Top Ten Attractions in New Orleans

Top Ten Attractions in New Orleans
A visit to the Big Easy should never start and end with just a visit to Bourbon Street. New Orleans offers an outdoor lovers paradise as well as its active nightlife. Be sure to take a swamp tour and visit the Aquarium of the Americas in the French Quarter while enjoying everything that this gem of the South has to offer. New Orleans, especially in the fall and in the spring, is teeming with life and just waiting for you to discover it.

See the Animals

A visit to New Orleans is incomplete without a tour of one of the nearby swamps. In addition to the chance to get up close and personal with some of Louisiana's alligators, swamp tours will also offer you a magnificent look at the region's flora and fauna, including the waterfowl and the lush cypress trees. Many of the tours will pick you up at your hotel in New Orleans or you can take a short drive for a more authentic experience. In Houma, about 40 minutes from the French Quarter, Munson's Swamp Tours will take you out via pontoon boat for a guided tour of its property and the 50 or so gators that call it home.

A second fun option for animal lovers is the Aquarium of the Americas in the French Quarter on the Mississippi River bank. From penguins to the albino alligator, the aquarium offers a look at the some of the local animal life, including the owls hiding in the exhibit on inhabitants of the Mississippi River Delta.
For a great hike and more exposure to the animals, stop at the Audubon Zoo. You can catch the St. Charles Street streetcar to the zoo and make getting there part of the fun.

Walking Tours and Living History

Number four on the list of must-sees while visiting New Orleans are the River Road Plantations. Just a short drive from the city or a bus ride with one of many local tour companies, the River Road Plantations offer visitors a chance to see an antebellum plantation in all its glory. Schedule lunch at the plantation or take a picnic and just enjoy the trees.

Walking tours are also popular in New Orleans and a great way to see the city. The walking tour of St. Louis Cemetery Number 1 where voodoo queen Marie Laveau is buried, the haunted New Orleans walking tour, the vampire tour ending at the Cafe du Monde for coffee and beignets, and the Garden District walking tour are definitely among the top 10 things to do in New Orleans.

Take a Ride on the River

A visit to New Orleans without some time spent on the water is simply an incomplete visit. Take the ferry across the river to Algiers and make sure to visit Mardi Gras World to get a feel for the complexities of building a Mardi Gras krewe and float. Then, finish out your stay in the Big Easy with a dinner and jazz cruise on the Steamboat Natchez. Departing from the dock near Jax Brewery in the French Quarter, the Steamboat Natchez makes a leisurely journey up the Mississippi River while you relax with jazz, a nice dinner and the captain's guided tour of the history along the river.

Article Written By Lucinda Gunnin

Lucinda Gunnin began writing in 1988 for the “Milford Times." Her work has appeared in “Illinois Issues” and dozens more newspapers, magazines and online outlets. Gunnin holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Adams State College and a Master of Arts in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

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