The Getaway
New Orleans Fun for Everyone: Must-Do Activities

New Orleans, affectionately known as NOLA, is a city where cultures converge, creating a tapestry rich in history and charm. The city's unique character comes from the blend of French, Spanish, and Caribbean influences, making it a must-visit destination. New Orleans offers a plethora of experiences, from the ornate architecture and the lively Bourbon Street to the mysterious tales that echo along the Mississippi Riverfront. The city's allure is undeniable, with Spanish Moss draping over ancient trees, the warm smiles of locals, and a culinary scene that's simply exquisite. New Orleans is a city that not only captures your imagination but also feeds the soul.

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01 The French Quarter or Vieux Carre

The Vieux Carre, or the French Quarter, stands as the historic heart of New Orleans and its oldest district. Founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, this area spans 85 blocks from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue. The French Market, established in 1781 and still operational, is the oldest of its kind in the U.S., offering a delightful mix of delicious eateries, unique shops, and vibrant live music. Bourbon Street, famous for its Mardi Gras atmosphere, is a place where you can enjoy oversized adult beverages while soaking in the quarter's timeless charm.

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02 Wander through the shadows at Boutique du Vampyre

In the French Quarter, beyond the typical tourist spots, bars, and enticing performances, lies the more mysterious side of the Vieux Carre. Here, you'll discover Boutique du Vampyre, a unique store that has catered to both mortals and vampires since 2003. This shop is not just a place to browse; it's an experience, even offering bespoke fangs crafted to fit your teeth perfectly, among other intriguing items.

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03 Get lost in the Labyrinths of the Cities of the Dead

New Orleans' unique geography, built on swampland, has led to some of the most extraordinary cemeteries in the world. The city's above-ground burial practices have created these 'Cities of the Dead.' St. Louis No. 1, a short walk from the French Quarter, is the final resting place of the famed Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. It's said that if you bring an offering to her grave and mark three Xs, she might grant your deepest wishes.

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04 Take a leisurely stroll along the Mississippi Waterfront

For much of its history, New Orleans' riverfront was a bustling, industrial area, closed off to the public. This changed with the creation of Woldenberg Park, a tribute to a local philanthropist, which now draws millions of visitors annually. The park transformed the riverfront into a delightful spot to enjoy a Po' Boy and immerse yourself in the city's sights and sounds.

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05 Be a Witness to the Damage Done by Hurricane Katrina

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck, becoming America's most devastating natural disaster. The hurricane displaced hundreds of thousands, claimed lives, and exposed governmental inadequacies. Various tours in New Orleans recount the tragedy, taking visitors to the broken levees and the most affected neighborhoods. These tours are not just about witnessing the destruction but also understanding the interconnectedness of environmental issues and disaster preparedness.

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06 Discover the hidden history of St. Louis Cathedral

Overlooking Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral is a symbol of faith and resilience. As the oldest active Roman Catholic Church in the U.S., its foundations were laid in 1724. The cathedral has undergone significant restorations, including after a fire and Hurricane Katrina. Visitors can explore this historic site outside of regular service times, experiencing a piece of living history.

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07 Take a Ride on Steamboat Natchez

The Mississippi riverfront, especially during the humid summers of New Orleans, is a hub of activity. The area, hosting the annual 'French Quarter Festival,' attracts global visitors. A ride on the Steamboat Natchez offers a nostalgic journey, reminiscent of a time when steamships were the lifelines of the Mississippi, carrying cotton, fostering gambling, and spreading jazz.

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08 Tour the infamous swaps at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park

The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, along with the Laura C. Hudson Visitor Center, showcases the rich history of one of the nation's oldest protected districts. The swamp tours available here offer a glimpse into the natural habitat of local wildlife. The center's exhibits educate visitors on the cultural, environmental, and social factors that have shaped New Orleans.

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09 Wander through the mystery and magic of The Voodoo Museum

Voodoo has been intertwined with New Orleans since the 18th century. The Voodoo Museum delves into this connection, offering insights into the city's culture and history. The museum not only educates but also entertains, with exhibits that are both intriguing and enlightening. They also arrange ghost tours and other paranormal adventures.

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10 Taste a Little Bit of Heaven with Beignets and Cafe Au Lait

New Orleans is home to two iconic coffee shops: Cafe du Monde and Morning Call, both operational since the mid-1860s. These establishments have a loyal following, known for their chicory coffee and beignets – a traditional French doughnut dusted with powdered sugar. A visit to either is a must for a taste of local flavor.

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11 Explore the Bywater neighborhood

The Bywater neighborhood is a vibrant and artistic area, known for its colorful street art and trendy nightlife. The bars and restaurants here offer a glimpse into the local scene, making it a great place to experience the city's youthful and creative spirit. This neighborhood, with its bohemian vibe and community-oriented spirit, is a testament to New Orleans' resilience and capacity for renewal and reinvention.

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12 Go on a ghost tour

For those fascinated by the supernatural, New Orleans' ghost tours are an essential experience. These tours, which often explore haunted cemeteries and the French Quarter's eerie past, provide a thrilling insight into the city's paranormal history. The stories told on these tours blend historical facts with local legends, offering a unique perspective on New Orleans' rich and sometimes dark history.

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13 Have a crawfish boil

A crawfish boil is a quintessential Southern experience, offering a fun and communal way to enjoy this local delicacy. Whether at a restaurant or a backyard gathering, participating in a crawfish boil is a must for visitors looking to immerse themselves in Southern culture. This tradition, deeply rooted in the local culinary scene, is as much about the food as it is about the camaraderie and joy of sharing a meal with others.

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14 Visit the Backstreet Cultural Museum

This museum is dedicated to the African American cultural heritage of New Orleans. It showcases elements like Mardi Gras Indian suits, jazz funerals, and social aid and pleasure clubs, offering a deep dive into the city's unique cultural landscape. The museum not only preserves these traditions but also educates visitors about the vital role African American communities have played in shaping the cultural fabric of New Orleans.

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15 Explore the Marigny neighborhood

Marigny is known for its eclectic mix of live music venues, art galleries, and cafes. Strolling through its streets, visitors can absorb the neighborhood's lively atmosphere and perhaps enjoy a night of jazz in one of its renowned clubs. The Marigny, with its colorful buildings and friendly locals, epitomizes the spirit of New Orleans, blending music, art, and a rich cultural heritage.

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16 Take a swamp tour

A swamp tour offers an adventurous way to explore the bayou's ecosystem. These tours provide close encounters with wildlife like alligators and turtles, while also educating about the bayou's importance to the region. Venturing into these swamps, visitors can experience the untamed beauty of Louisiana's natural landscapes and gain an appreciation for the delicate balance of this unique ecosystem.

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17 Visit the Ogden Museum of Southern Art

The Ogden Museum is a treasure trove for art enthusiasts, especially those interested in the American South. Its collection includes both contemporary and historical works, with rotating exhibitions that highlight the area's artistic heritage. The museum serves as a cultural beacon, showcasing the diverse and rich artistic expressions that have emerged from the Southern United States.

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18 Have a po'boy

The po'boy is a beloved New Orleans sandwich, with variations including fried shrimp, oysters, or roast beef. Sampling this local favorite is a must for any culinary explorer in the city. Each po'boy tells a story of the city's culinary history, blending simple ingredients with bold flavors to create a sandwich that is both humble and satisfying.

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19 Take a cocktail class

New Orleans' rich cocktail culture makes it an ideal place to learn the art of mixology. Cocktail classes offer insights into classic drinks like the Sazerac or the Ramos Gin Fizz, perfect for those looking to refine their bartending skills. These classes are more than just learning recipes; they're an immersion into the history and culture of New Orleans' legendary drinking scene.

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20 Experience the Mardi Gras World

Mardi Gras World offers a unique glimpse into the heart of New Orleans' most famous celebration. Visitors can see the elaborate floats and costumes up close and witness the craftsmanship that goes into creating these spectacular displays. This experience provides an understanding of the immense effort and creativity that fuels Mardi Gras, one of the world's most vibrant and colorful festivals.

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