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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 Airboat Ride

New Orleans Airboat Ride

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Oak Alley Plantation Tour

Oak Alley Plantation 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-4
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?
star-5
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.
star-5
Save your feet, ride a bus
Fabian_B, Jul 2021
City Sightseeing New Orleans Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
We enjoyed not having to drive or walk so much to see the sights of New Orleans.
star-5
Capt Darrin is the man
James, Jul 2021
90-Minute Jean Lafitte Swamp and Bayou Tour
I definitely recommend this tour for anyone who want to see a great part of New Orleans history.
star-5
Bus tour
Lawanda_H, Jul 2021
Oak Alley Plantation Tour
It was amazing to see how they had to live and what they had do to maintain the owners house and crops.
star-4
Looking in all the wrong places
marie_c, Jul 2021
New Orleans Scavenger Hunt Adventure
This is a way to see New Orleans and learn the history at the same time.
star-5
Worth the time and money
Rebecca_M, Jul 2021
New Orleans Sightseeing City Tour
This tour was a perfect way to see the most of the city in a short time.
star-5
Worth every penny!
Tara_F, Jul 2021
Adults Only - New Orleans Ghost, True Crime, Voodoo and Vampire Walking Tour
I've absolutely falling in love with New Orleans and I would love to go on more of his tours!
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Loved it!
Reinier_M, Jul 2021
New Orleans Haunted History Ghost Tour
This was one of the best activities we experienced in New Orleans so far!
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Quick n Easy
Kathy_S, Jul 2021
Private Arrival Transfer from New Orleans Airport to Hotel or Cruise Port
Very courteous and gave us some hints on what to do in New Orleans.
star-5
Fun,exciting
Fred_P, Jul 2021
New Orleans Airboat Ride
Got to see Aaligators, Turtles.
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Amazing Tour
Charlene_A, Jul 2021
New Orleans Swamp Tour Boat Adventure
Captain Reggie was animated and funny and knew exactly where to take us to see alligators and other wildlife.
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History, Ghosts and Fun
Bethannie_S, Jul 2021
French Quarter Haunted Excursion In New Orleans
We were able to see a side of the city that is unknown walking the streets as a tourist.
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Very fun :)
Mariah_D, Jul 2021
New Orleans French Quarter Walking and History Tour
David was lovely and gave a lot of great recommendations for places to visit along with wonderful information about the history and how deeply rooted New Orleans really is!!
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Good to see other areas of the city
Jerrell_F, Jul 2021
New Orleans Sightseeing City Tour
It was nice to see the areas outside of the French Quarter.
star-5
Great experience
Janice_B, Jul 2021
New Orleans Steamboat Natchez Harbor Cruise
Nice cruise to see New Orleans, very friendly staff, great narration, great music worth every dollar.
star-5
Great way to see the city
CarolGreenbaum, Jul 2021
French Quarter & Marigny Neighborhood Carriage Ride
Wonderful way to see the city of New Orleans.
star-5
Amazing! Who knew this was a thing!
Lauri_T, Jul 2021
New Orleans Mardi Gras World Behind-the-Scenes Tour
So cool to see the work space.
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evening cemetery tour
John_S, Jun 2021
Cemetery and Ghost BYOB Bus Tour in New Orleans
Thank you for a fun safe way to see and understand Nawlins.
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Excellent experience
Maria_A, Jun 2021
New Orleans Airboat Ride
Luckily the sun came out just in time to see some gators.

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
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