Top Attractions for First-Timers

On your inaugural visit to New Orleans, you’ll want to hit up the classics. While it’s impossible to see everything in one trip, this list covers the absolute must-sees for NOLA newbies.

French Quarter

No trip to New Orleans is complete without exploring the historic French Quarter. This buzzing neighborhood is the birthplace of the city and home to classic wrought-iron balconies, vibrant nightlife, and musical street performers. Be sure to check out Jackson Square, stroll down Bourbon Street, and sample some beignets at the famous Cafe Du Monde. The French Quarter is also home to several iconic New Orleans attractions like the stately St. Louis Cathedral and the lively French Market.

Garden District

For a taste of classic Southern charm, venture uptown to the posh Garden District. This leafy historic neighborhood is known for its antebellum mansions, lush gardens, and oak-lined streets. Magazine Street runs through the heart of the Garden District and boasts boutique shops, art galleries, and some of the city’s best restaurants. Don’t miss seeing the former home of author Anne Rice at 1239 First Street. Many companies offer guided walking or bicycling tours of the area.

National WWII Museum

History buffs won’t want to miss the National WWII Museum in the Central Business District. This expansive complex brings the history of the war vividly to life through immersive exhibits and multimedia experiences across five pavilions. Highlights include watching 4D movies in the Soliders and Sailors Pavilion, strolling through a recreated French village, and seeing tanks, planes, and even a submarine up close. Plan to spend at least half a day exploring.

Swamp Tours

For a uniquely Louisiana experience, join a guided boat tour through the nearby swamps and bayous. On these trips, you’ll learn about the region’s ecosystems as you cruise through cypress forests draped in Spanish moss. Many tours also incorporate insights into Cajun culture and history. You may even spot gators, nutria, herons, egrets, and other wildlife native to the area. Popular launch points include Bayou Segnette State Park and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park.

City Park

At 1,300 acres, City Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country. Located in Mid-City, this massive green space contains gardens, lagoons, trails, playgrounds, and numerous recreational facilities. Top attractions include the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, Storyland for the kids, and the world’s largest grove of mature live oak trees. No trip to City Park is complete without sampling beignets from Morning Call inside the park.

Streetcar Rides

Streetcars are an iconic part of New Orleans’ public transportation system. The historic St. Charles line is a must for first-timers. This scenic journey takes you past gorgeous mansions and shady oak trees along St. Charles Avenue. Other fun lines to ride include the Riverfront line along the Mississippi and the Canal line from Mid-City to City Park.

How to Get Around New Orleans

With its walkable neighborhoods and extensive public transit, New Orleans is easy to navigate for first-time visitors. Here are some of the best options for transportation during your trip:

Public Transportation

The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) operates buses, streetcars, and ferries throughout the metro area. The streetcars are a fun way to sightsee, while buses reach most major attractions. Schedules can be unreliable, so build in extra time. The Ferry to Algiers is a breezy way to cross the Mississippi River. Pick up route maps at hotels and visitor centers.

Taxis and Rideshares

Taxis are plentiful in the tourist areas of New Orleans. You can often hail them on the street, or call United Cabs or White Fleet Cabs to request a pick-up. Uber and Lyft also operate throughout the city. Using a rideshare app is handy for airport transfers or trips between neighborhoods. Expect surge pricing during peak times.

Charter Buses

For group travel or special events, consider chartering a private bus. Local companies like New Orleans Party Bus Company provide comfortable, convenient transportation for weddings, corporate outings, school field trips, and more. Charter buses take the hassle out of planning transportation for large groups. Your professional driver handles the navigation while you relax and focus on your New Orleans adventure. Many buses come equipped with luxury amenities like leather seats, TVs, WiFi, and restrooms.

Ready to Get Started?

We hope this first timer’s guide gets you excited to start planning your trip to marvelous New Orleans. With so much culture, history, cuisine, and entertainment, the Big Easy offers an experience like no other. To make transportation a breeze for your group’s NOLA getaway, contact New Orleans Party Bus at 504-264-9429. We’ll match you with the perfect charter bus and handle all the driving and logistics so you can sit back and savor the sights. Let us take you on an unforgettable ride through one of America’s most festive cities!