NOLA is one of the most unique cities in the United States, so it’s hard to know what to expect before you see it for yourself. Here are a few things to keep in mind before your first New Orleans tour:
Expect to walk: New Orleans is a small city without much public transportation, so people are used to walking between places. Driving can also be a bit of a pain, especially in touristy areas like the French Quarter, so we’d recommend taking strolls and enjoying the architecture.
Be prepared to drink: New Orleans is known for its drinking culture and has some of the most lenient alcohol laws in the US. Establishments can serve alcohol 24/7, and there are no laws against open containers in public, so feel free to stop by a bar and pick up a daiquiri to go at any time during the day.
Find live music: Even if you’re not normally a big fan of jazz, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t enjoy NOLA’s world-famous music scene. New Orleans is particularly known for jazz, which actually originated in the city, but it also has plenty of bands playing funk, hip hop, folk, metal, and Creole zydeco music.
Eat local: If there’s one thing about New Orleans that’s even more famous than the music, it’s the food. Local Creole and Cajun favorites like gumbo and jambalaya have spread internationally, but they’re always better at the source. For dessert, stop by Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter for some of its famous beignets, deep-fried pastries covered in powdered sugar.
Stay street smart: New Orleans tends to stay open and active 24 hours a day, making it the perfect city for someone who keeps odd hours. However, make sure you stay aware of your surroundings when wandering around at night. New Orleans has some of the highest crime rates of any major US city. Don’t let the statistics prevent you from relaxing and enjoying yourself, though, especially since the city is known for its relaxed and friendly culture.
To make the most of your next trip to New Orleans, check out our New Orleans Self-Guided Walking Tour. More prolific travelers might be interested in Action+, a subscription service that grants access to over 100 tours for a single yearly price.
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