Nicknamed the “Big Easy,” New Orleans is known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy cuisine reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures. Make your Summit trip even more memorable by partaking in some of the many experiences NOLA offers just steps from our host hotel.
Lively bars and cafes line Bourbon Street, which runs through the center of the architecturally ornate French Quarter and features iconic Creole and Cajun restaurants serving dishes like gumbo and jambalaya. The Garden District is known for well-preserved antebellum mansions in styles like Italianate and Victorian. In Faubourg Marigny, Frenchmen Street is home to bars and clubs offering live jazz, blues and rock music. Just a handful of the iconic New Orleans attractions are listed below:
CAJUN OR CREOLE?
Cajun and Creole food are both native to Louisiana and can be found in restaurants throughout New Orleans. Cajun food is robust, rustic food, found along the bayous of Louisiana, a combination of French and Southern cuisines. Think of meat-heavy, one-pot dishes like jambalaya or the rice-filled, spicy pork sausage known as boudin. Creole food is cosmopolitan food, created in New Orleans with European, African and Native American roots. The French influence is strongest, but vestiges of Italian, Spanish, German, and even Caribbean can be found in some dishes. The essence of Creole is found in rich sauces, local herbs, red ripe tomatoes, and the prominent use of seafood, caught in local waters. Think of rich, roux-based gumbo, shrimp creole, grits and grillades, redfish courtbouillon and more.
New Orleans is home to a rich musical tradition. Blues, funk, jazz, zydeco, rock ‘n’ roll, country – the city can claim at least some responsibility for just about every genre of American music. NOLA is the birthplace of jazz and you can find jazz clubs all around the city, often playing late into the night. For Dixieland, make sure you hit Preservation Hall, while many other jazz clubs can be found up and down Frenchman Street. There’s no closing time in New Orleans, the city that probably invented American nightlife, so head out into that swampy, sultry, electric night, and see where it takes you.
THE FRENCH QUARTER
If you’re staying at the NASO Summit host hotel you’re already here. From some of the classiest venues in America to some of its trashiest dives, the freewheeling French Quarter is a tourist mecca where world famous chefs, world class musicians and worldly bartenders bust their chops to ensure the historic neighborhood thoroughly delights any and all who have the pleasure to spend time in the Quarter.
The partying never stops on Bourbon Street, the French Quarter’s liveliest and wildest thoroughfare, where the rhythmic sounds of jazz, country western, Dixieland and sultry blues permeate the air. Brimming with life, you’ll find everything from shopping to music to Cajun food to nightclubs.
Frenchmen Street is known as the locals’ Bourbon Street. But don’t worry, non-Nawlins folks are nevertheless welcome. The nightlife here is guaranteed fun. The choice of dining options and live music venues is astounding with a multitude of top rated options.
NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MUSEUM
For those who are passionate about history, military conflicts especially, there is the National World War II Museum with its outstanding exhibits and awesome documentaries that depict the story of WW II in both Pacific and Europe. Being in a modern museum, you also have the option to watch a 4D war-movie produced by Tom Hanks where chairs will shake you up whenever tanks or airplanes appear on-screen.
This is, basically, the heart of the French Quarter, and one of the most popular gathering places for street artists and top performers. At dawn, you can hear the sounds of electric guitars, saxophones and traditional brass bands from almost every club in Jackson Square. The statue of General Jackson occupies the Centre of the square, which is paved with trees and grass. Just behind the statue, tourists can admire the St Louis Cathedral. The entire area is very picturesque along the banks of Mississippi River, Riverboat Docks and the Moon Walk. The scenery is almost dream-like, while the riverbanks are always filled with tourists enjoying the scene.
This building has a long history and it’s tied with the origins of jazz music. It still hosts traditional jazz shows put on by local artist and even though it’s small, the feeling of intimacy it creates can’t be beaten. Just like the old days, the schedule and performances are listed on the door and you will only know what’s going on if you go by it during the day. This has quickly gained the interest of hundreds of visitors and local fans, becoming a tradition and one of the most appreciated relaxation spots. Much like in the entire New Orleans musical scene, amazing live performances surprise and mesmerize the audience each night.
CAFÉ DU MONDE
Since 1862, this original French Market coffee stand has been serving powder sugar capped beignets (aka French doughnuts and the Louisiana state doughnut) with chicory-blended coffee for folks 24 hours a day. Oh sure, you’ll be yet another of the many thousands of tourists lining up for a taste of NOLA’s most iconic breakfast item when you pay your visit, but they don’t call it Café du Monde (‘Café of the World’) for nothing! So relax and enjoy the experience … and the sugar rush.
ST. LOUIS CATHEDRAL
This landmark of New Orleans was built in 1794 and is the oldest cathedral from the US that was continuously used. It attracts a lot of tourists every year and even Pope J Paul II visited this cathedral back in 1987. Just like most of the prominent building in New Orleans, the cathedral was built by Almonester de Roxas, who greatly contributed to the reconstruction of the city after the events of second great fire.
THE GARDEN DISTRICT
In the charming Garden District, oak-shaded streets are lined with a diverse mix of homes, from single-story cottages to the grand historic mansions and lavish gardens of St. Charles Avenue, on the Mardi Gras parade route. Leafy Lafayette Cemetery is filled with ornate, 19th-century tombs. Boutiques and antique shops sit alongside fine-dining restaurants, casual cafes and local bars on and around Magazine Street.