New Orleans Travel Guide

New Orleans Travel Guide

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New Orleans’ reputation looms large for a small city. Its music, food, history, and culture are known all over the world—so most visitors have an ide... Read More

New Orleans’ reputation looms large for a small city. Its music, food, history, and culture are known all over the world—so most visitors have an idea about the place before they ever arrive. It’s a city that has been marinated in its own traditions for centuries, the French, Spanish, African, and American influences all apparent in the fabric of everyday life here. It feels like an independent Republic that’s overcome decline and tragedy with a decadent resilience that has come to define it.

It’s a liberal, epicurean island in the middle of the Conservative South, but spend any amount of time here and it’s obvious that there’s a cultural depth that extends way beyond the hedonistic frivolity of Bourbon Street. Strictly observed rituals that stem from Catholicism and Voodoo and general superstition still inform everything from Mardi Gras (the world’s largest free party) to funerals, meaning that even daily errands can take on a cinematic flourish..

Hit hard by Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federal levee system, the city is still finding its way, with new enterprises moving in to revitalize neighborhoods while continuing the diversity that has been a feature of this port city’s population since its inception. The climate is tropical, meaning that spaces from City Park to Jackson Square are always buzzing, though the tempestuous rains mean that when you visit New Orleans, afternoons in the National World War II Museum or New Orleans Museum of Art are just as popular.

Food is a daily celebration, whether it’s po-boys at Parkway Tavern or the tasting menu at Restaurant August, while the jazz clubs of Frenchmen Street keep the city’s most famous export alive. To help you navigate this beguiling city, T+L’s New Orleans travel guide highlights the best places to eat, stay, shop, and visit in Louisiana’s cultural capital and the surrounding area.

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Visit New Orleans

Best Time To Go

In spring, early if you want to hit Mardi Gras, later if you prefer Jazz Fest, but the weather is at its most pleasant then. It’s closely followed by fall, when picnics and park days are still enjoyable. The winters are mild and short, but the humid summers can be oppressive, and the city quiet.

Transportation

Downtown is compact and it’s possible to walk or bike around the French Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods without too much effort. Cabs are plentiful for journeys further afield. Public transportation can be found via the New Orleans Regional Transport Authority, where both bus routes and the details of the historic streetcar lines (still just $1.25 per journey) can be found.

Weather

August is the hottest month, with an average high of 91°F (32°C). January is the coldest month, with an average high of 62°F (16°C).

Know Before You Go

New Orleans is a relatively small urban center, but is surrounded by the swamp lands of southern Louisiana. It’s possible to drive out and feel fairly remote within an hour or so, and taking a swamp tour to see the local wildlife (including alligators) is a popular day trip for visitors. The Bayou and Lake Pontchartrain are both great options for exploring the waterways around the city, as is a steamboat trip along the Mississippi River.

Language

English

Electric

Type A (two-prong plug) or Type B (three-prong plug)

Currency

United States Dollar ($)