On the shores of the Mississippi River is New Orleans, the pulsing heart of Louisiana and arguably one of the most fascinating cities in the Gulf Coast region. Embracing a heady blend of French, American and African cultures, the city inundates the senses – everything is loud, spicy, and flamboyantly colourful, a perception reinforced by its thriving nightlife. If you’re after a holiday that pairs musical diversity with incredible cuisine and a truly unique local atmosphere, New Orleans is the place for you.
The French Quarter is one of the city’s most interesting areas. This historic district is, by day, a beautiful area to eat and walk. With antiquated architecture, brightly-coloured buildings, and plenty of delicious restaurants, it’s a lovely place to explore – first-timers should check out the famous Jackson Square. At night, however, it transforms into the New Orleans that tourists know and love. Jazz clubs, cocktail bars and dance pits are filled with an eclectic mix of tourists, party-goers, go-go dancers, drinkers and gamblers, all coming together to produce the city’s famous nightlife.
For those interested in a more refined cultural experience, locations like the Garden District are well worth a look. Stroll down boulevards shaded by towering oak trees, and admire the area’s historic mansions, many of which have beautifully-maintained gardens. If you’re there during February, you’ll have the chance to see New Orleans’ biggest festival – Mardi Gras. Originally a Catholic carnival, it’s now evolved into a seething riot of colour and noise, with local krewes riding massive floats along the parade route.
For family-friendly attractions, try places like Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, and the massive Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints and host to regular concerts and events. If you have young children, the Louisiana Children’s Museum is a great place to spend a day – it offers interactive exhibits, as well as fun activities perfect for keeping the little ones entertained.
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