Taking a trip to the Big Easy? With such a rich culture and history, world-class music, and phenomenal food, making an itinerary seems like a herculean task. Where do you even start? Here’s a list of seven must do’s to help you narrow down your options.
#1 The National WWII Museum
Put a visit to America’s official National WWII Museum at one of the top spots on your list. Explore WWII artifacts, exhibits, first-person oral histories, and immersive experiences across six buildings at The National WWII Museum. This popular attraction features a stationary 1940s-style train that displays historic film footage and photographs of the experience of going off to war and the fight for democracy. It also offers a guided tour of a restored PT-305 boat. Veterans get in free. Don’t miss the 4-D showing of the short film, Beyond All Boundaries, a journey through the war that changed the world.
#2 Preservation Hall
Treat yourself to some traditional New Orleans jazz at Preservation Hall. Set in the heart of the French Quarter, the more than two-centuries-old building is home to over 100 local master musicians that make up the ensembles who play there over 350 nights a year. Steeped in culture and celebration, this landmark is not to be missed.
#3 Cafe Du Monde
No trip to New Orleans is complete without delicious beignets from the world-famous Cafe Du Monde. Wash them down with a cafe au lait. This New Orleans staple has been serving up beignets and coffee in the French Market since 1862 and is open 24/7, because one never knows when a craving for the powdered-sugared pillows of goodness may strike.
#4 Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Set in the modern flare of New Orleans Warehouse Arts District, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art boasts the world’s largest collection of Southern art. Take in over 4,000 works from 15 Southern States across 25 galleries. Dating back to 1733, this beautiful museum takes you through a visual heritage of the American South. Check out live music every Thursday in the atrium from local Southern musicians.
#5 City Park
A New Orleans destination since 1854, City Park sees millions of visitors each year on its 1,300-acre grounds. Known for its beautiful moss canopies and worlds largest collection of mature oaks, City Park hosts a slew of cultural events like concerts, dances, and festivals. It’s also home to the New Orleans Museum of Art, Sculpture Garden, the New Orleans Botanical Garden, tennis court, and golf course.
You can’t find a bad meal in New Orleans. With cuisine rooted in the city’s French, Creole, and Cajun roots, delight in dishes that satisfy, comfort, and tickle the taste buds. The list of world-class New Orleans restaurants is endless, but here’s a little help to narrow your list.
Have a lively and delicious brunch at Arnaud’s, one of the city’s oldest restaurants serving creole classics with live jazz music. Lunch at Luke, a Creole-inspired Brasserie will not disappoint. The fresh seafood and oysters will make you swoon. Dinner at Brigtsen is a must, if not for the flavorful Creole fare, for the unique setting in a century-old Victorian cottage nestled in a residential neighborhood. Hit up Antoine’s for the best gumbo, Restaurant Rebirth for blackened scallops, Mothers Restaurant for Po’Boys, Oceana Grill for Etouffee, Parran’s Po-Boys for Muffuletta, and Aunt Sally’s for Pralines. One thing is for sure, no one leaves NOLA’s restaurant scene hungry.
#7 Paddle wheeler Creole Queen
Cruise down the Mississippi River in a traditional riverboat powered by a paddlewheel. Choose from a historical cruise or dinner jazz cruise. The historical tour takes you through 300 years of Nola history. A local historian narrates the story of the city, featuring a stop at the historic Battle of New Orleans with a narrated tour by the National Park Rangers. Dine and dance the night away on the jazz cruise. Sip classic Nola cocktails to lively jazz music and enjoy views of the new Orleans and the skyline.