New Orleans must-see: Things to do besides Mardi Gras

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New Orleans is a city rich in culture, history and unique Southern foods, and a great vacation spot for families. While many visit for Mardi Gras to party the night away, there is a plethora of New Orleans must see attractions to keep your family busy and satisfied throughout your trip.

Once you’re in town, check into one of these New Orleans hotels and then head out to explore the city’s unique architecture and Laissez-Faire attitude. Here are a few New Orleans must see places to eat, visit and soak in The Big Easy lifestyle.

New Orleans Must See - Cemeteries

Source: Flickr

Where to go

Experience life from the heart of New Orleans in the French Quarter. This neighborhood is filled with more than 200 years of history and culture. Take a Haunted New Orleans Walking Tour to be entertained with talks of voodoo and vampires and visits to haunted sightings. With more than 40 cemeteries and hundreds of tombs that resemble buildings, giving it the nickname “Cities of the Dead’, New Orleans burial areas are a big attraction for first-time visitors. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest cemetery with several tombs of notable New Orleans residents. At the center of the French Quarter is Jackson Square. This New Orleans must see area has entertaining musicians and painters that normally fill the perimeter of the square for visitors.

Learn more about American history at the National World War II Museum. Since 2000, the Museum has been telling and showing the American experience through this world war. Learn the how’s, what’s and why’s of WWII through exhibits, artifacts, music and video.

A fun way to see New Orleans is riding on its streetcars. There are three different lines you can ride: St. Charles, Canal Street and the Riverfront. Each takes you to a different area, but all are a great way to view this charming Louisiana city. Word to the wise — don’t refer to these rides as trolleys because when you’re in New Orleans, they’re strictly called streetcars.

New Orleans Must See: Commander's Palace Restaurant

Source: Flickr

Where to eat

New Orleanians love their Cajun food, and they know how to make it. The best restaurant to try Cajun dishes is at Cochon. Chef Link grew up with traditional Cajun Southern dishes, like rabbit and dumplings and oven-roasted gulf fish, so that’s what he cooks and serves up here. Stop in for lunch and dinner any day but Sunday.

Two New Orleans must see restaurants that give you Creole food are Commander’s Palace and Dooky Chase. Commander’s Palace provides numerous Creole and American dishes, as well as some dishes of Commander’s own creation. Since it’s a nicer place to dine at, shorts and t-shirts aren’t allowed. Dooky Chase is a family owned and operated business that’s a stopping place for hungry regulars, tourists, musicians and politicians. A lunch buffet is offered every Tuesday through Friday with your everyday New Orleans’ and Creole favorites. Friday nights are special as Leah Chase (one of the owners) prepares a special menu for all of her diners.

New Orleans Must See: Crawfish Etoufee

Source: Flickr

What to eat

Now that you know where to eat, you need to know what to eat. New Orleans and Louisiana are known for several foods and dishes, and of course they just taste better down in New Orleans. For lunch or dinner try:

Crawfish Etouffee: A Cajun gumbo made from crawfish; jambalaya, a flavorful mixture of seafood, sausage and vegetables
Gumbo: A stew full of seasonings, meats, okra and vegetables
Muffulettas: A cold-cut Italian sandwich.
Po’ Boy: A traditional sub sandwich served on a baguette-like New Orleans French bread. Fried shrimp or fried oysters varieties the most popular.
Beignets: Always a good choice for a snack or dessert. (Cafe Du Monde is world famous for ’em! Get there super early. There’s always a line.)

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