Have you ever regretted not visiting a famous landmark or not eating a particular food of a destination? I certainly regret not visiting St. Vitus Cathedral (located within Prague Castle) in Prague. The door was shut unbeknownst to us on the day we visited Prague Castle.
Trippy user Sloan Smith knows how it feels to miss out, so she posted a question to help her plan her upcoming trip to New Orleans:
Not to miss places in New Orleans?
Heading to NOLA for Jazzfest in a couple of months. Wondering about any of the beaten path places to visit or eat at. I have been before and seen the main touristy places, but I would love some fresh ideas.
These are the 15 not to miss places to visit in New Orleans, answers and suggestions given by Trippy users
1. French Quarter
You can’t miss the French Quarter even if you’ve been to New Orleans five times. It’s the cultural and entertainment hub and remains the most desirable spot for a tipple in New Orleans. Hungry tourists can find an array of cuisines without the need to walk for miles.
Trippy user Josh Barnett from Baton Rouge said:
It’s hard to find a bad restaurant in NOLA but here are a few of my favorites:
The Camellia Grill for a great omelet and old diner feel. Yo Mama’s Bar and Grill for a fantastic burger in the quarter. My favorite creole French cuisine is K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen. If you want a New Orleans brunch, I would suggest Brennan’s Restaurant, Court of Two Sisters, or Muriel’s Jackson Square. As already mentioned, Café du Monde for coffee and beignets. I also love NOLA Restaurant, which is an Emeril restaurant with more affordable options than Emeril’s.
2. Café du Monde
Almost everyone suggested Café du Monde for its coffee, beignets, and history. I’ve visited New Orleans twice, and both times I added Café du Monde to my list of places to visit. Café du Monde is not a new kid on the block; it has been serving café au lait (coffee and chicory served with a half and half and hot milk) and beignets since 1862.
3. Jazz at Preservation Hall
Elizabeth Way wrote:
When I think of NOLA, two things come to mind: Jazz & Food. I would not miss Preservation Hall. (Order your tickets ahead of time) And here’s a top 10 list of NOLA Jazz Venues. And the food! OMG! Where do you begin? Even though it’s touristy beyond the pale, go to Café du Monde for Beignets and Cafe au Lait. And for dinner, there are so many, many great restaurants. One of my personal favorites is Herbsaint. Chef Link also has another award-winning place called Cochon Butcher. These two consistently make the top 10 lists. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Preservation Hall has nightly shows at 8, 9 and 10 pm. Some days they have an additional show at 6 pm. General admission is $15 from Sunday through Thursday and $20 for Friday and Saturday. They only take cash. A limited amount of reserved seats, or “Big Shot” seats are available online at $35-$50 per seat and more on special events.
4. The National World War II Museum
Kristal Sajasi from California wrote:
I really enjoyed The National World War II Museum and the swamp tours. If you are into the cemetery tours can be entertaining with a lot of information.
According to the museum, their mission is:
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.
5. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
Trippy user Scott Mahaffy wrote:
If you have a car and a little more time, I might suggest a half day airboat trip in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve I also regularly enjoyed drives down in the bayou to small towns like Port Sulphur, Buras. Finally, make sure you have a great meal at some place like K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, or Commander’s Palace Restaurant. Oh, almost forgot, check out The Roosevelt New Orleans and have a drink at The Sazerac Bar.
Located about a 25-minute drive from downtown New Orleans, Jean Lafitte National Park’s Barataria Preserve is one of the best places to see the swamps, bayous, marshes, and forests. This 23,000 acres preserve has alligators and over 200 species of birds. There is a guided walk on the boardwalk trail every Wednesday to Saturday at 10 am.
Swamp tours and airboat tours are other activities at the Jean Lafitte National History Park and Preserve.
Josh Reyher from New Orleans wrote:
I have taken my family on the Jean Lafitte Swamp Tour Jean Lafitte Swamp Tour. We had about 20 family members, so we took up half the boat. Great tour doesn’t take too long reasonably priced. We had an excellent time, the guides were knowledgeable and provided a great show. We saw lots of gators and later on my kids got to hold a gator which was really cool. My daughters went nuts trying to hold the gator. The cool thing about the tour is you are near Jean Lafitte National Park. The park has some great boardwalk trails you can walk and are worth the day trip. I wouldn’t go as part of a package I would plan to drive yourself there and do both.
6. Muriel’s Jackson Square
My favorite place to go is the balcony Muriel’s Jackson Square which is free to just go sit up on. As you walk up the stairs to the balcony, you will see an empty table set with silverware and likely wine. Muriel’s is said to be haunted, so that is why the empty table is there. If you want to get a feel for what Mardi Gras is like head over to the Mardi Gras World. There you can see people working on the floats and see a history of Mardi Gras as well as taste some king cake.
7. Magazine Street
Scott Mahaffy said:
I rented a house on Camp Street in the lower Garden district for six months and really enjoyed the areas around Magazine Street Local eateries and much more local feel, but not far from the Quarter. I used to go to a place called Juan’s Flying Burrito once a week, and dang were they good.
Trippy user David Gindin liked Magazine Street for its restaurant too. He wrote:
Take a stroll down Magazine Street starting around Washington Ave or further uptown depending on how much walking you enjoy. Stop at Bouligny Tavern for some small plates and delicious drinks. Then continue to Le Bon Temps Roule which is where you’ll find the locals hanging out (especially on Thursday night when the Soul Rebels do their weekly set).
8. Frenchmen Street
Lori Walker from Louisiana preferred Frenchmen Street for the music and cafes:
Enjoy street music in the outdoor cafe and their beignets. For music go to Frenchmen Street-Live.
It’s hard to beat Frenchmen Street Live when it comes to jazz and live music. There’s every style of music, from jazz, funk, brass bands, Latin, to electronic, blues and hip hop performed by musicians from around the world.
9. Commander’s Palace Restaurant
Trippy users Lauren Folkmann and Kristal Sajasi liked Commander’s Palace Restaurant. Lauren wrote:
If you’ve been to NOLA before you may have already been to Commander’s Palace Restaurant, but it’s always a must for me-another great spot for lunch with 25cent martinis!
A landmark in New Orleans since 1893, Commander’s Palace Restaurant is one of the most famous restaurants in New Orleans and winner of six James Beard Foundation Awards. If you must choose one meal to eat there, choose their jazz brunch. The lunch menu says it all.
The restaurant has a 25 cent martini when you order a meal.
10. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar
Trippy user Jessica Jung from New York suggested:
Tip: This other place isn’t jazz, but it is a must, it’s called Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar. It’s the oldest bar in the United States (and supposedly very haunted), and they do wonderful covers of classic piano songs. It’s dark and a bit dingy because it’s old but it was an awesome music spot to be at night off of bourbon street.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is the oldest continuous running bar in America. Opened since 1772 on Bourbon Street.
11. New Orleans City Park
Nathan Agin said:
City Park isn’t too far from the French Quarter and is HUGE. Beautiful, plus museums, sculpture garden, walking trails, etc. I think one of the trolleys goes up there, or it’s not that far of a walk if you’re feeling ambitious.
If you’re traveling with children, a half day trip to New Orleans City Park will do wonders for your vacation in New Orleans. Explore the rides at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. Besides the carousel, bumper cars and Ferris wheel, the park also provides kid-friendly train rides.
12. Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World
Russ Schoemer from Pittsburg suggested:
If you are not going to get the chance to see a Mardi Gras parade, we always recommend a visit to Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World to see the floats and costumes.
At this unique museum, every day is a Mardi Gras day. The museum is open year-round.
13. Algiers Point
Trippy user Nathan Agin wrote:
If you have time, take the ferry to Algiers. It’s only $1 (or maybe free?) and feels like a place from another era. Lots of shotgun houses.
Enjoy the New Orleans skyline and the Mississippi river on a ferry from Canal Street to Algiers Point. Once an industrial site, Algiers Point is now a three-mile riverfront along the levee with specialty stores, recording studios and community parks. It’s a great place to bike or walk and have a picnic. You’ll also find ancient oaks and Victorian cottages here.
Lauren Folkmann wrote:
Treme – Lafitte is a historic neighborhood to check out, and you can grab some authentic fried chicken from Willie Mae’s Scotch Houseor Dooky Chase’s Restaurant while you’re there!
Live music, fried chicken, museums dedicated to African American life, art and history are some of the things to do in Treme. Per New Orleans Official Guide, Treme is America’s oldest African American neighborhood.
15. St. Augustine Catholic Church
If you are so inclined as to attend Sunday Mass, St. Louis Cathedral is magnificent, but for a real NOLA religious experience, we have been sending our friends to St. Augustine Catholic Church – said to be the oldest African American Catholic parish in the US, so much fun and inspiration you won’t even mind the extra long mass time (1-1/2 – 2 hours)!