When visiting New Orleans, you can find something magical and unforgettable every day. Whether it's an opportunity to sample our exceptional cuisine, to learn about our rich cultural heritage or a music festival you seek, New Orleans has something for everyone.
New Orleans is known for it's festival calendar, filled with celebrations of food, music and the city's unique culture. Beginning with Mardi Gras and ending with Christmas New Orleans Style, our calendar year has a festival for everyone. And in a city that loves to party, many of our festivals and cultural celebrations are seeing record-breaking attendance levels. In 2012, French Quarter Festival saw more than 570,000 attendees in a four day period and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival hosted more than 450,000 people, its highest attendance levels since 2003. From Cajun and Zydeco to oysters to poboys to Carnival time, we invite you to experience our one-of-a-kind festival season.
Check out the festival calendar below for more examples of fun just waiting to be had in New Orleans all year round.
During your trip to New Orleans you'll have the opportunity to indulge in world-famous cuisine, savor specialty cocktails and dance the night away to some of the best live music in the world. Our laid back, friendly culture inspires guests to relax, kick up their heels and live it up.
The city is experiencing millions of dollars in hotel renovations and upgrades, there are 1,400 restaurants to choose from with new eateries popping up all the time and a variety of attractions to enjoy as well. The city balances a love for tradition with the energy of innovation, resulting in an eclectic vibe found no where else.
So prepare to let the stress of your 9-to-5 melt away. There are meals to be eaten, toasts to be made and new friends just around the corner.
New Orleans hosted 9.28 million visitors in 2013. These visitors spent a total of $6.47 billion - the most visitor spending ever in the city's history!
There are more than 37,000 hotel rooms available in the New Orleans metropolitan area, including small boutique treasures in the French Quarter, charming bed and breakfast properties, major downtown hotel towers and more.
According to Tom Fitzmorris and www.nomenu.com, there are 1,400 restaurants open in New Orleans today, a new city record! In New Orleans, at breakfast we discuss lunch and at lunch we discuss what's for dinner. We are a city that loves to eat and appreciates food. From fine-dining to $7 po-boys, our food is both unique and affordable. Check out a few of our 1,400 restaurants, where you will often times find world-renowned chefs cooking in the kitchen. Our city is home to internationally recognized culinary heros, who are encouraged by locals and visitors alike to experiment in the kitchen and serve up some of the world's most unique and creative dishes that are always seasoned to perfection.
New Orleans shopping--from the French Quarter to Magazine Street--offers an array of retail choices. Options include The Shops at Canal Place, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Riverwalk, Jax Brewery, as well as hundreds of boutiques, art galleries and antique stores throughout the city. Tax-free shopping offers international visitors even more reasons to experience New Orleans. For more information on Louisiana tax-free shopping, please visit http://www.louisianataxfree.com/
New Orleans' line-up of sporting events and sports venues are sure to live up to every fan's expectations. The city is home to several sports teams showcasing premier events in football, basketball, baseball and soccer including the Saints, Hornets, Zephyrs and the Jesters. The state of Louisiana, known as the "Sportsman's Paradise," is also renowned for its fishing and hunting hot spots.
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome recently completed an $85 million renovation; part of an overall $336 million renovation that began in 2006. Key significant enhancements include an expansion of the Plaza Level concourse by 50 feet, 135 additional new women's restrooms, additional concession points of sale on the Plaza Level, 3,100 additional Plaza Level seats, 186 digital concourse monitors and two new premium bunker club lounges. On October 4, 2011, Governor Bobby Jindal joined Saints Owner Tom Benson and key representatives of Mercedes-Benz USA to announce a 10-year agreement reached between the NFL Saints and Mercedes-Benz USA to name the Louisiana Superdome the "Mercedes-Benz Superdome." http://www.superdome.com/
Upcoming Sporting Events
In the last six years, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome has undergone $336 million in upgrades and renovations.
NEW FESTIVAL PLAZA- CHAMPIONS SQUARE
In one of the most innovative downtown developments in recent years, the pedestrian mall adjacent to Superdome has been redeveloped into a 53,000 sq. foot sports and entertainment plaza with digital capabilities, food & beverage service and performance space. It is a popular gathering place for fans to congregate and get pumped up for the many events at the Dome and New Orleans Arena. This revitalization of a high profile area on the Poydras Street corridor creates one of the most "happening" places in a city that loves to have a good time. Club XLIV located just off the Square is an exclusive, posh venue to prepare for the game and is available for rental for private events.
NEW PRIVATE BOX SUITES
A total of 15 private box suites will be added to the Superdome's 300 level, bringing the total number of luxury suites in the building to 152.
NEW SIDELINE SEATING
The sideline seating on the Plaza Level will be completely revamped, moving patrons closer to the action, with improved sightlines. The new seating units will add approximately 3,100 prime seats up close to the team benches.
REDESIGNED PLAZA LEVEL CONCOURSE
The Dome's Plaza Level concourse has been expanded and includes additional food service areas, specialty stands and restrooms. The new concourse also has all-new flooring, lighting, murals, color scheme and signage.
NEW PREMIUM GROUND LEVEL CLUB LOUNGES
Located below the reconfigured Plaza Level stands, the new premium clubs feature private entry directly from the parking garage, an upscale environment for private events, and high-end amenities including a fixed bar, lounge & table seating, television monitors and restrooms.
NEW LOOK OUTSIDE
These exciting new changes aren't limited to the interior of the Superdome. Louisiana's most famous landmark was recently outfitted with a shiny new look on the outside. The entire 400,000 sq. ft. of anodized aluminum on the exterior walls were replaced giving the photogenic building a bold, brassy look from every angle. A new dynamic LED lighting system replaced the former "wash lights" and illuminates the exterior of the Superdome. This energy efficient system will allow for unlimited color and lighting patterns that can be customized specifically for every event.
New Orleans is well-known for its vibrant LGBT scene. There are over two dozen TAG approved hotels throughout the city and guests can party at one of New Orleans' many stellar LGBT clubs or bars. Visitors can enjoy amazing shopping in the French Quarter, on Magazine Street or at The Shops at Canal Place. Plan your trip around one of the city's gay lifestyle celebrations such as the Gay Easter Parade, Saints and Sinners Literary Festival or Southern Decadence Festival, known as the "Gay Mardi Gras" which takes place every Labor Day Weekend and draws over 100,000 visitors to the city each year. Check out the NaviGayTour Guide: http://issuu.com/neworleansonline/docs/2011nolanavigaytour?mode=window&viewMode=doublePage
New Orleans is home to attractions and museums that speak to the city's unique culture as well as general attractions sure to please any visitor. Examples include: plantation homes, riverboat cruises, tours, Café Du Monde, African American Museum, Louisiana State Museums, New Orleans Historic Collection, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Audubon Zoo, Harrah's Casino and its entertainment-filled Fulton Street Promenade, New Orleans Museum of Art, Bestoff Sculpture Garden, City Park, the Botanical Gardens, Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots, Contemporary Arts Center, Louisiana Children's Museum, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Orleans Ballet, Audubon Insectarium, Southern Food and Beverage Museum, Museum of the American Cocktail, The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Blane Kern's Mardi Gras World, and the National WWII Museum.
There are plenty of flights into New Orleans! Airlines operating out of the Armstrong International Airport include: AirTran, Air Canada, American Airlines, Continental, Delta Air Lines, Frontier, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, U.S. Airways.
In total, $300 million worth of modernization projects are underway at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Following the expansion of Concourse D and the addition of six new gates, the Airport is continuing to focus on the construction of the new consolidated rental car facility (CONRAC), which will increase capacity to accommodate current needs and anticipated growth over the next 15 years. The new structure will increase the rental inventory from 800 cars to approximately 1,800 in a modern three-story structure. The facility will include rental car company counters and offices and be the drop-off and pick-up point for the rental cars. With its close proximity to the terminal, the CONRAC will eliminate the need for shuttles. New service centers for rental cars have been constructed and are functioning as temporary drop-off and pick-up points for the automobiles.
Additional airport upgrades completed or scheduled to be ready by the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans includes a new Security and Communications Center, free WiFi in the terminal, new Flight Display Information Systems, refurbished and new restrooms, a new aircraft rescue and firefighting station (ARFF), new signage, new passenger aircraft loading bridges, apron rehabilitation, a new façade on the exterior of the terminal, the installation of a new décor in the passenger terminal areas that will bring natural light into the ticketing and baggage claim areas, widening of walkways and plans for a storm-proof power and water facility.
There are over 1,200 taxis available on New Orleans' streets and at major hotels. Taxi rates are $3.50 plus $2 per mile (.25 per one-eighth mile) thereafter. There is also an additional charge of $1.00 per passenger after the first passenger.
During peak visitor times (including Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest) taxi rates are $5 per person or the meter rate, whichever is greater. A fixed rate of $33 (one to two people) is charged from the airport to most areas of New Orleans. For parties of more than two, the fare is $14 per person.
RTA services are $1.25, including bus transportation and the streetcar. Thirty-three bus and streetcar lines are running daily. Bus service allows transportation throughout the city's major corridor, extending from the Faubourg Marigny to Riverbend.
Airport Shuttle, Inc. is the official ground transportation for Armstrong International Airport, with service to and from New Orleans' hotels and other designated locations. Fare is $20 per person one way and a discounted $38 per person round trip is now available.
Yes, the City of New Orleans train is running to Memphis and Chicago, while the Crescent runs to Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York. The Sunset Limited runs to Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson and Los Angeles.
Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Carribean are currently sailing from New Orleans.
New Orleans is the perfect destination from which to set sail. We offer valuable pre and post cruise deals. And as a compact, walkable and filled with countless festivals and cultural attractions - many of them free - New Orleans makes for an affordable and unforgettable part of your vacation.
The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - the sixth largest Convention Center in the nation - completed a $50 million renovation project resulting in the largest ballroom in New Orleans, dubbed "The Great Hall" in reference to the Convention Center's first use as the Great Hall of the 1984 World's Fair. The Great Hall and grand new entrance opened in January 2013. The architectural redesign includes a large outdoor pedestrian plaza and interior and exterior balconies.
The 60,000 square foot ballroom contains an extensive lighting package that incorporates an energy efficient LED system that provides nearly unlimited color combinations creating an environment customized to the individual event with transformable space. The Great Hall contains four divisible sections and a pre-function area totaling 25,000 square feet.
The existing entrance was transformed into a sunny, windowed entry plaza welcoming visitors to the Center, and offers a 4,660 square foot "junior" ballroom with a roof-top terrace, and a 4,700 square foot executive lounge.
Design elements of the Great Hall include:
The space also retained standard features of an exhibit hall including utility floor boxes, rigging points, easy access and ample pre-function space.
The entryway and ballroom renovations follow $93 million in improvements made to the 27-year old facility over the past five years, including a complete makeover of the interior lobbies, a repainted exterior, lobby furniture, digital signage and key card entry at meeting rooms, and a fully redundant 1-GIG internet backbone.
The Convention Center has also selected a new food service contractor to successfully help the Center distinguish itself as a venue with the highest culinary standards, as befits a city that is known for exceptional food and dining experiences. After a rigorous bidding process, Centerplate was awarded the contract.
Call it green, call it sustainability, but being environmentally savvy is not a trend. It's an important business practice that's here to stay. That's why New Orleans is one of many destinations working to become more environmentally friendly.
New Orleans is happy to announce we now offer pedicabs as an alternative mode of transportation! Companies like Need a Ride can provide transport to neighborhoods such as the French Quarter, Marigny, Downtown and Warehouse District.
Second Line Stages, the first green independent stages in the United States, has opened its doors in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans. The $32 million projectbuild the stages of the studio to the exact standards of the motion picture industry and to comply with the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver Certification.
Even New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration has gone green. Kern Studios, the largest producer of Carnival floats, began reducing the impact on the environment by using biodiesel in the tractors pulling floats along the parade routes and also reuses several of their floats for multiple Mardi Gras parades. The Krewe of Rex is using biodegradable string on their special Mardi Gras beads, preventing the beads from hanging in trees for extended periods of time.
Adding to a list of environmentally friendly practices, New Orleans is incorporating green practices into its famous festivals. On September 5, 2009, Project 30-90, the city's first all green music festival, featured several of local musicians to support the initiative.
In addition, Hotard, one of the area's leading providers of motorcoach transportation, switched to a greener fleet. The company has begun to introduce new motorcoach models that cut particulate matter, black smoke, by 90 percent. The company is investigating additional ways that it can go green, including the use of bio-diesel fuel.
Airport Shuttle New Orleans, the official airport transportation provider for the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, is going green with all-new clean burning propane hybrid vehicles. Propane is now being used in all of Airport Shuttle's vehicles, thanks to a new technology that enabled the conversion of existing engines to a propane hybrid.
Many hotels are implementing green practices as well. Other tips for travelers are available here.
Yes. No other city in the world manages special events, crowd control and visitor safety as well as New Orleans.
New Orleans welcomes approximately eight million visitors per year and is known for the safe and successful management of major tourism events such as Mardi Gras, Jazz and Heritage Festival, cultural celebrations, professional and college football championship games and special sports events such as the NBA All Star Game. The world's most prominent corporations and associations select New Orleans for conferences and business events ranging from a 10-person corporate board meeting to large association city-wide conventions with tens of thousands of attendees from around the world.
Mardi Gras typically draws one million revelers to the streets of New Orleans every year. The 2010 French Quarter Festival in April 2010 had record attendance of 512,000 people and the 2010 Essence Music Festival had approximately 400,000 attendees over the three-day weekend.
Superintendent Ronal W. Serpas, Ph.D., took over leadership of the New Orleans Police Department in May 2010. Under his leadership, the NOPD has made significant changes in the popular tourist areas of New Orleans such as the French Quarter, Downtown/Central Business District, Uptown, Garden District, Magazine Street, Warehouse/Arts District, Convention Center Boulevard and Faubourg Marigny.
Visitors to New Orleans can expect:
Crime exists in all major cities. In New Orleans, the vast majority of violent crime is targeted criminal-on-criminal drug and retaliation acts which occur in inner-city neighborhoods. As with any destination, we recommend that vacationers and convention attendees practice common sense and do not wander into deserted, non-tourist areas of the city.
The New Orleans CVB Tourism Crisis Management Plan, along with diligent and thorough preparation with an emphasis on safety, will assist visitors in responding appropriately to emergencies.
The City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana have implemented a unified emergency communications plan to ensure the timely flow of information across the region in emergency situations. A comprehensive and effective city-wide emergency communications plan for the Greater New Orleans tourism industry has been developed for visitors.
Today, New Orleans is proud to not only be the nation's leader in fun, food, music and major cultural and sporting events, but now to be the most sophisticated destination in the world in all levels of emergency planning, execution and visitor management.
Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was authorized and funded to design and construct the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System for southeast Louisiana.
The Corps has strengthened and improved virtually all of the levees, floodwalls, pump stations and surge barriers that form the 133-mile Greater New Orleans perimeter system. The system that is in place now is stronger and more resilient than it has ever been in the area's history and is capable of defending against a 100-year level storm.
For more detailed information on the Greater New Orleans Hurricane & Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, please visit: http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/hps2/pdf/Facts & Figures June 2012.pdf
Or watch a computer-generated video with an aerial "flyover" view of the entire system and improvement efforts: http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/hps2/videos/flyover/flyover_video.asp
Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC) Surge Barrier:
Gulf Intracoastal Waterway-West Closure Complex (GIWW-WCC):
Hospitals and urgent care facilities include:
According to 2010 Census Bureau estimates, New Orleans' population is made up of approximately 343,829 residents. Jefferson Parish, adjacent to New Orleans and a part of the metro area, is home to 432,552 residents according to 2010 Census data. New Orleans' hospitality industry is the city's largest employer with a work force that is 74,000 strong.
From convention visitors to leisure travelers, church groups to high school and college students, people have shown incredible generosity in giving of their time and talent, and a great deal of elbow grease, helping the city of New Orleans in its recovery and restoration. To learn more about volunteer organizations the CVB has partnered with Click Here.
The office of Lieutenant Governor has formed an official organization that matches volunteer opportunities with volunteers, called Volunteer Louisiana. Visit http://www.volunteerlouisiana.gov to get started.
Now is the perfect opportunity to visit New Orleans ... the most authentic, walkable, historic, soulful destination in America.