New Orleans, LA Visitor's Guide
Known worldwide for its unique spicy cuisine, funky jazz music, upbeat party scene, eclectic architecture, and strong historical roots, New Orleans is a destination worth visiting either for spring break, family-fun, or a romantic getaway. New Orleans is full of life at all hours of the day with entertainment ranging from aquariums to casinos. After becoming an official part of the United States after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, New Orleans has grown as one of the most desired destinations on the planet.
New Orleans is known to have a moderate climate; the average daily temperature from October through March is 60°F, and from April through September the daily average is 77°F. Freezing weather is rare, and the temperature rises above 95°F only about six days per year. So when visiting New Orleans be sure to pack a variety of light and heavy clothing whether visiting in January or July.
New Orleans is thick with landmarks from historical to modern. Most travelers make a point to visit historical areas and monuments like Jackson Square, Cafe' du Monde, the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, and the St. Louis Cathedral. But just because New Orleans, LA has so many historical points of interest, don't let that stop you from visiting 20th century attractions like the Superdome for a New Orleans Saints game, or the Aquarium of the Americas, one of the leading aquariums in the United States.
Things To Do
Whether into history, dining, entertainment, family-fun activities, or simple relaxation, New Orleans, Louisiana has got you covered. With New Orleans being such a diverse city, there is something for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Tours are a hot commodity, allowing travelers to instructively explore the French Quarter, New Orleans Swamp, centuries old Plantations, and ancient "haunted" cemeteries! But New Orleans also brings vacationers to the bayou for original Creole Seafood, eclectic southern-inspired art, and Traditional New Orleans Jazz.
Dining & Nightlife
Dining and Nightlife go hand-in-hand to create a unique atmosphere found only in New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans developed Creole style cuisine, which offers diners an extra spicy and delicious French-inspired meal. Crawfish and seafood are on the top of any city restaurant menu, as well as delectable deserts exclusive to New Orleans like King Cake, Pralines, and Beignets.
The New Orleans nightlife is considered to be the finest in the South with plenty of bars and clubs, from dive to deluxe, located all throughout Bourbon Street, the French Quarter, and the Downtown New Orleans Warehouse District. Live entertainment rules the scene with street performers and club musicians performing traditional New Orleans blues and jazz through all hours of the night.
Hotels are most popular with visitors to New Orleans, Louisiana. The first thing to consider when looking for a rental in New Orleans, Louisiana is: where do I want to stay? With multiple distinct neighborhoods be sure to find a hotel near the part of town that best suits your wants and needs. The French Quarter is the original New Orleans settlement, established in 1718. Find historic architecture and plenty of available guided tours through this part of the city. The Garden District sports a community of beautiful mansions and exuberant gardens. Bourbon Street is party central with plenty of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs sprinkled throughout with street performs and vendors. Downtown New Orleans is home to glamorous cocktail bars, art galleries, and premier entertainment.
When not touring the city, or experiencing the amazing cuisine or nightlife, allow yourself some time to browse some of the shops, galleries, and vendors that comprise New Orleans's shopping scene. Canal St. in the French Quarter is lined with art galleries, premium retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, and the shopping mall "Shops at Canal Place" with everything from souvenir shops to high-end boutiques. On Bourbon Street find novelty shops that are not meant for children as they often feature raunchy and x-rated materials. All throughout New Orleans you can even find street artists selling hand-made sculptures, paintings, instruments, and more.
The #1 Event that takes place yearly in New Orleans is Mardi Gras! The New Orleans party tradition takes place in later winter or early spring every year in conjunction with the Catholic religious holiday of Ash Wednesday. Watch the Mardi Gras parade as colorfully dressed parade participants dance along Bourbon Street to traditional New Orleans musical tunes. The New Orleans Jazz and Voodoo Music Festivals takes place yearly and brings in the biggest music acts in the world to entertain local residents and travelers alike. No matter when you choose to visit New Orleans, big events are sure to be happening.
Top 10 Travel Tips
1) Ghost tours are highly recommended as an activity to do while visiting New Orleans. However, keep in mind that cemeteries and historical homes are closed off at night. Most ghost tours are more focused on history and story telling rather than finding ghosts.
2) Visiting New Orleans during a home game for the NFL Saints can be costly. Even the more inexpensive hotels will run $300/night or more. Try to plan your trip around the NFL home games for savings.
3) Bring comfortable shoes and get ready to walk. New Orleans is very accessible and most visitors prefer walking as their preferred method of transportation.
4) If you're coming to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and cost is a factor, try booking in nearby Metaire. Take a shuttle or taxi down to the parade. Metaire also has a lot of amenities and restaurants close by.
5) When you are booking a hotel, watch out for additional costs such as parking, internet and resort fees. These costs can easily add another 25-30% more to your hotel stay. These fees may not be avoidable, but they can be important when comparing hotels.
6) When you are on the streets of New Orleans, be sure to stay with the crowds and ignore the homeless or aggressive locals that may attempt to solicit handouts in return for "street lessons". The common "street lesson" is when they ask where you bought your shoes. When you go to answer the question, they say "on the street, on your feet, in New Orleans". This is when they will ask for money and it could get dangerous. It's best to ignore and keep walking to avoid confrontation.
7) Hurricane season starts through June and run through November. Make sure to check the policy on hurricanes before booking lodging or activities. Some rental agencies are more restrictive than others.
8) Bourbon street is not considered family friendly at night and it is highly recommended to stay clear of this area with children. For those looking for adult entertainment, this is the place to be.
9)Street musicians, dancers and magicians make the French Quarter an exciting place to visit. Don't leave New Orleans without getting a taste of all the local talent.
10) Most hotels will be boutique and independent. You will find a lot of the hotels to be smaller and possibly without general amenities. Look carefully at the product descriptions to make sure you book the right hotel for your stay.
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