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Unveiling the Charms of New Orleans: A Tour of Its Can’t-Miss Attractions

Updated: Jan 13

New Orleans, Louisiana, is a city rich in history, culture, and entertainment. Known for its vibrant nightlife, delicious Creole cuisine, and Mardi Gras celebrations, there are plenty of exciting places to visit.

Jackson Square is an iconic landmark in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Located at the intersection of St Peter, St Ann and Decatur Streets, this beautifully preserved area encompasses historic buildings, lush green gardens, and of course the unforgettable St Louis Cathedral. Visit to take in the breathtaking architecture and explore the bustling streets surrounding the square.

Here are some of the best places to check out

The French Quarter: Known for its vibrant energy, the Quarter’s mix of Spanish, French, Creole, and American architecture is unmatched. Bourbon Street buzzes with bars and live music, while Royal Street offers galleries and shops. Check out the wrought-iron balconies of Decatur Street and enjoy street performances, perhaps even catching a brass band parade. The French Market, America’s oldest public market, is the place for souvenirs, fresh produce, and local delicacies.

Jackson Square: This historic park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, framed by the stunning St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic Cathedral in the U.S. Nearby, the Cabildo and the Presbytère museums flank the cathedral, both worth a visit for their historical exhibits. Artists often display their work on the outside fence, and you might enjoy the impromptu jazz performances that capture the spirit of the city.

National WWII Museum: Recognized as one of the top museums in the U.S., it’s an immersive experience with narratives that bring history to life. Exhibits like the “Road to Tokyo” and “Road to Berlin” give detailed insights into the global conflict. Don’t miss the 4D experience “Beyond All Boundaries,” narrated by Tom Hanks, and the personal stories of the men and women who served.

Garden District: Admire the antebellum estates, lavish gardens, and oak-shaded boulevards in this charming neighborhood. The Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, with its historical above-ground tombs, is a must-see. Hop on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar, the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world, to get a moving tour of this opulent area.

Audubon Nature Institute: Spanning across various sites, the Institute offers encounters with wildlife and educational exhibits. The Audubon Zoo blends exotic animals with regional wildlife like alligators. The Aquarium showcases marine life from the Caribbean, Amazon, and the Gulf of Mexico. The Insectarium allows for close-up looks at a variety of insects in a playful setting.

Lake Pontchartrain: Famous for the Causeway, the world’s longest continuous bridge over water, the lake offers various recreational activities. You can rent boats, find bait shops for fishing, enjoy cycling on the lakefront, or savor fresh seafood at lakeside restaurants.

New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA): It boasts over 40,000 objects, from French and American art to photography and glass, in a serene setting. Outside, the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden offers a peaceful retreat with over 90 sculptures among live oaks, pines, and magnolias.

Oak Alley Plantation: This antebellum estate is renowned for its quarter-mile alley of 300-year-old live oak trees, which create a magnificent canopy leading to the classic Greek-revival style mansion. The estate tells the story of the South, slavery, and plantation life, providing a poignant educational experience amidst its scenic beauty.

Cafe du Monde: With its French-style beignets covered in powdered sugar and chicory-flavored café au lait, the open-air coffee shop embodies New Orleans’ French heritage. It’s a sensory-rich spot where the aromas, sounds, and sights blend with the city’s ambiance.

Preservation Hall: This intimate, no-frills venue has hosted some of the most legendary jazz performers since opening in 1961. The hall is dedicated to preserving the traditional New Orleans Jazz sound. With limited seating and no amplification, performances here are organic and incredibly atmospheric.

Hotel recommendations

If you are looking for a good hotel to stay in New Orleans, you have plenty of options to choose from. Depending on your budget and preferences, you can find a hotel that suits your needs and expectations.

Here are some of the best hotels in New Orleans according to various sources.

Bourbon Orleans Hotel: This 4-star hotel is located just steps away from Bourbon Street and offers an outdoor pool, an on-site restaurant, and live jazz music. It is within walking distance to popular attractions like St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square.

Hotel Monteleone: This luxurious hotel is located just a block away from Bourbon Street and offers plush rooms with traditional decor, a rooftop pool with city views, a full-service spa, and an upscale restaurant serving seasonal Louisiana cuisine. Don't miss the grand revolving bar overlooking Royal Street!

Windsor Court Hotel: This 5-star hotel is located near the Mississippi River and offers elegant rooms with balconies, an outdoor pool with cabanas, a fitness center with sauna and steam room, and a fine dining restaurant with live music. It also has an impressive art collection featuring works by Picasso, Degas, and Renoir.

Le Pavillon Hotel: This historic hotel is located near the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and offers spacious rooms with antique furnishings, an outdoor pool with hot tubs, a fitness center with massage services, and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views. It also has a nightly peanut butter and jelly sandwich buffet for guests.

The Mercantile Hotel: This boutique hotel is located in the Arts District and offers modern rooms with kitchenettes, free WiFi, and smart TVs. It is close to attractions like the National World War II Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Contemporary Arts Center.

Each of these signature destinations in New Orleans carries a piece of the city’s heart and soul, offering immersive experiences that celebrate its unique culture, history, and vivacity. Whether you’re sipping a Hurricane cocktail on Bourbon Street, exploring the haunted history in the cemeteries, or tapping your feet to some soul-stirring jazz, New Orleans’ charm is bound to captivate you.

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