New Orleans City Guide

67 Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Last Updated on September 1, 2022 | 0 Comments
things to do in new orleans
Last Updated on September 1, 2022 | 0 Comments

When looking for fun things to do in New Orleans, strolling down Bourbon Street, snacking on po’ boys and sampling beignets are all on the list. But what if you want to get beyond the usual tourist attractions? With a place so familiar and frequently visited, is there anything new for you to discover?

The answer is a resounding yes. In a city so rich with history, culture and creativity, you can easily find New Orleans sightseeing opportunities that show you the full character of this American gem. 

This list of the top things to do in New Orleans will open your eyes to some terrific possibilities. Whether you’re hoping for a glimpse into the heritage that built the city or searching for something with a more contemporary spirit, you’ll find something special and memorable to experience.

 

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Foodie Things to Do in New Orleans

1. Take a Cooking Class

Learn to create authentic Louisiana cuisine with cooking classes in New Orleans. You’ll learn from top-tier chefs with a love of Southern cooking. There are cooking classes near you that explore Cajun, bayou seafood and other delicious dishes. You can even take online cooking classes from the comfort of home.  

cooking classes are a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Cozymeal

2. Private Chef Experiences

Booking a private chef in New Orleans brings the culinary magic straight to you. You choose a delicious menu and a world-class chef shops and cooks right in your home, complete with kitchen cleanup provided at the end. Check out the private chefs near you to transform your dining room into a gourmet restaurant for the evening. 

3. Food Tours 

There’s no better way to explore the local foodie scene than with food tours in New Orleans. With help from an expert guide, you’ll discover all the historical haunts and hidden gems the city has to ofer. There are food tours near you for when you’re home again, too! 

people enjoying oyster rockefeller on a food tour
via Cozymeal

4. Virtual Food Experiences

A New Orleans evening in can brighten your spirits with virtual beverage experiences. There are online mixology classes for cocktail lovers and gourmet virtual wine tastings that bring things to do in New Orleans home via the magic of the internet. 

5. Brewery Tours and Tastings

When fun things to do in New Orleans includes exploring local breweries, you know you’re in for a good time! Local guides with the inside track will lead you to exciting microbreweries for learning and tasting. 

a brewery tour is a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Canva

6. Winery Tours and Tastings

Wine connoisseurs can expand their palates by adding winery tours and tastings to their lists of things to do in New Orleans. With professional sommeliers on hand to help, you’ll discover a whole new world of varietals and vintages. 

7. Sample Fine French Cuisine

Treat yourself to a fine meal in the French Quarter and experience the New Orleans version of French dining. Try a Sunday jazz brunch at Antoine’s or an upscale dinner at Justine for a tasty thing to do in New Orleans. 

gourmet burger at justine's new orleans
via Justine

8. Dine on Cajun, Creole and Soul Food

Sampling these three signature Southern cuisines are a must when it comes to things to do in New Orleans. Stroll Bourbon Street for an array of restaurants offering some of the best foods in New Orleans.

9. Try All the Desserts

You can’t pass up dessert when choosing things to do in New Orleans! From pralines and king cakes to fine French pastries and sumptuous bread puddings, you’ll taste the true sweetness of the South.

try all the desserts for a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Canva

10. Visit Sazerac House

This classic New Orlean drink originated in the 1850s and is the subject of an entire distillery dedicated to Sazerac Rye and Peychaud’s Bitters. Beverage lovers should put this one at the top of their list of best things to do in New Orleans.

11. Taste the Pralines

Whether you buy them from a street vendor or in a candy shop, be sure to try authentic pralines. In fact, having a taste test of several types may be one of the sweetest things to do in New Orleans!

pralines in new orleans
via Canva

Musical Things to Do in New Orleans 

12. Book a Jazz Cruise

A musical riverboat in the birthplace of jazz is the pinnacle of things to do in New Orleans. Take a dinner cruise and you have the makings of a magical Louisiana experience. 

13. Experience a Brass Band

Nothing beats a joyful New Orleans brass band. You’ll find them playing joyfully at clubs in the French Quarter, and if you’re lucky you might catch one marching right down the middle of the road! 

listen to a brass band for a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Canva

14. Visit the Theater

New Orleans is home to some of the most historic theaters in America. Catch a performance at the Saenger or the Orpheum or simply take in the stunning architecture and magnificent heritage. 

15. See Some Street Musicians

Check out Frenchman Street to hear local New Orleans musicians plying their trade. You’ll hear a blend of blues, rock, reggae and, of course, jazz. It’s New Orleans spirit with the volume turned up! 

street musicians playing in new orleans
via Canva

16. Find a Zydeco Club

Hunker down in a club like Tropical Isle Bayou Club or d.b.a New Orleans for some high-energy zydeco music. Wear your dancing shoes, just in case the infectious rhythms take control. 

17. See an Opera

Opera has been a part of the New Orleans culture since the 1700s. The New Orleans Opera continues the fine tradition of connecting this classical musical form with audiences old and new. 

visit the new orleans opera for a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Canva

18. Visit the Jazz Museum

When finding things to do in New Orleans, include a trip to the New Orleans Jazz Museum. It’s a visual and audio journey through the history of jazz that no other museum can offer. 

19. Play at Music Box Village

Your selection of fun things to do in New Orleans should include Music Box Village! This community art project is an outdoor garden of chiming instruments where visitors make their own music. 

music box village in new orleans
via Music Box Village

20. Do Some Cajun Danicng

For things to do in Nola that get your pulse racing, nothing beats Cajun dancing. There are dance halls all throughout New Orleans, celebrating this quick-stepping bayou dance. 

21. Listen to Some Gospel

Add some divine sounds to your list of things to do in New Orleans with a gospel concert. You can learn about the history of plantation spirituals sung by slaves that transitioned into contemporary gospel music, too.

listen to a gospel choir for a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Canva

22. See an R&B Band

New Orleans R&B is a sound all its own, one that led to the invention of rock and roll. For music lovers, seeing a live R&B band in a vibrant nightclub or dive bar is a truly authentic thing to do in New Orleans. 

Artistic Things to Do in New Orleans 

23. Walk Through NOMA

New Orleans Museum of Art is an art fan’s must-do in New Orleans. Unique exhibitions in all mediums appear year-round and their breathtaking permanent collection spans cultures and centuries. 

new orleans museum of art
via New Orleans Museum of Art

24. Spy Some Street Art

Some of the best things to do in New Orleans are free, like soaking up the street art. You’ll find incredible murals, painted streetcars and open air sculptures created by some of the most talented artists in the world, including a Banksy or two!

25. See the Historic New Orleans Collection

This museum, research center and publishing house was created to preserve New Orleans culture. The city’s rich history is displayed through the art, writing, maps and other items produced through the centuries. 

visit the historic new orleans collection for a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Historic New Orleans Collection

26. Experience JAMNOLA

The acronym stands for Joy Art Music New Orleans Louisiana, and the name says it all. This vibrant pop-up art experience brings together the best local creators described as an “immersive, artistic funhouse.” It’s one of the newest fun things to do in New Orleans! 

27. Visit the Ogden

The most comprehensive collection of Southern art anywhere, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art is a kaleidoscope of painting, sculpture and photography by artists from New Orleans and beyond. For a contemporary cultural art experience, this is one thing to do in New Orleans you won’t want to miss. 

ogden museum of southern art
via Ogden Museum of Southern Art

28. Explore Mardi Gras Art

The Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture will bring you into the New Orleans scene with blasts of color and music. Discover the vital history of this indelible tradition through art exhibits and live performance. 

29. New Orleans City Park

There are always fun things to do in New Orleans City Park, including botanical gardens, an arboretum and the Louisiana Children’s Museum. Check out the never-ending schedule of events and appearances, too. 

visit new orleans city park for a fun thing to do in new orleans
via New Orleans City Park

30. See Studio Be

This warehouse art space houses murals and exhibits from more than 40 artists. The works explore activism, resistance and the history of Black Americans and are powerfully political and joyful at the same time. It’s a bold and informative thing to do in New Orleans.

31. Walk Through Besthoff Sculpture Garden

Located at NOMA, this world-class collection of 97 colossal works is scattered about a lush landscape. It’s an art lover’s wonderland with classical and contemporary pieces nesting amidst pastoral greenery.

Besthoff Sculpture Garden
via New Orleans Museum of Art

32. Dance Down Royal Street

Among the most artful places to visit in New Orleans is this boulevard of art galleries and antique shops. Lively buskers and street performers electrify a historic neighborhood filled with New Orleans soul.  

33. Hang Out in Jackson Square

This section of the French Quarter is a haven for artists to present their creations. You’ll find photographers, painters, sculptors and more in one of the best free things to do in New Orleans for folks who love to witness the works of up-and-coming artists.

via Canva

Magical Things to Do in New Orleans 

34. Visit LaLaurie House

The ghosts of former slaves are said to haunt the house of Delphine LaLaurie, among the most haunted places in New Orleans. Walk through the preserved historical site and find out for yourself. 

35. Get a Tarot Reading

Let the mischievous spiritual side of the city lead you to one of the many psychic readers for an old-fashioned tarot reading. Once the cards tell you what’s in store, you’ll see that not all the top things to do in New Orleans have earthly explanations! 

get a tarot reading for a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Canva

36. Learn About Voodoo

Voodoo Authentica Nola Cultural Center is a resource in the French Quarter that celebrates this fascinating Louisiana spiritual practice. Shop and learn or have a reading to see what the spirit world has to say about you! 

37. Take a Spirit Tour

Experience the mystical side of French Quarter and beyond with an unbeatable assortment of New Orleans ghost tours. You’ll see the local architecture in a new light as you learn about the infamous happenings in one of America’s oldest cities. 

take a spirit tour for a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Canva

38. Discover the Marie Laveau Shop

While doing your New Orleans sightseeing, pick up some trinkets from this historic site, originally home to the second Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. It’s a gift shop and cultural lesson in one. 

39. Walk Through Saint Louis Cemetery #1

Traipse through the tightly-packed and crumbling above-ground crypts on this solemn square of hallowed ground. It’s a great trip back through time to put on your list of things to do in Nola. 

st. louis cemetery no. 1
via Canva

40. Sit Under the Singing Oak

Visit this sprawling tree in the center of City Park and you’ll hear a symphony of chimes creating divine harmony in the breeze. It’s a magical must-do in New Orleans that’s absolutely free. 

41. Do a Ghostly Pub Crawl

Your choice of things to do in New Orleans should always include haunted pubs. Sign up for a haunted pub crawl to visit the spirits of Louisiana in all forms! 

new orleans streets at night
via Canva

42. Visit "The Mortuary"

This famous attraction was named one of the best haunted attractions in America. It’s a real mortuary that’s now become a ghostly fun thing to do in New Orleans for believers and non-believers alike.

43. Attend a Seance

Commune with the spirits in a live Victorian-style seance for an eerily exciting thing to do in New Orleans! There are tour companies offering these one-of-a-kind experiences for those brave enough to cross through the veil. 

medium with a crystal ball
via Canva

44. Shop With Vampires 

The legacy of vampire romance in New Orleans comes back to life with Boutique du Vampyre. You’ll find fun collectibles and handmade curiosities that celebrate the sinister mystery of these literary monsters. 

Historic Things to Do in New Orleans 

45. Take a Carriage Ride

For a unique date idea in New Orleans, journey into the past with a carriage ride along the streets of the French Quarter. Horse hooves create an enchanting soundtrack to your carriage driver’s full historical narration of the sights. 

a carriage ride is a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Canva

46. Visit Oak Alley Plantation

Tour this converted sugar cane farm and walk among the majestic oak-lined paths for a glance at the old South. You can stop for lunch or stay overnight in one of their luxurious cottages. 

47. See Mardi Gras World

Historic Mardi Gras is one of the top things to do in New Orleans. If you can’t make it to the real one, visit the workshop where the floats are created for a behind-the-scenes view of these beautiful works. 

mardi gras masks and beads
via Canva

48. Toast Jean La Fitte at his Blacksmith Shop Bar

New Orleans’ unofficial ghost king history hangs out in the oldest structure to be used as a bar in the U.S.! You can experience the legacy and have a drink or two in this New Orleans sightseeing essential. 

49. Tour Longue Vue House and Gardens

This destination site was opened in 1921 and has been used for weddings, conventions and other events. Take a tour through the stunning gardens for a must-see option when deciding what to do in New Orleans. 

visit the Longue Vue House and Gardens for a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Longue Vue House and Gardens

50. Trek through Bywater

This vibrant neighborhood was spared the damage of Hurricane Katrina due to its higher elevation. You can explore the cottages and heritage homes and see the eclectic creative spirit that runs through it in its current incarnation. 

51. See St. Louis Cathedral

Step into the oldest cathedral in continual use in America and feel its noble history swirling all around you. This striking structure is open throughout the week, offering masses for the faithful and visits for the curious. 

st louis cathedral
via Canva

52. Walk Through the Cabildo

This Spanish Colonial palace was the center of New Orleans government before the state Supreme Court convened there. Now, it’s a state museum dedicated to Louisiana’s history and one of the most stunning places to visit in New Orleans. 

53. Experience the National WWII Museum

Experience the second world war in a whole new way. With immersive multimedia exhibits, artifacts and first-person oral accounts, the era comes to life all around you. 

 National WWII Museum
via  National WWII Museum

54. Visit Congo Square

This corner of Armstrong Park was the gathering site for slaves and freemen in the 19th century. Its celebratory spirit remains in the shops, restaurants and exuberant outdoor performances, making it one of the best things to do in New Orleans, bar none. 

55. See Chalmette National Historical Park

Chalmette National Historical Park is the site of the Andrew Jackson-led Battle of New Orleans, which ended the war of 1812. For history buffs, it’s one of the most solemn and moving historic things to do in New Orleans.

Chalmette National Historical Park
via Chalmette National Historical Park

Outdoorsy Things to Do in New Orleans 

56. Visit Caesar’s Superdome

The home of the New Orleans Saints is a must-do in New Orleans! If you can’t catch a game, visit for the atmosphere and take a few photos in front of this grand arena. 

57. Tour the Swamps

Some of the best New Orleans tours go beyond the city streets. Aside from enjoying delicious food and great drinks, an alligator swamp tour sounds like the most New Orleans thing to do in New Orleans! You’ll speed along on the surface as the menacing critters drift around you, perfect for thrilling wildlife photo opportunities. 

tour the swamps for a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Canva

58. Visit New Orleans Musical Legends Park

Stroll through a space dedicated to the deep musical history of New Orleans and hear live musicians play throughout. There are commemorative displays and statues honoring the greatest figures to emerge from the scene. 

59. See the Garden District

Explore historic streets lined with Southern-style mansions and heritage architecture of one of the top things to do in New Orleans. You’ll even see familiar locations that have been featured in film and television. 

seeing the garden district is a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Canva

60. Visit Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Experience landscape, water features and a wildlife preserve in an expansive park named for the famed pirate. With six sites dedicated to the environmental beauty of Louisiana, it’s one of best outdoor things to do in New Orleans. 

61. Ride on a Streetcar

It may not be named “Desire,” but a ride on a streetcar is a definite must-do when you’re in New Orleans! Fares are reasonable and you’ll see a swath of the city while traveling in classic style. 

streetcar in the new orleans city street
via Canva

62. Take a Gondola Ride

City Park is home to Nola Gondola, a traditional Venetian gondola ride that hearkens back to the days of yore. When it comes to fun things to do in New Orleans, this one brings out the city’s romance like few others.

63. Walk Through Audubon Zoo

The world-class Audubon Zoo is home to endangered whooping cranes as well as exotic tigers, rare leopards and more. For animal lovers and those with small children, it’s one of the most fun family-oriented things to do in New Orleans. 

flamingo at audubon zoo
via Audubon Nature Institute 

64. Pedal a Barge

Take a fun booze cruise on a bayou river where you help propel the boat! Join a group of happy pedalers as you sip and chug your way among the sights and sounds of the southland. 

65. New Orleans Botanical Garden

City Park is home to this manicured paradise, open for daytime visits and nighttime events throughout the year. It’s among the best places to visit in New Orleans. 

hoya flowers at the botanical garden
via New Orleans City Park

66. Hit the Water

Charter a boat for a day of fishing in the Gulf of Mexico or take a sailboat around Lake Pontchartrain. With lush scenery and serene waters, you’ll find that the best things to do in New Orleans sometimes take you offshore!  

67. Walk Crescent Park

Exploring this expansive outdoor oasis is a great thing to do in New Orleans to work off the amazing food and drink you’ll be enjoying on your visit. There’s a 10K circuit that will take you over a steel bridge into the Bywater area for a self-guided open-air tour.

walk crescent park for a fun thing to do in new orleans
via Canva

Once you step off the beaten track, you find out just how many fascinating places there are to visit in New Orleans. There’s no doubt you’re going to shop, find great food and enjoy the magical atmosphere the city offers. When you add in some new additions to your personal list of the best things to do in New Orleans, you discover history and culture awaiting you around every corner!

For even more incredible things to do in New Orleans, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.

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