With the new year half-way over, I thought it was time for me to take a vacation. So I did. I flew down to New Orleans. It was my first time there. My sister and brother-in-law hosted me and were my local tour guides. There are A LOT of things to do in New Orleans, it just depends on how much you want to spend. There are a lot of free things to do, and also a lot of not-so-free things to do. Depending on what is “fun” to you, there is something for everyone.
I’m not a night-life person. I love art, history, parks, and food. So we did a lot of those things. With that said, here are a few places that I visited. These places are all free. Of course, there are a ton of different tours available if you don’t have a local tour guide.
While there are a lot of different things to do in New Orleans, I enjoyed just driving and walking down the streets. I didn’t take a lot of photos of the “normal” streets, but I found the architecture interesting and unique. They’re all different colors, with different architectural designs, but all very charming in their own ways. There are definitely French & Spanish influences in some of these homes.
And the Mercedes-Benz dome, we kept driving pass it so I thought “why not take a picture” so I did. It was cool.
If you enjoy history, architecture, and just looking at unique vintage homes, the Garden District is the place to visit. There are free on-foot garden district tours available. That’s what we did. Unfortunately, we didn’t finish the tour because I got heat exhaustion. So I didn’t get a chance to take much photos and we didn’t get a chance to do much of anything for the rest of that day because I was just resting. (ALWAYS STAY HYDRATED!!) It was my first time EVER experiencing heat exhaustion and it was not fun.
Nonetheless, what we did get to see and hear was interesting. The tour started in the cemetery. Most of the graves are above-ground vaults constructed a couple centuries ago. The tour continued to the different homes & the history behind the houses. If you prefer to just walk at your own pace, you can definitely do so without a tour guide! The Garden District is a beautiful neighborhood to visit.
FRENCH MARKET // FRENCH QUARTER
The French Market features local artisans & local vendors selling things. Things range from New Orleans tshirts to jewelry to gator sticks to voodoo dolls to hats to masks and everything else in between. A lot of the things are unique and interesting. The french market leads to the French Quarter.
The French Quarter is full of restaurants & shops. (This is where the famous Cafe du Monde is located but be warned the line is loooooooooong). There are also outdoor musicians playing music, tour guides available, and artists selling their works. This area is busy, busy, busy. I don’t recommend driving. I would suggest taking a Lyft or Uber to the outskirt area and then walk around. There is so much to see that walking is probably your best bet to see and do things anyway. Again, I love all the colorful buildings. This is one place you can spend your entire day.
You will also see the St Louis Cathedral as you make your way down the French Quarter. We went inside, but it was a Sunday and there was a service happening so I didn’t get a photo, but it was beautiful. Definitely worth taking a quick peek.
City Park is a very beautiful park. It’s huge. There are a lot of different things in the park. There’s an amusement park, a museum of art & sculpture, a lot of picnic areas, a 24/7 beignet restaurant, outdoor work out areas, cool architecture, sculpture garden, mini golf course. Again, a place you could spend your entire day. There are people grilling out, running, biking, walking around.
We visited the Chime Tree aka Singing Oak tree. It was a beautiful sound with a beautiful sunset view. Great for relaxing.
We also visited the Sculpture Garden. So many cool sculptures!!
If you enjoy walking around or if you want a relaxing place away from the busy city, City Park is a great place for a relaxing afternoon.
When in Nola, you visit the Jean Lafitte national historical park & preserve. It’s a big area, but we went on a small walking trail. And yes, there are alligators and all sorts of species. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any when we went. The swamp was filled with lilies so we assumed the gators probably relocated elsewhere or are hidden within the lilies and we just couldn’t see them. We did, however, run into big crickets, orange dragonflies, and scary orange/brown bunnies.
And those are a few of the things I did when I was in New Orleans. Very touristy but hey, I was a tourist =) All of these areas, you can find tour guides online. Again, depending of what you like to do, there is something for you to enjoy.
Here are the direct links to these places if you want more info:
Garden District, City Park, French Quarter, Jean Lafitte
I will have another New Orleans post about food. I tried a lot of new things and love them all! If you are into seafood, NOLA is definitely a place to visit.
Have you been to Nola? What are some things you did there? Let me know in the comments!! Plus, it’ll be great for anyone who is planning a trip there.
Again, thank you for reading. And always, I wish you the best!
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