Visiting New Orleans for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do
From Creole mansions to crumbling cemeteries, Mardi Gras parades to jazz clubs, swamps to steamboats, New Orleans oozes a Southern charm all of its own. Here’s how to make the most of a first visit to the Big Easy.
Stroll the Garden District
It's one of NOLA's most popular neighborhoods for a reason.
A short streetcar ride away from the bustle of the French Quarter, the leafy Garden District is a calm refuge of antebellum mansions and tree-lined avenues. Explore the history and architecture of this upscale neighborhood on a walking tour, including a stop at legendary Lafayette Cemetery No. 1—one of the oldest graveyards in New Orleans.
Explore the swamps
Escape to nature in NOLA.
Trade the sounds of clanging streetcars and jazz clubs for frogs and crickets with a day trip to the Louisiana swamps. It doesn't take long to reach the heart of Cajun country, where you can glide through the bayous on an airboat while spotting alligators, snakes, turtles, and other swamp critters.
Cruise the mighty Mississippi
For new views of NOLA.
Indulge in Creole cuisine
There's no better place for it.
New Orleans is a spooky favorite.
A past scarred by wars, plagues, shocking crimes, and natural disasters has earned New Orleans a reputation as one of the most haunted cities in the US. Visit sites known for paranormal activity and hear legends of voodoo, vampires, and witches on a haunted history tour. Book one that begins after dark for the eeriest effect.
Step back in time at a plantation
Get a glimpse into the region's dark past.
A handful of historic plantations are within easy reach of New Orleans, with the best-preserved along the River Road that runs parallel to the Mississippi. Learn about life in antebellum Louisiana and the impact of the slave trade during a tour of sugar cane plantations such as Oak Alley, Laura, Destrehan, and Whitney.
More things to do in New Orleans