What to do in Downtown New Orleans - 10 Best Activities
August 18th 2021
New Orleans has limitless fun and entertainment for visitors and locals, which is why it’s no surprise that the city attracts over 17 million visitors each year. From the wide-ranging art scene to vast traditions, New Orleans is a city like no other. As the center of the city, Downtown New Orleans offers something for everyone. Read on to uncover what to do in Downtown New Orleans so you can get the most out of your vacation.
Table of Contents
- The Spotted Cat Music Club
- Ghost Tours
- Carriage Rides
- River Cruise
- Garden District
- The National WWII Museum
- New Orleans Museum of Art
- Audubon Nature Institute
- Mardi Gras World
- St. Louis Cathedral
1. The Spotted Cat Music Club
Image by spottedcatmusicclub.com
As being highly regarded as the international destination for jazz music, The Spotted Cat Music Club is a top jazz club in New Orleans. Locals and tourists from all over the world flock to this club and it’s a go-to spot for celebrities. Named “The Cat” by locals, the venue has been featured in several movies and commercials. The Spotted Cat is definitely what to do in Downtown New Orleans if you want to have a myriad of wine, beer, and spirits to choose from while listening to phenomenal live music.
Recommended Tour: Cocktail and Food Combo Walking Tour
The Cocktail and Food Combo Walking Tour fuses food history and cocktail history. A knowledgeable host will guide the tour as you visit up to 8 locations including James Beard Award-nominated craft cocktail lounges, acclaimed seafood restaurants, artisan candy stores, and pre-Civil War bars. Your senses are sure to be tantalized as you sample up to 10 delectable dishes such as Gumbo, Alligator Boudin, and Curried Pork Skins, as well as four delicious full-sized cocktails such as the classic daiquiri and the rum-heavy hurricane.
2. Ghost Tours
New Orleans has a reputation of being the most haunted city in America, and it’s no wonder why. The city is loaded with stories of voodoo, ghosts, magic, and more. A ghost tour is, by far, what to do in Downtown New Orleans if you want to be immersed in the city’s infamous hauntings and are in the mood for a scare. With an expert guide, you will visit sites where well-known hauntings have occurred and hear stories along the way. Prepare to be informed and entertained at the same time.
Recommended Tour: New Orleans French Quarter, Voodoo, and Cemetery Tour
Delve into the New Orleans French Quarter, Voodoo, and Cemetery Tour led by a skilled storyteller who will enchant and enlighten guests about the history of the French Quarter. With this 3-in-1 tour haunted french quarter tour, you will take a walking tour of the French Quarter as well as visit Congo Square in charming Louis Armstrong Park. You will learn about the history and culture of Voodoo, and most of all, you will learn about Marie Laveau--the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.
3. Carriage Rides
A carriage ride is a wonderful way to take a laid-back city tour. As a method of transportation, it makes way for creating lasting impressions. On a carriage ride, you will visit well-known landmarks such as Ursuline Convent, LaLaurie Mansion, and Pirate’s Alley. It’s an ideal activity for tourists whether you’re traveling with family or with a group of friends. Carriage rides make it easy to sightsee while getting a remarkable history lesson.
Recommended Tour: Carriage Rides of the French Quarter & Creole Neighborhoods
Enjoy a scenic and entertaining ride on a French Quarter and Creole Neighborhood carriage tour. A licensed tour guide will narrate and provide you with interesting facts about the area. You will be taken through the French Quarter where you will sightsee in quiet and mesmerizing neighborhoods. On this mule-drawn carriage ride, you will also see the Frenchmen Street Live Local Music District.
4. River Cruise
Enjoy a magnificent evening in New Orleans on a river cruise where you will get sweeping views of the Mississippi River and the French Quarter both day and night. A river cruise on The Creole Queen or Steamboat Natchez is one of many ways to get the most out of your visit. The Creole Queen River Jazz Cruise features multiple decks for a perfect view of the city’s skyline and three beautiful dining rooms. Enjoy live music and a Creole buffet loaded with appetizing dishes, such as:
- Creole Seafood Gumbo
- Cajun Braised Beef Brisket
- Louisiana Jambalaya
- Caesars Salad
- Red Beans & Rice
- And More
Built in 1975, Steamboat Natchez has carried noteworthy musicians, celebrities, and famous politicians. Enjoy the Grammy nominated Dukes of Dixieland as they provide endless entertainment throughout the cruise. While listening to live performances, feast on a delightful buffet-style dinner with dishes such as:
- Natchez Tossed Salad
- Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- Bayou Seafood Pasta
- Steamboat Round
- Paddlewheel Primavera
- And More
5. Garden District
If you still haven’t figured out what to do in Downtown New Orleans, take a chance with the Garden District, which is regarded as one of the best-preserved collections of historic mansions in the Southern United States. Home to many athletes and celebrities the Garden District is the perfect destination for first time visitors to New Orleans. Taking a walking tour through the Garden District is a perfect way to spend your day. There are tons of plush gardens and breathtaking architecture in this section of town.
6. The National WWII Museum
Image by nationalww2museum.org
Since opening in June 2000, The National WWII Museum has been enjoyed by many travelers. The museum features an interactive experience with entrancing exhibits, multimedia, and an extensive collection of artifacts. You will be provided with a robust educational experience and hear oral recantations of soldiers’ and civilians’ experiences during the time of the early 1940s.
7. New Orleans Museum of Art
Image by noma.org
New Orleans Museum of Art is the oldest fine arts institution in the city and is one of the top museums in the South. When visiting the museum, you will see a phenomenal collection of more than 40,000 items. Head over to the 12-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which is one of the most significant sculpture collections in the country. As you walk through, you will also see over 90 stunning sculptures designed by artists from all over the world situated on a magnificently landscaped site.
8. Audubon Nature Institute
If you’re visiting New Orleans with family, you should visit Audubon Nature Institute. This monumental organization includes an aquarium, a zoo, golf course, insectarium, and a butterfly garden. Feast your eyes on the newly expanded Jaguar Jungle exhibit where you will see jaguars and other animals such as tree frogs, bats, and poison arrow frogs. There are fun activities for the kids, including youth children and toddlers at the kid-friendly exhibits where they will get up close and personal with their favorite animals.
9. Mardi Gras World
Image by mardigrasworld.com
Enjoy the ultimate Mardi Gras experience at Mardi Gras World. You will get a behind-the-scenes look and an authentic Mardi Gras experience all throughout the year. A Mardi Gras World Tour allows you to be an eyewitness of what it takes to bring on this grand event each year. When you tour Blaine Kern Studios, you will gain a deeper understanding of the immense planning and hard work that goes into Mardi Gras. You will also learn about the history behind this annual tradition and see spectacular floats. With affordable rates and coupons available, Mardi Gras World is a no brainer to visit with the whole family.
10. St. Louis Cathedral
Image by stlouiscathedral.org
St. Louis Cathedral is one of the most recognizable landmarks in New Orleans. You don’t have to attend a service to take a tour of this remarkable cathedral. As you stroll through St. Anthony’s Garden, you will see the majestic statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. You will also see a memorial in honor of 30 French ship crew members who passed away in 1857 from yellow fever.
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