New Orleans is not new to tourists, and even after Hurricane Katrina, visitors returned in flocks to take in the magic of the city. Of course, there are the standard fair tourist-traps, such as Bourbon Street, Cafe Du Monde, French Market, and the Sazerac Bar in the The Roosevelt hotel, but truly and honestly there is so much more to this incredible city that will engulf you in the lives and cultures that have defined this forward thinking, behind the times city. These are our must see places in New Orleans for the full experience.
Free Wheelin’ Bike Tours
Ditch the car rental. Take a cab into town and save yourself the hassle of parking and dealing with the traffic. Sit back and relax instead. Uber is in town, and the cabs are some of the cleanest we have seen in our travels. For your day of adventure, we recommend renting a bicycle. We found Free Wheelin’ Bike Tours and loved everything they had. Their cruisers are amazing quality, and you can rent your bike after your tour. Yes, take the tour. Family owned and operated, you are going to see a part of the city you would never have seen, and get the from-the-heart stories from a family that has lived there for generations. Got that? Tour, then rent. You can bike to all the places we share below.
What To See
New Orleans City Park
Yes, it’s a park. Yes, it’s worth the ride. Ride? Well, with a park that is twice the size of Central Park in New York City, you are going to need more than your two little feet to get around and see the sites. With the amazing landscape, trails, and wide open space, this is the quintessential look for New Orleans landscape wrapped up in an incredible package. Your bike is going to be your best friend for this journey, but be sure to pack some bottled water and maybe even some snacks to enjoy while enjoying the outdoors.
Get A History Lesson
The National WWII Museum
Did you know the the National WWII Museum is in New Orleans? Nope? Don’t worry, neither did we. But when we found it, we were amazed at all it had to offer. This is not your standard one floor, one campaign kind of war museum. Instead, you have multiple buildings, displays big and small, artifacts from all sides, showing multiple campaigns in a visual, historical, and interactive timelines that you get to walk at your own pace. You are assigned a war veteran, a real person whose story has been saved for the next generation to hear, and get to follow along as they tell you about their life in the war. It is incredible, heart breaking, and eye opening.
Honor The Dead
Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 Tour
Tour a cemetery? Well, yes, it’s almost required while in New Orleans. With the unique topography of the city, all the cemetaries are above ground, and many of them open to the public. Take a tour with one of the local experts, such as Robert Florence of Historic New Orleans Tours, to learn about all that has gone into this unique form of honoring the legacies and families of those no longer with us. From well maintained lots to broken down and forgotten plaques, these cemeteries carry the history of the city truly on its face.
Honor The City
Grammy-Award Winning Rebirth Brass Brand at the Maple Leaf Bar
The Rebirth Brass Band is a New Orleans institution founded in 1983. Playing every Tuesday night at the Maple Lead Bar, it is one of the must see music experiences of the city. The style and format is traditional to New Orleans, and they know how to keep the party going for hours on end. Every bit of their performance really keeps the tempo, and if you don’t feel the culture waving over you with every note played, you might be visiting for the wrong reason. While there are amazing groups all around, even playing in Jefferson Square in the evening, we found something magical about the Rebirth Brass Band and they played into the night in a packed (very very very packed) venue. Your ears might hate you, but your soul will thank you.
To book your trip to New Orleans, visit VisitNewOrleans.com.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. The opinions and text are all mine.