New Orleans has much more to offer than its parades and street parties. Here is a selection of 10 things to see and do in New Orleans, outside of its Mardi Gras carnival.
1. Jackson Square
The heart and soul of the French Quarter is of course a must. In its center, a statue of Andrew Jackson, and a beautiful heterogeneous panel of artists.
Around the square, there are three 18th century buildings: the Cabildo, an old town hall where the purchase of Louisiana was signed in 1803, the Saint-Louis Cathedral, and the presbytery.
2. Ogden Museum of Southern Art
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, with its collections of paintings, photographs and ceramics, is located in the Warehouse district of the city.
Choose Thursday at the end of the day, to have the chance to enjoy the “Ogden After Hours”, when local musicians play there.
3. City Park
Stretching from Bayou St. John to Pontchartrain Lake, City Park is one of the two largest parks in New Orleans, with nearly 500 hectares of greenery. The other park being Audubon Park in Uptown.
4. The Po-Boys
New Orleans is also home to the famous crispy sandwiches, the Po-Boys, made from French bread, brushed with mayonnaise, with oysters or fried shrimp.
You can choose from several restaurants, such as Killer PoBoys, Johnny’s Po-Boys, or Parkway Bakery & Tavern. It’s up to you to make your own opinion… ! (they’re all good anyway.)
5. Where to have a drink in New Orleans?
Ideally, favour bars where the locals go, such as Le Cure, a high-end cocktail bar, Le French 75, or The Carousel, a renowned bar in the form of… carousel, at the Monteleone Hotel. Atmosphere guaranteed!
6. Where to listen to live music in New Orleans?
As Bourbon Street has become a little too touristy and hype, the city’s music scene has moved to Frenchmen Street in the Faubourg Marigny, a historic district, 5-10 minutes walk from Bourbon Street.
Clubs such as DBA, Snug Harbour and The Blue Nile attract jazz bands and exclusive artists. If you’re the type to eat after midnight, restaurants like The Three Muses and The Marigny Brasserie serve you until late at night, and also offer live music.
The atmosphere is bewitching and very “caliente”! To get back to your hotel or airbnb, there are plenty of taxis all night long, especially down this street.
The New Orleans Insectarium is the largest museum in North America dedicated to insects and butterflies. Visitors will learn how mosquitoes have influenced the history of New Orleans.
Also to be noted: Bug Appétit, a demonstration of local cuisine featuring insects as the main ingredient. Not to be missed!
8. Garden District
Garden District, a district of very imposing and spectacular 19th century houses, built in styles ranging from Greek Revival to Gothic. Garden District is accessible from downtown via the Saint-Charles line tramway.
Take the time to visit Lafayette Cemetery, the most photogenic necropolis on the planet. You can then make a reservation for dinner at Commander’s Palace, the famous Brennan family restaurant located in front of the tombs.
9. Street Magazine
It is along Magazine Street, from the Lower Garden District to Audubon Park, that locals prefer to window shop. The shops not to be missed are: Derby Pottery for its handmade tiles, Hemline for its local fashion flair, Dirty Coast for its T-shirts, and Mignon Faget for its unique Louisiana inspired jewellery.
10. New Orleans Streetcars
If you want to visit New Orleans in a cheap and memorable way, take one of the city’s many streetcars, it will only cost you $1.25 per person.
The green trams on the St. Charles line are heading up the city, while the red trams on the Canal Street line are heading for historic cemeteries, such as Metairie Cemetery.