Most people think of New Orleans and think of Bourbon Street. It's inevitable really. Bourbon Street is certainly not for the faint of heart -- it's filled to the brim during Mardi Gras with everyone covered in beads with a drink (or two) in hand. I don't even want to think about how that street must look the next morning.
But this incredible southern city in Louisiana has so much more to offer its visitors. The charming French Quarter feels like a trip back in time due to its preservation by the Vieux Carre Historic Commission. And you'll get some of the best seafood around.
We've gathered up the best nine attractions in the Big Easy that aren't Bourbon Street. Check out these must-see spots during your next visit.
1. Jackson Square
This really is the perfect start to exploring the city. You're surrounded by the historic buildings. This historic park (and National Landmark) dates back to 1856. A statue of Andrew Jackson, who led troops to victory in the Battle of New Orleans, is the focal point surrounded by wrought iron fencing. It's the perfect place to unwind with a beignet from Cafe du Monde to enjoy the flowers and people watch.
2. French Market
Located in the heart of the French Quarter, the French Market really can't be missed. Back in 1791, it started as a Native American trading post along the Mississippi River. The Pavillion features multiple places to grab anything from fresh oysters to creole po boys before perusing the local vendors for knickknacks. There's also live music from the surrounding restaurants because what's a visit to NOLA without some jazz?
3. St. Louis Cathedral
Dating back to 1727, this cathedral, dedicated to Louis IX, sainted King of France, was one of the first buildings constructed in the city. Perfectly situated in front of Jackson Square, it's one of the most visited landmarks in the city.
4. The National WWII Museum
Certified by Congress as the official WWII museum of the United States, this museum is in downtown New Orleans (i.e. not far from the French Quarter). It covers 6-acres with its many exhibits and multimedia experiences that will give a deeper look into such a huge part of American history.
5. Besthoff Sculpture Garden
Found at the New Orleans Museum of Art, this stunning sculpture garden is found amongst a plethora of old magnolia and oak trees. Over 60 different statues around the garden from artists around the world make this an idyllic spot for a little walking tour of the grounds. The museum itself is located in New Orleans City Park and is a lovely destination for any art lover.
6. Magazine Street
The Garden District is one of the most beautiful spots in the city. Unique restaurants and shops are situated along a quiet tree-lined street away from the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter. You're guaranteed to stumble upon an art market as you wander around the street window shopping. If you take Magazine all the way down you'll run straight into Audubon Park.
7. Mardi Gras World
Everyone has heard of Mardi Gras, one of the biggest days of the year in New Orleans. Due to people wanting to get some behind-the-scenes info on what exactly goes into putting together this huge event, a working warehouse was put together as a tourist attraction. You can now take a guided tour through the facilities and see how much effort goes into putting together the incredible floats that bring this event to life.
8. New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
Originally owned by America's first licensed pharmacist Louis J. Dufilho, Jr., this was the first apothecary shop to ever open in the United States. Located in the French Quarter, everything has been preserved inside and out.
9. Steamboat Natchez
Who wouldn't want to take a cruise along the Mississippi River in an old-timey steamboat? The Natchez offers daytime and dinner jazz cruises along the French Quarter so you get to see all of the old architecture of the city.
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