10 Things You Must Do in New Orleans #NOLA

10 Things You Must Do in New Orleans #NOLA

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.

 

Bourbon St.Bourbon Street 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.

Frenchmen St.Frenchmen Street New Orleans

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

Riverwalk Cafe Du MondeCan 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!

Audubon ZooAudubon Zoo

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.

Audubon AquariumAudubon Aquarium

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.

Audubon InsectariumAudubon-Insectarium

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

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 CityCity Sightseeing Bus Tours New Orleans

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 StreetcarNew Orleans 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 CVBNew Orleans 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! 10 Things You Must Do in New Orleans #NOLA

Hop On, Hop Off New Orleans City Sightseeing Review

Visiting New Orleans for the first time can be overwhelming. Well, it was for me at least. Despite all of the research I did I wasn’t prepared for how intense touring New Orleans could be. The sights, the sounds, the people – everything was so incredible.

If there is one thing I could suggest to anyone visiting New Orleans for the first time it is to experience what we had the opportunity to experience as media guests on the Hop On, Hop Off City Sightseeing Bus Tour.

Hop On, Hop Off New Orleans City Sightseeing

I wasn’t aware how big New Orleans really was before I arrived. I knew it was broken off into sections/wards but who knew there was so much to see and do?! Yea, yea I know you knew, but I had no clue; really.

The Hop On, Hop Off New Orleans City Sightseeing Bus Tour gave us a wonderful experience that we will never forget. Besides seeing the city we learned so much about the history of New Orleans. Each landmark and every street has its own story. We even got some great insider tips on the best places to eat and shop.

Hop On, Hop Off New Orleans City Sightseeing

General Robert E. Lee Monument at the St. Charles Avenue and Howard Avenue intersection

The Hop On, Hop Off New Orleans City Sightseeing Bus has 7 stops, each allowing you to get off and explore if you wish. The buses come by every 30 minutes so you are able to get off and check out the nearby attractions with a guaranteed ride to the next location (until 5:30 p.m. local time).

Hop On, Hop Off New Orleans Stops include:

  • Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World – See where the magnificent Mardi Gras floats are made
  • World War II Museum – you will also be near the Louisiana Children’s Museum
  • French Market – Frenchmen street and the French Market are within walking distance of this stop
  • Harrah’s New Orleans Casino – you can easily access the Audubon Insectarium and Aquarium from this hop off stop
  • Basin St. Station – The Visitor’s Center and the oldest extant cemetery in New Orleans are easily accessible from this stop
Hop On, Hop Off New Orleans City Sightseeing

Magazine St. as seen from the top of the Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tour

We had the best guide anyone could ask for on Saturday. His name is Randy Bibb and if you happen to have him as your guide you are in for a treat! Randy took time to recommend his favorite eateries, bars and shopping spots as well as give us some great historical insight into New Orleans.

Randy answered all of our questions and made our trip to New Orleans spectacular. Randy has a wonderful personality and a deep passion for his city.

City Sightseeing Randy Bibb

Besides seeing how beads are grown in New Orleans (that’s a joke in case you didn’t catch it) the Hop On, Hop Off New Orleans City Sightseeing Bus has several restaurant and attraction discounts on board. Just grab one of the many leaflets located at the front of the bus and enjoy.

We got $5.00 of free slot play at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino which was super fun.

Hop On, Hop Off New Orleans City Sightseeing

How beads are “grown” in New Orleans! There are beads hanging from the Live Oaks all over Magazine Street and beyond.

Another bonus of the Hop On, Hop Off New Orleans City Sightseeing Bus Tours is the walking tours. When you get the City Deal! Ticket you are not only getting a 7 day pass, but also free tours in the Garden District and French Quarter.

You can purchase them separately ($20 each) if you prefer, but the City Deal! Ticket is only $10 extra.

Hop On, Hop Off New Orleans City Sightseeing Bus Tours Mercedes Benz Superdome

I know we’ll be taking the Hop On, Hop Off New Orleans City Sightseeing Bus Tour the next time we visit New Orleans and I highly suggest you do too.

You’ll rarely (if ever) hear the same things twice so the wealth of knowledge you gain is unimaginable! It truly is a must do while in New Orleans.