Mardi Gras celebrated in an excessive, festive way is the biggest reason why millions of tourists continue to flock to Crescent City, New Orleans year after year. It is true that this festival is colorful, fun, wild and unforgettable, yet there is more to New Orleans’ delectable Creole cuisine, European-style architecture, music – Blues, Jazz, rock ‘n’ roll – and culture that will entice you.
Cultural Influences Defining “Fun”
A big fraction of the population here does not associate themselves with the South, but with other cultures such as African, French, and Cuban. Thus, don’t be surprised with their Voodoo traditions, their strong sense of self, love for Carnivals, feisty rhythm, and taste for spicy Cajun and Creole cuisines.
Music is an important aspect of living and dying for the local folks around here. It is heard and played all over the city all the time, even at funerals. New Orleans it is the birthplace of jazz, the first Creole music to become distinguished all around the world.
“Let the Good Times Roll”
With their passion for music, feisty beat and colorful Carnivals, how can New Orleans ever be boring? Party animals will have their fill of fun nightlife here since clubs and bars are not required to close. Though Bourbon Street is notably where you can find the most vibrant scene, fun doesn’t start and end here. New Orleans has many diverse areas that offer entertainment from bars, nightclubs and cabarets/burlesque to a casino for the high rollers at heart. It is home to casual nightspots where you can party the night away.
Food and Dining
The city abounds not only with Creole and Cajun (fusion of French, Italian, Spanish, and African cooking) fares, but with well-loved, classic southern flavors as well. Some of the favorites that are featured both in the streets and in the swanky restaurants in the city are traditional New Orleans dishes such as red beans and rice and po’boys (a sandwich/ sub filled with fried seafood or assorted meat, jambalaya (a rice dish of veggies, meat and Creole spices) and gumbo (a robust stew).
New Orleans is home to many celebrated chefs – Susan Spicer, Emeril Lagasse and John Besh to name a few – and several festivals. If you’re a certified foodie come here during Big Easy’s food festivals such as the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, the Louisiana Seafood Festival or COOLinary New Orleans. Just remember that the rich essences can jolt your tummy, so take it easy.
Best Things to Do
Aside from Mardi Gras, nightlife and good times at Bourbon Street, and dining, there are still a diverse thing you can do and attractions to visit in the city. Your first stop is the French Quarter, if you want a proper introduction to New Orleans. This National Historic Landmark can’t be the “Vieux Carré” or the heart and soul of this New Orleans for nothing. His is where you’ll find the attractions such as the Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, the Cabildo and the Faulkner House.
You can tour the Garden District if you like strolling and the National World War II Museum if you’re a history buff. If the locals’ fascination for voodoo and mysticism intrigues you, join Voodoo and Cemetery walking tour or haunted walking tours. You may also pay a visit to the Backstreet Cultural Museum or get your fortune told in the Jackson Square. If your passion is shopping, you should not miss the antique stores along Magazine Street in the Garden District.
A Few Tricks for You
If you find New Orleans too irresistible, join the bandwagon. Before packing your bags and jumping on the next fight, here are a few tips and tricks shared by US News Travel in its post New Orleans Travel Tips.
How to Save Money in New Orleans
- Don’t stay in the French Quarter: As charming as they may be, these hotels are expensive. If you don’t want to sacrifice location for price, stay in one of the many bed-and-breakfasts in Faubourg Marigny.
- Check the calendar: Hotel rates tend to skyrocket during major events. If you want to save money, reserve a room several months early to ensure the best price, or visit during a break in the festivities.
- Get ready to sweat: You will find excellent deals on rooms and airfare if you plan a summer trip. Just be prepared for soaring temperatures.
Travelers are also reminded of the following:
- Sidestep Bourbon Street hotels: This is the heart of the never-ending city nightlife down here. While it is a great place for fun, it will not be a good location to get 40 winks.
- Be cautious, particularly at night: Though the locals are peaceful and are known for their hospitality, be warned that the city harbors its own share of lawless elements. Do not tempt fate; it is best to stay in big groups to deter criminals.
- Watch your eating pace: The food is glorious, so be warned. You will most like get second and third servings. The local cuisine is very rich; overeating can cause you some gastric problems so pace yourself.
Looking for fun and great parties? With New Orleans’ round-the clock “nightlife,” and Mardi Gras, there is never any place like it.