Must-See Experiences for New Orleans First Timers

Nicknamed the Crescent City for its quarter-moon shape, New Orleans is a city completely different than anywhere else in the country. Unlike other major cities that share similar traits, New Orleans is in a class of its own, driving countless visitors to its streets each year. If you are heading to New Orleans for the first time, we suggest these must-see experiences and travel safety tips. 

  • Touring the French Quarter

The French Quarter is one part of New Orleans you surely can’t miss. Established in 1718 by the French as a shipping port, the French Quarter was only a half-square-mile town back in the day. When Louisiana was transferred to Spain in 1762, the little town became wealthy. However, devasting fires at the end of the century decimated the area. Reborn again, New Orleans emerged from a a curious balance of Spanish and French influence, quickly expanding in size. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the city saw rises and declines, before tourism became popular in the 1890s. Today, the French Quarter is a unique destination due to its European architecture, delicious food, and charming shops. It’s like taking a step back in time, just with modern amenities! 

  • Taking a Walking Tour

New Orleans possesses a vibrant and curious history just waiting to be explored. While the museums can provide a fascinating insight into years past, there is nothing quite like the enchanting storytelling of a local who loves the area. A walking tour offers an up-close investigation into the history of this city, with a smidge of exercise, and a chance to discover uncommon truths you wouldn’t hear anywhere else. We recommend taking a walking tour of the French Quarter, Tremé, Uptown, and the Garden District. Depending on your interests, there are also haunted pub crawls, cemetery tours, and other fascinating guided tours. 

  • Eating and Eating Some More

Whether you are a foodie or not, New Orleans is the place to let your taste buds go wild. Known for its delightful mix of Creole, Cajun, and international cuisine, you can find just about anything including unique specialties that are hard to come by anywhere else. Between the gumbo, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, muffaletta, po-boys, and, of course the beignets, there is no way to eat everything, but you should certainly try. This vacation is where you will want to plan breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert for every day! And don’t forget the snacks and drinks! 

  • Listening to a Local Band

The heartbeat of New Orleans lies in the rhythm of the music. Jazz, brass, R&B, soul, and a variety of other genres can be heard as one walks down the street, enticing you to enter cafes, clubs, and restaurants. To get the most out of your music experience, you can go about it in two different ways. The first option would be to research who is playing where and when and make sure you get there early to reserve a seat or buy a ticket in advance. However, if you want to flow where the music takes you, we recommend following your ear to whatever music resonates in your heart at the moment. No matter how and where you end up hearing seeing the musicians, remember to get up, dance, and enjoy being a part of the great vibe. 

Travel Safety in New Orleans 

New Orleans gets a bad rap as a dangerous city, but violent crime is rare for tourists. When visiting New Orleans you should practice the same safety procedures as you would in any other major city. This includes moderating alcohol intake, staying in well-lit areas, traveling in groups, hiding valuables, and taking transportation to hotels at night rather than walking. 

That last one is the big one. Tourists are highly advised not to walk around at night, especially when they don’t know where they are going or if they have been drinking. If you are traveling in a group, we recommend hiring a private charter bus service for your trip. As a city where driving is a nightmare anyways, this has a two-fold benefit. You and your group can enjoy stress-free, safe transportation that is always on time, professional, and guaranteed to get you where you want to go!

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