Top Tourist Attractions In New Orleans

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It’s difficult to go in the wrong direction upon arrival in New Orleans. This city is packed with activities and attractions that have lived up to the hype for decades, as well as plenty of new, experimental spots that are rapidly gaining acclaim and popularity. From roaming the French Quarter to riding a streetcar, here are the top tourist attractions in New Orleans.

Top Tourist Attractions In New Orleans

1. French Quarter

Top Tourist Attractions In New Orleans - French Quarter

The French Quarter of New Orleans is what most tourists come to see when they visit the city. Set along a bend on the Mississippi River, the main attraction here is the architecture, but it is also a great area for dining and entertainment.

The old buildings, some of which date back 300 years, show French influences, with arcades, wrought iron balconies, red-tiled roofs, and picturesque courtyards. Many of these buildings now contain hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, galleries, and a profusion of jazz spots with entertainment of varying quality.

The most famous street in the French Quarter is Bourbon Street, but it is not necessarily the highlight of the area. This street is relatively benign by day but at night transforms into a loud and boisterous pedestrian area that may not always feel safe.

2. Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is New Orleans’ signature event, with celebrations that span a two-week period, ending with the finale on shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.

Celebrations include almost daily parades and all kinds of entertainment and festivities that increase in intensity as the event draws closer to the end. Onlookers crowd the balconies and sidewalks to watch the parades and catch strings of beaded necklaces tossed from the outrageously decorated floats.

Bourbon Street is one of the main areas where people congregate, but the whole French Quarter is generally packed. The tradition was introduced to the city by French settlers and became particularly popular by the end of the 19th century.

3. Jackson Square

Jackson Square is the main square in the heart of the French Quarter, originally known as Place d’Armes. In the center of the square, surrounded by trees and greenery, is an equestrian statue (1856) of General Andrew Jackson.

Standing prominently at one end of the square is the landmark St. Louis Cathedral, with its white façade and cone shaped spires. Also in the vicinity of the cathedral are the Presbytere and Cabildo, both Louisiana State Museums.

The area in front of the cathedral, along the iron fence that surrounds the square, has long been an artist’s hang out, and nearby are shops and restaurants, making it a popular spot for tourists.

The whole area is very attractively laid out along the banks of the Mississippi, with the Riverboat Docks, the promenade known as the Moon Walk, and the Millhouse, as well as a variety of stores.

4. National WWII Museum

July 4 at the Museum | The National WWII Museum | New Orleans

Considered the official WWII museum of the United States, this is one of the top tourist attractions in New Orleans comprising interactive exhibits, restoration works, a period dinner theater and restaurants.

Established in 2000, it’s a great place to learn about World War II and honor the heroes who sacrificed their lives for the world and their country. Collection highlights include wartime bombers and a room focused on the D-Day landings in Normandy.

5. Royal Street

You don’t have to be an art fanatic to fall in love with Royal Street, although many art lovers do flock to this street’s section in the Upper French Quarter to window shop.

There are dozens of antique shops, beautiful high-end hotels, and art galleries to appreciate, and you don’t have to purchase anything to have fun.

Though a portion of the street is quite upscale; an equal amount also includes budget options for the travelers who are trying to keep their spending at a minimum on their trip while still enjoying their time. It is one of the top places to visit in New Orleans.

6. St Louis Cathedral

St Louis Cathedral | Top Tourist Attractions In New Orleans

This cathedral is one of the oldest in the United States and for this reason, has some interesting history behind its stunning exterior. It was officially named the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, and had its first version built in 1718.

However, there were three more reconstructions, the final expansion and rebuilding happening in 1850.

If you’re up for the adventure, take a tour and learn about how the cathedral is supposedly haunted by Pere Antoine, a priest who was buried with the church, as well as Pere Dagobert, a monk whose voice is said to be heard on rainy days.

Going to this Cathedral is one of the best things to do in New Orleans.

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