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Jazz in the French Quarter picture in New Orleans
The French Quarter After Hours picture in New Orleans
French Quarter Home picture in New Orleans
Beignets picture in New Orleans
The French Market picture in New Orleans
Mardi Gras  picture in New Orleans
Street Art picture in New Orleans
Beautiful houses picture in New Orleans
Jazz in the French Quarter picture in New Orleans
The French Quarter After Hours picture in New Orleans
French Quarter Home picture in New Orleans
Beignets picture in New Orleans
The French Market picture in New Orleans
Mardi Gras  picture in New Orleans
Street Art picture in New Orleans
Beautiful houses picture in New Orleans

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Details

  • Neighborhood/Area Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.6
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Food Scene
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    3.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

If you want to experience New Orleans properly, it's best to begin your tour here. Recent visitors said the neighborhood is lively, with lots to do and see and offers a one-of-a-kind experience. The neighborhood, also known as Vieux Carré, is the heart and soul of this city, and it's also a National Historic Landmark. As the site of the original New Orleans colony (established by the French in 1718), the French Quarter has held on to its heritage, complete with street names that are still listed in French. Wander the narrow cobblestone streets to find such attractions as Jackson Square, Faulkner House Books and the Cabildo. While you're strolling, pay attention to the neighborhood's architecture: balconies are designed with baroque ironwork and hanging plants, while leafy courtyards are filled with bubbling fountains. The scene is definitely charming, but it can also be expensive if you choose to stay at any of the French Quarter's hotels.

Undoubtedly, the French Quarter's main draw is Bourbon Street – New Orleans' infamous party hub. You'll find this street laden with performers and fortune tellers as well as rowdy bars. Although a trip to New Orleans isn't really complete without strolling down Bourbon Street, keep in mind that rowdy evenings on Bourbon are best appreciated by adult travelers. If you're tempted to hang your hat on Bourbon Street, don't. While it's fun to be at the center of the action, there's really no escaping the late-night noise.

If you prefer a tamer French Quarter experience, opt for a day tour. You can tour the neighborhood several different ways: Mule-drawn carriage tours line up daily on Decatur Street in front of Jackson Square taking groups of four through the crowded district. You can also take in the area from a completely different perspective – on the water via a Steamboat Natchez Cruise. Find more information about walking tours on the French Quarter's website. Several streetcar and bus lines service the neighborhood, including the Canal, Riverfront and Loyola lines, and bus route Nos. 5 and 55.

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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
The Cornstalk Hotel

The Cornstalk Hotel ...

  • None Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
Nine-O-Five Royal Hotel

Nine-O-Five Royal Hotel ...

  • None Miles Away
  • 2.5-star Hotel Class
Andrew Jackson Hotel

Andrew Jackson Hotel ...

  • None Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in New Orleans »

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#1 Frenchmen Street If you want an authentic New Orleans experience more removed from the touristy areas of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, head to the lively Frenchmen Street. A popular spot ... Read more » Billy Metcalf Photography / Flickr

#2 French Quarter If you want to experience New Orleans properly, it's best to begin your tour here. Recent visitors said the neighborhood is lively, with lots to do and see and ... Read more » Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

#3 Garden District Take a walking tour of the Garden District (located a little less than 3 miles southwest of the French Quarter) for a peek at some of the city's most ... Read more » Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

#4 The National WWII Museum You don't have to be a history buff to enjoy The National WWII Musuem, according to recent travelers. Having opened June 6, 2000 (the 56th anniversary of D-Day), the ... Read more » Courtesy of The National WWII Museum

#5 New Orleans Swamp Tours Stretching from Houston to Mobile, Alabama, the Bayou Country played a crucial role in the development of the United States in terms of communication and transportation. In fact, there would ... Read more » Sam Spicer / Getty Images

#6 Cemetery Tours Some of New Orleans' must-see attractions are its cemeteries. Many of the tombs found in these "cities of the dead" are above ground to protect them from rising water levels ... Read more » Nick Martucci / Shutterstock

#7 St. Louis Cathedral As the centerpiece of the French Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral is one of New Orleans' most recognizable landmarks. The oldest cathedral in North America, St. Louis Cathedral was originally built ... Read more » gary718 / Shutterstock

#8 The Cabildo Flanking Jackson Square in the heart of the French Quarter, the Cabildo was originally constructed in 1799 (when New Orleans was under Spanish rule), as the seat of the Spanish ... Read more » Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock

#9 New Orleans Museum of Art Since opening in 1911, the New Orleans Museum of Art (known simply as "NOMA") has assembled more than 40,000 works of art­ – an impressive compilation considering the museum opened ... Read more » Zack Smith / Courtesy New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

#10 City Park City Park offers a lovely respite from the city and is a great place to spend an afternoon, according to recent visitors. Take a nature stroll through the 12-acre New ... Read more » Zack Smith / Courtesy New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

#11 Audubon Nature Institute Families on vacation should make some time to visit the Audubon Nature Institute. This massive facility is home to a zoo, an aquarium, and butterfly garden and insectarium, not to ... Read more » Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

#12 Chalmette Battlefield & Jean Lafitte National Park Chalmette Battlefield – the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans – is just 6 miles east of New Orleans along the Mississippi River. As many history buffs know, this battle ... Read more » Brberrys / Shutterstock

#13 Steamboat Natchez The only steamboat in New Orleans, Steamboat Natchez launched in 1975 and is a traditional sternwheel steamboat that takes visitors on a tour of the Mississippi River. The tours aim ... Read more » temis / Getty Images

#14 Backstreet Cultural Museum One of the best places to get a feel for the city's unique identity is at the Backstreet Cultural Museum. This off-the-beaten-path attraction was established by local photographer and ... Read more » Joseph McCarty / Flickr

#15 Louisiana Children's Museum When people say that New Orleans isn't the best place to bring kids, they're forgetting about the Louisiana Children's Museum. Yes, Bourbon Street may be too rowdy ... Read more » Paul Broussard / Courtesy New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

#16 Mardi Gras World Even if you're not in town for the actual festival, don't miss your chance to go behind the scenes of one of America's most renowned (and most ... Read more » Paul Mannix / Flickr

# Kayak-iti-yat Kayaking Tours Read more » Joanna Penn / Flickr

# Doctor Gumbo Tours Read more » Jocelyn & Cathy / Flickr

The Spotted Cat  picture in New Orleans
Jazz in the French Quarter picture in New Orleans
Garden District Walkway picture in New Orleans
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St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square picture in New Orleans
The Cabildo picture in New Orleans
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Backstreet Cultural Museum picture in New Orleans
Louisiana Children's Museum picture in New Orleans
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The Spotted Cat  picture in New Orleans
Jazz in the French Quarter picture in New Orleans
Garden District Walkway picture in New Orleans
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Down in the Bayou picture in New Orleans
Ghost Tours picture in New Orleans
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New Orleans Museum of Art picture in New Orleans
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Audubon Park Entrance picture in New Orleans
Chalmette Battlefield picture in New Orleans
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A local favorite, the Spotted Cat is one of Frenchmen Street's finest jazz clubs.  Billy Metcalf Photography / Flickr

Don't be surprised if you come across an impromptu performance while strolling through the French Quarter. Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

Like its name suggests, this historic residential neighborhood is laden with trees, ivy, and yes, gardens. Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

Among the exhibits you can tour at The National WWII Museum is the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion. This part of the museum showcases the stories of several important amphibious landings including the Normandy Invasion. Courtesy of The National WWII Museum

If you're feeling brave – and don't mind being extra close to the alligators you can always go on a swamp tour via kayak. Sam Spicer / Getty Images

New Orleans' St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 can sometimes be as eerie as any ghost tour. Nick Martucci / Shutterstock

A bronzed statue of Andrew Jackson and his steed stand watch over St. Louis Cathedral. gary718 / Shutterstock

In the late 1700s, the Cabildo acted as the seat of the Spanish government. Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock

The New Orleans Museum of Art opened in 1911 with just nine pieces. The museum's inventory has since ballooned to some 40,000 works of art. Zack Smith / Courtesy New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

City Park sprawls across 1,300 acres. It's also one of the nation's oldest urban parks, established in 1854. Zack Smith / Courtesy New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

Audubon Park is home to a zoo, an aquarium, an insectarium, an IMAX theater, a golf course and several small parks. Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

Chalmette was the site of the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Brberrys / Shutterstock

temis / Getty Images

At the Backstreet Cultural Museum you'll find costumes, artifacts, memorabilia, photographs and films, among other materials that celebrate the Big Easy's culture. Joseph McCarty / Flickr

At the Louisiana Children's Museum, kids can learn about the mechanics of the human body, understand the science behind magnets and light, and play in an art studio. Paul Broussard / Courtesy New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Krewe of Orpheus' Leviathan is housed in Mardi Gras World during the offseason. Paul Mannix / Flickr

Joanna Penn / Flickr

Jocelyn & Cathy / Flickr

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