New Orleans may not be one of the typical “Top 5” tourist destinations, but its status as one of the states’ most underrated vacation spots makes it all the more interesting to visit. Don’t expect to find the star maps, tourist crowds, and “authentic” souvenir shops of other popular destinations, this city has a cool, cozy vibe all its own (which, to be honest, can sometimes be a bit hard to find in the states!).
Famous for its music scene, Mardi Gras celebration (February 7th-24th), fantastic nighttime scene, and great flea markets and antique shopping, New Orleans is a vibrant city with loads to explore. Due to a difficult history, and most recently, of course, to the plague of catastrophic hurricanes, New Orleans is also a city that is constantly changing. Repairing, reworking, and rebuilding has become the a part of the fiber of the city, and the city’s ability to recover is a thing to behold (or, even, get involved with).
Look into the history of the Deep South via a Creole plantation tour. The Laura Plantation is an excellent source of history, the plantation, the house and its contents document 250 years of Southern history.
If it’s the nightlife you came for, then the French Quarter is the place to go. Bordering on the Mississippi River, this district is overflowing with trendy hotels, bars, and clubs. Hit the streets to find crawfish or a piping hot bowl of Jambalaya, visit the famed Café du Monde for a café au lait and some beignets before hitting Bourbon Street for a night of drinks, drunks, and unbelievable live music.
New Orleans is famous for its cocktails, be sure to sample a few, or even take a cocktail tour to learn about the history of every drink from Pimm’s Cup to the legendary Sazerac.
Other great stops within the city include the Saint Louis Cemetery (modeled after the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris) and the open-air French Market (fresh food and souvenirs abounds). Along the way you’ll pass local museums for every taste, everything from Anne Rice (the famous vampire novelist) to the World War II Museum, or even a little history of voodoo magic. Take a break from your stroll and stop into a few, you never know what you might discover!
And if you’re a fan of famous British street artist, Banksy, be sure to look for his New Orleans “Hurricane Katrina” series while you’re there.