New Orleans has changed a lot in the past 15 years, especially since being ripped apart by Hurricane Katrina. The city has rebuilt, but its old charm cannot be replaced. Discover history and culture in New Orleans all in the span of one day.
To make the most of your day in the Big Easy, you don’t want to be dragged down by luggage. So, drop it off at a convenient Stasher location first! Then, start your tour …
The French Quarter
Have breakfast in the famous French Quarter. It’s the oldest and, of course, the most popular neighborhood. Alternatively known as the Vieux Carre, the French Quarter has existed for almost the entirety of the city’s tricentennial lifetime.
Cafe Du Monde is the most classic New Orleans breakfast nook, but it’s not the only spot, especially if you want to avoid long lines. Brennan’s on Royal Street has Creole specialties that pair well with Irish coffee, like Eggs Hussarde and Slow Cooked Pork Grillades.
Croissant D’or Patisserie is a little simpler, but they have a beautiful patio with a fountain for a refreshing breath of early morning air while eating a flaky pastry.
The French Quarter can be especially pleasant in the morning when it is devoid of confused tourists. Take a stroll down artsy Royal Street and enjoy the peaceful sounds of a normally party hard city as it sleeps. You might even get serenaded with some jazz by a local street musician.
From there, you can walk to …
The Riverwalk Mall is a notable feature of New Orleans’ historic riverfront. It was the home of the 1982 World’s Fair and now includes three levels of shopping and dining, with an open-air plaza that often showcases live music for free and also SOFAB, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.
Audubon Institute’s Aquarium of the Americas has plenty of penguins, plus sharks, you can pet. Bring your courage though.
Prefer a park? Try New Orleans City Park and cross the bayou over its many bridges. Or enjoy all the monuments found within Woldenberg Park, including tributes to both immigrants and Old Man River himself.
It’s probably getting to be lunchtime by now, so how about …
A Trip Down Magazine
More accurately, Magazine Street, a unique thoroughfare of cuisine and culture. You can easily while away the afternoon shopping on Magazine Street, where unique boutiques stretch for blocks. Bring some exquisitely crafted New Orleans style home with you to show off to your friends.
Then, of course, there’s lunch. Magazine has plenty of offerings, from poboy shops to Mexican, Italian and more. Top off the afternoon with a gourmet coffee from Coast Roast. Magazine Street hosts no shortage of fresh-roasted aromas.
Sun going down? Maybe it’s time to visit the darker side of bayou culture …
The history of New Orleans is intertwined with black magic. If ever there was a place to have your tarot cards or palm read, this is it. The biggest attraction is the Historic Voodoo Museum in the center of the French Quarter, between Royal Street and Bourbon Street.
Founded in 1972, the museum showcases voodoo art and offers walking tours through the French Quarter itself, with an emphasis on the supernatural.
This isn’t the only strange museum in the area. Nearby is the Museum of Death, with attractions on the Manson family and Dr. Kevorkian’s suicide device.
Conversely, a museum dedicated to preserving life—but not in a voodoo way—is the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. Or just take a stroll over to Royal Street itself and get your fortune told there by a street performer.
A Little Lagniappe (Extra)
Louisiana has a reputation, rightly earned, for being a bastion of African American culture. Did you know jazz was born in New Orleans? Take a visit to Congo Square, the reputed birthplace of that swingin’ thing.
The New Orleans African-American Museum is located in the Treme neighborhood, one of the hardest-hit by Katrina and still the oldest-surviving black community in the U.S.
Learn all about significant local traditions at the Backstreet Cultural Museum, full of costumes, films and artifacts from the community’s history.
New Orleans is one of those cities where the art really spices up the culture. In recent years, Louisiana has started offering great tax breaks for film production, hence a number of film locations to visit, if that’s the kind of history you’re into.
There’s the classic “Streetcar Named Desire,” “Best Picture” winner “12 Years A Slave” and TV shows like “American Horror Story” and “True Detective.” You can look up the locations online and recreate your favorite scenes.
Late Night on Bourbon Street
What visit to New Orleans would be complete without a walk down Bourbon Street? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of vodka, rum and tequila for a nightcap. Whatever floats your boat down the bayou.
On Bourbon Street, it’s legal to drink in the open and even open carry a grenade— the famous drink from the legendary Tropical Isle that is served in a grenade-shaped cup.
Music is in no short supply, from jazz at the Jazz Playhouse to karaoke at Cat’s Meow or dueling pianos just around the corner at Pat O’Brien’s.
Before you get too tipsy, pick up a souvenir at Marie Laveau’s House Of Voodoo and check out local record store Skully’z. Refuel with an alligator burger (including shrimp and venison) at Bayou Burger and Sports Company. Then finish off your night with a classic cocktail at spooky Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, which is recognized as the oldest structure used as a bar in the whole country.
Spend a day finding your mojo in the Crescent City, and we promise you’ll be back for more.