25 Best Things to Do in New Orleans: Top-Rated Attractions 2022

25 Best Things to Do in New Orleans: Top-Rated Attractions 2022

New Orleans is a vibrant city on the Mississippi River, famous for its nightlife, unique inns, shopping, music, free attractions, family activities, great seafood, and another fantastic cuisine.

Explore the historic French Quarter, visit the New Orleans Museum of Art, and take a cooking class. Listen to Jazz at one of the local music clubs and go on a Mardi Gras World Tour. Here are the best things to do in New Orleans.

1. The French Quarter

Best Things to Do in New Orleans
Best Things to Do in New Orleans

The French Quarter is the oldest neighbourhood in New Orleans, and it is steeped in history and heritage. Dating back to 1718, the district was established by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville and grew around the central square of Vieux Carr.

Home to magnificent historic buildings, cathedrals, and famous jazz clubs, the French Quarter is one of New Orleans’ top attractions. It has a history dating back 200 years and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Resting in the heart of the French Quarter is historic 18th century Jackson Square, formerly known as the Place d’Armes. It was later renamed in honour of Andrew Jackson, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans.

Overlooking the Mississippi River, the plaza is surrounded by famous old buildings, such as St. Louis Cathedral, the Presbytere and Cabildo museums, and the impressive Pontalba Apartments, as well as a host of restaurants, museums, cafes, and art galleries.

2. New Orleans Garden District

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Tucked between St. Charles Avenue and Magazine Street in Uptown, New Orleans, the historic Garden District is a famous neighbourhood home to a beautifully preserved collection of pre-war mansions, immaculate gardens, and tree-lined avenues.

Barthelemy Lafon established it in 1832 as an upper-class settlement for new American residents. The area flourished as lavish homes in the Italian, Greek Revival and Victorian styles were built on large plots surrounded by spectacular gardens. 

The district is home to several movie stars and celebrities, the famous # 1Lafayette Cemetery, and many boutiques and great restaurants, including the famous Commander’s Palace restaurant.

3. New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park

Best Things to Do in New Orleans
Best Things to Do in New Orleans

New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is home to Jazz and hosts live educational performances at two locations around the city: the Old US Mint on Esplanade Avenue and the visitor centre on North Peters Street in the heart of the French Quarter.

Excellent guided tours of stop 11 of both venues are offered, starting at the modern visitor centre on Peters Street, where visitors can learn about New Orleans jazz history and culture through ranger-led demonstrations, talks, video documentaries and live music. 

If you’re wondering what to do in New Orleans today, this is a great place to visit. Enjoy live music performances by world-renowned jazz artists every Saturday and Wednesday night and during guided tours.

Address: 916 N. Peters Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

4. New Orleans Museum of Art

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Established as the Museum of Slim Art in 1911, the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is the oldest fine arts museum in the city. Located in City Park, the Museum houses a famous sculpture garden and a magnificent permanent collection of nearly 40,000 pieces. 

The collection, which has a distinctive focus on French and American art, consists of several paintings, including works by masters of the School of Paris such as Picasso, Braque, Dufy and Miro, drawings, photography, glass, and African and Japanese works.

The New Orleans Museum of Art is one of the best things to do in New Orleans. Sydney and Walda Besthoff’s five-acre sculpture garden features over 60 sculptures spread across a beautifully landscaped site.

Winding paths, ancient oak trees, and footbridges surround the garden, one of the most important sculpture installations in the United States.

Address: One Collins C. Diboll Circle, City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana

5. The New Orleans Historical Collection

Best Things to Do in New Orleans
Best Things to Do in New Orleans

The New Orleans Historical Collection is an institution dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans. Founded in 1966, the Museum has a collection of more than a million items from over three centuries in four exhibition spaces: Williams Gallery, Louisiana History Galleries, Boyd Cruise Gallery, and Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art.

These galleries host permanent and rotating exhibits that showcase fine arts and celebrate the history and culture of the southern Gulf. The Williams Research Center offers scholars and students a wide variety of publications to explore the various genres of art and decorative art, history and culture.

Visitors can also enjoy two guided tours of William’s residence and the historic buildings that make up the complex on an architecture and courtyard tour.

Address: 533 Royal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

6. The Spotted Cat Music Club

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Located in the heart of the charming Faubourg Marigny district in the French Quarter, The Spotted Cat Music Club is a famous jazz club favourite among locals. Known simply as The Cat and world-renowned for its music and vibe, this quintessential New Orleans jazz club offers a variety of music from blues and jazz to funk, klezmer and more.

Its stage hosts up to three bands per night. The club doesn’t serve food, but several restaurants nearby, including Snug Harbor, Cafe Negril, Praline Connection, and Adolfo’s.

Address: 623 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, Louisiana

7. Maison Bourbon

Best Things to Do in New Orleans
Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Maison Bourbon is one of two historic jazz clubs that still exist on New Orleans’ famous Bourbon Street and is legendary for being home to many notable jazz musicians, including Harry Connick, Jr. Dedicated to preserving the music of Jazz, the club is a popular tourist attraction that shows authentic Jazz every night in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.

A picturesque patio and wrought-iron balcony overlooking Bourbon Street provide an ideal place to relax with a drink and enjoy music. The club has two private event venues that can be rented for special occasions: the Jazz Parlor, located above Maison Bourbon, and the Speakeasy.

Address: 641 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

8. Free Wheelin ‘Bike Tours

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Freewheelin ‘Bike Tours is a family business that offers visitors a relaxing and healthy way to experience New Orleans. Passionate and experienced local guides lead bike tours that take visitors through various parts of the city, including City Park, the Garden District, and the French Quarter. The companions share information and interesting facts along the way.

Guests tour the city on dependable cruiser bikes, which feature comfortable 13-inch seats, puncture-resistant tubes and tires, and eye-catching chrome.

Visitors can book private tours for two or special family travel groups, and Freewheelin ‘Bike Tours also offers services for corporate and team-building events, as well as specialized VIP tours.

9. New Orleans Cooking School

Best Things to Do in New Orleans
Best Things to Do in New Orleans

The New Orleans Cooking School introduces the diverse cuisine and food culture of New Orleans and Louisiana through a variety of cooking lessons using products from the Louisiana General Store.

Housed in a former 1800s molasses warehouse that has been beautifully renovated in the heart of the French Quarter, guests can take advantage of cooking lessons, tips, and tricks taught by Cajun/Creole experts who share their expertise in local Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Pralines. Along with its culinary history, curiosities and interesting gastronomic facts.

The New Orleans School of Cooking offers individual and private group classes and catering for special and off-site events. Louisiana General Store is stocked with local Louisiana delicacies, including cookbooks, spices, gift baskets, and cookware.

Address: 524 St. Louis Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

10. 21st Amendment at La Louisiane

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

The 21st Amendment at La Louisiane is a stylish French Quarter cocktail bar that pays homage to the Prohibition era of the 1920s. 

Housed in a historic 1881 building that now houses the Hotel Mazarin, the speakeasy-style bar is decorated with black and white photographs and memorabilia of some of the country’s most infamous mobsters who lived during Prohibition.

The bar offers a unique menu of artisan cocktails and custom libations created with various infused spirits, homemade syrups, and locally grown herbs. Guests can enjoy a line of live jazz and blues music every night Tuesday through Saturday, with up to three bands playing on the weekends.

Address: 725 Iberville Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

11. New Orleans Glassworks & Printmaking Studio

Best Things to Do in New Orleans
Best Things to Do in New Orleans

The New Orleans Glassworks & Printmaking Studio features a gallery of glassworks and prints, open work studios where visitors can see nationally and internationally renowned artists at work, and free, daily hands-on demonstrations. 

Located in the American sector on famous Magazine Street, the studio offers mini-workshops where visitors can learn to blow their glass and short courses on glass and etching.

The studio also provides instruction in glass and copper enamelling torch work, and stained glass programs are available for all ages and areas of interest.

Address: 727 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

12. Sylvain, New Orleans, LA

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Sylvain is an old-world restaurant steeped in the rich history and tradition of New Orleans. Housed in a three-story carport overlooking the St. Louis Cathedral, the restaurant has been beautifully renovated into an elegant and sophisticated space with a warm atmosphere.

A cheeky copper bar is the focal point of the posh gastropub, serving a variety of craft cocktails, signature beers, and boutique wines.

On the other hand, the restaurant serves a sophisticated but straightforward menu of appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts, along with classic sandwiches, burgers, seafood, and pasta.

If you are looking for ideas for a romantic date in New Orleans, this is a great place to try. Weathered wooden floors, hidden entrance in a side alley, and ambient lighting emanating from streetlights and candles create a sensual and welcoming atmosphere that keeps visitors coming back again and again.

Address: 625 Chartres St, New Orleans, Louisiana

13. High Hat Cafe

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Open seven days a week from brunch to dinner, and the High Hat Cafe is a casual neighbourhood restaurant serving food from Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta. 

Housed in the old Long’s Bakery building, the restaurant offers dishes made with locally sourced and sustainable ingredients, such as American farm-raised catfish, which is a menu favourite, and locally caught shrimp and fish.

The High Hat Cafe? Offers a full bar service with an impressive wine list from local and international vintages, local craft beers, and a variety of signature craft cocktails and spirits.

Address: 4500 Freret Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

14. Gallery of the modernist kitchen

Modernist Cuisine Gallery presents the artwork of photographer Nathan Myhrvold. It is the first gallery wholly dedicated to food photography created by a single artist in the world. The gallery walls are covered in large-scale pieces tailor-made for each client’s space and cannot be found anywhere else. 

The gallery is housed in a well-preserved historic building that once housed furniture by designer Prudent Mallard and was the home of writer E. Hoffman Price. 

In the heart of the French Quarter, surrounded by other art galleries and famous New Orleans restaurants, Modernist Cuisine Gallery is in the right neighbourhood.

Address: 305 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

15. MoPho, New Orleans, LA

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Southeast Asia meets Louisiana at MOPHO on City Park Avenue. Combining a delicate fusion of Vietnamese and Louisiana cuisine, chef and co-owner Michael Gulotta has created a menu featuring PO-boys, pho, rice, noodle bowls, and the ever-popular sweet, crisp, and savoury chicken wings.

The drink menu is just as “off the beat” as the food menu, offering cocktails that include cooking ingredients such as tamarind honey syrup and a range of medium-bodied white wines to offset the southeastern spices. Asian. 

Dark spaces and exposed vents in the dining room create a sleek and relatively relaxed environment, and a shady backyard is excellent for alfresco dining on warm evenings. MoPho is open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday through Monday.

Address: 514 City Park Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana

16. Delicious Pizza

Pizza Delicious, one of the best pizza restaurants in New Orleans, is a comfortable, family-friendly neighbourhood spot perfect for a hot date or family party. 

Owned and managed by Michael Friedman and Greg Augarten, Pizza Delicious, also known as Pizza D, offers several daily specials, including homemade spaghetti, bucatini carbonara, and a variety of pizzas, including everyday favourites like cheese, pepperoni, and Margherita pizzas.

Diners can enjoy pizza by the slice or as a whole pie, and a simple menu of wine and beer is available to accompany the meal.

Address: 617 Piety Street, New Orleans, LA

17. Kayak-it-Yat

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Experience New Orleans from a different perspective on a Kayak-it-Yat tour. Kayak-it-Yat offers a variety of city kayak tours in the historic Bienvenue and St. John Swamps. 

Glide down New Orleans’ historic waterways and admire the city’s most beautiful sights and attractions, stunning natural landscapes, and exciting wildlife along the way.

Kayak-it-Yat offers three different level tours to suit all fitness levels and kayaking experiences. There are two urban trips along with Bayou St. John, giving rowers a glimpse of the city, and one on Bayou Bienvenue, a wilder and more natural experience for adventure seekers. Kayak-it-Yat offers kayak tours throughout the year that must be booked in advance.

Address: 3494 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA

18. SoBou

SoBou is a popular restaurant and lounge designed as a modern Creole lounge located in the W New Orleans hotel in the French Quarter’s SoBou (South Bourbon) neighbourhood. 

The place is famous for its creative cocktails and elevated pub food with a Creole flair produced by chef Juan Carlos Gonzales. Try their sweet potato beignets or the yellowfin tuna tartar with basil and avocado. 

While the service is excellent, if you’d rather not wait for your wine beer to be refilled, choose one of the tables in the restaurant’s beer garden, which has wine and draft beer built-in for you to help yourself.

There is always something to do in SoBou, so check their list of events for the next jazz night or Burlesque Brunch.

Address: French Quarter, Rue Chartres, New Orleans, LA 70130

19. Brown Butter Restaurant

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Brown Butter Restaurant is a locally owned and operated restaurant offering a creative menu based on Southern culture and tradition. Located in Mid-City New Orleans, the restaurant was founded by chef Dayne Womax and Simon Beck, who wanted to provide New Orleans locals with “food that is both inspiring and consistently delicious.”

They serve their dynamic cuisine in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. Dishes are made with the freshest seasonal and local ingredients from the south, and the bar serves a variety of delicious signature cocktails, craft beers, and house soft drinks. The Brown Butter Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and the bar serves small plates and glasses.

Address: 231 North Carrollton Avenue Suite C, New Orleans, LA

20. Mardi Gras World Tour

Mardi Gras World Tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at the world of Mardi Gras on a fantastic day tour of the Blaine Kern Studios, which is world-renowned for building magnificent floats for Mardi Gras and other parades around the world.

Expert guides guide visitors through the vast studios, sharing the history of Mardi Gras’ unique and festive tradition.

Tour attendees will better understand the planning and work that goes into the annual parade. Visitors can see how the vast floats and accessories are built and explore the art behind costume making before enjoying a complimentary slice of King Cake. Tours are offered seven days a week and run every 30 minutes.

Address: 1380 Port of New Orleans Place, New Orleans, LA

21. Balise

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Balise is a new restaurant recently opened by Justin Devillier, renowned chef at uptown La Petite Grocery restaurant, and offers an innovative menu of New American cuisine.

Located in the vibrant Warehouse District, the restaurant is housed in an elegant two-story bar and lounge open for lunch, dinner, and drinks. The menu offers a variety of small cold dishes, such as venison tartare, and they are prepared in an open garden kitchen.

The restaurant also offers other sublime cuisine dishes such as Brussels sprouts, chicken wings and various tempting desserts. Ace Bar manager Jesse Carr creates an alluring range of signature cocktails, and the bar also offers an impressive list of craft beers and wines.

Address: 640 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, LA

22. The Where Y’Art Gallery

Located in the historic Faubourg Marigny neighbourhood of New Orleans, The Where Y’Art is a unique art gallery with satellite galleries throughout the city where visitors can discover, shop and experience the best of New Orleans art. 

It is also an online gallery representing more than 100 New Orleans artists: painters, sculptors, artisans, and jewellery designers. The Where Y’Art Gallery helps visitors get a curated picture of New Orleans’ rich art offering and offers artists the opportunity to connect with buyers and art lovers.

The online gallery offers 24-hour access to New Orleans art and information on the artists behind each piece. Art lovers can search for artwork by category, collection, colour, price, or neighbourhood.

Address: 1901 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70117

23. Bevi Seafood Co.

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Bevi Seafood Co. is a neighbourhood seafood restaurant and market serving seasonal dishes in keeping with the traditions associated with the New Orleans crab, crab, shrimp and oyster seasons. Located in Metairie and soon to be found in Mid-City, Bevi Seafood Co. works closely with local seafood suppliers to ensure fresh seafood.

Menus include Po-Boys made from scratch with homemade ingredients and various hot dishes and plates loaded with fresh Louisiana seafood. The menu also features special takeout items such as different soups, salads and sauces, and also caters for special occasions and private events.

Address: 236 Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, LA

24. Audubon Nature Institute

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

The Audubon Nature Institute was established to celebrate the wonders of the natural world through a variety of museums and parks dedicated to nature.

The institute aims to preserve Louisiana’s natural habitats, showcase the diversity of wildlife that lives within them, and encourage and inspire visitors to learn more about the natural world and work to conserve it.

Eight museums and parks make up the Audubon Nature Institute: the Audubon Park and Riverview, the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, and the Audubon Zoo.

The Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Garden, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, the Audubon Center for Research on endangered species, Audubon Wilderness Park, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, and Entergy IMAX Theater.

Address: 6500 Magazine St. New Orleans, New Orleans, LA

25. Commander’s Palace

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Occupying the spectacular blue mansion nestled in the middle of the historic Garden District and shaded by over 100 trees, Commander’s Palace is one of New Orleans’ most revered restaurants and has been in operation since 1880. Large and elegant rooms, terraces, and gardens spread throughout the palace.

The Commander’s Palace is the place for celebrations and festivities, and this New Orleans icon will give you one of the best culinary experiences of your life.

Executive Chef Tory McPhail continues the tradition of world-renowned chefs such as Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse and Jamie Shannon to offer guests high-quality Creole cuisine excellently prepared and expertly presented. The wine list has 2,400 titles, with 240 half bottles and 50 wines by the glass.

Address: 1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, New Orleans, LA

Frequently Asked Questions: Best Things to Do in New Orleans

What is New Orleans mostly known for?

What is New Orleans Most Famous For? New Orleans is renowned for its extravagant Mardi Gras celebration, jazz clubs, 18th-century buildings, and thriving practice of voodoo. The annual festivity often lasts for 2 weeks, with loud music, quirky costumes, and elaborate floats parading through the streets of the city.

What is the best month to visit New Orleans?

The best time to visit New Orleans is from February to May when the weather is comfortably cool and the celebrations are in full swing. If you’re not interested in Mardi Gras mania, plan to visit in December or January, when the city is calm and you don’t have to worry about making hotel reservations a year in advance.

How many days do you need in New Orleans?

They want experience the French Quarter during the day and the night, eat amazing NOLA food, see local museums, take some tours, and all that (very literal) jazz. If this is you, we highly recommend that you start with a minimum of 4 full days in New Orleans and work up from there.

Is New Orleans expensive?

Generally speaking, New Orleans is one of the cheaper of the major tourist cities in the United States, except for Mardi Gras week when hotels understandably double or triple prices. The rest of the year this is a city that provides great value for visitors, with great meals available even in lower price ranges.

Is there Voodoo in New Orleans?

Today, Voodoo lives on in New Orleans through people who see it as part of their culture, through error-prone rumor, and through the long shadow of Laveau, the city’s best-known voodooeinne.

Are there beaches in New Orleans?

While there are no beaches in New Orleans, it has easy access to several beaches in neighboring towns and states. In fact, some of them are less than an hour away from the Big Easy by car.

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