At a Glance
When to Go
New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport is about 25 minutes from the French Quarter by taxi. The fare is a flat rate of $36 for the first two passengers, plus a $15 surcharge for each additional person. Airport shuttles are slightly more—$24 for a one-way ticket, $44 round-trip—and run every half-hour or so to hotels and other locations.
The French Quarter is easily navigated on foot, and the city’s streetcars can be useful if you’re planning to explore well-trodden parts of the city like the Garden District, City Park, and the Superdome; a day pass costs $3. For everywhere else, taxis are readily available.
A crawfish boil—ideally in someone’s backyard—is an iconic New Orleans pastime. If you don’t have a backyard to borrow, pick up crawfish, potatoes, corn, and sausage from KJean’s, and head to City Park.
Food and Drink
In Cajun cooking, the holy trinity is a riff on mirepoix that refers to onion, celery, and bell peppers and is the base for iconic dishes from gumbo to jambalaya. If the city of New Orleans had a holy trinity, it would be food, music, and the Saints. To understand the city's culture, go for Friday lunch at Galatoire’s, grab a bench at Preservation Hall, and catch a game at the Superdome. There’s also a burgeoning gallery scene along Julia Street and a handful of worthwhile museums, including the Contemporary Arts Center and the National WWII Museum.
New Orleans is a city that likes to get its party on, and its festivals are nothing short of epic. The most famous are Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, but also of note are alternative music festivals like Satchmo Summerfest and Crescent City Blues and BBQ, plus the (free) French Quarter Festival. Even if you don’t plan your trip around a special event, there’s almost always a parade or a party going on somewhere in the Big Easy.