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Things to do in New Orleans

Things to do in  New Orleans

Welcome to New Orleans

Rowdy yet refined, New Orleans is a city that unabashedly mixes all-hours fun with a deep respect for tradition and culture. Late night revelers spill into Bourbon Street, trombone players and tap dancers vie for attention on street corners and in famous clubs, and both old school cuisine and the chefs it inspired entice visitors into the city's varied restaurants. Tour the Garden District and the French Quarter; cruise down the Mississippi River on a steamboat; and watch live jazz all over town. A day trip to the countryside reveals New Orleans’ roots, with opportunities to tour historic plantations and ride airboats through the swamps.

Top attractions in New Orleans for Spring

#1
French Quarter

French Quarter

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The French Quarter, with its vibrant atmosphere and unique blend of architectural styles, is easily New Orleans’ most famous and most popular area to visit. It's also the city's oldest neighborhood, and its elegant streets are lined with an appealing mix of lively bars—especially along the legendary Bourbon Street—historic monuments, delicious restaurants, and inviting jazz clubs.More
#2
Garden District

Garden District

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New Orleans' Garden District is the epitome of Southern charm. Plantation-style mansions, which are among the most impressive in the city, feature wrap-around porches, verandas, and manicured gardens where there’s always something blooming. Streets are separated by stretches of green parks, and the historic cable car line runs along St. Charles Avenue.More
#3
Old Ursuline Convent

Old Ursuline Convent

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The oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley, the Old Ursuline Convent also once functioned as a school for girls, a hospital, and an orphanage. Its rich collection of devotional art and artifacts makes it a treasure of New Orleans’s Catholic community, while ghost hunters routinely investigate the site for reports of paranormal activity.More
#4
Mississippi River

Mississippi River

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A central character in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the mighty Mississippi River has long captured the American imagination. Originating in Minnesota and sweeping across 95 river miles (153 kilometers) south to New Orleans where it spits out into the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi is the largest river system in North America and has gained an almost mythical place in American history.More
#5
Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

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The infamous Bourbon Street, also known as Rue Bourbon, conjures up images of endless partying, drinks of all shapes and sizes, bachelorette parties, and of course, Mardi Gras. Outside of Mardi Gras season, visitors flock to this playground of the South for its Creole restaurants, live music venues, souvenir shops, and well-known drinking establishments.More
#6
LaLaurie Mansion

LaLaurie Mansion

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LaLaurie Mansion is not your regular tourist attraction. Also known as LaLaurie House, this French Quarter spot has a gruesome past involving torture, murder, and acts of brutality. The house is a regular stop on ghost tours of New Orleans and attracts visitors who want to learn more about the property’s spine-chilling history.More
#7
Jackson Square

Jackson Square

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In the heart of the French Quarter lies Jackson Square, one of New Orleans’ most famous locations. A National Historic Landmark, it is home to St. Louis Cathedral and is often filled with locals and tourists who come to stroll the paths, catch the buskers and street performers in action, or just sit in the shade and watch the world go by.More
#8
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

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This vintage apothecary in the French Quarter is a national historic landmark and the site of the first licensed pharmacist in the US. Shelves of potions, perfumes, surgical devices, and other questionable curiosities are on display behind the old-time soda fountain for a fascinating look into medical practices of the past. More
#9
Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation

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Famed for the 300-year-old allée of live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss that flank its main entrance, Oak Alley Plantation has more to offer visitors than a quintessential view of a Southern plantation. Highlights include numerous exhibitions exploring the complexities of Southern and Louisiana history, 1,300 acres (526 hectares) of grounds, and the historic house itself—all within easy driving distance of New Orleans.More
#10
St. Louis Cathedral

St. Louis Cathedral

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A prominent landmark on Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral (officially the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis King of France) stands tall and proud, beckoning French Quarter visitors to take a little time out from drinking and dancing to admire the oldest continuously used cathedral in the United States. The seat of the city's Roman Catholic Archdiocese, the cathedral was built in 1789 and rebuilt in 1850, and today, its all-white, Spanish Colonial façade with three black spires is one of the most instantly recognizable landmarks in the South. The inside is just as beautiful.More

Trip ideas

Best Weekend Getaways from New Orleans

Best Weekend Getaways from New Orleans

Literary History in New Orleans

Literary History in New Orleans

Top activities in New Orleans

New Orleans Airboat Ride

New Orleans Airboat Ride

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$59.00
Small-Group Airboat and Plantations Tour with Gourmet Lunch from New Orleans
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City Sightseeing New Orleans Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
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Haunted Pub Crawl in New Orleans

Haunted Pub Crawl in New Orleans

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$27.00
Whitney Plantation Tour

Whitney Plantation Tour

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New Orleans Small-Group Haunted History Carriage Tour
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Things to do in New Orleans this...

Recent reviews from experiences in New Orleans

star-5
Great way to see New Orleans
Christine_D, May 2022
City Sightseeing New Orleans Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Great way to see all of New Orleans.
star-4
Gary was very...
Nadia_Z, May 2022
Three Hour City Tour of New Orleans
The opportunity to visit off-site venues made the trip worthwhile.
star-5
Great food tour
Soyaria_R, May 2022
New Orleans Food Walking Tour of the French Quarter with Small-Group Option
Great way to see New Orleans and learn a little about it's history.
star-4
Great intro to the city!
Jaime_G, May 2022
Three Hour City Tour of New Orleans
Great option to see much more than I would have on foot or public transit.
star-5
Being our first time on a...
Nicole_S, May 2022
Cemetery and Ghost BYOB Bus Tour in New Orleans
Would definitely go again and would suggest to friends if they come to visit new orleans
star-4
20th Anniversary
Laura_V, May 2022
New Orleans Swamp Tour Boat Adventure
For our 20th anniversary we wanted to visit the New Orleans area and this swamp boat tour had what we were looking for.
star-4
Would do again
Bethany_C, May 2022
New Orleans Small-Group Haunted History Carriage Tour
It is not faced paced with the entertainment aspect of story telling but you get to see more than just bourbon street AND you dont have to walk AND you can pet the Mules.
star-5
Jack was great
Diamond_M, May 2022
New Orleans Food Walking Tour of the French Quarter with Small-Group Option
Jack was the best tour guide, sharing the history of New Orleans and giving good recommendations on where to visit during our stay in town.
star-5
Fun tour!
Dan_M, May 2022
New Orleans City Bike Tour
Fun way to see the city and learn about the history of New Orleans.
star-5
Don’t miss this tour or you’ll be sorry!
Rhonda_H, May 2022
New Orleans City Tour with Swamp Tour Options
This is a must see tour to learn about New Orleans and see the sights as well as airboat in to the swamp to see gators galore.
star-5
Excellent tour
marta_b, May 2022
New Orleans Sightseeing City Tour
VERY knowledgeable guy, from New Orleans, gave amazing tips of places to visits of the non-touristic New Orleans and excellent restaurants recommendations!
star-5
Highly recommended
Susan_T, May 2022
Small-Group Swamp Tour by Airboat with Downtown New Orleans Pickup
This was one of our favorite activities in New Orleans.
star-5
It was a great tour, very...
Charles_E, May 2022
New Orleans Sightseeing City Tour
We got great recommendations of additional places to visit and places to go to eat.
star-5
Ghost tour
Jeremy_B, Apr 2022
New Orleans #1 Haunted Ghost, Voodoo, & Vampire Tour
The only downside is there was no access to any of the buildings on the tour to see where things took place.
star-5
Oak Alley Plantation
Brad_H, Apr 2022
Oak Alley Plantation Tour with Transportation from New Orleans
He also recommended numerous things to see and do in the City.
star-5
Best way to see the city
Brian_G, Apr 2022
New Orleans City Bike Tour
Great way to see the city!
star-5
Fun Tour of NOLA
Leslie_D, Apr 2022
New Orleans History and Sights Small-Group Bike Tour
It was a fun way to see parts of New Orleans we probably would not have.
star-5
Beautiful Garden District
Michelle_M, Apr 2022
Glamorous Garden District & Lafayette Cemetery Tour
It was nice to see that beautiful section of New Orleans.
star-4
New Orleans Bus Tour
Bambi_R, Apr 2022
New Orleans City Tour: Katrina, Garden District, French Quarter & Cemetery
The bus tour was a great way to see various parts of the city and to learn more about New Orleans.
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Nice
Maureen_D, Apr 2022
New Orleans Garden District Walking Tour Including Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
It was fun to see this beautiful area of New Orleans.

All about New Orleans

When to visit

New Orleans’ best weather makes its debut in February and lasts until May, coinciding with carnival season and the world-famous Mardi Gras celebrations. If you’re looking to skip the madness, and the inflated prices, opt to visit in winter when hotels are cheaper and you won’t melt from summer’s heat, or worry about fall’s possible hurricanes.

A local’s pocket guide to New Orleans

Maggie Bennett

Maggie is both Viator's New Orleans account manager and a New Orleans enthusiast. Countless visits to the region, including three trips for Mardi Gras, make her a go-to gal for things to do there.

The first thing you should do in New Orleans is...

hit Bourbon Street to people-watch, grab a fried shrimp Po’ Boy sandwich or fried oysters, and enjoy a famous Hurricane cocktail.

A perfect Saturday in New Orleans...

includes venturing outside the city for a high-speed airboat and plantation combo tour, or heading to the Garden District for jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace. Save room for bananas Foster for dessert!

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Mardi Gras, of course. The parades, parties, and elaborate costumes are not to be missed.

To discover the "real" New Orleans...

head to Frenchman Street to check out jazz clubs frequented by locals, or take a bike tour to easily explore neighborhoods outside the French Quarter.

For the best view of the city...

hop aboard the Steamboat Natchez to experience the New Orleans skyline from a unique vantage point. Alternatively, stay on dry land at the Pontchartrain Hotel’s Hot Tin rooftop bar.

One thing people get wrong...

thinking New Orleans is just a place to party. It’s packed with history, culture, and outdoor activities as well.

People Also Ask

What is New Orleans famous for?

New Orleans is famous for its food, festivals, nightlife, and architecture. It’s a great place to try Cajun and Creole dishes, listen to live jazz or drink the night away on Bourbon Street, or check out the architecture in the French Quarter and the Garden District. Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest are the best-known celebrations.

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What should first time visitors do in New Orleans?

First-time visitors to New Orleans will want to check out the two prime touristy areas: the French Quarter and the Garden District, which are linked by the city’s St. Charles Streetcar, a destination unto itself. First-timers should also stop by the Café du Monde for its famous beignets and chicory coffee.

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Is 3 days enough for New Orleans?

Three days is enough for New Orleans, though you could easily spend much longer in the city without getting bored. Still, three days will give you enough time to visit the French Quarter and the Garden District, check out one of the famous cemeteries, and take a cruise on the Mississippi.

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What is the most famous part of New Orleans?

New Orleans' most famous area is the French Quarter. This is where many of the city’s main attractions and dining options are located, and it’s where you’ll find Bourbon Street, the main nightlife drag. The Garden District is also well known, offering gorgeous mansions just a short streetcar ride away.

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What is there to do in New Orleans besides party?

New Orleans offers so much more than just partying. It’s a great place to sample local dishes such as crawfish etoufee, jambalaya, and beignets, or check out architecture in the French Quarter and Garden District. Other popular attractions include the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and the Mississippi River.

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What do locals do in New Orleans?

New Orleans locals often avoid the touristy throngs of the French Quarter in favor of lower-key neighborhoods, such as the nearby Bywater/Marigny and Treme areas. The Warehouse Arts District is also a great place to dine and drink among locals, without straying far from the French Quarter.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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