This city has so many one-of-a-kind places that it was hard to pick just 10. Still, we managed to come up with suggestions sure to make your visit unforgettable.
You cannot discuss New Orleans without mentioning the iconic Café Du Monde. Established in 1862, it’s famous for café au lait, using coffee with chicory, along with three beignets (dough that’s fried and covered with powdered sugar, served warm). 800 Decatur St., New Orleans; (504) 525-4544.
To soak up some Old Orleans atmosphere, visit Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. The infamous pirate Jean Lafitte and his brother ran it as a front for their privateering business in the 1700s. Now it’s a tavern where live music and flickering candlelight create a cozy hangout. 941 Bourbon St.; (504) 593-9761.
Best Burgers in Town
When they say the world’s best burgers are at Yo Mama’s Bar and Grill, you probably didn’t expect a plump burger topped with peanut butter and bacon. But foodies rave about it. And to add to the fun, you can wash that burger down with a shot of one of the 50 tequila selections. 727 Saint Peter St., New Orleans; (504) 522-1125.
Paranormal researchers have documented 12+ spirits at Hotel Monteleone. The Place d’Armes Hotel, built in 1886, sits on the same site as a school that went up in flames, killing children and teachers. One ghost often appears, nods at guests, then vanishes. Hotel Monteleone, 214 Rue Royal; Place d’Armes Hotel, 625 Saint Ann St.
From voodoo dolls to gris-gris love potions, the fascinating New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum in the heart of the French Quarter is home to all things voodoo. 724 Dumaine St., New Orleans; (504) 680-0128.
To find the “true soul” of the local music scene, many locals suggest Frenchmen Street, a three-block-long district boasting a dozen live music clubs. To reach it from the French Quarter, just cross Esplanade at Decatur, and you’re there. Cover charges are rare, but be sure to tip the bands liberally (it’s expected).
The St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, opened in 1789, is where voodoo high priestess Marie Laveau’s tomb can be found. Many visitors leave little gifts at her vault, and some even knock three times or draw three X’s on the sides (illegal, by the way), hoping she’ll grant their wishes. Free admission; open seven days a week. Located at the basin at Saint Louis St., a block from the Quarter; (504) 482-5065.
Enter if You Dare
For a memorable night, try Ye Olde Original Dungeon. Tucked deep in the Quarter down a creepy dark alley, this punk/rock club has three bars: the front bar downstairs; Sound Bar upstairs, with a coffin suspended over the dance floor; and the Venus Bar. BTW, the rest-rooms are hidden behind a bookcase in the “library.” Open from midnight to dawn, but the downstairs bar opens around 6 p.m. 738 Toulouse St., New Orleans; (504) 523-5530.
Many say the best po’ boys are at Johnny’s Po-Boys. This family-run eatery offers more than 40 kinds of po’ boys, plus muffalettas, red beans and rice, seafood gumbo, and more. 511 Saint Louis St.; (504) 524-8129.
Try This Bloody Mary
Tour guide extraordinare Bloody Mary is a native Creole who’s been featured in 200 documentaries, and on TV and radio. Her offerings include Tour of the Undead (walking tour of ghost, vampire and voodoo sites in the Quarter); Haunted Pub Crawl Tour; Moonlight Graveyard Tour; and VIP Premier Private Tours. Reservations, (504) 523-7684.