On a first-time visit to New Orleans, there’s so much to see and do. Beignets at Café du Monde, craft cocktails and traditional food, streetcar rides and ferry cruises, plus a trip to the park are just a few of the highlights we have picked out for first-time travelers. After experiencing everything our city has to offer, you’ll likely become a lifelong visitor. Here’s everything a first-time visitor must do in New Orleans.
Start with the French Quarter
First and foremost, the French Quarter tops the list for most travelers to New Orleans. Visit the iconic St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, then line up for beignets at Café du Monde. Gallery hop on Royal Street or pick out a few souvenirs from the French Market. The French Quarter has it all: live music, food and drink, shopping, history…experience it all on a trip to New Orleans.
Ride the Streetcar
A trip to New Orleans wouldn’t be complete without a ride on the streetcar. With four routes to choose from at just $1.25 per ride, the streetcar is the most scenic way to see New Orleans via public transit. Get a $3 Jazzy Pass for all day access, and make a day out of it with our streetcar cocktail crawl.
Cruise the mighty Mississippi
Whether via ferry to Algiers or a riverboat tour, there’s a way to get on the water at every price point. The Mississippi River defines the region with calm waters perfect for cruising. Take the ferry over to Old Algiers (the ride is $2 cash) for a visit to a quaint residential neighborhood or go all out on a riverboat cruise complete with food, drink, and music.
Eat and drink your way around town
Everyone knows to come to New Orleans hungry. Po-boys, gumbo, red beans, seafood—traditional New Orleans food can be found in abundance all throughout the city. When it comes to restaurants, checking out the classics is a good place to start. We’ve also got a diverse food scene, with several Vietnamese, Italian, Indian, and South American restaurants to satisfy your cravings. Don’t forget about the cocktails; there are plenty of places to grab a drink in NOLA.
Hear live music, seven nights a week
No matter when you’re traveling to New Orleans, there will always be a show to catch. Whether it’s Hot 8 Brass Band at the Howlin’ Wolf or Kermit Ruffins at the Mother-In-Law Lounge, seeing live music in New Orleans must top every traveler’s list. Check out the live music calendar for the latest on shows.
Explore nature in New Orleans City Park
Known for food, drink, and the live music scene, nature isn’t always top of mind when visiting New Orleans. If first-time travelers really want to experience New Orleans in full, a trip to City Park must make the itinerary. This 1,300-acre public park is home to centuries old oak trees, the New Orleans Museum of Art and Besthoff Sculpture Garden, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, a Café du Monde, plus a variety of sports ranging from 18-hole golf to mini golf. Pack a day or two into your schedule for a trip to City Park.
Take a tour of a historic neighborhood
New Orleans is rich with history, much just waiting to be explored via neighborhood tour. The French Quarter is full of just as much history as it is fun, and a tour guide is your key to unlocking it. A guided tour of Tremé will take you to the cultural centers that lie within the oldest African American neighborhood in the country. Architectural enthusiasts will enjoy a tour of Uptown and the Garden District. Book your tour here and filter by neighborhood.
Visit a museum or attraction
New Orleans is a cultural epicenter with a museum or attraction for every type of traveler. Some of the most popular attractions, however, include the National WWII Museum, the Audubon Zoo, and the Aquarium. Make time for a visit on your trip to New Orleans. Check out all the attractions here.