When you visit a city do you like to stray at-least a little bit off the beaten path? Do you like to really get to know a place? Do you like to do as the locals do? If you answered yes, then read on for our suggestions on some more unique off the beaten path activities in New Orleans.
Article by David Hedges, the founder and guide at Nola Tour Guy
Everyone knows New Orleans is famous for its food, a unique blend of influences that only exist in Louisiana, and there are countless restaurants serving food in this style, many of which specifically cater to tourists. But some of the best food is served up to go in humble corner stores all over town often for under $10. Here in New Orleans, locals call hot food served to-go as “hot plates” at these corner stores. You can learn more by checking out our “big easy eating on a budget blog” over at Nolatourguy.com. But here are some highlights:
Orange Store, 1700 N Rampart. Close to the French Quarter in the Marigny this spot has arguably the best Shrimp Po-boy in town
North Broad Seafood, 1901 N Broad Ave. This is more of a hike away from the French Quarter but worth it for their amazing hot plates (use photos)
Cajun Seafood, 1479 N. Claiborne. Near the French Quarter. This is the spot to try crawfish (when in season) and other seafood
Frady's, 3231 Dauphine. Located in the Historic Bywater. Excellent oyster po-boy.
New Orleans is a Walking City. Walk around our unique and Historic Neighbourhoods. You probably already know about The French Quarter. It’s a fascinating place and very unique. It is possibly the only intact historic old quarter that still is a functional neighborhood with full-time residents in all of the United States. It’s totally worth your time and it’s why we offer a Free Walking Tour of the French Quarter. But New Orleans is more than just the French Quarter and has lots of surviving 19th-century homes scattered throughout many historic neighborhoods like Easter eggs for you to find. The most famous of these is probably The Garden District (which we do offer tours of) but there's also the Marigny/Bywater, just downriver from the French Quarter and Bayou St. John. Bayou St John actually features the oldest home in all of New Orleans the Pilot House and Treme, the birthplace of Jazz Music.
Did you know that New Orleans features the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the United States? They laid down the tracks for the St Charles line back in 1833 and it’s still in use today. The train that is used on that line today dates back to the 1940s. From this line, you can see some of the most beautiful mansions in the entire city. I think it epitomizes the old motto of New Orleans “the city that care forgot” as it is a leisurely form of mass transit. There is also a line that goes down Canal Street to the cemeteries or City Park. Check out RTA for more info.
After a couple of days, the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter might get old. Perhaps it's time for a quiet stroll in a park? Fortunately, New Orleans has two of the greatest public parks in the United States. City Park (accessible by the Canal Street Streetcar), located in the Bayou St John neighborhood which is larger than the world-famous Central Park in NYC, and Audubon Park (accessible by the St Charles streetcar) which was designed by John Charles Olmsted who designed many world-famous parks in the United States.
You might know we have the National World War Two museum. But there are plenty of other lesser-known museums you should visit. My personal favorite is The Backstreet Cultural museum in the Treme. This Museum's goal is to preserve the history and culture of the Mardi Gras Indians, an African-American tradition unique to New Orleans. Also nearby in the Treme is the recently re-opened African American Museum.
If you plan to stay longer than a couple days, you should consider renting a car for a day trip to get out of town and see the swamps and alligators. John Lafitte’s Barataria Preserve is a national park that is free to visit and only a 40 minutes drive from New Orleans. (consider making route on google maps)
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