EXPLORE: A-Z Quick Guide to New Orleans
If you’re going to New Orleans, you’re probably headed straight to the French Quarter. This A-Z quick guide will get you to 26 must see and dos in the French Quarter and a few will get you to venture out and about, too. Explore places to eat, have a listen at music venues, experience New Orleans culture, and have a few drinks, too.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
1 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 565-3033
Highlights include a stringray touchpool, sea otters, frogs, penguins and more!
Just tell the cab driver: “Bourbon Street, please!”
A historic 13 block strip filled with restaurants and bars. Grab a hand grenade, listen to the music, and put the camera away.
Cafe Du Monde
800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 525-4544
Beignets and coffee. Need I say more? The line can be long but moves fairly fast. The French Market location is open 24/7 for all your beignet needs. PS – Don’t wear black!
Drink at Napoleon House or Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
Napolean House – 500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 524-9752
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop – 941 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 593-9761
Nicholas Girod, the mayor of New Orleans from 1812 to 1815 offered his residence to Napoleon in 1821 as a refuge during his exile. Napoleon never made it, but the name stuck, and since then, the Napoleon House has become one of the most famous bars in America. Sit at the bar and order a regional brew or enjoy dinner in the courtyard and try a Muffuletta or Po’ Boy. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is one of the older surviving structures in New Orleans. According to legend, the privateer Jean Lafitte owned a business here early in the 19th century and in 1814, as the British lay at the mouth of the river, Lafitte rushed powder, flint, and troops to General Jackson at Chalmette. So enjoy some history and ambiance and have a drink while you’re at it!
Eat a Lucky Dog!
If you’ve ever read “A Confederacy of Dunces” then you have to eat a Lucky Dog for Ignatius J. Riley. If you’ve never read the book, eat one anyway!
1008 N. Peters St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 596-3420
3 centuries of history, 6 blocks of shopping, open daily! The French Market has it all: festivals, a flea market, a farmers market, food, crafts, and more.
Ride the Streetcar and jump off when you like!
Ride the streetcar over to the Garden District and check out the architecture, historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, and grab a bite to eat at Commander’s Palace.
Horse Drawn Carriage Ride
In Front of Jackson Square
The carriage rides are a great way to see the city for first time visitors. Guides will tell you about the city and take you by landmarks and even to the cemetery. Bonus: you’ll get to sit down for awhile! Don’t forget to tip your guide!
Ignatius J. Riley Statue
819 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70112
The unlikely hero of John Kennedy Toole’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “A Confederacy of Dunces,” in life-size bronze. You can grab a copy while in New Orleans if you’ve never read the book. Bonus points for eating your Lucky Dog next to the statue!
700 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116
St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in North America, can be seen behind the statue of Andrew Jackson. Local artists, tarot card readers, and palm readers can be found here along with musicians and singers.
3515 N. Hullen St, Metairie, LA 70002 (504) 456-1476
“Manny Randazzo King Cakes is New Orleans’ choice for delicious king cakes and unparalleled service. This Randazzo family recipe has become a New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition for decades.”
1140 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116
If you are an American Horror Story fan or enjoy dark history then this is the place for you. While you cannot go inside you can see the house from the outside and lucky passerby’s can get a glimpse in the courtyard while the caretaker is there. The history of Lalaurie is not for the faint of heart.
Marie Laveau: Self Guided Tour
House – If you take a walking tour you might get to pass by the original location of Marie Laveau’s home.
Cemetery – St. Louis Cemetery #1 – 425 Basin St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (504) 596-3050
Shop – Marie Laveau House of Voodoo – 739 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 581-3751
Marie Laveau was a Louisiana Creole practitioner of Voodoo who is renowned in New Orleans. Her influence is still evident throughout the city. Seek her and voodoo out but do so with respect. Entry into the cemetery requires a tour guide.
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
514 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 565-8027
Exhibits include bloodletting, leeches and questionable medical practices featured on the ground floor in the mid-19th Century apothecary shop. Hand-blown apothecary bottles filled with crude drugs, medicinal herbs, “gris-gris” potions used by Voodoo practitioners adorn the shop as well.
“Almost every cobbled street in the Big Easy houses some eclectic museum or another, and the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is one of the best.”
– Rand McNally, Best of the Road
Woldenberg Park – 1 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 565-3033
If oysters are your thing, then this is for you! “This free, two-day, outdoor event is usually held primarily in the parking lot adjacent to the Jax Brewery, with a few related events held elsewhere in the nearby French Quarter. It features live music, contests and competitions, and tasting events starring the festival’s namesake, the Louisiana Oyster.”
718 St. Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 525-4823
Eat dinner and have a hurricane or two. You won’t be disappointed with the food no matter what you order but if you don’t want to keep your glass you need to return it to the bar for your cash refund.
Quirky shopping in the French Quarter
Boutique du Vampyre – 709 St. Ann St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 561-8267
Esoterica Occult Goods – 541 Dumaine St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 581-7711
Sideshow – 820 Chartes St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 581-2012
Pop in and out of shops in the French Quarter. You never know what you might find!
Rock out at The Famous Door or The Spotted Cat
The Famous Door – 339 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 598-4334
The Spotted Cat – 623 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116
The Famous Door can be found on Bourbon St. and the Spotted Cat is over off of Frenchman St. The Famous Door is rich in history and has great cover bands while the Spotted Cat is the Quentessential Jazz Club of New Orleans.
St. Louis Cemetery #1
425 Basin St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (504) 596-3050
The cemetery spans just one square block but is the resting place of many thousands. All of the graves are above-ground vaults and most were constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries. As of March 1st 2015 there is no longer public access to St. Louis Cemetery #1. Entry with a tour guide is required.
If you would like to donate to help preserve St. Louis Cemetery #1 you can do so here.
Tarot Card Reading
Reverend Zombie’s – 723 St. Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116
While in New Orleans you can get a Tarot Card Reading or a Palm Reading. There are individuals at Jackson Square but I recommend Reverend Zombie’s. Be ready for what you might hear… My friend’s was deeply disturbing!
Tulane University, University of New Orleans, Loyola University New Orleans, Xavier University of Louisiana, and LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans are all in New Orleans. Check college websites for events such as performances, lectures, and art shows.
Marie Laveau House of Voodoo – 739 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 581-3751
Reverend Zombie’s House of Voodoo – 723 St. Peter St., New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 486-6366
Voodoo Authentica – 612 Dumaine St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 522-2111
VooDoo Spiritual Temple – 828 N. Rampart St., New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 522-9627
Learn about Voodoo, window shop, or purchase but don’t touch or take pictures. The last souvenir you want to bring home with you is a curse!
You can pop in any Tour Shop and sign up for a walking tour in the city. There are multiple options that fit any interest. Bring your camera and follow the rules!
X marks the spot! Pirate Alley!
Pirate Alley, New Orleans, LA 70116
Pirate Alley is the subject of much legend and lore, some true, and much false. It is one of the “must see” locations of the French Quarter. Some claim that it was a haven for pirates in days past, while others claimed that slaves were sold at the adjacent St. Anthony’s Garden on Royal Street. Be sure to drink an Absinthe at Pirate’s Alley Cafe and Absinthe House.
Oops. You drank too much. It happens. Thankfully there is Yakamein Soup, or Old Sober. Yakamein is a beef broth based soup and is served with spaghetti noodles, a whole or a halved hard boiled egg, sliced green onion, a little soy sauce and hot sauce, and typically comes in a large Styrofoam cup on the street.
6500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70118 (504) 861-2537
“Located in historic Uptown New Orleans, Audubon Zoo offers an exotic mix of animals from around the globe, engaging educational programs, hands-on animal encounters and lush gardens. Unique natural habitat exhibits—such as the award-winning Louisiana Swamp and Jaguar Jungle—showcase the relationship between people and nature. Don’t miss the daily animal presentations, chats and feeds; our highly endangered whooping cranes, Amur leopards and orangutans; our white tiger; and our mysterious white alligators. Audubon Zoo is often ranked among the country’s best for innovation and entertainment value!”
There are so many more items I want to share. I hope this quick guide helps you plan and enjoy your adventure in New Orleans. Don’t forget to keep cash on you!
Have you been to New Orleans recently? What were your favorite things to see and do? Comment below!