25 Must-See Places in New Orleans

PHOTO:Jackson Square, New Orleans (photo via Pixabay)
Scott Hartbeck
by Scott Hartbeck
Last updated: 8:00 AM ET, Wed February 28, 2018

25 Must-See Places in New Orleans

While there is a seemingly endless supply of fun things to do in New Orleans, visiting the following 25 must-sees is a guaranteed way to have a great trip. And if you are like most people, you'll soon be planning a return visit.

Bourbon Street

While there's so much more to New Orleans than Bourbon; No trip is complete without a stroll down this electric avenue. Grab a to-go drink from one of the many great bars and then just marvel at people from all walks of life having the time of their lives together.

The Swamps

While not technically within the city limits, a swamp tour is hands down one of the most exciting New Orleans excursions. A tour of these enchanting wetlands offers an insight into the culture of the region, and if you're lucky (?), you may even spot an alligator or two.

Faubourg Marigny

This neighborhood lies just steps from the French Quarter but feels much further afield. Admire the pastel-painted "shotgun" houses and watch a street concert before settling in for some of the best live music in the city at the Spotted Cat or d.b.a.-both located on fabulous Frenchman Street.

Pirate's Alley

This small passageway on the side of St. Louis Cathedral has been shrouded in mystery for centuries. While the local legend about Andrew Jackson meeting the famous pirate Jean Lafitte here is probably fiction; You'll find modern-day meet-ups happening in this alluring alley each-and-every night.

Jazz Playhouse at Royal Sonesta

The latticed balconies of the Royal Sonesta might just be the grandest sight on Bourbon Street. And located inside the hotel is one of the best jazz venues in the entire city: the Jazz Playhouse. Take in the sounds of the city here with an expertly-crafted cocktail in your hand.

Old Ursuline Convent

The oldest surviving example of French colonial architecture in the United States, the Old Ursuline Convent offers a gorgeous glimpse of the past. Even if architecture isn't your particular passion, the peaceful courtyard garden of this holy building is sure to move you.

Garden District

This New Orleans neighborhood is an oasis in the busy city. Walk the sidewalks in between stares at the stately-and in many cases, celebrity-owned-homes stacked with verandas and lush tropical landscaping. Then stop for lunch at Commander's Palace, one of the most famous restaurants in this foodie city.

St. Charles Avenue Streetcar

The best way to arrive in the Garden District? By taking a ride on a historic streetcar up St. Charles Avenue of course. This lovely line takes you under romantic oak trees and past resplendent mansions, offering an experience that hasn't changed much since the days of A Streetcar Named Desire.

French Market

Craftsmen from all over the world flock to the French Market to sell their wares. You simply have to stop by this historic market to do some shopping for souvenirs or simply just sample one of Aunt Sally's pralines-one of the New Orleans most decadent treats.

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop

This historic watering hole at the far end of Bourbon Street was once the address of a business run by the famous pirate Jean Lafitte. While the details of what he was up to back then are murky, today, you are guaranteed to find flickering candlelight and a cozy atmosphere.

Jackson Square

Jackson Square is the jewel of the French Quarter. This plaza is home to St. Louis Cathedral-one of the most striking churches in America-and the ornate Cabildo-the former home of the Spanish government in New Orleans. Grab a seat on a bench and just watch the world go by.

Mardi Gras World

If you aren't lucky enough to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras, just do the next best thing and go to Mardi Gras World. Here, visitors can learn about the history of the festival before getting up-close-and-personal with the showstopping Mardi Gras floats made on the premises.

Maple Leaf Bar

Located far away from the well-worn haunts of the French Quarter, a trip to the Maple Leaf is more than worth your while. This is one of the city's most important live music venues and no matter what night you show up, you can be guaranteed a good show.

The National World War II Museum

At this wildly popular museum, visitors can learn all about the American experience in the Second World War. Everything from overland supply line logistics to the preparations for D-Day is given special attention and all visitors are sure to leave more informed and moved for the experience.

Royal Street

If you ever thought that the French Quarter was full of nothing but bars, a walk down Royal Street will be a revelation. This elegant thoroughfare is a haven for antique shops and art galleries and it's lined by some of the most beautiful fern-festooned balconies in the entire city.

Preservation Hall

It isn't hyperbole to say that Preservation Hall is the most iconic jazz venue in the entire city. Founded in 1961, the stated purpose of Preservation Hall is to "protect, preserve and perpetuate" New Orleans-style jazz, and you'll find multiple shows doing just that 350-plus nights a year.

City Park

New Orleans' largest park, City Park offers city dwellers-and visitors-a breath of fresh air. Find yourself inside a fairytale theme playground at Storyland, stroll under Spanish moss to cross over a romantic stone bridge or just play a round of golf-both miniature or regulation size courses available.

Cemetery St. Louis No. 1

Surely there can't be many places more famous for their cemeteries than New Orleans. These haunting "cities" are filled with streets of above-ground crypts creating an atmosphere like nothing else in the world. Seek out the alleged tomb of voodoo queen Marie Laveau for a thrill.

Magazine St.

For six magnificent miles, Magazine Street follows the curve of the Mississippi River through both the Garden District and the Uptown Area. Along the way, you will find a diverse range of coffee shops, cafes and galleries-the perfect way to while away a morning in the Big Easy.

Cafe Du Monde

This venerable cafe located adjacent to Jackson Square has been serving the people of New Orleans since 1862. They specialize in beignets, and they serve up these little deep-fried, sugar-dusted pillows of pleasure alongside mugs of magnificent chicory coffee 24 hours a day.

Pat O' Brien's

Everybody ends up at Pat-O's. This historic bar in the heart of the French Quarter is the birthplace of the Hurricane cocktail. Sip a few of these refreshing-yet-powerful tipples in their lush courtyard-complete with flaming fountain-before heading inside for a dueling piano show.

Guy's Po’ Boys

While you can grab a po' boy almost anywhere in New Orleans, nobody does them quite like Guy's. The owner of the shop, named Marvin by the way, overstuffs his bread loaves with mouthwatering ingredients such as succulent grilled shrimp. Expect a line, but expect it to be well worth the wait.

Voodoo Museum

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about New Orleans and its connection to voodoo, but the Voodoo Museum aims to help shed a little light on this notoriously dark subject. Expect interesting exhibits and yes, plenty of voodoo dolls.

Hotel Monteleone Carousel Bar

While plenty of the powerful drinks poured in New Orleans can make your head spin, this bar literally rotates. Grab a seat at the historic carousel bar-the spot where the venerable Vieux Carre cocktail was invented-and watch the room slowly move before your eyes.

Steamboat Natchez

New Orleans will forever be intrinsically linked to the steamboats that once plied its waters and parked at its docks. Today, the Steamboat Natchez is the only one in the city and this grand dame offers daily cruises on the Mississippi River-a quintessential New Orleans experience.

These are the places you can't afford to bypass in the Big Easy.

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Scott Hartbeck

Scott Hartbeck

Born in the USA but now based in England, Scott has been writing about travel for over 10 years. He specializes in Europe, rail...

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CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

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