New Orleans Holidays

No city in the USA can compete with New Orleans when it comes to culture, food, historic architecture and joie de vivre. In the birthplace of jazz, music is everywhere, particularly around the historic French Quarter with its stunning architecture, intricate balconies and flower-filled courtyards.

The original settlement of New Orleans is the beautiful French Quarter, or Vieux Carre as it is sometimes known. Established by the French in 1718, the district is a National Historic Landmark and boasts stunning architecture adorned by cast-iron balconies and with hidden courtyards filled with lush greenery. At just thirteen blocks wide, it's easily walkable and is a wonderful place to simply wander and soak up the atmosphere, be it the boisterous party vibe of Bourbon Street or the bohemian elegance of Royal Street.

Life in the Quarter centres around New Orleans' most famous landmark, Jackson Square, which is flanked by historic structures such as the St Louis Cathedral, the Presbytere and Cabildo, which house the Louisiana State Museums. Walk the beautiful gardens inside the square, admire the works peddled by artists and enjoy the local street performers as they entertain and fill the air with culture and magic.

Two miles upriver from the French Quarter is the equally historic Garden District with its well-preserved collection of antebellum mansions, pristine gardens and southern charm. While most visit to admire the architecture, the area also offers shopping, cafes, delicious restaurants, cocktail bars and pubs.

Other notable city attractions include the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, City Park, New Orleans Museum of Art and the New Orleans Streetcars, which date from the 1920s and are beloved by locals and tourists alike. Perhaps only in New Orleans could cemeteries – or 'Cities of the Dead' - be regarded as a major attraction! With spooky history and unique elaborate tombs and mausoleums sited above ground, due to the city's location on a swamp, don't miss a guided tour of either St Louis or Lafayette Cemetery.

New Orleans is also renowned for its music, particularly jazz. It's also a mecca for gospel and R&B, with music flowing readily day and night on street corners and in all manner of venues from swanky lounges to tiny honky tonks. The city really comes alive during carnival season, which runs from 6th January to Ash Wednesday and culminates in Mardi Gras, a whirl of parades, parties and masked balls. Let's not forget the cuisine. Southern, Cajin, Creole and French fares are much in evidence, and each restaurant puts its own spin on traditional favourites, or why not visit a cooking school and learn how to cook jambalaya.

Why visit New Orleans?
  • French Quarter
  • Historic Jackson Square
  • Unique cemeteries
  • Enjoy the jazz
  • Feast on the food
Essential facts about New Orleans
Local Time

GMT -6 hours.

Currency

US Dollar

Travel information

New Orleans is around 10 hours flying time from the UK.

Best time to go

Spring and autumn bring comfortable temperatures – but do bear in mind if you want to visit during Mardi Gras, you must book early! Winters are mild and short, summers humid and hot.

Unmissable Experiences in New Orleans
Steamboat Natchez Harbour Jazz Cruise excursion
Steamboat Natchez Harbour Jazz Cruise

Discover New Orleans’ fascinating history to the accompaniment of a live jazz band during a two hour cruise on the Steamboat Natchez along the Mississippi. There’s a choice of sailing times and also the option to include a lunch or dinner buffet (extra expense). Available from New Orleans.

From £45

Swamp & Bayou Tour excursion
Swamp & Bayou Tour

After a short coach ride from the city, you’ll set off on a two hour boat ride through swamps and bayous in the company of a native guide. These wetlands are home to an abundance of wildlife including alligators, egrets, raccoons and birds. Available from New Orleans.

From £49

French Quarter Food Tour excursion
French Quarter Food Tour

This half day culinary tour starts where it all began - the banks of the Mississippi River. As you visit various foodie hotspots you’ll get to sample a variety of food, including a beignet, gumbo and a sweet treat made from pecans. Available from New Orleans.

From £65