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Top 10 Things To Do in New Orleans
Take a trip to the Big Easy, stop by Bourbon Street for a drink, and don’t miss this Top 10 guide to New Orleans’ biggest and best things to do.
1. Canal Street
Thought to be the widest street in America, the 170-ft wide Canal Street lies in the heart of downtown New Orleans. It runs across the city, from the Mississippi to Lake Pontchartrain. The main activity is around the CBD, where luxury hotels, upscale restaurants and unique retail establishments line both sides of the street. The Canal streetcar line runs down the middle of the thoroughfare, providing access to Mid-City and the cemeteries.
(Photo courtesy of Wallyg/Flickr)
2. The New Orleans Museum of Art
The New Orleans Museum of Art – more commonly known as NOMA – one of the pre-eminent centres of fine arts in the Gulf South. NOMA is an educational center, a family destination, a popular tourist attraction and the centerpiece of New Orleans’ elegant City Park. Its permanent collections and rotating exhibits rival the best museums in the country. The museum is also a community social center, frequently hosting high-profile weddings, receptions, fundraisers and social events. Situated near the entrance to New Orleans City Park, the museum is a historic landmark.
(Photo by Alaskan Dude/Flickr)
3. Royal Street
Just around the block from the bustle of Bourbon Street is the picturesque Royal Street, which boasts some of the country’s best antique stores, restaurants, and art galleries. Antiques collectors and art-lovers travel from all over the world to shop on this street. Visitors can stay at historic hotels and enjoy leisurely breakfasts at sunny cafes, or indulge in gourmet cuisine at the numerous specialty restaurants. The retailers on Royal Street include European-style boutiques, glass artists, and purveyors of fine collectibles.
(Photo courtesy of Infrogmation/Flickr)
4. Audubon Zoo
Run by the Audubon Nature Institute, which also maintains the Aquarium of the Americas, the Insectarium, and the Audubon Zoo, this world-class facility can trace its history back to the 19th century. Today, covering 58 acres of land, it is regarded among the finest zoos in the country. The Audubon shelters some of the rarest animals in the world and includes an irresistible baby animal nursery, interactive exhibits, and entertaining rides, all amid century-old oaks and lush landscaping.
(Photo by Audubon Images)
5. Bourbon Street
This iconic French Quarter street never sleeps. It dates back to 1718, when it was known as Rue Bourbon, and still retains some of the original 18th-century architecture, which can be seen on a leisurely walk down the length of the street. With around-the-clock live music, parties, all-night bars and clubs, Bourbon Street’s atmosphere of revelry is unmatched in the city. Renowned restaurants lie interspersed between unique shops and vendors. Every visitor to New Orleans should experience life on Bourbon Street.
(Photo courtesy of lirena/Flickr)
6. New Orleans City Park
Built on the site of the former Allard Plantation beside the Bayou St. John, the New Orleans City Park is one of the biggest urban parks in the country, covering an area of 1,300 acres. A perfect spot for children and adults alike, it offers sports facilities, museums, waterways, golf courses, an amusement park, botanical gardens and much more. The park is also home to the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Sydney & Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which showcases over 50 modern sculptures.
(Photo courtesy of brittreints/Flickr)
7. Aquarium of the Americas
An impressive attraction offering visitors the chance to see a walk-through underwater tunnel, a gallery of seahorses, a white alligator, baby sharks and a stunning rain forest under one roof, this is one of the premier tourist destinations of the city. Showcasing nearly 500 species of aquatic life, this aquarium is one of the biggest in the country. Although most of the fish died due to a massive generator failure after Hurricane Katrina, other inmates were saved and brought back when the Aquarium reopened in 2006.
(Photo by Audobon Images)
8. Mardi Gras
New Orleans bills its annual Mardi Gras celebration as “the biggest street party in the world.” More than a million visitors from around the world gather in the city up to three weeks before the festival. Lavish parades are staged by various Mardi Gras clubs, known as “krewes,” along with parties and street gatherings. New Orleans is the place to be during this time to let your hair down, don an outrageous costume, eat great food, vie for beads thrown from parade floats, and generally party hard for the last time before Lent.
(Photo by patrix/Flickr)
9. Mississippi Riverfront
Over the years there has been a stunning redevelopment of the Mississippi Riverfront. New businesses, attractions and special events have made this area a must-see for any visitor to New Orleans. A streetcar line runs the length of the Riverfront, with stops at all of the popular sites. The riverfront is within walking distance of the Warehouse District, the CBD, and many of the best hotels and restaurants. The long pedestrian path along the riverfront is called the Moonwalk, and is perfect for a romantic stroll.
(Photo by Thinkstock)
10. Jackson Square
The elegant centerpiece of the French Quarter, Jackson Square is an attractive and lively meeting place. Known as the “Place d’Armes” in the 18th century, it was later renamed in honour of the Battle of New Orleans hero, Andrew Jackson. An imposing statue of Jackson dominates the square, with the St. Louis Cathedral providing a majestic backdrop. Quaint shops line the perimeter of the park, and local artists, mimes, palm and tarot-card readers and musicians sell their wares and perform here every day.
(Photo by Thinkstock)