Road trips? Heck, yes! This is to say that, of course, we drove to New Orleans! We left at 3 am, and took us roughly 10 hours. We stopped at Biloxi, Mississippi, where we glimpsed at the most beautiful Gulf Coast view and walked along the fishing pier. Friendly greetings and free coffee at the Louisiana Visitor’s Center were good enough to have us madly in love with Louisiana already. But, by the time we had all the maps in our hands, we were very excited about all of the great things to see in New Orleans.
There are a lot of things to see in New Orleans–or as many would call it “The Big Easy”. This means you have plenty of reasons to fall head over heels for this charming city. For instance, the Jazz on Frenchmen St., iconic buildings, and the famous beignets are enough to call New Orleans one of the best cities in the U.S. I mean, what’s not to love about New Orleans, right? But besides all that jazz, here are 10 things to see in The Big Easy!
10 Hidden Gems in New Orleans
1. The Enchanted Charm Gate
Right at the entrance to The Court of Two Sisters in Royal Street, this iron gate was wrought in Spain and given to the building by Queen Isabella II. Legend says that the Queen herself had these gates blessed so that their charm would pass along to anyone who touched them.
2. Pirate’s Alley
Located between The Cabildo and the St. Louis Cathedral, you’ll find the remains of the prison, the Quartier General de la Garde Municipale, El Calabozo, which was constructed in 1726. Legend says that it was at the Pirate’s Alley where pirates gathered to plan out their defense strategies.
3. The Buckner Mansion
This beautiful 1856 mansion can be found at one of the main streets in the Garden District. As a matter of fact, you can also see it featured in American Horror Story: Coven.
4. The Royal Hotel
As an avid fan of The Originals tv show, this is a must-see! It’s one of the filming locations from The Vampire Diaries‘ spin-off show, The Originals.
5. Warehouse Arts District
One of my favorite districts in New Orleans! It’s a paradise for art lovers and a great place to explore the many historic warehouse buildings of the city. This is why I consider this district has great things to see in New Orleans. In this district, you’ll find the World War II Museum, the art galleries, and really nice dining down by Magazine Street. If you visit the Arts District in New Orleans, go for the most delicious breakfast/brunch at Toast, located at 5433 Laurel Street, and thank us later!
6. St. Louis Cathedral at night
A breathtaking view meant to be captured with your camera.
7. The Palace Market
Down by Frenchmen Street, this market is the go-to destination for handmade art in New Orleans. The best time to visit is at night. There’s a sitting area with chalk close by so you can leave a little piece of your own art in NOLA!
8. The Labyrinth at Audubon Park
Offered to the city of New Orleans after the devastating Hurricane Katrina, this labyrinth provides a space for meditation, centering, and healing. The labyrinth is a replica of the Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France, built-in 1203 A.D.
9. Ride the ferry for a view of the city
Take a ride on the Algiers Ferry and enjoy the stunning view of the lovely city of New Orleans. The ride is $4 round-trip and no prior reservation is needed.
10. Original street name signs (one of the amazing things to see in New Orleans)
You’ll find these amongst many of the streets in the French Quarter. The signs tell you the dates from which the streets bore the original Spanish name when New Orleans was the capital of the Spanish Province of Louisiana.
If you’re headed to The Big Easy, be sure to save this list! Check out all of the 10 things not to miss in New Orleans before leaving this enchanted city!
Plan Your Visit and Make your List of the Things to See in New Orleans
Self-Guided Tours are free are super fun to do! You can pick up a map at the New Orleans Welcome Center located at 701 Canal Street, open daily from 8 am to 9 pm. And you can also visit the Louisiana Welcome Center located at 529 St Ann St open daily from 8:30 am to 5 pm. You will also be able to find more information from the places in this list of the things to see in New Orleans.
You’ll find one of the locals giving out maps and showing you the best way to tour New Orleans without missing a thing! He’s your friend, go talk to him 🙂
If you drive up to NOLA from Florida, be sure to stop at the Louisiana Visitor’s Center off on I-59. They have all the city maps and the Garden Districts Historical Homes Self-Guided Tour map. This center is open daily from 8:30 am to 5 pm.
New Orleans Streetcar
The streetcar fare is $1.25 per ride and it has to be paid with exact change. You can take the St. Charles Streetcar (green) to visit the Garden District and tour the historic homes. The Canal Street Streetcar (red) moves around the main areas of the city and takes you to the cemeteries. In fact, the streetcar is your best option for these 10 Things to see in New Orleans.
Dining in New Orleans
Unfortunately for me, there are not a lot of vegetarian options around the main streets of New Orleans. If you’re not vegetarian, you’ll find many amazing places to choose from. However, for all of us on the other side of the food chain, here are some restaurants with options.
Pierre Maspero’s Restaurant on 440 Chartres Street
El Gato Negro Mexican Restaurant down at 81 French Market Pl
Meals From the Heart Cafe at 1100 N Peters St # 13.
Bonus Tip For Your New Orleans Travel
Wear comfortable shoes! But they don’t have to be new, they just need to be comfortable. To fully enjoy all of the amazing things to see in New Orleans, you have to be prepared to walk miles and miles each day. Your feet will thank you if you wear something comfy all day long! And you’ll be completely happy after completing the 10 things to see in New Orleans!
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