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Why Go To New Orleans

New Orleans is known for its European-style architecture, mouth-watering Creole cuisine and all-around good-time vibes. And as its backbone is music: Jazz, blues, rock 'n' roll and Zydeco tunes ooze from every city crevice. But for many, the main reason to visit is Mardi Gras, an over-the-top party with Carnival traits, such as masks, music, floats and merriment. Even if you don't make it to Mardi Gras, you'll still find a party year-round, with revelers pouring out of Bourbon Street clubs until the wee hours of the morning and a festival of some sort almost every weekend.

Despite past environmental disasters – namely the BP oil spill, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Isaac – New Orleans continues to thrive. Over the past several years, major efforts have been made to restore the distinct districts. Today, the Crescent City looks almost as good as new. So start your visit with a walking tour through the French Quarter, where colonial heritage and ghost lore still survives. From here, you can explore the major architectural sites before enjoying a hearty plate of jambalaya and a rowdy evening out.

Rankings

The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions.

New Orleans is ranked as:

  • #1 in Best Places to Visit in February

  • #2 in Best Foodie Cities in the USA

  • #3 in Best Cheap Spring Break Destinations

  • #3 in Best Nightlife Cities in the USA

  • #4 in Best Winter Vacations

  • #13 in Best Weekend Getaways

  • #19 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Best Things To Do In New Orleans

Nightlife and rolling good times are the main attractions, with Bourbon Street's plentiful live-music clubs of nearly every style. Tours of the French Quarter or the Garden District will easily fill the day of those who love to stroll, while Chalmette Battlefield and The National WWII Museum pack in the amateur historians. For a unique glimpse of the Crescent City's culture, explore one of the famous cemeteries or pay a visit to the Backstreet Cultural Museum. When it comes time for souvenir shopping, check out the antiques stores along Magazine Street in the Garden District.

New Orleans Travel Tips

  • Avoid Bourbon Street hotels - Because this is the epicenter of New Orleans nightlife, there's really no escaping the late-night noise. Unless you're planning to join the party, find a different location to hang your hat.

  • Be careful at night - Residents are known for their Southern hospitality, but the city itself has some crime. Like in any city, avoid walking alone at night, especially if you're unfamiliar with your surroundings.

  • Watch what you eat - New Orleans is famous for its rich cuisine, but that combined with hot, humid weather can cause you to feel nauseated. When it comes to dining and snacking, pace yourself.

  • Consider a tour - For a local's perspective of the city, book a tour. Whether you're looking for a food tour, a swamp tour, a ghost tour or a plantation tour, you'll find a variety of experiences to choose from.

  • 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.

*SOURCE: Information From This Page Can Be Found at U.S. News & World Report