New Orleans is unlike any city in the world. Situated on the Gulf Coast along the Mississippi River, amid Lake Pontchartrain to the north and Lake Borgne to the east, its distinct history and culture make it a must-visit destination. Although the city was named for the French Duke of Orleans in the 1700s, the influences of Creole, Spanish, Black, Native American, and many others are palpable throughout. The restaurant scene, architecture, nightlife, and just about every other part of New Orleans echoes these cultures. While you may be familiar with the Mardi Gras celebration in NOLA every spring, the city is an excellent destination year-round.
Because of the more deadly portions of the city’s history, it is considered one of the best places for ghost hunting. The Crescent City brings people from all over the world to try to encounter paranormal beings. When you visit, you’ll find a variety of haunted New Orleans tours, from cemetery walking tours to nighttime bus tours around town—if you dare!
In general, however, New Orleans is a lively, musical city. All around town you’ll hear Dixieland jazz, traditional jazz, R&B, funk, hip-hop, or an amalgamation of a few genres. The music of New Orleans isn’t confined to just one genre or culture of origin; instead, it thrives on a variety of cultures and ethnicities, including Sicily and Cuba along with France, the Caribbean, and more. If you’re visiting during late spring, check out the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, or Jazz Fest, one of the country’s largest music festivals.
You’d be remiss to leave without enjoying some of the excellent cuisine. From beignets to gumbo, jambalaya, and red beans and rice, there are plenty of great dishes that have roots in New Orleans. Stop by a coffee shop to grab a café au lait made with coffee and chicory, grab dinner at a Cajun restaurant, and enjoy a jazz brunch the next morning. No matter where you decide to dine, morning, noon, and night you can get a taste of New Orleans culture and history through its gastronomy.