New Orleans has long been the place to be during Mardi Gras, but that doesn’t mean that the fun in the city ends when the last beads are thrown. In fact, this year the party is really going to heat up on the streets of New Orleans as the city turns three hundred years old. Therefore, everyone will want to expect more fireworks, more concerts, and even more special events than normal when they are visiting this spectacular city.
Here are the best places to go while in New Orleans:
The French Quarter
The French Quarter is the place to experience the real New Orleans, which is why it is always at the top of everyone’s list. Visitors can wander down the cobblestone streets as they explore the history that goes all the way back to when this area was established. The street names are still all in French, the balconies are surrounded with baroque style iron, and fountains fill every courtyard. Everyone will want to see sites like Faulkner House Books and Jackson Square, but most people arrive in the French Quarter to party on Bourbon Street. The noise increases there as the day goes on and the party won’t stop until the clock says that it is the next morning.
People may walk past Preservation Hall and not give it a second glance, simply because it looks like an old rundown building on the outside. However, this space has been where some of the best jazz musicians have played in New Orleans over the years. The inside is small and cozy, so everyone will want to arrive early if they want to see the locals who are playing traditional jazz music.
St. Louis Cathedral
St. Louis Cathedral is on the northern side of Jackson Square and it is a well-known landmark in New Orleans. This cathedral was constructed in 1794 and it is the oldest cathedral that has been used continuously in the United States.
City Park is comprised of thirteen hundred acres and visitors will love walking through the New Orleans Botanical Gardens or the New Orleans Museum of Art when they are there. No one will want to miss seeing the mature oak trees, McDonogh Oak and Anseman Oak, that are believed to be between six hundred and nine hundred years old.
Antoine’s is the oldest restaurant in New Orleans, and it opened in 1840 within the French Quarter. They serve delicious French-Creole cuisine in fourteen different dining rooms and reservations are highly recommended in this must-dine at restaurant. Every diner will want to order the Chair de Crabe au Gratin for an appetizer before starting in on Chateaubriand for their main meal.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
Lafitte’s is not the blacksmith shop that many people think of when they hear the name of this establishment. Instead, it is a local bar in a building that was constructed sometime between 1722 and 1732. This space is believed to be where Jean Lafitte and his brother conducted their smuggling business. The legends have all been embellished over the years, but there is no doubt that Lafitte was the person to see when someone needed something that they couldn’t get anywhere else. The history alone is enough for people to visit this bar, but no one will regret having a drink there or listening to the live jazz music in the background.
Mardi Gras World
This is a fascinating place to visit for those who are not in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, because it gives those people a behind the scenes look at the work that goes on to create this infamous celebration. Old floats are stored at Mardi Gras World and new ones are being worked on for the next year. Every visitor can try on authentic Mardi Gras costumes prior to their tour and at the end, everyone receives a slice of king cake.
History comes to life in the cemeteries of New Orleans and each one has its own list of famous people buried there. At St. Louis Cemetery number one, visitors can see the tombs of Marie Laveau and Bernard de Marigny, while Ernie K-Doe and Danny Barker are buried at St. Louis Cemetery number two. Nicholas Cage even has a tomb at St. Louis Cemetery number one, despite the fact that he is still alive. Movie scenes were filmed inside Lafayette Cemetery number one, so no one should be surprised if it looks a little too familiar.
Blue Oak BBQ
This restaurant is new to the New Orleans scene, as it didn’t arrive in the city until 2012. However, they have created a following with their award-winning BBQ. Diners can choose from chicken, pork, and brisket, which have all been smoked to perfection. Every one of their BBQ plates come with meat, two sides, bread, pickles, and onions. This is definitely a place that visitors will find themselves returning to time and time again.
The parties can be found anywhere in New Orleans, but the above places are where everyone will want to go to experience the best of this fascinating city. After visitors have been to all of these, they can choose other exciting destinations to see in the time that they have left.