7 Memorable Attractions Bringing People To New Orleans

New Orleans is a city known for music, delicious food, warm hospitality, and Creole culture. Founded in 1718, its history is as rich and diverse as it is long. There are many sites, sounds, and tastes for visitors to enjoy, and it can be hard to know where to start. So here, listed in no particular order, are some things to check out during a trip to The Big Easy.

First up, at #1, is the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. This institution is recognized for its original exhibitions, public events, and educational programs. To provide a comprehensive story of the region, programming examines the development of painting and sculpture alongside Southern traditions of music, literature, and culinary heritage.

Established in 1999, the museum welcomes thousands of visitors annually to enjoy exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, concerts, and more. During the summer, children and youth are invited to explore photography, painting, printmaking, and mixed media through a series of small, specialized camps designed to build community and help kids get involved in arts and culture.

In the #2 spot, the Bourbon Orleans Hotel was once a high-society ballroom and later a convent. Located just beyond the bustle of Bourbon Street and adjacent to two popular landmarks, the St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square, this Belle Epoque-style hotel pays homage to its past without sacrificing modern conveniences and services.

Stories of the rooms and corridors of the Bourbon Orleans being haunted are about as old as the hotel itself. It was even ranked as one of the city's top haunted establishments by USA Today. At the onsite Bourbon "O" Bar, guests can find candle-lit conversations, blues, and jazz, as well as cocktails flavored with fresh-squeezed citrus and handmade syrups.

At #3, Kayak-iti-Yat allows visitors to see New Orleans from a different perspective. This locally owned, family run business invites participants to kayak through the area's many bayous and historic waterways. The pace of the excursions is slow and relaxing, allowing people to take in the southern scenery, hospitality, and weather.

"Your experience with us will bring balance to many things: You’ll find nature in an urban setting, visit history in the present, have a few active hours among several decadent ones, and feel local while vacationing."

Together, hosts and attendees explore the city's history and culture, as well as the challenges and benefits of Southern Louisiana's diverse ecology, and the aquatic life of the waterways. The Pontchartrain Paddle is geared towards active, outdoorsy folks, though kayaking experience is not necessary. The journey includes a paddle along the entire length of Bayou St. John and back, and includes opportunities for bird watching.

Up next, at #4, the Arts District is a burgeoning hub for young professionals and creatives. The community features many galleries, museums, cafes, bars, and restaurants.

First Saturday Gallery Openings is a neighborhood tradition that attracts crowds of people every month. Several local hotels have started initiatives to offer deals, packages, and other incentives such as guided art walks and special programming to visitors who are interested in checking out the area.

At #5, we have The National Shrine of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. The life of this "Cheerful Ascetic" Father inspires legions of people throughout the world who seek healing. Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2000, he was said to have possessed many mystical gifts due to his life of intense prayer and penance. As a missionary preacher and lifelong friend of the poor and destitute, Seelos was a spiritual guide to tens of thousands, giving counsel and hearing the confessions of those who came to him.

Located at the rear of St. Mary’s Assumption Church, the shrine was established in 1959. It features the remains of Father Seelos, his original coffin, artifacts from his life, and other relics of various saints. Inside the reliquary room, a prayer partner and crucifix are available for visitors to pray with. The Welcome Center adjacent to St. Mary’s features the Walk of Life museum, a theater, and a gift shop.

At #6 on the list, Belle's Diner is located in the heart of the French Quarter, directly across from the historic French Market. This eatery offers an early 1950's malt shop inspired vibe and serves classic American cuisine.

Named one of the ten best diners in the area by USA Today, this establishment is known for its scratch-made burgers, thick milkshakes, and all-day breakfasts. For adults, the restaurant has an extensive list of boozy shakes. For those on the go, takeout and delivery options are available.

Topping off our list at #7, The Napoleon House, on the corner of Chartres and St. Louis streets, has been a landmark of the French Quarter for over two centuries. The original owner, Nicholas Girod, who was mayor of New Orleans from 1812 to 1815, had planned for the establishment to be a refuge for the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte himself. The plan did not come to fruition, but the name stuck.

The uneven floors, photography, weathered paintings, and sea of quotes from famous guests covering the walls speak to the many decades of service that the bar has provided. The restaurant's signature Muffuletta sandwich pays homage to the Italian immigrants who first opened grocery and deli stores along the riverfront of the neighborhood.