What to Do 


swingfestFESTIVALS

In New Orleans, we always find a reason to eat, drink and be merry. Festivals fill the weeks and weekends all year round. From music to food and drink, literary and theatrical, LGBT and art festivals, New Orleans welcomes diversity in all forms and celebrates nearly every part of life. Check out our event listings and the FAQ page for information and dates.

  


TOURS

New Orleans is a city abundant in culture, food and history, and with so much to do, where should you even start? Start with what you love. Whether your goal is to wander sprawling antebellum plantations or taste-test every classic cocktail, there's a tour to suit your style. History lovers can explore iconic battlegrounds, the city's European origins, and historic jazz landmarks while hearing stories and lore from professional historians. Looking to delve into the world of the supernatural? Take a nighttime tour of a cavernous haunted mansion, or learn about voodoo practices as you walk through maze-like cemeteries. We even have thrilling excursions for adventurers who want to spot alligators in the untamed Louisiana bayou. So get ready to sit back and relax in a mule-drawn carriage, hop on a paddlewheel riverboat or set out on foot - there's a lot to discover.

NIGHTLIFE

The night never has to end in New Orleans since bars and clubs are not required to close. In fact, many say the city is at its best under the glow of a French Quarter street lamp. But to suggest the party starts and ends on Bourbon Street sells the rest of the city short. New Orleans has many distinct neighborhoods that offer nightlife options from incredible live music and culture on Frenchmen Street to intimate cocktails never more than a short walk and a streetcar ride away.

So come, leave the stress of your everyday life behind, grab a go-cup (in New Orleans you can take your drink with you), put on your dancing shoes and get ready to have the time of your life.

FRENCHMEN STREET

Sometimes called the ‘local's Bourbon Street' Frenchmen is an entertainment district located within walking distance of the French Quarter offering an amazing variety of venue styles and music nightliferanging from traditional jazz to blues to reggae to rock all week long. You'll also find a lively street culture with sketch artists and poets lining the sidewalk and bluegrass and gypsy jazz pick-up bands nestle into stoops along the strip. Find a funky sound and before you know it, you'll be dancing in the streets like a local.

Many clubs don't charge a cover, but in true New Orleans fashion, do give a cheer after a great trombone solo and throw a few bucks in the tip jar to show your appreciation.

ART & CULTURE

jazzfestNew Orleans' old world roots have created a strong foundation and long-standing appreciation for the arts. Today the scene thrives via countless galleries, performance spaces and museums. But perhaps what sets our cultural institutions apart from those of other cities is their ability to embody the joie de vivre (joy of life) mentality so prevalent in New Orleans. So whether it is Irvin Mayfield & the NOJO Jazz Jam at Irvin Mayfield's Playhouse  or Thursday night musical performances at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans' unique culture and love of food, music and fun blends perfectly with our vibrant arts scene creating experiences you can't find anywhere else.

Here you can learn more about some of the city's most popular cultural institutions and attractions.

Performance Art

THE NEW ORLEANS OPERA ASSOCIATION

This opera association carries on a performing arts tradition dating back to 1796, when the first opera in North America was performed in New Orleans. neworleansopera.org

THE LOUISIANA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA

The only musician-owned orchestra in North America is led by musical director Carlos Miguel Prieto. lpomusic.com

NEW ORLEANS BALLET ASSOCIATION

The ballet association is the region's premiere presenting and service organization dedicated solely to the art of dance. NOBA's dynamic season features stellar performances from a variety of world-class dance companies. nobadance.com

SOUTHERN REPERTORY THEATRE

New Orleans' professional theater, focuses on bold new-world and regional premiers by American playwrights. southernrep.com

 

Visual Arts

THE NEW ORLEANS MUSEUM OF ART

The premier art museum of the Gulf South is world-renowned for its photography, decorative glass collection and its collections of French, Asian, African and American art. noma.org

THE OGDEN MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN ART

The University of New Orleans museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and home to the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world. ogdenmuseum.org

CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER

Located in the heart of the New Orleans Arts District, the CAC is home to bold experiments in painting, theater, photography, performance, music, video sculpture and more. cacno.org

NEW ORLEANS ARTWORKS AT THE NEW ORLEANS GLASSWORKS & PRINTMAKING STUDIO

BREATHTAKING demonstrations. Twice featured on NBC's Today Show. Visitors invited to participate, design wine glasses, print wine labels, copper enameling. Spacious open studio. Glass print metal amphitheater. Ideal hands-on tours/receptions. Creations by local artisans available in gift gallery. neworleansglassworks.com

DUTCH ALLEY ARTIST CO-OP.  

Over 20 local artists own and operate Dutch Alley Artist Co-op. Any day there are three or four artists working at the gallery. Local art from Katrina salvaged materials, blown glass, wood-turnings, Raku pottery, hand-dyed silk items, custom jewelry, photography and paintings are just a few of the unique original artwork items that can be found in the gallery.  
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Museums

LOUISIANA CHILDREN'S MUSEUM

The Louisiana Children's Museum is a place for children of all ages to get hands-on experience and participatory education. The museum promotes discovery, growth and fun through interaction with exhibits, peers and adults

lcm.org/

SOUTHERN FOOD & BEVERAGE MUSEUM

In true New Orleans fashion, this non-profit living history organization celebrates the food, drink and related culture of the South. The museum is currently located in the Riverwalk Marketplace, 500 Port of New Orleans Place. www.crt.state.la.us/museum

THE HISTORIC NEW ORLEANS COLLECTION

Located in the French Quarter, this collection is the best introduction to New Orleans history you can get. hnoc.org

LOUISIANA STATE MUSEUM

For more than 100 years, the museum has served its mission to collect, preserve, interpret and present the state's rich history and diverse cultures. The Museum's collection now totals more than 450,000 artifacts and works of art that provide an authentic experience of Louisiana to visitors from around the world while enhancing the quality of life for residents. http://www.crt.state.la.us/museum/

The museum consist of eight locations: 1850 House, Arsenal, Cabildo, Old US Mint, Presbytere, Creole House, Jackson House, Madame John's Legacy

THE CABILDO

This flagship building of The Louisiana State Museum is the site of the Louisiana Purchase. Today it houses exhibitions on the Purchase and on Louisiana history. 

MADAME JOHN'S LEGACY

Located at 632 Dumain Street in the French Quarter, Madame John's is an excellent example of Louisiana Creole residential design at the end of the 18th century. The architectural complex consists of three buildings: the main house, kitchen with cooks quarters and two-story garconniere. It too, is part of The Louisiana State Museum.

THE OLD U.S. MINT

The Old U.S. Mint is the only building in America to have served as both a U.S. and Confederate Mint. In 1981, the Greek Revival-style National Historic Landmark opened to the public as a museum. 

THE NEW ORLEANS AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM OF ART, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Located in the historic Faubourg Tremé, one of America's oldest black neighborhoods, the museum is comprised of 7 historic buildings and is anchored by the lovely Tremé Villa. The museum features rotating exhibits as well as a fine collection of African artwork and crafts. The museum acts as a gateway the Tremé neighborhood and offers walking and bus tours of the neighborhood. noaam.org

THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MUSEUM

This historical gem takes you from the beaches of Normandy to the sands of the Pacific Islands with interactive displays and dramatic exhibits. The Museum's recent additions include the Solomon Victory Theater, the Stage Door Canteen and The American Sector Restaurant- a Chef John Besh creation. Nationalww2museum.org