New Orleans is a vibrant city with a rich history and culture, making it a great destination for travelers.
We recently spent a few weeks in Southern Louisiana and these are 7 reasons to visit New Orleans that we discovered on our trip:
- The food. New Orleans is famous for its delicious cuisine, which is influenced by a mix of French, African, and American flavors. From beignets and gumbo to po’ boys and jambalaya, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the city’s many restaurants.
We recommend exploring the smaller neighborhoods around the city and avoid the more touristy places in the French Quarter and Riverfront/Canal Street area.
- The music. New Orleans is known as the birthplace of jazz, and music can be found everywhere in the city. From live music on the streets to the world-renowned Jazz and Heritage Festival, there’s always a tune to tap your foot to in New Orleans.
On our visit we really enjoyed Frenchmen Street when it came to discovering music. Just wondering down the sidewalk on an early afternoon we heard music coming from almost every joint for about 3 blocks.
- The architecture. New Orleans is home to a unique blend of architectural styles, from the historic French Quarter to the ornate mansions of the Garden District. Whether you’re admiring the wrought iron balconies or the colorful shotgun houses, there’s always something interesting to see.
We did a lot of walking so hoping on a streetcar was a great way to both relax and see the city’s famous architecture. From canal street we took the St Charles line and saw many beautiful mansions along the route.
- The festivals. New Orleans is a city that loves to celebrate, and there are festivals almost every week throughout the year. From Mardi Gras and French Quarter Festival to the Voodoo Music and Arts Experience, there’s always something fun to do in New Orleans.
Though we did not take in any festivals during our visit to New Orleans we enjoyed checking out Mardi Gras World as a place to learn about the most famous festival as well as see how those amazing floats are created.
- The history. New Orleans has a rich and fascinating history, from its early days as a French colony to its role as a major port in the antebellum South. You can learn about this history at museums such as the National WWII Museum and the Louisiana State Museum, or by taking a tour of the city’s historic neighborhoods.
One quirky piece of New Orleans’ history we came across was the city’s oldest fire hydrant.
- The cemeteries. New Orleans is home to a number of unique cemeteries that are worth visiting. Known for their above-ground tombs and ornate grave markers, these cemeteries offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture. Some of the most well-known cemeteries in New Orleans include St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, which is the final resting place of voodoo queen Marie Laveau, and the Lafayette Cemetery, which is featured in the hit HBO series “True Detective.”
We opted to visit St. Louis Cemetery No. 3, which is near City Park and allows people to visit without a tour. Though it is not as famous it was nice to just be able to wonder and explore on our own.
- The people. One of the best things about New Orleans is the friendly and welcoming locals. From the street performers to the restaurant staff, you’ll find people in New Orleans who are happy to share their city with visitors.
And it is not just New Orleans, all the people of Southern Louisiana surprised us with their level of hospitality. It seemed wherever we went we found ourselves talking to friendly locals. It really is the #1 reason we look forward to returning to Louisiana.
Overall, New Orleans is a city that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, music, food, or just soaking up the unique atmosphere, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this vibrant and lively city.