I spent about 5 days in New Orleans, and I enjoyed the city immensely. It’s colourful, musical and has that edge of weirdness that just makes everything more interesting. I stayed about 15 minutes walk from the French Quarter and in this blog post I will try to pull together all the wide variety of things to see and do in that area.
Bourbon, Royal and Chartres Street run all the way from the Faubourg Marigny area where I was staying, to Canal Street at the other end.
As I said, New Orleans is an incredibly colourful city. I was also surprised by the fact that it is not just one block or one street that is colourful with french architecture. It is like that everywhere I went in the older part of the city!
I particularly enjoyed walking along Royal Street because there are tons of art galleries right next to each other, and you’re very likely to encounter a little jazz ensemble along that street.
Another peculiar French Quarter thing: Mules! I don’t think I saw any horse drawn carriages, only mule drawn.
Jackson Square is another must see. I never saw the place without a band playing and a handful of fortune tellers.
The Mardi Gras spirit lives, even in May!
The cathedral with the park in front of it isn’t hard to look at either. Going through the park will also get you straight to Café du Monde, a New Orleans tradition.
Super crowded place during the day – I went at 11.30 PM because.. well, just because, and I got a table right away.
It is very cheap at 6 dollars for 3 beignets and a coffee. I really liked the coffee and the beignets were definitely not bad either, although don’t eat it wearing dark clothes.. You’ll regret it.
From Café du Monde it is not a long walk to check out Natchez, the steamboat that ‘lives’ in New Orleans harbour. It is the only true steamboat left on the Mississippi, and is I think about a 100 years old by now. I went on the Jazz Cruise one afternoon which was nice, though not a must do.
When in the French Quarter there’s also a pretty solid chance that you’ll get to experience a parade. Don’t worry, you can hear it before you can see it!
I loved this experience! You just start following them, and you pretty much walk among the musicians. It’s controlled chaos, basically.
I didn’t prioritise museums very highly during my time in New Orleans, but I did catch a few. The voodoo museum was definitely.. special.
There’s such a strong tradition in New Orleans for the supernatural. Voodoo and haunted places to the point where, if you want to sell a house, it’s a strong selling point that it is not haunted!
Tours however, I think I joined more of those in New Orleans than any other place I visited on my roadtrip! In the French Quarter, it was Dr. Gumbo’s Food Tour which was absolutely awesome and I’d recommend it to anyone.
You get to try a lot of very different things, high-end to low-end, with Dr. Gumbo as your very entertaining guide. Above are boudin balls and pork skins at SoBou, below the city’s only bacon-pecan brittles at Leah’s Pralines! (They’re delicious by the way).
The tour ends at a very high-end restaurant just in time for happy hour, and you can stay there with your drinks for as long as you like. And after that, no visit to the French Quarter would be complete without checking out Bourbon Street at night.
So, the French Quarter of New Orleans brewed down to the basics: Music, food, architecture, steamboat, supernaturals, museums, and a way of life that allows to-go drinks and Mardi Gras beads.. I think it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone here! New Orleans made it to my Top 3 of favourite places on my roadtrip through southeast USA. Fantastic place, and I have lots more to share from here!
Have you been to New Orleans? What was your favourite experience? Comment below!