10 Things to Do in New Orleans (Besides Bourbon Street)

street view of New Orleans night life

If you love seafood, ghost stories, jazz, and a city that’s so full of rich culture and history that each cobblestone street seems to have its own story to tell, then New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) might just be your dream destination.

Known for its famed Bourbon Street, wild Mardi Gras celebrations, and those bright green Hand Grenade cocktails, you might think that that’s all New Orleans is about—but you’d be wrong. This colorful city is humming with music and brimming with spicy cuisine. It’s a city emblazoned with lively street art and shivering with ghost stories. It’s a city where you will meet people from all walks of life, where you can eat alligator meat, and where you can visit a dimly lit voodoo shop.

There’s so much more to New Orleans than Bourbon Street.

Here are 10 other things you can do:

1. Visit the French Quarter

This historic neighborhood, major cultural center, and well-known tourism hotspot hosts exciting nightlife, eye-catching architecture, and diverse shopping and dining spots.

Explore six blocks of open-air shopping, history and local eats at the French Market District, grab a bite at one of the many gourmet seafood restaurants, a drink at an upscale cocktail bar, or go on a walking history tour of some of its buildings.

2. Sample Authentic Cajun Cuisine

New Orleans is home to a variety of authentic cajun cuisine and phenomenal eateries.

Mulate’s is a popular restaurant famous for its live music and delicious food selection including gumbo, jambalaya, beignets, and other traditional Southern dishes.

A beloved dive bar popular with locals, Coop’s Place serves Cajun-style cooking the way it ought to be: made with plenty of onions, celery, peppers, fresh seafood, and a whole lot of TLC! This is no five-star experience, so forget about fancy table settings and pretentious waitstaff. At Coop’s Place, you’ll get cold beer, a fun atmosphere, and some of the best food in the South.

3. Ride a Steamboat Along the Mississippi River

Enjoy live jazz, specialty cocktails, and glorious sights as you cruise along the famed banks of the mighty Mississippi. From the French Quarter to the New Orleans skyline, the paddlewheelers of New Orleans Steamboat Company transport guests on unforgettable voyages down one of the world’s largest river systems—full of fun and fantastic Creole food for the whole family!

4. Explore the City’s Haunted History

There’s not much more thrilling than going on a walking ghost tour through one of the most haunted cities in America. New Orleans has a rich history of gruesome and ghostly tales, and hearing these stories retold where these particular macabre events actually occurred is core-shakingly enticing. But ghosts aren’t all these tours are about. If vampires or voodoo history is more up your dark alley, you can enjoy them also.

Pay a visit to infamous haunts such as the LaLaurie Mansion, widely considered one of the most haunted homes in the city, explore a collection of ghastly locations with a horse-driven carriage ride, and more.

There are dozens of haunted tours to choose from, so take your pick!

5. Set Off on a Swamp Boat Tour

No NOLA excursion would be complete without a visit through some of the beautiful and biologically diverse swamplands surrounding this legendary city.

Explore these unique natural habitats while jetting along on an airboat or flat-bottomed boat and safely encountering the various wildlife, including alligators, owls, egrets, wild boar, snakes, and more.

6. Check Out Some Live Jazz Performances

Widely known as the birthplace of jazz, the city pulses with its own distinct vibe and rhythm you can't find anywhere else.

From dedicated jazz clubs such as House of Blues New Orleans or Jazz Playhouse, to popular local artist performances at dozens of bars and venues across the city, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to fully experience the NOLA music scene at your leisure.

One of the biggest musical celebrations of the year is the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which takes place in the spring and brings together some of the best music, art, and culture the city has to offer.

7. Take in the Culture With a Museum Trip

Explore the city’s rich, vibrant history with a trip to the museum. And not to worry, you’ll have plenty to choose from.

Visit New Orleans Museum of Art and peruse an impressive selection of fine art pieces. Tour the National WWII Museum for an in-depth look at one of the most impactful events of world history. Check out Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, the largest bug museum in the United States. Here you can walk through a beautiful garden while hundreds of colorful butterflies swirl around you.

Explore Mardi Gras World, a unique attraction cataloging the colorful history of Mardi Gras and highlighting the spectacular floats and sculptures of the city.

8. Spend the Day at an Amusement Park

Families and fun-seekers will have a great time at any one of New Orleans’ several amusement parks, such as Carousel Gardens—featuring a wide variety of rides and attractions for visitors of all ages.

Children will most definitely enjoy an enchanting day at Storyland, where they can play within the varied settings based on classic fairy tales including Pinocchio, Jack and Jill, Captain Hook, and more.

Horror fans can scream in astonishment at all the spectacularly spooky fun at Scout Island Scream Park! From werewolves and giant demonic bats to dragon rides and ghoulish face painting—this place will scare the bejeebers out of you.

9. Enjoy a Picnic in One of the City’s Beautiful Parks

New Orleans is home to a varied collection of wonderfully scenic parks perfect for lounging and nature watching.

New Orleans Audubon Park is a favorite for enjoying relaxing picnics, with well-kept lawns and charming environments to appreciate, while Crescent Park offers breathtaking views of the Mississippi River and the city skyline.

New Orleans City Park features picturesque scenery and a variety of recreational activities, including fishing, golfing, tennis, hiking, and more. Take a relaxing bike ride, rent a swan boat, or enjoy a café au lait at Café Du Monde, one of the iconic coffee shops in the city.

10. Tour the City by Streetcar

There are many ways to explore and experience “The Big Easy,” and coasting through some of its renowned streets by streetcar is certainly one of the more memorable ways to go!

The city’s streetcar system has been in service since the 1830s and is a delightful, convenient way to experience some of its most popular locations while kicking back, relaxing, and taking it all in.

Work With InteleTravel to Plan Your New Orleans Vacation!

With so much to do and see in New Orleans, it’s important to plan your vacation ahead of time, and the best way to get the most value from your experience is by working with a certified travel professional.

That’s why InteleTravel’s team of dedicated travel advisors are on hand to help arrange your ideal vacation itinerary based on your preferences, book and reserve all the various aspects of your trip, and provide invaluable support and assistance throughout your journey.

They can even secure valuable upgrades and exclusive travel bonuses whenever available, to further improve your vacation experience.

Contact an InteleTravel Advisor today to get started planning your New Orleans trip!

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