Points of Interest in New Orleans for All First-Time Visitors
These are the places you need to see at least once.
This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure
Despite its small size, New Orleans is a city with a big city personality. Live blues and jazz music emanate from the clubs lining Frenchman Street, while the aromas of po-boy sandwiches, beignets, and hearty Creole cuisine perfume the air. The Big Easy's reputation may precede it, but this southern city is so much more than take-away cocktails on Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras. Whether it's your first time or you're a regular visitor, be sure to cross these points of interest in New Orleans off your to-do list.
New Orleans Jazz National Park
It may come as no surprise that in New Orleans, there's a national park where all of the rangers are musicians. Take a guided tour, or drop by for a jam session. At the visitor center, you can grab a brochure highlighting the area's 11 jazz-related historical sites.
National World War II Museum
Honor World War II veterans at the National World War II Museum of New Orleans, which may be one of the best places in the country to brush up on your military history. Beyond its various exhibits and galleries, which include boats crafted by local shipbuilder Andrew Higgins and a theater with 4D technology, the museum's theme even carries through to the on-site canteen, the American Sector.
Music Box Village
This incredible music venue and art installation also happens to be a musical instrument. Or, more precisely, many musical instruments. As visitors open doors, bang on, or tug at the various shanties and tree houses that form this village, music begins to fill the space.
While tourists flock to Bourbon Street in droves to suck down the oversized beers and cocktails to-go, head instead to Frenchman Street for authentic live music, less rowdy bars, and some of the city's best-loved restaurants. You can spend hours getting lost in the French Quarter, but be sure to find yourself at a table at Brennan's before you leave.
This relatively new green space stretches for more than a mile along the Mississippi River, giving tourists a scenic place to escape urban life. Piety Wharf, located in the park, offers incredible views of the city skyline and the river. Find it in New Orleans' hippest new neighborhood, Bywater.
WATCH: New Orleans Beignets
Historic Voodoo Museum
Located in the heart of the French Quarter, this museum provides a glimpse at the superstitions, folklore, and spiritual underbelly of Louisiana Voodoo. Through the museum, travelers can also take walking tours of the St. Louis Cemetery: the final resting place of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.
Backstreet Cultural Museum
Many know New Orleans for its Mardi Gras parties and festivities, but few are actually familiar with the history behind them. The Backstreet Cultural Museum maintains a collection of Mardi Gras costumes, photos, and other cultural artifacts that provide visitors with the opportunity to learn about the city's deep African American roots.
This authentic steamboat offers assorted jazz cruises, complete with local Creole cuisine and beverages. The NATCHEZ is one of only two genuine steam-powered sternwheelers still sailing on the Mississippi, and guests can check out the steam engine room while onboard.
St. Charles Avenue Streetcar
One of many streetcar lines still operating in New Orleans, the one that runs along St. Charles Avenue is the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world. This 150-year-old streetcar takes visitors along its 13.2-mile route through the oldest section of uptown New Orleans, before continuing along past antebellum mansions, historic monuments, bustling shopping centers, and the Audobon Zoological Gardens.
Located in the French Quarter, this National Historic Landmark is the site where Louisiana was declared a U.S. territory during the Louisiana Purchase. Today, this public space is often filled with artists creating and displaying work to visitors passing through the park.