Visiting New Orleans was the highlight of my summer and I didn’t even get to do or see everything the Big Easy has to offer. We knew that having only 2 1/2 days would limit us so we packed as much in as possible while still keeping the trip enjoyable.
Below are some of our favorite New Orleans experiences and the things I recommend you do at least once while you’re in New Orleans.
The first thing we did after unloading our carry on bags (the airport lost our luggage, which we got on the second night) was walk to Bourbon St. We stayed in the Marigny -/Bywater area so the French Quarter was only a few blocks away.
Since it was my birthday I had a dollar pinned to my shirt and nearly everyone we passed wished me a happy birthday. It was very exciting, especially when they started throwing beads!
We ate, we listened to great jazz music and we breathed in the deep smell of – well, the smell wasn’t the highlight of Bourbon St.
Many locals swear by Frenchmen Street as the best place to hear the best jazz music and have the most fun without the crazy atmosphere of Bourbon Street. We did hear jazz music; great jazz music; but there is so much more.
Jazz. Reggae. Blues. There’s no telling what you’ll hear within the 2 blocks that make up Frenchmen Street but it will wow you. There is music on the street and music in any of the 12 jazz clubs found on Frenchmen Street.
The drinks are cheaper, there are no neon lights and the atmosphere is much more laid back than Bourbon Street.
Cafe Du Monde
Can you go to New Orleans and not visit the world famous Cafe Du Monde? I’m sure you could but why would you?! The Cafe Du Monde in the Riverwalk Marketplace is my personal favorite locale.
There’s AC, places to sit and no wrapped around the corner lines to get a bag of beignets or coffee. You cannot, under any circumstance leave New Orleans without at least trying the beignets.
The good thing about stopping in at this Cafe Du Monde is you can do some shopping on the cheap while you’re there!
If you could only go to one zoo in your life time it should be this one. The architecture and scenery alone are breathtakingly stunning.
The Audubon Zoo is filled with diverse cultures of animals and plenty of gift shops and eateries to please you along the way.
Be sure to read about my Audubon Zoo visit.
Not only is the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas filled with beautiful fish and sea life, but you can go snorkeling as well!
Watch the performing penguins. Take advantage of the many photo opportunities. Snap a photo with the giant blue catfish. These are just some of the fun things you can do at the aquarium.
Be sure to read about my visit to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.
If you’ve ever found yourself craving gourmet bugs then this is the place to get them. Make sure you stop in to Bug Appétit for the Cajun spiced crickets or chocolate “chirp” cookies. I couldn’t do it myself, but I’m sure there are some brave souls out there!
You’ll also get to see beautiful butterflies amongst other beautiful and interesting insects at the Audubon Insectarium.
Make sure you read about my trip to the Audubon Insectarium.
Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World
If you can’t be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras World is the next best thing I am sure.
Filled with past, present and future Mardi Gras floats that you can get up close and personal with, Mardi Gras World is truly where the magic happens.
Be sure to read about my Mardi Gras World visit.
Tour the City
Hop on and Hop off at 7 different New Orleans hot spots. The bus will take you along a narrated tour route while you take in the scenery.
Be sure to read about my City Sightseeing Bus Tour experience and reserve one for yourself.
Take the Streetcar
Whether you hop on the Canal, Riverfront or St. Charles Avenue streetcar you’re in for a treat. Ride through and see the gorgeous homes and buildings. Each ride is $1.25 (must have exact change) or you can get an all day RTA pass for $3.00.
I think the St. Charles Avenue streetcar (the green one) was my favorite.
Remember, a trolley is a wheel attached to a pole, used for collecting current from an overhead electric wire to drive a streetcar or trolley bus. Sitting on that wouldn’t be comfortable (wink, wink.)
Visit the CVB
The New Orleans CVB isn’t just a place to grab a map and go. They have lots of historic memorabilia inside as well as an introductory video of New Orleans.
Stopping by the CVB gives you an instant glimpse into the New Orleans of yesteryear as well as information on some of the famous figures who come from the Crescent City. You can also get your Hop On, Hop Off passes here!