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New Orleans Guide
Need to know
The largest city in the state of Louisiana, New Orleans is a melting pot in more ways than one. Culturally and ethnically diverse, this port city is a mix of French, Spanish, Creole and Cajun influences. These influences are evident in everything from New Orleans’ unique architecture to its incredible food, which isn’t surprising when you consider its colourful past; settled as a French colony, transferred to Spain, then sold to the United States.
Eat your way around the city with delicious deep-fried and sugar-dusted beignets, oyster or shrimp stuffed po’ boy sandwiches, a plate of traditional red beans and rice, or a delicious bowl of jambalaya.
The French Quarter is the oldest part of New Orleans and an absolute must-see for any visitor; its colourful facades are up to 300 years old. Stroll down Bourbon Street and Royal Street and visit cafes, restaurants and jazz spots for a true New Orleans experience. Visit Jackson Square, a picturesque plaza in the heart of the French Quarter, and St Louis Cathedral, a beautiful three-steepled Catholic cathedral located on its northern side.
Louisiana is considered the birthplace of jazz, so it goes without saying that there are many jazz clubs around the city, with The Spotted Cat being a firm local favourite. Music festivals take place year-round in New Orleans—if you’re lucky, you might even see a Second Line go by. These seemingly impromptu jazz bands can occasionally be spotted parading through the streets in a New Orleans tradition dating back to the 19th century.
More often than not, walking is the best way to get around the French Quarter and the CBD. Expensive parking and poor roads can make driving around these areas more of a hassle than not; consider hiring a bicycle if you want to cover more ground. New Orleans’ trams (known locally as streetcars) are a great way to see more of the city. New Orleans has five tram lines which include regular services to the Garden District and uptown. Fares are very reasonable, with one-way tickets costing US$1.25 and day passes available for just $3. Remember to have the exact fare ready in cash, as credit cards can’t be used on board.
New Orleans features a subtropical climate with hot, humid summers (24 to 33 degrees) and mild winters (8 to 18 degrees). The most popular time to visit New Orleans is between February and May, when the mild temperatures and variety of exciting events (including the world-famous Mardi Gras) see the city come alive with tourists. Those looking to avoid the crowds should consider visiting in summer or autumn; however, be warned that the warmer months come bundled with noticeable heat, humidity, and a chance of hurricanes.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is located about 25 kilometres west of downtown New Orleans. Flights travel to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport from a number of locations, including Los Angeles, Vancouver, Dubai, New Orleans and Honolulu. A bus or taxi from the airport should take about 25 minutes to reach the city centre.