities of Southern and Louisiana history, 1,300 acres (526 hectares) of grounds, and the historic house itself—all within easy driving distance of New Orleans.More
#10
St. Louis Cathedral

St. Louis Cathedral

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A prominent landmark on Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral (officially the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis King of France) stands tall and proud, beckoning French Quarter visitors to take a little time out from drinking and dancing to admire the oldest continuously used cathedral in the United States. The seat of the city's Roman Catholic Archdiocese, the cathedral was built in 1789 and rebuilt in 1850, and today, its all-white, Spanish Colonial façade with three black spires is one of the most instantly recognizable landmarks in the South. The inside is just as beautiful.More

Trip ideas

Best Weekend Getaways from New Orleans

Best Weekend Getaways from New Orleans

Literary History in New Orleans

Literary History in New Orleans

Top activities in New Orleans

Steamboat Natchez Evening Jazz Cruise with Dinner Option
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New Orleans Airboat Ride

New Orleans Airboat Ride

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New Orleans Food Walking Tour of the French Quarter with Small-Group Option
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Haunted Pub Crawl in New Orleans

Haunted Pub Crawl in New Orleans

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New Orleans Small-Group Haunted History Carriage Tour
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Three Hour City Tour of New Orleans
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Things to do in New Orleans this...

Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in New Orleans

star-5
Gator Delight !!
Linda_F, Jun 2022
Swamp and Bayou Sightseeing Boat Tour with Transportation from New Orleans
He even knew just where to take us to see the Alligators!
star-5
Watching my kids enjoy...
Harold_L, Jun 2022
Swamp Boat Ride and Oak Alley Plantation Tour from New Orleans
Watching my kids enjoy the wild life and my fiancé first time to New Orleans to see a plantation really made this trip special for me
star-5
Lucy shared some great...
Jennifer_B, Jun 2022
French Quarter & Marigny Neighborhood Carriage Ride
She also gave some recommendations on where to visit and eat.
star-5
Swamps are prettier than you think
Christina_A, Jun 2022
Small-Group Swamp Tour by Airboat with Downtown New Orleans Pickup
This small group swamp tour by airboat was an excellent way to see the swamps of New Orleans.
star-5
Great Experience!
Brian_F, Jun 2022
New Orleans Food Walking Tour of the French Quarter with Small-Group Option
Great way to see the French quarter, learn history of New Orleans, and get tips from locals!
star-5
Highly recommend this tour.
Carol_L, Jun 2022
Three Hour City Tour of New Orleans
The tour covered so many attractions in three hours that I would not have been able to experience if I had not booked the tour.
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Oak Ally bus tour
Janet_B, Jun 2022
Oak Alley Plantation Tour with Transportation from New Orleans
The bus Driver Ken for short, had so much information and suggestions of things to do.
star-5
Loved This Trip!!
Charlene_R, Jun 2022
New Orleans Steamboat Natchez Harbor Cruise
Lots to see & do, but incredibly relaxing time as well!
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Eliot rocks! Great intro to New Orleans!
Alec_M, Jun 2022
French Quarter Historical Sights and Stories Walking Tour
We learned a lot, and got lots of ideas for what to do during our New Orleans vacation.
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Party Walk with Murder
Kyle_H, May 2022
Haunted Pub Crawl in New Orleans
We got to see a few good sites and learn some interesting New Orleans history and murder stories!
star-5
Great way to see New Orleans
Christine_D, May 2022
City Sightseeing New Orleans Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Great way to see all of New Orleans.
star-4
Gary was very...
Nadia_Z, May 2022
Three Hour City Tour of New Orleans
The opportunity to visit off-site venues made the trip worthwhile.
star-5
Great food tour
Soyaria_R, May 2022
New Orleans Food Walking Tour of the French Quarter with Small-Group Option
Great way to see New Orleans and learn a little about it's history.
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20th Anniversary
Laura_V, May 2022
New Orleans Swamp Tour Boat Adventure
For our 20th anniversary we wanted to visit the New Orleans area and this swamp boat tour had what we were looking for.
star-5
Being our first time on a...
Nicole_S, May 2022
Cemetery and Ghost BYOB Bus Tour in New Orleans
Would definitely go again and would suggest to friends if they come to visit new orleans
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Would do again
Bethany_C, May 2022
New Orleans Small-Group Haunted History Carriage Tour
It is not faced paced with the entertainment aspect of story telling but you get to see more than just bourbon street AND you dont have to walk AND you can pet the Mules.
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Fun tour!
Dan_M, May 2022
New Orleans City Bike Tour
Fun way to see the city and learn about the history of New Orleans.
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Don’t miss this tour or you’ll be sorry!
Rhonda_H, May 2022
New Orleans City Tour with Swamp Tour Options
This is a must see tour to learn about New Orleans and see the sights as well as airboat in to the swamp to see gators galore.
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Highly recommended
Susan_T, May 2022
Small-Group Swamp Tour by Airboat with Downtown New Orleans Pickup
This was one of our favorite activities in New Orleans.
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Excellent tour
marta_b, May 2022
New Orleans Sightseeing City Tour
VERY knowledgeable guy, from New Orleans, gave amazing tips of places to visits of the non-touristic New Orleans and excellent restaurants recommendations!
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All about New Orleans

When to visit

New Orleans’ best weather makes its debut in February and lasts until May, coinciding with carnival season and the world-famous Mardi Gras celebrations. If you’re looking to skip the madness, and the inflated prices, opt to visit in winter when hotels are cheaper and you won’t melt from summer’s heat, or worry about fall’s possible hurricanes.

Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
CDT (UTC -6)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English

A local’s pocket guide to New Orleans

Maggie Bennett

Maggie is both Viator's New Orleans account manager and a New Orleans enthusiast. Countless visits to the region, including three trips for Mardi Gras, make her a go-to gal for things to do there.

The first thing you should do in New Orleans is...

hit Bourbon Street to people-watch, grab a fried shrimp Po’ Boy sandwich or fried oysters, and enjoy a famous Hurricane cocktail.

A perfect Saturday in New Orleans...

includes venturing outside the city for a high-speed airboat and plantation combo tour, or heading to the Garden District for jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace. Save room for bananas Foster for dessert!

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Mardi Gras, of course. The parades, parties, and elaborate costumes are not to be missed.

To discover the "real" New Orleans...

head to Frenchman Street to check out jazz clubs frequented by locals, or take a bike tour to easily explore neighborhoods outside the French Quarter.

For the best view of the city...

hop aboard the Steamboat Natchez to experience the New Orleans skyline from a unique vantage point. Alternatively, stay on dry land at the Pontchartrain Hotel’s Hot Tin rooftop bar.

One thing people get wrong...

thinking New Orleans is just a place to party. It’s packed with history, culture, and outdoor activities as well.

People Also Ask

What is New Orleans famous for?

New Orleans is famous for its food, festivals, nightlife, and architecture. It’s a great place to try Cajun and Creole dishes, listen to live jazz or drink the night away on Bourbon Street, or check out the architecture in the French Quarter and the Garden District. Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest are the best-known celebrations.

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What should first time visitors do in New Orleans?

First-time visitors to New Orleans will want to check out the two prime touristy areas: the French Quarter and the Garden District, which are linked by the city’s St. Charles Streetcar, a destination unto itself. First-timers should also stop by the Café du Monde for its famous beignets and chicory coffee.

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Is 3 days enough for New Orleans?

Three days is enough for New Orleans, though you could easily spend much longer in the city without getting bored. Still, three days will give you enough time to visit the French Quarter and the Garden District, check out one of the famous cemeteries, and take a cruise on the Mississippi.

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What is the most famous part of New Orleans?

New Orleans' most famous area is the French Quarter. This is where many of the city’s main attractions and dining options are located, and it’s where you’ll find Bourbon Street, the main nightlife drag. The Garden District is also well known, offering gorgeous mansions just a short streetcar ride away.

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What is there to do in New Orleans besides party?

New Orleans offers so much more than just partying. It’s a great place to sample local dishes such as crawfish etoufee, jambalaya, and beignets, or check out architecture in the French Quarter and Garden District. Other popular attractions include the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and the Mississippi River.

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What do locals do in New Orleans?

New Orleans locals often avoid the touristy throngs of the French Quarter in favor of lower-key neighborhoods, such as the nearby Bywater/Marigny and Treme areas. The Warehouse Arts District is also a great place to dine and drink among locals, without straying far from the French Quarter.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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