12 Reasons why New Orleans is one of the best cities in the USA
There is no other place on earth that compares to the city of New Orleans, from the seafood cook ups to the swamp tours and all of the live jazz in between.
This is a place that’s sure to keep drawing you in long afterwards whether that’s because you can still taste the O-M-G sugar dusted beignet pastries or a little bit of voodoo magic, you’ll have to try it for yourself to find out.
1.The beignets at Cafe Du Monde
The local Creole cuisine is a mix of French, West African, Spanish, Caribbean and Southern influences. Don’t leave town without trying one of the most well known French imports to Louisiana in the form of a delicious square piece of fried dough covered in powdered sugar, otherwise known as a beignet.
Also make sure you try it at the famous French market coffee stand Cafe Du Monde, which has been around since 1862 and sits alongside the Mississippi River. The line to get in can be long but is well worth the wait.
2. Swamp tours
You can’t go to New Orleans and not go on a swamp tour. The marshlands are an extremely important ecosystem and hold a special place in Louisiana culture. Cajun and Native American Indians have been living in harmony with these lands for centuries.
From the lurking alligators and squealing swamp pigs to pristine lakes that wind through the state, you'll discover how special these swamps are to Louisiana.
3. The French Quarter
Walk the bustling streets of the French Quarter with a frozen daiquiri in hand, it’s the only way to explore the exciting historical area of New Orleans where drinking in the streets is not only legal, it’s expected, as is having a damn good time while you’re at it.
Other local drinks include the local NOLA and Abita beers or a Creole Bloody Mary and Ramos Gin Fizz.
4. Boiled crawfish
New Orleans is a city that takes its seafood and its football (NFL) very seriously. From late February to Early June the city’s favourite native food (and Louisiana’s state crustacean), crawfish, is in season.
If you’re in town around this time you won’t want to miss the traditional experience of eating outdoors around newspaper-covered tables peeling crawfish from a plentiful crawfish boil.
5. Riding a streetcar (named Desire - except not really)
Go back in time by hopping on a streetcar. The city has five lines with the most well-known being the St. Charles since it is the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world.
Hop aboard at Canal St in Mid-City and ride all the way down to the Mississippi. Then transfer to the St. Charles line and ride all along The Avenue and down Carrollton.
6. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
The city of New Orleans really comes to life during its annual ‘Jazz Fest’ where people can be seen dancing in the streets at all hours of the day and night to the best jazz, gospel, Cajun, Latin, Caribbean and all other kinds of soulful music.
7. New Orleans Creole and Cajun cuisine
New Orleans is a Creole city. In the 300 odd years, it has been in existence, the city has gone from French and Spanish to Caribbean and African and then all of these cultures all at once. The city’s food reflects this with two of its most popular cultural cuisines of Creole and Cajun. Creole food is distinct from its Cajun neighbours, who immigrated from French Canada to Louisiana's coasts, bayous and prairies in the 1700s.
Les Acadians ("The Cajuns") made use of whole hogs, the state's abundance of seafood and wild game. Some traditional foods popular in both cultures include fried chicken, gumbo and jambalaya.
8. Seeing live traditional jazz at Preservation Hall
The best place for trad-jazz, Dixieland, and ragtime in America.
9. Going on a historic cemetery tour
More than 600 fascinating tombs line maze-like narrow walkways of the Saint Louis Cemetery #1, the city’s oldest cemetery opened in 1789. The most haunting tomb is of internationally recognized “Voodoo Queen,” Marie Laveau.
10. Going shopping on Magazine Street
Making your way along the 10km Magazine Street is perfect both for finding that special souvenir or gift in addition to being a great walking tour of New Orleans’ stunning Garden District.
11. New Orleans’ Historic Voodoo Museum
The small museum which is an institution to locals was founded in 1972 by Charles Massicot Gandolfo, a local artist with a passion for all things Voodoo. New Orleans Voodoo is a conglomerate of African and European influences that have been stirred together within the cultural melting pot of New Orleans and is one of the city’s most unique historical draw cards.
12. New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
This unusual museum was once an apothecary around the early 1800s, started by America’s first licensed pharmacist, Louis Joseph Dufilho, Jr. A weird but necessary stop on any visit to NOLA.
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