Things to do in Louisiana

Things to do in  Louisiana

Let the good times roll

The living is easy in Louisiana, where “joie de vivre” (otherwise known as the good life) is the collective state of mind. New Orleans is the state of bon temps’ biggest draw, but travelers shouldn’t sleep on the likes of Baton Rouge, the Acadiana capital of Lafayette, or Lake Charles. Some of the best things to do in Louisiana range from reveling in Mardi Gras festivities to indulging in Creole and Cajun flavors—not to mention exploring the storied Mississippi River via a steamboat cruise. Wherever you go, expect the vibrant soul of the South to permeate every aspect of your trip.

Top 15 attractions in Louisiana

French Quarter

The French Quarter, with its vibrant atmosphere and unique blend of architectural styles, is easily New Orleans' most famous and popular area to visit. It's also the city's oldest neighborhood, and its elegant streets are lined with an appealing mix of lively bars—especially along the legendary Bourbon Street—historic monuments, delicious restaurants, and inviting jazz clubs.More

LaLaurie Mansion

LaLaurie Mansion is not your regular tourist attraction. Also known as LaLaurie House, this French Quarter spot has a gruesome past involving torture, murder, and acts of brutality. The house is a regular stop on ghost tours of New Orleans and attracts visitors who want to learn more about the property's spine-chilling history.More

Garden District

New Orleans' Garden District is the epitome of Southern charm. The neighborhood is full of historic mansions, many built in the Italianate, colonial revival, and Greek revival styles. Many feature wrought-iron fences, verandas, and manicured gardens. Streets are separated by stretches of green parks, and St. Charles Avenue—known for its famous St. Charles Streetcar—runs right through the heart of it all.More

St. Louis Cathedral

A prominent landmark on Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral (officially the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis King of France) stands tall and proud, beckoning French Quarter visitors to take a little time out from drinking and dancing to admire the oldest continuously used cathedral in the United States. The seat of the city's Roman Catholic Archdiocese, the cathedral was built in 1789 and rebuilt in 1850, and today, its all-white, Spanish Colonial façade with three black spires is one of the most instantly recognizable landmarks in the South. The inside is just as beautiful.More

Jackson Square

In the heart of the French Quarter lies Jackson Square, one of New Orleans’ most famous locations. A National Historic Landmark, it is home to St. Louis Cathedral and is often filled with locals and tourists who come to stroll the paths, catch the buskers and street performers in action, or just sit in the shade and watch the world go by.More

Bourbon Street

The infamous Bourbon Street, also known as Rue Bourbon, conjures up images of endless partying, drinks of all shapes and sizes, bachelorette parties, and of course, Mardi Gras. Outside of Mardi Gras season, visitors flock to this playground of the South for its Creole restaurants, live music venues, souvenir shops, and well-known drinking establishments.More

Mississippi River

A central character in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the mighty Mississippi River has long captured the American imagination. It originates in Minnesota and sweeps across 95 river miles (153 kilometers), through St. Louis, Missouri, and south to New Orleans, Louisiana, where it flows into the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi. It's among the largest rivers in the world and has gained an almost mythical place in United States history.More

French Market

Located in the heart of New Orleans’ vibrant French Quarter, the French Market is a grand bazaar that serves as much as a cultural meeting place as it does a market space. In addition to hosting stall after stall of vendors hawking handmade goods and artisanal foods, the market doubles as a venue for a daily flea market and a twice-weekly farmers market. The French Market boasts the superlative as the oldest continuously operating open-air market in the United States, making it a part of living Louisiana history.More

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans. Built in 1833 and ripe with ghost stories and the graves of notable New Orleans residents, this Garden District graveyard serves as the final resting place for more than 7,000 people. The cemetery gets its name from the old city of Lafayette, now part of New Orleans.More

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Named for a legendary 19th-century pirate, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve includes six sites scattered throughout Louisiana that offer outdoor activities, history lessons, swamp tours, and more. See them on an airboat tour of Barataria Preserve in Marrero—a 26,000-acre (10,521-hectare) wetland rich in wildlife.More

Lake Pontchartrain

At 630 square miles (1,632 square kilometers), Lake Pontchartrain is one of the largest bodies of water in the US. It’s beloved by locals as a place to fish, sail, and swim, and its shores and waters shelter a huge variety of wildlife and marine life—look out for blue crabs, Atlantic stingrays, pelicans, ospreys, and even bull sharks.More

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

This vintage apothecary in the French Quarter is a national historic landmark and the site of the first licensed pharmacist in the US. Shelves of potions, perfumes, surgical devices, and other questionable curiosities are on display behind the old-time soda fountain for a fascinating look into medical practices of the past. More

Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation is a must-visit destination when in New Orleans. Highlights include a historic house and a lane flanked by 300-year-old live oak trees—plus 1,300 acres (526 hectares) of leafy grounds. Guided tours shed light on the plantation’s complex history of slavery and the Civil War, as well as the movies that used the attraction as a backdrop. Day trips from New Orleans’ French Quarter typically include convenient round-trip transport, while select tours combine Oak Alley with nearby plantations such as Laura Plantation or San Francisco Plantation.More

Louis Armstrong Park

On the northeastern edge of the French Quarter, Louis Armstrong Park honors the most beloved and influential figure in New Orleans jazz history. With its trees, fountain, sculptures, and winding lagoon, the park offers a lovely respite from the bustle of Bourbon Street.More

Royal Street

Known for its galleries, restaurants, and curio shops, Royal Street is just a block away from the bustle and grit of its famous big brother, Bourbon Street, but it still oozes historic French Quarter character. The iron-lace balconies of French and Spanish colonial buildings overlook upscale stores and courtyard cafés along this charming street. More

Top activities in Louisiana

Swamp Boat Ride and Oak Alley Plantation Tour from New Orleans
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Haunted Pub Crawl in New Orleans
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Haunted Pub Crawl in New Orleans

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New Orleans City and Cemetery 2- 2 1/2 Hour Bus Tour
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New Orleans Cemetery Bus Tour After Dark
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New Orleans French Quarter Food Adventure
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All about Louisiana

When to visit

The best time to visit Louisiana is from mid-February to early May and from October to December. Visiting in spring or fall allows you to avoid the oppressive heat and humidity of summer while still enjoying warm temperatures. February and March is also the season for one of the world’s most colorful celebrations, Mardi Gras, so expect big crowds and steep hotel rates during the two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday.

Getting around

In New Orleans, much of interest to visitors is located within walking distance, and the generally flat city is easily explored by bicycle. Otherwise, save your energy by hopping on one of the city’s famed streetcars or a public bus. You can get to other major cities in the state by Amtrak train or bus, although many prefer to drive, and you’ll need your own wheels to dive into Cajun Country and beyond.

Traveler tips

New Orleans is world-renowned for its Mardi Gras celebrations, but the party never stops in Louisiana. The Big Easy also boasts Jazz Fest in spring and Voodoo Fest in fall, while Shreveport’s Red River Revel and the Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival both happen in fall. Come December, the lakefront city of Natchitoches is illuminated by more than 300,000 Christmas lights for the Natchitoches Christmas Festival.

Local Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
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Country Code

People Also Ask

What is Louisiana famous for?

Travelers to Louisiana should expect great Cajun and Creole food, blues and jazz music, and an easygoing attitude that enjoys letting the good times roll. The southern state has a major influence on American culture and a rich history that encompasses a wide variety of cultures.

How many days do you need in Louisiana?

Aim to spend at least seven days in Louisiana if you want to see more than just New Orleans. You’ll want to spend at least two or three days in the Big Easy before heading out to explore Cajun Country, the Louisiana Wetlands, Natchitoches, and Lake Charles.

What is there to do in Louisiana for a week?

From touring swamps to historic architecture, there is much to fill one week in Louisiana. Spend a few days in New Orleans, then three or four days soaking up the state’s natural beauty: Explore interesting flora and fauna in Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge or go hiking in the Kisatchie National Forest.

What is the number one attraction in Louisiana?

The French Quarter in New Orleans is arguably the state’s number one attraction. The city’s oldest neighborhood is famed for the rowdy bars that line Bourbon Street as well as unmissable spots like Jackson Square, the French Market, St. Louis Cathedral, and the legendary Café du Monde.

What food should you try in Louisiana?

Foodie travelers are spoiled for choice in Louisiana. Crawfish, gumbo, jambalaya, Shreveport-style stuffed shrimp, po’boys, beignets, and king cake are just a few of Louisiana’s delicious signature dishes. Wash it all down with a sazerac, a rye whiskey-based cocktail that originated in New Orleans.

Is Louisiana tourist friendly?

Yes, Louisiana is very friendly in general. As one of the biggest tourist towns in the United States, New Orleans is especially well set up for visitors. As with any big city, however, crime can be an issue, so always be aware of your surroundings and belongings, especially after dark.

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