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If life has got you down, take a load off in New Orleans, Louisiana, better known as “The Big Easy”. Sounds good already! While other Southern cities might call merry-making after sundown “nightlife”, New Orleans just calls it “life”.
By day, eat your fill of savoury Creole, African and Cajun cuisine and top off your tummy with French-inspired beignets and cafe au lait. By night, enjoy the famous devil-may-care vibes along with the warm, balmy weather, and mystery and magic around every corner. Want to see for yourself? Pack up your breezy bayou-wear and check out places to stay in New Orleans on Wotif.
Step back in time at the National WWII Museum and Historic New Orleans Collection, a museum filled with artefacts from pre-Civil War life to the present day. When you’re ready to explore the many curves of the “Crescent City”, take a streetcar through the Garden District for a ride on the gentle side of Southern living (it’s not all parties!). Then check out Mardi Gras World, where you can watch parade floats take their flamboyant shapes right before your eyes.
Fat Tuesday is the most popular time for New Orleans holidays, and it’s not hard to see why. We don’t need to tell you what to do if you’re visiting for this world-famous event. But what about the day after? Head over to the peaceful lawns and botanical gardens of New Orleans City Park, America’s seventh most-visited park. Ancient oak trees provide plenty of shade for your tired eyes, and the 24-hour cafe is always ready with beignets and coffee.
Flights to New Orleans touch down at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), about 24km west of downtown. Once you’ve made it to the city centre, public transportation can get you to every stop on your itinerary, with a fleet of buses and rail lines at your command. Catch a cab or book car hire for the commute to your hotel in New Orleans and decide how you want to see the city from there.
If you want to see some serious cutting loose during Mardi Gras in late February, plan ahead, because you’re definitely not the only one who loves colourful beads and plenty of adult beverages. If you’re thinking of doing something a bit earlier (or if fighting bead-draped tourists for accommodation in New Orleans just isn’t your thing), September through January have awesome weather and plenty going on.
Chow down on oysters and crawfish during the fabulous Louisiana Seafood Festival in early September; in October, follow your nose—and ears—to the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival in Lafayette Square. In November, the festivals really heat up with some of the best food in New Orleans: Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival, Oak Street Po-Boy Festival and the Boudin, Bourbon & Beer Festival all take place in the crisp fall air.
If you’re seeing a theme here, you’re a smart one! This famous foodie city’s got a festival for every form of fare, so whenever you travel, you’ll likely run into some irresistible grub—accompanied by live music, of course. You’re in NOLA!
You’ve eaten, you’ve hit the museums and you’ve spent time a-plenty in darkened jazz bars. But not all the New Orleans action takes place indoors. New Orleans accommodation near Jackson Square puts you within walking distance of Woldenberg Riverfront Park, a huge 16-acre adult playground (and not the alcohol-fuelled kind). Walk or bike along the Moonwalk path for awesome views, pausing to watch local artists and strolling bands do their thang. Can’t lift a toe today? Hop on a steamboat tour at the wharf and cruise the ol’ Mississippi.
You can meander through parks all day, but you haven’t really experienced Louisiana till you’ve taken a swamp tour. Sure, platypus and wallabies are pretty weird-looking, but have you ever seen a nutria? It’s sort of an ugly cousin to the wombat—with bright orange teeth. You can also get up close and personal (but not too personal) with alligators, turtles and snakes. Swamp creature selfies? Yes, please!
Whether you came to eat, dance, party or relax, New Orleans’ must-see spot is no secret. Even if you’ve only got one day in New Orleans, you need accommodation in the French Quarter, where you can do all four of those things. Grab a coffee and a beignet in Jackson Square as you watch the local artists ply their trade; fill your newsfeed with stunning pics of the area’s historic buildings, like the St. Louis Cathedral and Cabildo and Presbytere history museums. Travel back in time at the 1850 House, and see what’s going on at the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park.
Of course, eating and dancing are just as important—we could argue they are actually more important. Take care of both at once with a Court of Two Sisters Jazz Brunch. Try classic dishes like duck à l'orange and shrimp etouffée or get a little exotic with some “turtle-y” awesome soup. Knock back a few mimosas and dance the day away to live jazz. Now you’re living it up NOLA-style.
Still got some time on your hands? New Orleans has a bar for every type—even the types who don’t like bars. The city’s colourful past means some of its oldest and most interesting buildings are pubs, so even your history-loving mate will be entertained while you get your drink on. And of course, the only thing this town is more famous for is its live music scene. We don’t have to tell you about Bourbon Street, but if you want to go where the locals go, you need to hit Frenchmen Street instead.
In fact, bust out the mimosas right now (unless you’re at work) and put on some jazz while you check out Wotif’s great selection of New Orleans hotels. Skip the sky-high rates and save your cash for stuffing your face instead of thinning your wallet. You’ll thank us later!
Need insider tips on must-see attractions in New Orleans? Check out our New Orleans travel guide!
Hotels in New Orleans start at AU$120 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.