Top Attractions for First-Timers

With so much to see and do in New Orleans, it can be tough to narrow down your must-see list. But there are a few quintessential NOLA experiences that no first-timer should miss. Here are some of the top attractions to add to your New Orleans itinerary:

French Quarter

You can’t visit New Orleans without exploring the historic French Quarter. This vibrant neighborhood is the birthplace of the city and home to iconic Bourbon Street. Take a stroll down Bourbon Street to experience the lively bars, restaurants, and street performers that give the French Quarter its character. Stop for a classic Hurricane cocktail and beignets at Cafe Du Monde, see Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral, and browse through the shops at the French Market.

Garden District

For a change of pace from the French Quarter, head uptown to the Garden District. This posh neighborhood is known for its sprawling antebellum mansions and oak-lined streets. Take a guided or self-guided walking tour to admire the stunning 19th-century architecture. Notable mansions include the former home of author Anne Rice and the Buckner Mansion, which has a cameo in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

City Park

At 1,300 acres, City Park is one of the largest and most visited urban parks in the country. Spend an afternoon strolling through gardens, paddling on the bayou, or letting kids burn off steam at the amusement park. City Park is also home to the New Orleans Museum of Art, sculpture gardens, and the world’s largest grove of mature live oaks.

Streetcar Rides

A streetcar ride is a classic way to explore New Orleans. The historic St. Charles streetcar line takes you through the Garden District and Uptown neighborhoods under a canopy of live oaks. Or hop on the Canal Street line to breeze through the French Quarter. Streetcars only cost $1.25 per ride, making them one of the most budget-friendly and relaxing ways to sightsee.

Swamp Tours

You can’t get the full New Orleans experience without venturing into the Louisiana bayous. Book a small group swamp tour to see alligators, snakes, turtles, and other wildlife up close. Many tours also showcase Cajun culture along the way, with stops at an authentic Acadian village. Popular launch points for swamp tours include Slidell, LaPlace, and nearby Lafitte.

Mardi Gras

Plan your first New Orleans trip around Mardi Gras if you really want to see the city at its most lively. This annual Carnival celebration leads up to Lent with parades, parties, and plenty of bead throwing in the streets. The French Quarter becomes the center of the Mardi Gras universe, with parade krewes tossing beads and trinkets from floats. Plan ahead and book hotels well in advance if you want to experience the magic of a New Orleans Mardi Gras.

How to Get Around New Orleans

With so many diverse neighborhoods and attractions to see, you’ll need to take advantage of the various transportation options to get around New Orleans efficiently. Here are some of the most popular ways to travel around the Big Easy:


Streetcars are both scenic and convenient, making them a favorite way to explore New Orleans without a car. The historic St. Charles streetcar line runs through the Garden District and Uptown, while the Canal Street and Riverfront lines service downtown and the French Quarter. Streetcars run approximately every 15-20 minutes and cost only $1.25 per ride. You can purchase single tickets or 1-day passes at streetcar stops.

Taxis and Rideshares

When you need a quick ride across town, taxis and rideshares like Uber and Lyft are readily available 24/7. Taxis can be hailed on the street in major tourist areas like the French Quarter or called by phone. Rideshare apps are also popular in New Orleans, just be aware that surge pricing may be in effect during peak times.

Charter Buses

For group transportation or private tours, charter buses are a great option in New Orleans. Charter buses can accommodate anywhere from 18 to 56 passengers comfortably. They take the hassle out of coordinating rides and parking for large groups. Charter buses are ideal for events like weddings, corporate outings, school field trips, and more. You can customize pickup locations, itineraries, and amenities. Reputable charter bus companies like Charter Buses New Orleans Louisiana have professional team familiar with New Orleans, so you can sit back and enjoy the sights.

Ready to Get Started?

New Orleans offers such a unique blend of culture, cuisine, music, and architecture for first-time visitors to discover. Start planning your trip by researching the best time of year to visit and must-see attractions. Book hotels, tours, and transportation well in advance for busy events like Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest. Lastly, don’t try to cram too much into one trip – New Orleans is a city meant to be savored slowly. Once your itinerary is set, let Charter Buses New Orleans Louisiana handle the transportation details so you can focus on soaking up the best of the Big Easy. Our team is available 24/7 at 504-459-0880 to help you reserve the perfect minibus or charter bus for your New Orleans group. We look forward to helping you and your group make unforgettable memories in one of America’s most iconic cities!