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New Orleans Originals

If you're thinking of heading to the Big Easy, here's some suggestions of tours, things to see, and things to do.

New Orleans is full of tourist traps from tours, to museums, to specialty stores, so while it may seem best to do them all if you can, here's a few that are particularly worthwhile.

1. NOLA Cemetery Tour with Voodoo Intro

Because of vandalism and other factors, the only way to now enter New Orleans Cemetery is with a tour group and this tour was one of the best. Not only do you get a view of the cemetery (and its history, including Nicholas Cage's mausoleum), but you also get to learn a bit about the supernatural culture that permeates in New Orleans. The tour takes about two hours and does include a fair bit of walking, but there are story breaks and stops every few minutes for a little relaxing. 

2. French Quarter Hauntings & History

This tour was amazing! 10/10 for history, supernatural, and haunting buffs! Pandora and Lynx (who dress up for the tour: bonus points!) are both very knowledgeable about their subjects. While there is a lot of walking, the story stops are long enough that it doesn't seem to be quite as long as some other tours on the same subjects. With many stops for multiple stories, by the end of the tour, you'll feel like an expert in all things supernatural and haunted in New Orleans.

3. Cafe Beignet

Cafe Beignet New Orleans
Enjoy the best beignets in New Orleans and the French Quarter! Our traditional powdered sugar beignets are available in 2 locations -- on Bourbon Street with beautiful courtyard and near the river at the edge of the Vieux Carre.

When in New Orleans, you have to get a beignet and where better than in a place literally named for the creation? Cafe Beignet has two locations in New Orleans, both of which are always bustling, so be prepared for a little bit of a wait. But in the end, the wait is well worth the reward. Dig in and enjoy!

4. Mississippi River Cruise

Creole Queen | New Orleans Paddlewheeler Mississippi River Cruises
Enjoy a beautiful cruise aboard the historic Paddlewheeler Creole Queen and explore the Mississippi River.

There are many options when looking to book your Mississippi River cruise (because you have to go on one when in New Orleans). However, the Creole Queen dinner jazz cruise was spectacular, so if you can get tickets for one of their cruises, I highly suggest it. You'll travel up and down the river while enjoying an authentic Creole dinner with live jazz music, followed by the chance to go on deck and watch the lights of New Orleans sparkling past.

5. Harrah's

Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel and Casino
Harrah's New Orleans Hotel & Casino boasts the latest in slots, video poker and table games, plus exciting entertainment, restaurants and so much more.

Take a break from the hectic New Orleans streets and head into Harrah's gaming casino (because gambling is illegal in Louisiana). Games, restaurants, a hotel, and other such niceties await you inside. Stop by for a few hours of relaxing before heading back out to enjoy the New Orleans nightlife.

6. NOLA Movie Tour

Or take a break and enjoy the bus tour of New Orleans movie (and TV and book) locations. You'll enjoy sites from The Originals, NCIS: New Orleans, AHS: Coven, and other pop culture phenomenons. Not only will you see the sites passing by outside the bus window, but you're also able to watch the scenes unfold on the TV screen attached to the seat-back in front of you. 

7. New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

For a leisurely, weird afternoon, stop by the Pharmacy Museum. As the first legalized pharmacy in the United States, the museum now serves as a historical reminder of the progression of medicines. There are limited hours, so be sure to check the website and plan it into your schedule accordingly. 

8. Three in One

Audubon Nature Institute - Celebrating the Wonders of Nature - New Orleans
Audubon Nature Institute is a New Orleans nonprofit operating the local zoo, aquarium, parks, and more. We are dedicated to preserving and celebrating nature.

For those with kids (or just a curious nature), check out the Audubon Nature Institute, which offers entrance to the Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, and Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. Each museum has its own reasons for going, but put together, they make for a great day to relax away from the hustle of New Orleans.

9. The Expected...

Of course there is always the expected and accepted ways of exploring New Orleans. Head to the French Quarter or in particular Bourbon Street for the tourist shops, restaurants, drunken parties, clubs, and other New Orleans traditions. Just be sure to know where you're heading and what you're looking for. It's quite easy to get lost and confused in the French Quarter.

10. Bonus Stops

If you feel like taking a drive outside the city, I suggest heading to Little Eva Pecan Company store. There are multiple types of pecans and a small, country store perfect for getting gifts for those stuck back home. 

If you're looking for where to stay for awhile, instead of in a small hotel room, check out Airbnb's numerous New Orleans locations, including the one listed above which was beautiful, secure, and well-maintained. 

But, most importantly, enjoy yourself!

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