Let the Good Times Roll – so says New Orleans’ unofficial motto. Here in one of America’s most dynamic and diverse cities you’ll find rich Southern culture, mouth-watering Creole cuisine and spine-tingling jazz music. City breaks in New Orleans are an excellent way to experience this unforgettable US destination.
To get a feel for the culture and history of New Orleans you need to visit the French Quarter, also known as the Old Quarter, or Vieux Carré. One of the main delights of visiting New Orleans is feeling immersed in the ornate colonial-style architecture of this part of the city. Designed by engineer Adrien de Pauger in 1722, the French Quarter was for a long time the entirety of the city and has remained the Creole heart and soul of New Orleans. Key places to visit in the French Quarter include Bourbon Street, full of great bars, and Jackson Square, where you’ll often see live music in the evenings. One of the nicest ways to explore the district is with carriage rides, with tour guides giving colourful accounts of the area’s history. There are also a number of house museums, including Beauregard-Keyes House and the 18th-century Madame John's Legacy.
Another key area of the city is Tremé, the oldest African American neighbourhood in the US. Louis Armstrong Park is a pleasant place to spend a few hours and is home to several well-known arts spaces, including the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts. To learn about the history and culture of the area, head to the Backstreet Cultural Museum where you’ll find a fascinating series of exhibitions on Tremé life. Also worth seeing with a tour guide is Saint Louis Cemetery #1, home to the graves of a range of local figures, including the 19th-century Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.
New Orleans and jazz music go hand-in-hand and you will not have to go far to hear live music. The New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park is a good starting-point for learning about the culture and traditions of Jazz music. Here you’ll find the Jazz Walk of Fame, dedicated to some of the most famous jazz performers to have ever graced the stage of New Orleans. When it comes to seeing a jazz performance, there are countless bars and clubs to choose from. Some of the local favourites include the Balcony Music Club, the Mid-City Rock & Bowl, Republic New Orleans and House of Blues.
New Orleans boasts some of the most mouth-watering dishes known to man. The culinary culture here is strongly Creole, covering a range of delicious specialities from gumbo to crawfish. Like jazz clubs, there are a seemingly countless number of world-class restaurants in the city. Some of the better-known establishments include the legendary Commander’s Palace, Galatoire’s, Brennan’s Restaurant and Tujague’s.