New Orleans is one of the most exciting and unique places to visit in the United States. It boats a blend of cultures which translates into incredible food, music, and sights that will absolutely dazzle you. On top of the rich cultural heritage, New Orleans is just an incredibly fun place to visit. While of course you should visit the famous Bourbon Street, there is a lot more that New Orleans has got to offer.
When Should You Go?
Of course, when most people think of New Orleans, they immediately think of Mardis Gras. While this is a fantastic event, it does get extremely crowded, so if that’s not your thing, plan for another time to go. June through August should also be avoided if you cannot tolerate extremely heat and humidity, because that Louisiana summer will absolutely get to you. Try to plan in advance and look at which cultural events are happening that you’d like to catch. There’s plenty of interesting stuff going on year-round.
What To Do?
An experience you should not miss out on is visiting Preservation Hall, the classic New Orleans venue is home to traditional New Orleans jazz and has been open since 1961. The tiny venue is located in the French Quarter and is a great way to familiarize yourself with the music that is synonymous with New Orleans itself. While the venue does not serve food or alcohol, you can actually BYOB! Make sure to book a ticket ahead of time.
Make sure to visit the Garden District. While you can do it all on your own, you will appreciate everything so much more if you go on a guided tour who can explain all of the many influences on the architecture.
The New Orleans “Voodoo” Tour is a tour by Free Tours by Foot, where you can pay as you wish and will take you through the history of Voudo. Though you might think you know what it is, Hollywood has mislead us all. It has a massive influence on the history of New Orleans and is absolutely fascinating.
What To Eat?
What’s a trip to New Orleans without sampling the delectable delight that is the beignet? There are two places you must visit to enjoy the classic beignet treat.
The first is Cafe du Monde, the famous coffee shop that serves the fried dessert along with chicory coffee. Make sure you bring cash as they do not accept cards, and try to get there early, as this place gets seriously crowded.
For a calmer and more picturesque experience, head over to Cafe Beignet for pillowy-soft beignets that will have you reeling for more.
If you’re in the mood for lunch, you absolutely have to try a muffaletta sandwich. These are a contribution of the Italian immigrants who came to New Orleans and worked in the French Quarter. The sandwich is made on Sicilian bread with provolone, Swiss cheese, mortadella, salami, and olive spread. It is incredibly delicious, we promise.
New Orleans is known for several hearty stews. That includes gumbo, which has two main varieties: Cajun and Creole. Cajun gumbo features chicken and no tomatoes, and Creole gumbo uses shellfish, okra, lots of tomatoes, and rich, dark sauce.
Another delicious hearty meal is of course the Jambalaya, an African-French-Spanish hybrid dish that incorporates seafood, meat, rice, veggies, and a whole lot of spices. You could think of it as a combination of African jollof, French jambalaia, and Spanish paella.