Attractions in New Orleans, Louisiana

Attractions in New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is known for its vibrant, eclectic culture, as well as for its native Cajun cuisine, the jazz music the city spawned and a world-famous nightlife. In addition to a broad range of festivals (such as Mardi Gras and the Jazz Music Festival) and a nightly party scene, the Big Easy has a rich and fascinating history. Its diversity of ethnic influences comes through in the food, architecture and shops. Amid the bonanza of interesting things to see and do here, a few attractions stand out as definite "musts."

Steamboat River Cruises

The Steamboat Natchez riverboat cruise is one of the most famous steamboat cruises in the country. Not only do you cruise down the Mississippi River on a genuine steamboat, you also enjoy New Orleans food and calliope music (a musical instrument powered by the steam), as well as the captain's commentary about points of interest you pass along the way. You can take a steamboat river cruise during the day or opt for a dinner jazz cruise, with entertainment by the famous local band, the Dukes of Dixieland.

Cajun Dining Experience

A trip to New Orleans isn't complete without dining on the local Creole and Cajun fare. The food here has been influenced by many cultures over the centuries. French influence is among the strongest and oldest of the city's culinary imprints. In the early 1700s, Sister Xavier Herbert--renowned as the first woman pharmacist in the New World--brought to New Orleans the beneficial practice of cooking with herbs, along with the pepper and tomato. Other influences, particularly in spicy cooking, come from the West Indies, Sicilians and Indians. Notable restaurants include the casual Cajun Cabin, where free dance lessons and live Cajun music every night make it one of the best hotspots on Bourbon Street; you can also people-watch from the balcony with a 360 degree view. The casual, fine dining Tujague's is the second-oldest restaurant in the city. Located in the center of the French Quarter, it serves traditional Creole food prepared by world-renowned, gold medal-winner Chef Andrea. The chef also combines Northern Italian cooking styles into some signature dishes.


New Orleans' festivals and parties attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The annual 4th of July festival provides entertainment and activities for the entire family, with a spectacular fireworks show over the Mississippi River. The three-day French Quarter Festival, otherwise known as Mardi Gras, has over 15 stages with over 250 hours of entertainment and over 150 musical acts. The Satchmo SummerFest honors the native son of New Orleans, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong. You can also experience Christmas New Orleans-style, with family-oriented activities and live entertainment hosted across the holiday-decorated city throughout the month of December.

Historical Cemeteries

It may sound odd, but New Orleans' cemeteries are major tourist attractions. Popular cemetery tours focus on hauntings, witchcraft legends and voodoo. The tomb of voodoo "queen" Marie Laveau is one of the most notable cemetery spots. These "Cities of the Dead" are the resting grounds for a host of famous artists, musicians, politicians and explorers. They are also filled with, and surrounded by, beautiful old trees, lush growth and heavily-scented flowers.

Article Written By Lauren Wise

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.

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