New Orleans is the home to more than a few of the best TV shows and movies; it has an air of mystery and is somewhere that often tops the lists for where people really want to go in the US. 

When the words ‘melting pot of culture’ are used for many other cities and states, that might be true, but it is nothing compared to New Orleans.

What To Do, See and Eat In New Orleans

What is the culture like in New Orleans?

There are things you probably already know based on some of what you’ve seen on TV, but the richness of New Orleans is something you can only truly experience by being there. The society is built by everyone there, and the businesses, music, festivals and food reflect it. 

At the bare minimum, you can experience the Italian St. Joseph’s Day, Germany’s Oktoberfest, Irish societies, French and Mardi Gras – and that doesn’t scratch the surface. The main cultures are Cajun and Creole, German, Irish, Latino, African, French and Spanish (Culture of New Orleans.) 

New Orleans, due to the huge amount of different influences, is considered to be the cultural capital of the south and the heart of some of the best music in the world. In fact, it has been coined the birthplace of Jazz too. 

But make no mistake, with all of that comes some of the quirkiest things you’ll find in the US. And more importantly, all of these quirks are understood by the locals. The nightlife is infamous, and you should never be surprised to see custom-wearing party-goers, terms like ‘making groceries’, and people are friendly. As in, you better be ready to say hello, good morning and ready to talk! 

Once you’ve landed at Louis Armstrong (MSY), you’re going to want to head out on an adventure straight away. Don’t wait for check-in time and drag your suitcases around; find luggage storage New Orleans has plenty, and you can drop and go. 

“There Are A Lot Of Places I Like, But I Like New Orleans Better.” – Bob Dylan
What To Do, See and Eat In New Orleans

What to eat in New Orleans

This might be one of the longest lists because New Orleans has some of the best food in the US. The food culture is longstanding and iconic for a reason – and once people find out you are visiting, you’ll be inundated with suggestions. And the best suggestion is to try as much as you can. 

Start with the Po’Boys because you’re probably going to have at least 4. There are delicious po’boys everywhere, but there are a few stand-out places that you should try. Of course, there are some high-rated recommendations from foodies across the globe about the best ones (in no specific order): 

Parran’s Po-Boys & Restaurant

The reason these po’boys are so highly rated is because of the Gendusa bread that is used, and they have a huge variety, too, including some absolute customer favorites like Italian sausage, roast beef and eggplant. 

Adams Street Grocery

For those who are looking to maximise their cash, here is where you will find one of the best value po’boys in New Orleans. The grocery store is tucked away but worth going to find, and when you are there, go for the beef po’boy or the fried shrimp. These are served up on delicious Dong Phuong bread. 

Guy’s Poboys

For those looking for somewhere with a long history, this place has been owned by the same person for over 60 years – and the recipes are still the same. What’s more, the owner is usually the one making the po’boys in the kitchen. You can’t get more New Orleans than that! The Bomb, which has grilled shrimp, catfish, Swiss and cheddar cheese, is a must. For a lighter bite, try the grilled chicken po’boy. 

There is one place that you have to head to for your taste of New Orleans’s sweet history. 

Cafe du Monde

In the French Quarter, you’ll find the beignet shop that features multiple food shows, movies and TV shows because it is the best of the best and truly iconic. After you’ve enjoyed the coffee and the freshly made beignet, you can pick up some of the French Roast Coffee, a hamster and the beignet mix to make them at home! 

“There Is No Place On Earth Even Remotely Like New Orleans. Don’t Even Try To Compare It To Anywhere Else.” – Anthony Bourdain
What To Do, See and Eat In New Orleans

What to see and do in New Orleans

You’ll get to see a lot of the sights as you want to go around sampling all of the delicious foodie offerings, but there are a couple of places in the Crescent City that you should make sure you get to. 

New Orleans Cemetery

This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the chances are as a visitor to New Orleans, you are aware of the history, mystery and magic. The best way to see as much as possible is to make sure that you have booked a tour because tour guides will ensure you see all of the most important parts – and get the low-down on why they are called cities of the dead

Audubon Nature Institute 

While this is great for families, it is a lot of fun for anyone. They have so much to do here, including an aquarium, many parks, a golf course, a nature centre and a zoo! You can see everything from tree frogs to sharks and stingrays to jaguars. 

There are also butterflies in the insectarium. It is a great day out, but it is highly advised to skip it during the peak of the summer because it can be too warm for many people who aren’t used to the heat. 


New Orleans is home to some of the best music in the world, and JAMNOLA stands for Joy Art and Music in New Orleans. The creator and website describe it as the Crescent City-themes Cultural Experience. It spreads across 17 exhibits, including music, food, art and theatre and features over 30 local creatives. You’ll find a huge amount of events, too – so you can really immerse yourself in the real people and culture of New Orleans. 

Magazine Street

Wear your best walking shoes and get ready for a street that has it all and then some. Magazine Street has everything you could want in a day: stunning architecture, art galleries, plenty of places to stop for a coffee and something to eat, and shopping. If you are feeling adventurous, you can even get a tattoo and enjoy a yoga session. A street where anything you can think of is available. 

New Orleans School of Cooking 

Food is part of the tapestry of New Orleans, and you can get a real taste of the authentic flavours by taking one of the available classes at the New Orleans School of Cooking. As you learn how to make the dish, the chef will tell you more about the culture, people and history. 

To really get involved, choose the hands-on cookery lesson; although the demonstration is great, the real experience is cooing it for yourself. 

Backstreet Cultural Museum

Treme is the place to go, and it is one of the oldest African-American neighbourhoods in the country – which makes this museum highly significant. It houses what is considered to be the most comprehensive archives of the community movements and traditions. 

Most of the exhibits are permanent, but the archive grows with memorabilia, films, artefacts, costumes and photographs. If you’re lucky enough with the timing, you’ll be there when one of the museum-hosted events is on. 

The Spotted Cat Music Club

The Spotted Cat Music Club is everything you want in a live music space; it’s small and a little tired around the edges – but it is what you should go for. This jazz club is open seven days a week from 2 pm until 2 am, and they have a huge amount of bands – plus special appearances and guests. Swing, stomp, jazz, brass and stunning vocalists any day that you go. Take ID, and there is a one-drink minimum. 

Music Box Village

The name gives away exactly how cool this place is. It is more than a little pleasing to the eye and will truly make you feel like you are in New Orleans. The venue is located on the outer edge of the Bywater. It’s easy to spot thanks to the twinkling lights, plenty of wood and usually a crowd. It is important to know that the entrance is in the back because many people can’t find it. Music Box Village is a museum-music-venue-wonderland, and then some. The unique sound setup is something that musicians experiment with, and you never really know how the evening will go – but you know for sure it won’t be like the night before or tomorrow’s. 

Most travellers recommend you have at least two weeks here because there is so much to do, see and eat. But not many people are able to take so long. So what can you do if you only have a limited time, like 48 hours? Here are just some of what you can do with a limited time: 48 Hours in New Orleans.  

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