Top Attractions for First-Timers

If it’s your first time in New Orleans, you’ll want to see all the classic sights and soak in the city’s iconic ambience. Here are some must-see attractions for NOLA newbies:

French Quarter

The heart of New Orleans’ culture. Wander through colorful streets lined with wrought-iron balconies, 18th-century architecture, jazz clubs, restaurants, and voodoo shops. Don’t miss Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, and the French Market.

Bourbon Street

The famous epicenter of New Orleans’ nightlife. Neon lights, live music, street performers, bars, and restaurants create an electric party atmosphere. Bourbon Street comes alive at night and is a nonstop celebration into the early morning hours.

Café Du Monde

No trip to NOLA is complete without tasting beignets at this iconic French Quarter café. The deep-fried, powdered sugar-dusted pastries have been a local specialty since 1862. Enjoy a fresh plate with chicory café au lait and take in the bustling Jackson Square atmosphere.

Steamboat Natchez

Take a ride on the last authentic steamboat sailing the Mississippi River. Enjoy open-air decks, live jazz, and incredible views aboard a National Historic Landmark. Choose a sightseeing cruise, dinner cruise, or specialty cruise with specialty drinks.

St. Charles Streetcar

A trip on this historic streetcar is a quintessential New Orleans experience. Ride the iconic green trolley from Canal Street through the Garden District while taking in the oak trees, antebellum mansions, and characteristic architecture along the way.

Top Attractions for Families

New Orleans has activities that will entertain visitors of all ages. Here are some top family-friendly things to do:

Audubon Zoo

See lions, tigers, bears, elephants, giraffes, monkeys, aquatic life, and more at this world-class zoo. Ride the train through monkey island, explore the Louisiana swamp exhibit, and don’t miss feeding time at the sea lion and elephant habitats.

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Touch a stingray, walk through the shark tunnel, and be mesmerized by exhibits showcasing 15,000 aquatic animals. Sea lions, penguins, otters, and a giant ocean tank will delight kids and adults alike.

Mardi Gras World

Tour the working warehouse where parade floats are made for New Orleans’ iconic Carnival. See props, costumes, floats in progress, and even take home a souvenir mask or beads.

City Park

Ride the antique wooden rollercoasters at the New Orleans City Park Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. Picnic in the sprawling 1,300 acre green space and laze about on gondola rides through bayous or by paddle boats across scenic lagoons.

Frenchmen Street

Family-friendly, outdoor art market and street party by day with face painting, balloon animals and impromptu concerts and parades. At night, Frenchmen Street comes alive with colorful local characters and the best live jazz and blues in town.

Top Attractions for Sports Fans

Calling all sports enthusiasts! New Orleans is home to major league teams offering exciting live sporting events.

Caesars Superdome

Watch the New Orleans Saints NFL team play in this iconic, downtown domed stadium. The Superdome”hosts Super Bowls, Essence Festival, the Sugar Bowl, and other major events. Take a behind-the-scenes guided tour on non-game days.

Smoothie King Center

Cheer on the New Orleans Pelicans NBA team at this stadium, which also hosts concerts and family shows like Disney on Ice. Guided tours are offered on select days when no events are scheduled.

Shrine on Airline

See the Baby Cakes minor league baseball team play at this family-friendly ballpark. Their mascot, Boudreaux the nutria, will keep fans entertained with races, games, and giveaways.

Top Attractions for Foodies

It’s impossible to go hungry in New Orleans! Indulge your taste buds with Creole and Cajun cuisines, po’boys, muffulettas, and beignets at these delicious attractions:

Commander’s Palace

This upscale Grande Dame of New Orleans dining has delighted patrons since 1880. Relish award-winning Louisiana haute Creole cuisine in an elegant garden atmosphere with live jazz. Favorites include the seafood gumbo, pecan-crusted gulf fish, and bread pudding souffle.

Cafe Du Monde

No visit to NOLA is complete without tasting Cafe Du Monde’s famous beignets. These fresh, warm fritters coated with powdered sugar pair perfectly with chicory cafe au lait. Enjoy them 24/7 at the original French Quarter location, open since 1862.

Parkway Bakery & Tavern

Known for po’boy sandwiches, Parkway Bakery & Tavern piles their signature roast beef debris po’boy high with gravy and crispy debris meat. Locals flock here, so be prepared to wait in line for this low-key neighborhood favorite.

Mother’s Restaurant

Mother’s Restaurant invented the “Ferdi Special” po’boy loaded with baked ham, roast beef, and debris gravy. Their homestyle Creole cooking and scrumptious desserts like bread pudding will leave you wanting more. Cash only.

Top Attractions for Music Lovers

As one of America’s top music destinations, New Orleans offers live tunes of every genre. Here’s where to catch outstanding acts:

Preservation Hall

In a 200-year-old French Quarter building, Preservation Hall presents intimate, acoustic traditional New Orleans jazz nightly. Their crowd-pleasing rotating lineup carries on the musical heritage of legends past.


Called Tips by locals, this iconic club helped launch New Orleans legends like Dr. John, The Neville Brothers, and The Radiators. Catch the next up-and-coming act on stage at this lively Uptown spot.

Maple Leaf Bar

Revered by musicians as one of the best venues in NOLA, the ramshackle Maple Leaf Bar offers a diverse lineup from zydeco to brass bands, jam bands and more. Their late shows often continue into the early morning hours.

House of Blues

See major national touring acts grace the stage in a former antebellum-style mansion. With VIP areas, a Creole restaurant and varied music lineup, House of Blues brings stellar entertainment to New Orleans.

How to Get Around New Orleans

With so many things to do spread all over town, you’ll need to plan how your group will get around the Big Easy. Here are some options:


Vintage streetcars run by the RTA are a fun way to explore New Orleans. The St. Charles streetcar winds through the oak trees of the Garden District and Uptown. The Canal streetcar takes you from the French Quarter down Canal Street. One-way fares are only $1.25 per person.

Taxi or Rideshare

Taxis and rideshares like Uber and Lyft operate throughout New Orleans. They’re convenient when you need to get somewhere quickly or avoid walking long distances. Fares vary by company and supply/demand.

Charter Bus

For ultimate convenience and affordability with larger groups, rent a charter bus! A private coach allows you to travel together around New Orleans and set your own schedule. Your professional driver will handle parking and navigating while you relax. Many buses offer amenities like WiFi, outlets, and restrooms. Plus, the per person cost is typically lower than other transportation options.

Ready to Get Started?

We hope this New Orleans guide gives you a great starting point to plan your perfect NOLA getaway! Once you have your must-see list and group count, call Charters New Orleans at 504-681-9177 to check charter bus availability and get a free quote. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have or tailor your quote based on the attractions on your New Orleans itinerary.