New Orleans Getaway: Discovering the Rhythms, Tastes, and Tales of the Big Easy

If you're seeking a unique vacation idea, away from the usual beach destinations and major U.S. cities, New Orleans provides an exhilarating and extraordinary escape.

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If you're seeking a unique vacation idea, away from the usual beach destinations and major U.S. cities, New Orleans provides an exhilarating and extraordinary escape.

Recognized as the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans is a destination where cuisine is a symphony of Cajun and Creole flavours, and history unfolds at every street corner.

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Founded by the French in 1718, New Orleans boasts a rich historical journey, including a period under Spanish rule, before ultimately becoming part of the United States in 1803. You'll discover the tumultuous history of a city that played a significant role in Mississippi commerce and the slave trade.

In addition to being well-connected by air to Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, this city in the heart of Louisiana in the United States, nicknamed NOLA, will surely charm you! There's so much to do and see that you can choose to spend 2-3 days or even a whole week, depending on your interests and schedule.

Here are some must-do activities and unique experiences to enrich your getaway to New Orleans:

Explore Cajun and Creole culture:

New Orleans is infused with a unique culture resulting from the interaction between Cajuns, descendants of Acadians, and Creoles, a mix of African, European, and Caribbean influences. Cajuns brought their music and rustic cuisine, while Creoles enriched the city with Caribbean flavours and jazz rhythms. This fusion will transport you into a dynamic and diverse cultural atmosphere where traditions coexist harmoniously.

Travel tip: Keep an eye out, and you'll notice fleur-de-lis symbols on signs and monuments throughout the city, a testament to its rich French heritage.

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Admire the beauty of flowered Italian balconies

Stroll along Royal Street in the French Quarter to admire the beautiful wrought-iron balconies adorning the buildings. Each architectural detail tells a story, adding a special touch to the enchanting atmosphere of New Orleans.

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Wander around Jackson Square

Enjoy a stroll in Jackson Square, a key location in the heart of the city in the French Quarter. Surrounded by street artists and talented musicians, this place offers an authentic experience of the artistic buzz of New Orleans.

Travel tip: Join a guided walking tour of the city with Nola Tour Guy, the only locally-run company offering free historical walking tours. It's suggested to tip $15 to $25 per person.

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Reserve a table for Sunday Jazz Brunch at Commander's Palace

Indulge in an unforgettable culinary experience by reserving a table for Sunday Jazz Brunch at Commander's Palace. This iconic venue will surprise you with its refined Southern cuisine, offering delicious dishes such as turtle soup, a departure from traditional North American breakfasts.

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Taste oysters at Acme Oyster Bar

Delight in oysters at Acme Oyster Bar. Choose between raw oysters with lemon and spicy cocktail sauce or grilled oysters bathed in herb butter sauce and topped with a unique cheese blend.

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Enjoy crawfish

Don't miss the opportunity to savour boiled crawfish, a Louisiana must-try specialty. Prepare to get your hands dirty, peeling and devouring these perfectly cooked delights. The experience is often convivial, with crawfish served in large bags, seasoned with traditional Cajun spices or creatively spiced with a Vietnamese twist.

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Indulge in Beignets

Avoid the lines at Cafe du Monde and opt for Café Beignet on Royal Street instead. Marvel at the charming atmosphere of this café and its lovely murals.

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Sip a Sazerac at Carousel Bar & Lounge

Head to Carousel Bar & Lounge to savour a Sazerac, considered the first American mixed cocktail. This legendary drink is crafted from whiskey, absinthe, sugar, and a touch of bitterness, creating a rich and deeply rooted blend in the region's history.

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Stroll down Frenchmen Street

Allocate an afternoon to Frenchmen Street during your getaway to New Orleans, where musical diversity reigns supreme. As you walk, you'll have the opportunity to appreciate a variety of musical genres in renowned establishments such as the Spotted Cat Music Club, Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, and The Maison.

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Party on Bourbon Street

While some parts of the city exude a chic and refined atmosphere, the experience on Bourbon Street is more uninhibited and unrestrained. This famous street is filled with bars, clubs, and a festive ambiance, making New Orleans an incomparable destination for those seeking nighttime entertainment.

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Navigate the Bayous on an airboat

Explore the mysterious bayous of New Orleans aboard an airboat. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of these swamps and discover the fascinating wildlife that inhabits these places.

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Marvel at alligators

During your airboat excursion, keep an eye out for impressive alligators. With a bit of luck, you might even spot baby alligators, making your experience even more memorable.

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Join a St. Louis Cemetery tour

Step between the walls of the oldest and most legendary burial site in New Orleans on a guided tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Despite sounding peculiar, it's a highly popular cemetery, given that several historical figures are buried there.

Fun fact: Superstar Nicolas Cage had a nine-foot-tall cement mausoleum pyramid built for his future resting place in this cemetery. Some suggest that Cage's interest in voodoo motivated him to choose the same ancestral cemetery as Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen.

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Visit a plantation

Explore Louisiana's captivating and dark past by visiting one of the easily accessible plantations near New Orleans. Oak Alley Plantation will astonish you with its majestic oaks, Whitney Plantation provides a poignant perspective on the experiences of enslaved people, and Laura Plantation offers guided tours.

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Treat yourself to a vacation in New Orleans! 

This vibrant city nestled in the heart of Louisiana attracts travellers from around the world, and you'll quickly understand why. From its legendary music scene to its historic alleys, New Orleans will provide you with an unparalleled sensory experience, a whirlwind of traditions, culinary delights, and festivities.

Before your getaway to New Orleans, remember to contact a SoNomad agent for your travel insurance

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