The famous Rue Bourbon (Bourbon Street) in New Orleans. Photo credit: Justin Watt.
With its vibrant cultural scene, fascinating history, unique cuisine and eclectic mix of influences, New Orleans is unlike any other city in the whole of North America.
The largest city in the state of Louisiana boasts countless highlights. Here are just a few and, if you like the sound of them, visit TrekAmerica.co.uk to book your trip.
French Quarter, New Orleans. Photo credit: Sami99tr.
Get in the swing of things
If New Orleans is famous for one thing it’s jazz, and no trip to the city is complete without at least one visit to a music club. Establishments on and around Jackson Square, in the middle of the world-famous French Quarter, host live music performances most nights of the week.
Curious tourists join locals and touring musicians in hearing the hottest contemporary sounds well into the early hours of the morning. Go online, pick up a local listings newspaper or simply keep an eye out for posters and flyers to find out who’s playing where and when.
Lobster Creole. Photo credit: Nicole Tarazona.
Enjoy the local hospitality
New Orleans is also famed the world over for its food and drink, and with good reason. Traditional Creole staples such as gumbo and jambalaya can be found throughout the city, though for a dining experience to remember, check out the many restaurants clustered throughout the 19th century Uptown district.
After dinner, jump on a streetcar to the French Quarter where Bourbon Street’s bars have been keeping locals and tourists alike well-lubricated for decades. Most places open until very late, with live music performances almost every evening.
Oak trees in City Park, New Orleans. Photo credit: Druszaj.
Take a walk in the park
Even outside the Jazz Festival or Halloween, downtown New Orleans is busy, loud and filled with people. Fortunately, it’s easy to escape the hustle and bustle, with City Park the perfect place to enjoy a spot of relaxation while also getting a different taste of local life.
As well as a contemporary botanical garden, this sprawling park is home to a sculpture garden, Storyland – where children are able to enjoy different playgrounds based on popular tales – and romantic tree-lined paths and boulevards. Over the Christmas season, lights are strung from the old oak trees and musicians play in the park.
Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo credit: Royalpt78.
Learn about local history
New Orleans is without a doubt one of the most historic cities in the whole of the United States, with enough landmarks and other places of interest to keep even the most demanding history buff happy.
Highlights include the St Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter, the oldest Catholic cathedral in the whole of the United States and long a symbol of the city itself. Also well worth checking out are the Old US Mint, now a museum telling the tale of not only money-making but also of the origins of the city’s jazz scene.
Take a stroll through a cemetery
Far from being a depressing experience, a trip to one of New Orleans’ historic cemeteries can be eye-opening, inspiring and memorable. Given the city lies on a high water table, most tombs are above ground and many are elaborately decorated, particularly those belonging to notable residents of years gone by.
Check out the Saint Louis Cemetery Number Three, dating back to the 19th century, for some of the best examples of the city’s life-affirming attitude to death.