One of the early icons of the New Orleans restaurant scene, Casamento’s has been serving fresh oysters in the city since 1919. Slurp down some chargrilled oysters, a New Orleans staple, before munching on fried soft-shell crab and shrimp gumbo. While the food is classic Southern-style cooking, it’s the design that is the main draw card of this New Orleans institution. Casamento’s look has barely evolved with the times. Covered in floor-to-ceiling mosaic tiles and still boasting an old-school register, you’ll feel like you’ve walked back in time and onto the set of a 1950s sitcom. And the register isn’t just for looks: this is a cash-only joint, so come prepared.
Get funky on Frenchmen Street
While it’s hard to move past Bourbon Street, we promise you a trip to lively Frenchmen Street will be worth it. A popular spot for locals, Frenchmen Street is full of live music, bars, restaurants, night clubs and art galleries. Famous for its jazz bars – which is just so New Orleans – grab a drink and soak up the vibes of The Spotted Cat and Three Muses. While it’s not as fancy as Bourbon Street, you’ll find cheaper eats and a more authentic experience. Once you finish up at the bars, swing by the Palace Market where you can pick up some art and jewellery until 1am everyday.
Be a flâneur in the French Quarter
The smell of fresh beignets and the sounds of a sax fill the air as soon as you get to this part of the city. With its unique atmosphere and zest for life, visiting the French Quarter of New Orleans is a one-of-a-kind experience. The neighbourhood, also known as Vieux Carre, is the heart and soul of this New Orleans. As the site of the original French colony who first settled in this part of the world in 1718, the city hasn’t forgotten its roots. Stroll down cobblestoned streets and practice your seventh-grade French as you read street signs in their original language. Grab a coffee at Café du Monde and head out on Bourbon Street as you drink in all this area has to offer.
Visit the National WWII Museum
Recognised by Congress at the official museum on the topic, the National WWII Museum records the contribution the US Military Forces made to ending the Second World War. Even if you’re not a massive history buff, this interactive museum brings history to life in a way you’ve probably never seen before. Full of the heroic stories of ordinary soldiers, oral records of personal reflections about the trials of war and a massive collection of memorabilia, you’ll be engaged and enthralled in every moment. If you visit one museum on your trip to New Orleans, make it this one.
Reconnect with the nature in City Park
If you’re in need of a bit of R&R after all the travelling, head down to City Park. One of the best places to spend an afternoon in the sun, it’s also the peaceful centre of lots of the city’s cultural institutions. Stroll through 12 acres of stunning gardens at the New Orleans Botanical Garden, or pop into the New Orleans Museum of Art to see what’s on display. Visit the Train Garden, which unlike its name suggests, features miniatures of the city’s most famous building made out of botanicals, or sit under the Anseman and McDonogh Oak trees, both believed to be between 600 and 900 years old.
Things to do in New Orleans
Jazz & Heritage Festival
Music & Culture
Jazz runs deep in this city, so it’s no surprise New Orleans puts on a show each year for its Jazz & Heritage Festival. With amazing Southern food, drink and arts and crafts vendors lining the showgrounds, Jazz fills the air for days during this two-week festival. Usually occurring between April and May, this is one you don’t want to miss.
One of the biggest music festivals in New Orleans, Essence Festival is a three-day festival focusing on African-American culture and empowerment. While its line-up features the likes of Ciara and Kendrick Lamar, it also features a series of talks and seminars by prominent African-Americans, including Tyra Banks and Misty Copeland. You can catch the Essence festival in early July.
Louisiana Seafood Festival
Every Labour Day weekend, New Orleans gets geared up to celebrate all the seafood that features in its delicious cuisine. Held in Woldenberg Park every October, this food festival sees vendors from all across Louisiana gather to serve up their best dishes. Chow down on the likes of oysters, crawfish and shrimp cooked every which way.
French Quarter Festival
Music & Culture
An annual celebration of the vibrant French Quarter, the New Orleans French Quarter Festival is full of music, food and fun. With musical stages set all over the neighbourhood, food and drink vendors lining the streets, eat, drink and dance the night away every April.
Fried Chicken Festival
Fried chicken, the South’s favourite comfort food, is front and centre at the Fried Chicken Festival in September. Held in Woldenberg Park on the banks of the Mississippi River, this outdoor festival features a fried chicken eating competition, as well as the prestigious ‘Best Fried Chicken’ Contest. Get yourself down to Woldenberg Park in September for this epic occasion.
Top 5 Festivals in New Orleans
New Orleans loves a party, so when it comes to festivals, you know they do it right. From jazz music to African-American cultural celebrations, to every kind of food festival you can think of, you’ll find it in New Orleans. Here are our top five picks for festivals to hit in New Orleans.
New Orleans Jazz Museum
Discover the world of jazz in the city where it all began. Through dynamic interactive exhibits, research facilities and engaging musical performances, the dynamic New Orleans Jazz Museum celebrates the city’s jazzy history. The New Orleans Jazz Museum is housed in the historic Old U.S. Mint.
New Orleans Museum of Art
With over 40,000 artworks in its collection, the New Orleans Museum of Art is a great way to get to know the creative side of the city. See exhibits on French and American art, photography and glass works, as well as African and Japanese pieces. Try not to get lost in the museum’s five-acre Sculpture Garden.
The National WWII Museum
For lovers of history, get yourself down to the National WWII Museum. Located in Downtown New Orleans, this museum tells the story of the American involvement in WWII. Stories of heroism come to life through multimedia displays and collections of wartime aircraft and artefacts.
The Historic New Orleans Collection
The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research centre and publishing house that aims to preserve and promote the history and culture of the city. Browse one of the four permanent exhibits, read some of their award-winning books, or jump on one of their architecture and courtyard tours of Vieux Carre, one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods.
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Located in the vibrant Warehouse Arts District of downtown New Orleans, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art tells the story of the South through art. This museum holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world and promotes knowledge, understanding, interpretation and appreciation of the visual arts and culture of the American South.
Top 5 Museums & Galleries in New Orleans
From its involvement in WWII to its development of jazz, New Orleans has made a massive contribution to life and culture in the US. Discover the stories of the South through some of the city’s most impressive museums. Here are five of our favourite museums in New Orleans.
Chargrilled oysters are a New Orleans speciality. Unlike their raw counterparts, these oysters are filled with breadcrumb, herbs, cheese and melted butter – yum. Cooked over an open flame, you can fill up on these babies at Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter. Look out for its iconic neon sign.
Best eaten at Acme Oyster House, 724 Iberville St, LA 70130
First given to the streetcar labourers who were on strike, these sandwiches have become a local favourite in new Orleans. Served on crusty French baguettes, Po’ Boys are filled with fried shrimp or beef. And remember, you’ve got to ask for any extra dressings, as the O. G. sandwich doesn’t come with any salads. Grab yours at Johnny’s Po’ Boys, a local institution in the French Quarter.
Best eaten at Johnny's Po' Boys, 511 St Louis St, LA 70130
A favourite of almost everyone who’s ever passed through New Orleans, beignets are the signature pastry of the city. First introduced by the French immigrants who made up the city’s first European settlers, these light, deep-fried puffs of dough are covered in powered sugar. Down them while they’re fresh and hot at Café Du Monde, New Orleans’ most iconic café.
Best eaten at Café Du Monde, 800 Decatur St, LA 70116
A contribution from the city’s Italian community, muffulettas are epic sandwiches made from a bread loaf of the same name. Piled high with layers of salami, ham, mortadella and various cheeses, the sandwich is topped of with a generous coating of olive oil. Get your hands around one of these at Central Grocery and Deli.
Best eaten at Central Grocery and Deli, 923 Decatur St, LA 70116
Red Beans and Rice
An amazing example of tradition home-style cooking, red beans and rice are the ultimate in Southern comfort food. Made using leftover pork bones from Sunday dinner, beans are thickened up with ham hock, broth and vegetables, you can pick up this hearty dish at Mother’s Restaurant in New Orleans.
Best eaten at Mother's Restaurant, 401 Poydras St, LA 70130
Food in New Orleans
Drawing on its working-class and migrant heritage, New Orleans serves up simple comfort food that’ll get you ordering seconds. From flame-grilled oysters to stuffed sandwiches and deep-fried beignets, here’s a list of where to eat in New Orleans.