15 Things to See in New Orleans

April 25, 2019 0 0

There are lots of things to see and do in New Orleans – also known as the Big Easy – and planning a trip can get overwhelming. Once you’ve hit the French Quarter and gotten a good survey of the best bars and dining options, it’s time to start sightseeing. Throughout the city, you’ll find many attractions that have their own historical significance and quirky feel. If you’re looking to spend a day at some of the most iconic sites NOLA has to offer, check out New Canal Lighthouse, St. Louis Cathedral, or Basin Street Station. For a bit of history and socializing, visit bars like Old Absinthe House or Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, and finish the evening with walk through the beautiful Garden District. The list below breaks down NOLA’s best, so don’t forget to give it a look before you head out on the town.


Name Location Description
St. Louis Cathedral 615 Pere Antoine Alley St. Louis Cathedral is one of the oldest continuously operating cathedrals in the United States. Since it was originally built in the 18th century, it represents the more traditional side of New Orleans architecture. After you enjoy the facade, head inside for one of the free tours offered several times a day to learn about the cathedrals’ historical background. There’s also a beautiful garden out back, dedicated to the victims of the yellow fever epidemic that plagued New Orleans in the early 1900s.
Jazz National Historical Park 916 N Peters St Jazz National Historical Park was created to celebrate the origin and evolution of one of music’s most indelible genres and takes guests on a trip through the music’s rich history and its New Orleans roots. In the visitor’s center across from the French Quarter, you can enjoy concerts, lectures, and films. Also, be sure to check out the Jazz Walk of Fame, where lamppost markers honor famous venues, musicians, and recording studios. At the end, near the U.S Mint, you’ll also find a ton of cool jazz-related memorabilia, like Satchmo’s first cornet.

Admission is free and the park is always open to the public.

Basin Street Station 501 Basin St Visit Basin Street Station and get to know New Orleans a little better. Located outside of the famous French Quarter, Basin Street Station is like the welcome wagon into everything NOLA has to offer. Make this one of the first stops on your itinerary—even though it previously served as the headquarters for a railroad company, it is now considered a tourist agency. Here, you’ll find a visitor information center, a walking tour kiosk, a coffee shop, and a quaint gift shop.
Fair Grounds Race Course 1751 Gentilly Blvd Fair Grounds Race Course is one of the oldest race tracks in the country, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to see it in person. Though it’s mostly known for its annual Jazz Fest, Fair Grounds also has a casino for added entertainment bonus. General Admission is free most days, except for special events (which cost $5 or $10, depending on the event).
Jackson Square 700 Decatur St Jackson Square is the one tourist attraction you won’t want to miss. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, its main feature is a statue of Andrew Jackson, who led the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 and later became president of the United States. Jackson Square also serves as a central jump-off point for other nearby attractions, like the St. Louis Cathedral; museums like Presbytere and Cabilido; and other shops and restaurants.  The area itself is surrounded by lush greenery, making it a great place to sit back and relax. It also seems to be a local hang out for artists, if you’re looking to make some new friends.
Mardi Gras World 1380 Port of New Orleans Pl This abandoned space turned museum provides an inside look at the behind-the-scenes of the Mardi Gras parade. Walk through the museum and witness artists working on various floats soon to be revealed to the public. You can also book a guided tour to learn more about the history of Mardi Gras and its unique relationship with the city. The whole experience feels like you have been given special access something top secret. Before you go, be sure to visit their gift shop, and buy something that will help you remember your trip!
Old Absinthe House 240 Bourbon St Old Absinthe House’s motto is “everyone you have known or ever will know eventually ends up at Old Absinthe House.” So, it’s only fair that you stop by on your visit to NOLA. This bar has been serving locals, tourists, and celebrities alike since 1807. In fact, it still features the original fixtures from its Jazz glory days, like marble fountains and brass faucets. Throughout the years, the bar has transitioned to a cafe, speakeasy, and even a corner store—but it now returns to doing what it does best: serving booze. Make sure to order one of their specialty drinks, like the absinthe frappe.
Piazza D’Italia 377 Poydras St Originally erected as a tribute to Italian immigrants, this quaint little piazza is like a little piece of Italy down south. Take a picture in front of the earth-toned archways and fool your friends and family into thinking you’re vacationing in Florence. As you walk through the piazza, ponder the experiences that have made New Orleans the melting pot it is today.
Plaza Tower 1001 Howard Avenue Plaza Tower is one of the highest skyscrapers in the city and remains mostly abandoned inside—though it was recently sold for close to a million dollars. Nonetheless, the outside is breathtaking and serves as a huge source of inspiration for local artists. Stop by and you may end up leaving with your next genius idea.
Longue Vue 7 Bamboo Rd Longue Vue is a historic house museum and garden accessible by the Canal streetcar. As soon as you step onto the property, you’ll be in awe at its grandeur—the beautiful house-museum is surrounded by plants and flowing water fountains. You can tour the garden yourself, or head inside, for a guided tour of the house. On the tour, you’ll learn about the houses’ history, including its past residents like Edith Stern or the New Orleans Grand Dame. By the time you leave, you’ll be wishing you actually lived here yourself.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop 941 Bourbon St Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is one of the spookiest places in the French Quarter, mostly because it’s the oldest working bar in the U.S… and it’s rumored to be haunted. The bar has a dark and eerie aura and is lit by candlelight. There’s also plenty of outside shaded areas to kick it, too. Make sure to try the Purple Drink, their famous concoction that’s guaranteed to get you buzzing.
Chalmette Battlefield 1 Battlefield Rd, Chalmette Chalmette is a little bit of a hike from the French Quarter, but it’s a good excursion to follow your visit to Jackson Square, especially if you’re a history buff. Visitors can learn more about the famous battle (led by Andrew Jackson at Chalmette) as they explore the grounds. They can also watch historical reenactments of the battle and canon shows, or shop at the museum store.
Garden District New Orleans, LA As a whole, the Garden District is a must-see. This historic neighborhood was previously inhabited by the aristocracy, reflected by the lavish houses and sprawling properties in this area. You can get there by taking the St. Charles streetcar, but once you arrive in the neighborhood, we recommend getting by on foot. Take a leisurely stroll to take in the beauty, and look out for famous sights like Commander’s Palace, Lafayette Cemetery, The Women’s Opera Guild House, and Toby’s Corner.
Degas House  2306 Esplanade Ave Art lovers will particularly be interested in visiting Degas house, former home to the late artist Edgar Degas himself. Degas House now acts as museum and bed and breakfast. The museum itself features some of Degas’ work (though they’re not the original versions), and a guided tour to learn more about his life. The bed and breakfast has a pool and offers an authentic Creole breakfast included with your stay.
New Canal Lighthouse 8001 Lakeshore Dr The site of the New Canal Lighthouse is an attraction in and of itself, as it’s been home to four other lighthouses since 1818 all destroyed by the elements. The current lighthouse stands as a memorial for how New Orleans overcame Hurricane Katrina and was restored in 2013. Enjoy the view, or get a tour and learn more about the historic site. Afterwards, you can head to City Park or take a gondola ride through the canals.


For more visit: 

10 Best – Historic Sites in New Orleans

Curbed – The 24 Most Iconic Sights in New Orleans

PlanetWare – 15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New Orleans


Tags: Culture, Top 10 Guides, Travel Categories: Culture, Top 10 Guides, Travel
Christina Elia

Assistant editor Christina Elia is currently pursuing her BA in Art History Communications at Fordham University, and writes about various topics ranging from arts and culture to practical tips and how-to advice. She has been published on online platforms such as The Odyssey. You can follow her on Twitter via @stinaelia

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