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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 10 attractions in New Orleans

#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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Came to New Orleans to get a taste of antiquity? Then look no further than the Old Ursuline Convent—the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley. But that’s not all – built in 1752, the convent is also a treasure trove of religious antiquity which features, among other religious treasures, the famous Archdiocese archives.Not just a documentary museum, this ancient antebellum mansion located in New Orleans Garden District also houses some of the best examples of opulent southern décor. Enter via the Chartres Street entrance and be met with the most beautiful manicured garden in New Orleans, while within the mansion, the first thing you’ll notice is a handcrafted cypress staircase followed by some of the most fascinating oil paintings featuring religious motifs. Other rooms tell the various histories of the Old Ursuline Convent—the building was once an orphanage, a makeshift hospital, and even a temporary residence for traveling bishops.Come visit this amazing example of French colonial architecture (the oldest surviving example in the United States) and see why locals have, for years, called the Old Ursuline Convent the “treasure of the archdiocese.”More
#4
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
#5
French Market

French Market

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Located in the heart of New Orleans’ vibrant French Quarter, the French Market is a grand bazaar that serves as much as a cultural meeting place as it does a market space. In addition to hosting stall after stall of vendors hawking handmade goods and artisanal foods, the market doubles as a venue for a daily flea market and a twice-weekly farmers market. The French Market boasts the superlative as the oldest continuously operating open-air market in the United States, making it a part of living Louisiana history.More
#6
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
#7
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

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Back when apothecary was not an antiquated term alluding to potions and snake oil, the pharmacist was near synonymous with potion-maker, and it was anything but the hallowed profession it is today. All that changed in 1804 when the Louisiana governor Claiborne passed a law requiring licensure of Louisiana pharmacists. Sworn-in after a three-hour oral exam held in another famous New Orleans attraction – the Cabildo building – pharmacists were required to practice a fair and honest craft in the Unites States from thereon out. Louis Dufilho was the first licensed pharmacist in the United States, and the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum was once his proud shop.Today, the building stands as a testament to how far the profession has come, and is filled with antiquated vials, scales, and a fun old-timey feel. Come learn about the history of administrative medicine and step back in time for a moment to discover all that this extensive collection and interpretive educational programs represent.More
#8
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
#9
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
#10
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

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

Small-Group Airboat and Plantations Tour with Gourmet Lunch from New Orleans
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New Orleans Food Walking Tour of the French Quarter with Small-Group Option
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New Orleans Airboat Ride

New Orleans Airboat Ride

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Oak Alley Plantation Tour

Oak Alley Plantation Tour

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New Orleans Small-Group Haunted History Carriage Tour
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Swamp Boat Ride and Oak Alley Plantation Tour from New Orleans
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Whitney Plantation Tour
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Whitney Plantation Tour

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Haunted Pub Crawl in New Orleans

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Haunted Pub Crawl in New Orleans

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Recent reviews from experiences in New Orleans

star-5
Great Guide and great food!
Luinda_L, Dec 2021
New Orleans Food Walking Tour of the French Quarter with Small-Group Option
We highly recommend that you add it to your list of things to do.
star-5
NOLA is awesome!
Kelli_W, Dec 2021
New Orleans City Tour: Katrina, Garden District, French Quarter & Cemetery
He did not leave any stone unturned or miss a chance for us to see every part of New Orleans.
star-5
Must do when in New Orleans!
paklinc_l, Nov 2021
Small-Group Swamp Tour by Airboat with Downtown New Orleans Pickup
The tour was very enjoyable and we were able to see many alligators despite the colder weather.
star-5
Great experience
Kathleen_M, Nov 2021
Paddlewheeler Creole Queen Historic Mississippi River Cruise
A great experience to see new orleans from the water.
star-5
Excellent tour giving a...
Susan_K, Nov 2021
New Orleans History and Sights Small-Group Bike Tour
Excellent tour giving a look at all of New Orleans our guide was informative and made an enjoyable trip to see the city !
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Soothing
Bill_H, Nov 2021
New Orleans Steamboat Natchez Harbor Cruise
She always wanted to see New Orleans and we finally were able to do it.
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Wonderful Trip
Jeanne_M, Nov 2021
New Orleans Small Group City Tour
He was also a brain trust for what to do in New Orleans.
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Great Swamp Tour on an Airboat!
Matt_D, Oct 2021
Small-Group Swamp Tour by Airboat with Downtown New Orleans Pickup
Got to see a bunch of gators and other wildlife!
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Educational and Spooky
Ashley_D, Oct 2021
New Orleans #1 Haunted Ghost, Voodoo, & Vampire Tour
Tons of beautiful historical buildings to see and take pictures of along the way.
star-4
Nice to see all of the...
Greg_K, Oct 2021
New Orleans City Tour: Katrina, Garden District, French Quarter & Cemetery
Nice to see all of the different areas of New Orleans, We spent a little to much time driving through damaged neighborhoods.
star-5
Our tour bus guide, Nate,...
Allison_S, Oct 2021
Oak Alley and Laura Plantation Tour with Transportation from New Orleans
Both places are beautiful and would recommend to see when in the New Orleans area.
star-5
Great way to see New Orleans!
Christy_K, Sep 2021
New Orleans Small Group City Tour
It was a great way to see more of what New Orleans had to offer than just the French Quarter.
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Great tour and very friendly people
James_A, Sep 2021
New Orleans Swamp Tour Boat Adventure
It a very enjoyable tour great host and I get to see alot of alligator swimming and I also learn alot about new orleans swamp
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Educational
Danny, Aug 2021
One Hour Saint Louis Cemetery Number One Walking Tour
Jane welcome any questions and suggest some great places to visit in New Orleans.
star-5
Wonderful excursion!
Sally_Q, Aug 2021
New Orleans Small-Group Haunted History Carriage Tour
Loved that I got to see parts of New Orleans I had never been to before.
star-5
Amazing experience!
Michelle_G, Aug 2021
New Orleans Small Group Airboat Swamp Tour
Amazing to see alligators so close up.
star-5
Awesome evening
Frank_A, Aug 2021
Steamboat Natchez Evening Jazz Cruise with Dinner Option
Perfect way to see New Orleans from the Mississippi.
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Awesome!
Vanessa_B, Aug 2021
Private Departure Transfer: Hotel or Cruise Port to New Orleans Airport
Driver was ver positive and offered suggestions about places to see in New Orleans.
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Must do!
Jeanne_A, Jul 2021
New Orleans Creole Odyssey Small-Group Bike Tour
It was a great way to see the city and the guide was friendly and informative.
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Would do it again
Wesley_B, Jul 2021
Paddlewheeler Creole Queen Historic Mississippi River Cruise
You literally must choose to see the park, or eat?

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.

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