Photo credit: iStock

When you think New Orleans, you think party. The city is renowned for its live music, vibrant bar scene, soul food and, of course, its festivals. Consequently, it has people flocking in their thousands to indulge in weekends of revelry.

However, there’s more to this city than meets the eye and visitors should ensure they immerse themselves in its rich tapestry of sights and flavours during their time in the southern hotspot. If you’ve got just 48-hours in New Orleans, here’s our top tips for what you should see and do.

Day 1

Jackson Square

At the front of the French Quarter sits Jackson Square. This public, gated park originates from the mid-19th century and is the size of a US city block. Designed by architect and landscaper Louis H. Pilie, between the 1920s and 1980s it was a hub for painters, caricaturists and art students. Now it is also home to mimies, fortune tellers, card readers and other street performers, making it one of the most bustling parts of the city.

Two landmarks in the square include the St Louis Cathedral and the Jackson Equestrian Statue. There is also the historic Cafe du Monde opposite the Cabildo (the seat of government for the Spanish settlement in the late 1700s), which is famous for its cafe au lait. This signature beverage has been served on the premises since the civil war and goes perfectly with one of the beignets – a powdered sugar confection. It’s custom for anyone having a beignet to blow off the sugar and make a wish.

Photo credit: iStockThe French Quarter

This is certainly the most iconic part of New Orleans and where the party is. Filled with an atmosphere that is nothing sort of electric, with a pleasing hint of weirdness and oddity, the old quarter is where you’ll see the colonial era balconies and creole cottages that most people associate with the city.

The most famous place in the quarter is Bourbon Street, which is filled with historic bars and lots of neon. If you want to experience this place in all its glory, you need to be there at night time and be willing to dance, drink and deal with crowds.

If this isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other things to do in the quarter. Preservation Hall is a must-see and has been operating as a music venue for jazz since 1961. The Hermann-Grima House is also a popular spot and is a historic house museum that gives you a real taste of what the Golden Age of New Orleans looked like. Gallier House is another great house museum and has some of the best preserved architecture in New Orleans.

Of course you can’t talk about the French Quarter without mentioning voodoo and the occult. You’ll find a range of stores dedicated to the mystic in the quarter and there are even guided tours to talk you through some of the ghosts and phantoms that are said to haunt the Vieux Carre.

Photo credit: iStockDay 2

The Garden District

When you walk around the Garden District you get an idea by what is meant by the phrase ‘old Southern money’. Originally developed  between 1832 and 1900, some of the best historic mansions line the streets. Landmarks include the famous Lafayette Cemetery No 1, the 19th century skating rink cum shopping mall known as ‘The Rink’, the Anshe Sfard synagogue and the George Washington Cable House. The famous restaurant Commander’s Palace is also in the Garden District, where you can get a drink and creole food. However, you’ll want to dress up for the occasion.

Freret Street

If you fancy something a bit trendy you should head uptown to Freret Street. This is a new up and coming part of the city that has found new life post-Katrina. It has more than 15 restaurants, bars and music venues, making it an alternative the Bourbon Street for revellers. Freret Street Publiq House is good for steampunk, while Snake and Jakes is the perfect spot if you’re a fan of a dive bar and Christmas lights.

Combine New Orleans with more, on a Multi Centre Holiday adventure…

If 48 hours just isn’t enough, then take a look at our most popular USA Multi Centre Holidays and our famous US Road Trips, for some great ideas. Our two most popular New Orleans holidays are our Deep South Road Trip and our Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans multi centre.

Mathew Woodward Senior Travel Consultant

Matt has been working for eShores since 2012, but has worked in the industry for the last 24 years, so is highly experienced. When it comes to hands on knowledge, Matt has travelled extensively, especially in the USA where there aren't many places he hasn't been to. Matt is fun, loves a chat, but is down to earth, so you'll always get his honest opinion.