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Top Five Things to Do In New Orleans

We have fallen head over heels in love with the atmosphere, scenery, cuisine and culture of New Orleans. If you are planning a trip to the Big Easy, here are the top five Global Goose recommended experiences:

1.Bourbon Street

This magical wonderland in the French Quarter is like Disneyland for drunken adults. It’s an absolute sensory overload that is euphoric, bewildering and incredibly fun and a big part of the culture of New Orleans.

In only a few short blocks you will see a drag queen directing traffic, a group of elderly ladies sipping hand grenades from novelty cups, a couple spontaneously waltzing in the street and handfuls of beaded necklaces raining down through the air from the overhanging balconies. The bright neon signs advertise pizza, daiquiris, and GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS and every few metres you are caught by the pounding rhythms coming from a different nightclub.

It's Always Time to Party on Bourbon Street!
It's Always Time to Party on Bourbon Street!

Bourbon Street is a bit crazy, crowded, smelly and somewhat trashy, but isn’t that kind of what you crave in a night out on the town? If you’re up for it, throw yourself into the mix and have a night to remember! (Be careful with those hand grenades, they are a lot stronger than they look!)

2. Live Music

New Orleans is thought of as one of the most influential hotspots for jazz music in the world, so during your visit be sure to enjoy the musical culture of New Orleans by watching a live performance.
You won’t have to go far to find great live music in the city, as there are several great jazz clubs and any music-loving local you ask will fill you in on who is performing that night.

The Random Marching Band that Appeared Out of Nowhere
The Random Marching Band that Appeared Out of Nowhere

In fact, we didn’t even have to look to find the great music and culture of New Orleans; it found us in the form of a random brass band that marched up behind us as we were walking through the French Quarter. The street immediately came alive in a toe-tapping party atmosphere and we followed the band to Louis Armstrong Park where we found an open air jazz concert. Pretty groovy, eh?

3. Food, Food, Food!

The day we arrived in New Orleans and tried our first Big Easy delicacy, the Italian inspired “muffaletta” sandwich, our waiter told us that we would each put on at least ten pounds by the end of our stay.

We laughed, but we soon realized that he wasn’t kidding.

Lee attempting to devour a massive roast beef Po Boy
Lee attempting to devour a massive roast beef Po Boy

The culture of New Orleans is all about food and this city is an absolute culinary heaven. We tried jambalaya, gumbo, po boys, catfish, beignets, debris roast beef, beans and rice and plenty of different types of spicy Louisiana hot sauce. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about the best meals we ate in New Orleans!

4. Cruise the Mississippi River

Rollin' on the River
Rollin' on the River

One of the nicest days that we had in New Orleans was the day that we took a Natchez Steamboat cruise down the Mississippi River and I would recommend this tour to anyone visiting the city. We ate a delicious lunch on board and got to hear all about the history and culture of New Orleans as we slowly floated down this famous waterway. There was a jazz band on the boat and they served beer, so it was the perfect recipe for a relaxing summer afternoon.

5. Swamp Tours

While you are in New Orleans, be sure to get out of the city and into the fascinating world of the Louisiana swamps and bayous. There are many different swamp tours that will take you up close and personal with the alligators and we went with Cajun Pride Swamp Tours.

See You Later, Alligator!
See You Later, Alligator!

The swamp was amazing, with scaly alligators slipping silently through the water, lizards in the trees changing colour right before our eyes, racoons that stared at us from the shore and a guide who knew the swamp with his eyes closed and called the gators over like dogs to catch pieces of meat he threw from his hands. What an amazing experience.

While there is so much more you can do in this great city, these are the top five experiences that really showcase the culture of New Orleans.

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About Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word.

10 comments

  1. Oh jesus balls how I love New Orleans! Spent the mooost amazing New Year’s ever there in 2010… and can absolutely second these recommendations. EAT ALL THE FOOD. ALL OF IT.

  2. Whoa! Bourbon Street sounds like George Street x1000, hahaha.

  3. Thanks for sharing your top things to do in New Orleans! I love how New Orleans mixes the old with the new. It certainly sounds like an exciting destination. I don’t whats scarier the alligators on the swamp tour or how many calories are in that muffaletta sandwhich. Oh well, people are so active on holiday even just walking all day that it would of been fine. 🙂

  4. I’ve never been to New Orleans. It seems like such a lively, vibrant city. The music is full of spirit, isn’t it?

    It never dawned on that there would be wildlife and nature so near the city. The Mississippi steamboat tour sounds like a relaxing way to see the landscape and to get some history.

    I’m not sure if I’ve up for the alligators. You don’t get that close to wildlife very often. Hopefully, the tour guides know what they are doing.

  5. The “girls girls girls” ad is a city turn off for me. The live music in the street and the swamp tour sound like a lot of fun.

  6. Ever since I saw the Disney movie, “The Princess and the Frog,” I wanted to go to New Orleans to get some beignets! Lol, but seriously, I think that the city is full of rich cultural legacy, and it would be fun to explore. I know it’s silly, but I’ve wondered if I would really enjoy it given that the city is below sea level, swampy, and probably humid. Seeing your article makes me consider the other attractions, like the French Quarter and elegant cruise lines. Thanks for teaching us to focus on the positive!

  7. Oh wow! New Orleans sounds wonderful and omg, I would so love to try the food especially the po boys – that looked so good! Not really a big fan of the USA, but yeah, would certainly like to visit New Orleans!

    • New Orleans was probably my favorite city in all of the USA. It has a very different feeling to the rest of the country and it is sometimes referred to as the “Northernmost Caribbean City” which gives you a sense of the vibe. I would definitely recommend it.

  8. What a great article, thank you! While I have yet to visit New Orleans, I’ve recently discovered that I had ancestors there. There is definitely so much to see and experience, and these top five things to do will be on my list when I do visit. I have a friend who lives in Slidell who promises me that when I stay with her for a weekend (or longer), we will spend most of our time in New Orleans. I look forward to that!

  9. NOLA sounds amazing. I can’t wait to visit. Thanks for these suggestions. They are really helpful in planning my trip.

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