New Orleans is one of the most fun-loving places in the world. Wherever you go in the city, you are surrounded by music and restaurants offerring the famous cajun and creole cuisine. On evenings in the “Big Easy,” Bourbon Street, the heart of the French Quarter, is closed to traffic and comes alive with people and activity. Below is my list of the best things to do while here.
1. Walk the French Quarter — Use my walking tour, found in the website archives (or another), to appreciate the unusual architecture and the lovely courtyards behind the gates of the homes.
2. Take a Mississippi Cruise — My preference here is the paddle-wheel cruise which takes you upriver and then back. It leaves from the dock area near the Riverwalk.
3. Check Out the striking St Louis Cathedral — This church, with its two towers, is one of the symbols of the city and is found on Jackson Square, a popular gathering place.
4. Relax in Jackson Square — Flowers abound in this attractive and popular park. Wander along the pathways and pay special attention to the equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans.
5. Listen to the Music at Preservation Hall — This rather dumpy venue has been the starting point for the careers of numerous jazz musicians. It is still the site of young and old aficionados who take great pleasure in spontaneous jamming.
6. Join the Crowds on Bourbon Street at Night — When the street is roped off to prohibit cars, there is a steady stream of people who stroll the street, engaging in all types of activities, from dining to drinking to visiting peep shows.
7. Take a Ride on the St Charles Avenue Streetcar — The vintage streetcar winds its way through the garden district of the city, past numerous, impressive, ante-bellum houses.
8. Visit a New Orleans Cemetery — The tombs of the dead in New Orleans must be buried above ground, because of the high water table. Cemeteries in the city are popular destinations for tourists because of the elaborate crypts. There are several to choose from, most of them safe to wander around in.
9. Have a Drink or Lunch at the French Market — The market is located near the river and contains several shops and restaurants, most of them featuring jazz music, even in the middle of the day.
10. Taste Cajun and Creole Cuisine — While in the city, be sure to sample the local cuisine, famous around the world for its unusual spices and combinations. There are also some meats which are seldom found elsewhere, such as, catfish, frog legs, alligator, etc.
11. Spend Some Time Listening to Street Musicians — It seems that everywhere in the French Quarter there are excellent musicians playing on the street corners. Stop a while and enjoy these accomplished individuals, who seem to be waiting for their chance at fame and fortune.