New Orleans is one of the most visited cities in the US. In 2017, it set a personal tourism record by hosting a staggering 17.74 million visitors. With more and more tourists choosing it over more traditional vacation states such as Florida and New York, it is likely to break this record soon. Many who visit New Orleans do so during Mardi Gras. However, you can visit the city at any time of year and still be sure of a good time. There’s plenty to be experienced in New Orleans, especially if you’re willing to rent a car and venture a little out of the city. In this article, we’ll be discussing the top things to do as a tourist in the Big Easy.
Besthoff Sculpture Garden
If you’re visiting New Orleans during the warmer months, you should most definitely check out the Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Complementing the Near Orleans Museum of Art, which lies just across the road, Besthoff Sculpture Garden boasts breathtaking works of art set in an equally breathtaking setting. Best of all, admission is free, so you’ll have more money to indulge in the food and drinks the city is famous for.
Catch the Live Music
New Orleans, over the years, has made some serious contributions to American music. Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, and Dr. John all hail from this city. Even Disney songsmith Randy Newman traces his roots back to the Big Easy. New Orleans continues to churn out top-class musicians to this day. Catch some quality music live at any of its bars and streets to see the stars of tomorrow!
Chapel @ St. Roch Cemetery
St. Roch Chapel is a shrine to New Orleans’ patron saint of healing. Among the crude religious imagery, you’ll find items left behind by those who believe St. Roch healed them. These come in the form of neck braces, walking sticks, and anything else an illness might necessitate. You should also check out St. Roch Cemetery. Organized tours are available, but a quick stroll through the grounds is just as fascinating.
Picnic @ The Fly
Unlike most American states, New Orleans is pretty relaxed about people drinking in public. In fact, at certain times in the year, the city actively encourages it. Open containers can be flaunted all year long at The Fly, a popular picnic spot along the Mississippi River. Tourists and locals alike frequent The Fly, so it’s a great place to have a few drinks and make a few friends.
New Orleans is pretty big on its alcoholic beverages. If the last section didn’t drive that home to you, this one should. When visiting the Crescent City, we definitely recommend paying a visit to Courtyard Brewery. There, you can indulge in the finest craft beers in all of New Orleans. While many craft beer spots foster an atmosphere of snobbery, Courtyard Brewery remains as relaxed as any other bar in New Orleans.
Oak Alley Plantation
The Oak Alley plantation is a true testament to the pre-civil war history of the Southern United States. Currently, the estate is one of the most sought-after tourist locations in New Orleans and has even featured in numerous movies and TV productions. While the plantation is famed for its 300-year-old alley of oak trees that haunch over its main entrance, Oak Alley offers a lot more to its visitors than an archetypal view. Go on a guided tour of this plantation to learn about the legacy of this estate and its history of slave labor.
There’s no doubt that you’ve heard about Louisiana’s murky swamplands. Located almost 45 minutes away from the heart of New Orleans, swamp/bayou tours give you an opportunity to see alligators, wild boar, snakes, egrets, and other wildlife seen within the region. There are numerous tour operators in the city, so be sure to ask around before making a final decision.