Explore the Top 10 Points of Interest in New Orleans
Choosing where to go during your New Orleans vacation is no easy feat. With so many world-class restaurants, historic buildings, famous landmarks, and gorgeous parks, it’s tough to fit everything into one trip. We’ve narrowed your search down to our 10 favorite points of interest in New Orleans, covering the famed French Quarter, the plantations lining the shore of River Road, and many fascinating spots in between.
Consider these your jumping off point, but remember, there’s so much more to explore in the Big Easy! When in doubt, booking a tour or activity ahead of time is a great way to help you get your bearings. Check out the ones featured in this guide for inspiration. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
French Quarter & Jackson Square
One of the must-visit points of interest in New Orleans, the French Quarter is alive with history, French and Spanish influences, and luxurious old buildings. The neighborhood is home to Jackson Square, the site where Louisiana was officially declared a U.S. territory as a result of the Louisiana Purchase. During your visit to the French Quarter, enjoy fine dining, local museums, and gorgeous Spanish architecture. Discover the myths and legends of this area on a Voodoo tour or get the lay of the land on a walking tour.
St. Louis Cathedral
You can’t miss St. Louis Cathedral, located on the north side of Jackson Square. This landmark structure with its distinct triple steeples and white facade was built in 1794, making it the oldest continuously used cathedral in the U.S. You can attend mass there Monday through Friday and Sunday, or just stop in the square to take in the beautiful view of the building.
River Road Plantations
Located just outside the city, the old plantation houses along River Road are significant attractions in New Orleans. While the architecture of these sweeping mansions is certainly impressive, the history of these Antebellum-era plantations is even more important in understanding modern-day NOLA. A plantation tour can help you uncover the significance of New Orleans’ African-American history and slave past. Some of the most-visited plantations include Whitney Plantation, Oak Alley Plantation, and Laura Plantation.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
New Orleans’ large above-ground cemetery, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, is home to hundreds of crumbling graves with many famous NOLA residents entombed within, like Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and Nicolas Cage (the latter isn’t deceased yet, but he’s already secured a gravesite in the cemetery). Built in 1789, the cemetery is one of the most popular points of interest in New Orleans, with over 100,000 visitors per year. It should come as no surprise that reports of ghost sightings and hauntings are common here. In fact, if you hope to cross the veil and meet the larger-than-life personalities in the cemetery, there are plenty of ghost and haunted tours to give you a scare.
Get around NOLA like a local and ride one of the historic streetcars! Vintage streetcars are a charming way to tour the city, with four separate lines taking you where you need to go. The Saint Charles Streetcar Line is perhaps the most well known, running down St. Charles Ave for more than 150 years. It’s a NOLA point of interest that has become a symbol of the city’s humble beginnings. In fact, this streetcar line is the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world! The other lines are the Canal Street Line, the Riverfront Line, and the Loyola/UPT Line.
National WWII Museum
One of New Orleans’ top museums, the National WWII Museum features exhibits on WWII aircraft, the war in the Pacific, and the war in Europe, with documentary segments and oral histories that give you a look at what life was like during the war. You also get assigned a profile of someone who fought in the war so you can follow his progression through the war as you move through the museum. Visit the museum on Magazine Street.
Preservation Hall is a historic music venue that has long been a New Orleans jazz music institution. Located in the French Quarter, the building hosts intimate music events that pay homage to New Orleans’ rich musical history. Preservation Hall holds jazz concerts over 350 nights a year, so no matter when you’re in town, you can find the time to listen to some classic NOLA jazz. Visit Preservation Hall on a New Orleans Music Legacy Tour.
City Park is New Orleans’ largest outdoor attraction, with great family-friendly activities and points of interest. The park is 50% bigger than Central Park in New York City – you could spend the whole day there and never run out of things to do. There’s a storybook-themed playground, a botanical garden, historic, handcrafted carousel, and a stunning grove of mature live oak trees. Walking and biking are very popular in the park’s 1,300 acres of green space.
St. Roch Market
You can’t visit New Orleans without trying some classic Louisiana culinary creations, and there’s no better place to treat your taste buds than the St. Roch Market. Featuring a curated mix of the best local chefs and bartenders, St. Roch Market is the perfect foodie destination in New Orleans. Enjoy creamy lattes, fresh Gulf oysters, margaritas, Malysian comfort food, and more. Of course, if you can’t decide what you want, you might be better off letting the locals take you on a New Orleans food tour!
Audubon Park & Audubon Zoo
If you’re looking for a family-friendly activity in New Orleans, visit Audubon Park and Audubon Zoo! Offering a nice escape from the city, the zoo has a wide variety of animals to view, like elephants, giraffes, alligators, and more. There’s even a Louisiana swamp exhibit with a swamp train running through it. The park boasts plenty of lush green space, a golf club, and beautiful live oak trees.
With so many points of interest to explore, New Orleans is a great destination for all kinds of travelers. No matter your interest, you’ll find something fun to do in the Big Easy!