- Touring

What to Do in New Orleans: A Day by Day Guide

New Orleans is one of those magical places where there is always something to do. It’s a city where fun is just as important as work, with a culture that embraces this philosophy.

We’ve rounded-up a few of our favorite things to do, by the day, to make your time in New Orleans unforgettable.

Monday: It’s tour-ific!

Having a “case of the Mondays” is impossible in New Orleans. It may be the beginning of the workweek, but it’s also just the beginning for New Orleans fun.

To Do: Tour the city.

New Orleans is one of the oldest and quirkiest places in the United States. We vote touring one (or more) of our many neighborhoods with a New Orleans historian. You’ll lean about each neighborhood’s distinct history and character. There’s the French Quarter, whose streets are filled with seduction and mystery; the Garden District, where it’s easy to spend hours visiting famous homes, cemeteries and restaurants or the Lower 9th Ward, made infamous by Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.

Local Tip:

Some restaurants, museums and attractions do close on Monday (hey, everyone needs a day off), including the Audubon Zoo, Aquarium of the Americas and the Children’s Museum. Don’t forget to do your research before you head-out!

Rebirth Brass Band plays at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans.

Tuesday: Who needs gold when you have brass?

Not many people say Tuesday is their favorite day of the week, but not many people are New Orleanians.

To Do: Rebirth at the Maple Leaf Bar

New Orleans is built on music. With artists like Louis Armstrong, Allen Toussaint, Fats Domino and Dr. John calling New Orleans their home, it’s easy to see (and hear) that there’s something special about the music in this city.

Head over to Oak Street, at the end of the St. Charles Streetcar line, on Tuesday nights for one of the best brass bands in the world. Grammy-award-winning Rebirth Brass Band takes the stage every Tuesday night (10pm sharp) at the Maple Leaf Bar. You can’t help but feel the magic of the music as you dance and sing along.

Local Tip:

After dancing with 200 of your closest (and newest) friends, head over to the Camellia Grill for a giant breakfast omelet, served until 2 am. It’s a New Orleans landmark and cannot be missed!

Wednesday: To the Square you go!

Hump Day means it’s time for free live music, New Orleans’ best food and local crafts, all for a good cause.

To Do: Wednesday at the Square

Each Spring the Young Leadership Council organizes a 12-week free concert series in New Orleans’ CBD (Central Business District) at Lafayette Square. Both locally and nationally recognized musicians take the stage, while businesspeople, just getting off work, kids, graduate students and tourists sit back and enjoy New Orleans food and music.

Lafayette Square is smack-dab in the middle of New Orleans bustling downtown, just a quick walk from most hotels. Come with an empty stomach and be prepared to have a uniquely New Orleans good time. P.S. All food proceeds go to the YLC!

Local Tip:

Bring a blanket and/or lawn chair. You’ll grab your food and drink, but will need a place to enjoy it. These two items really come in handy.

Thursday: Art you glad you’re here?

We’re bringing you to visit the largest Southern art collection in the world, just steps from your hotel.

To Do: Ogden After Hours

New Orleans art scene is thriving. We even have an entire district dedicated to it – the Arts District, naturally. Head over to Camp Street for exquisite art, live music and interviews from Southern music historians.

The Ogden Museum celebrates the South’s art, music and culture. Each Thursday, from 6 – 8 pm, the Ogden opens its doors to visitors, giving them an unparalleled Southern-art experience. There is local live music (including notables like Trombone Shorty and Anders Osborne), interviews with artists, light food and cocktails.

Local Tip:

Ditch the jeans and t-shirt and try for smart casual. James Beard-winning restaurants surround you, so ask your concierge for recommendations and make a night of it.

A bar on the New Orleans cocktail tour.

Friday: Sazeracs and Pimms Cups and Hurricanes, oh my!

You’re in the city that “invented the modern cocktail.” It’s time to indulge.

To Do: A Cocktail Tour

New Orleans and cocktails go hand-in-hand, literally. The city celebrates excess in all it does, and imbibing is no different. It has famous mixologists, bars that started the modern-cocktail revolution and even an entire week-long festival dedicated to the art of the modern cocktail called “Tales of the Cocktail.”

Take your history straight-up with a cocktail tour. Your guide will bring you to the best and oldest bars in the city that invented some of the most famous cocktails in the world. Learn the stories behind the Sazerac, Pimms Cup and Hurricane, along with many others.

Local Tip:

It’s Friday night in the French Quarter. Once your tour is through, head to the Marigny for some of the best live music in the city.

A French Quarter art market in New Orleans.

Saturday: Re-market-able Shopping.

Take home a piece of New Orleans culture at one of its many art markets.

To Do: Art Market

Saturdays are market days in New Orleans. Each neighborhood, from the Warehouse District to the Bywater, hosts an open-air market, where artisans promote their craft and local farmers share their produce. Experience New Orleans’ renaissance by visiting an art market.

One of the larger markets is the French Market. Hundreds of vendors set-up their booths on the outer edge of the French Quarter, making the open-air market stretch for blocks. You can grab trinkets, souvenirs, local produce and crafts. If you’re staying near the French Quarter, you must go, if only for the fresh-squeezed strawberry lemonade.

Local Tip:

Bring cash. Since art markets have individual vendors (and usually no ATMs), some vendors may take credit cards and some may not. You don’t want to fall in love with something with no way to pay!

Sunday: Eggs with a side of Jazz.

It’s been a long week of revelry. Now it’s time to slow it down, eat up and enjoy New Orleans jazz.

To Do: Jazz Brunch

If you’ve come to New Orleans, you’ve come to eat. The city’s entire culture revolves around its cuisine. There’s no better way to end (or begin) your week in New Orleans than by attending a Jazz brunch.

Some of the city’s culinary greats offer Jazz Brunch -Arnaud’s, Commander’s Palace, Palace CafĂ©… -so save room for Eggs Sardou and traditional New Orleans jazz. Don’t hurry through brunch. Take your time. You’re in New Orleans, remember? Things move slower here. Appreciate your wonderful meal and the live jazz that surrounds you.

Local Tip:

Take a walk around the neighborhood after your brunch is through. You’ll see New Orleans’ beauty, while burning a few calories.

We mean it when we say, “New Orleans fun never stops.” Head down to the Big Easy to laissez les bon temps rouler (let the good times roll), no matter the day!