The 9 top things to do in New Orleans

Want to get the best from your time in New Orleans? Read on to find out what to eat, drink, see and do in the home of jazz and voodoo.

1. Listen to some live jazz

Saxophones shining in the coloured stage lights

Well, of course! From its brass band parades to its smoky lounges, what could New Orleans be more famous for than its live jazz? The jazz brunch is something of an institution in New Orleans, and it happens daily at the Court of Two Sisters at 613 Royal Street. Bag a seat under the wisteria in the pretty courtyard and soak up the vibes over a bowl of traditional turtle soup. In the evenings, serious jazz fans should make for the Candlelight Lounge on North Robertson Street, a simple cinder-block with a row of chairs to mark the stage. Or for some old-fashioned liveliness – and if you don’t mind smoke – try The Spotted Cat music club on Frenchmen Street where the local swing dancers take centre stage on the dancefloor.

2. See a Louisiana witch doctor

Voodoo is to New Orleans what tango is to Argentina – a quintessential part of the experience. In the city’s above-ground cemetery, you’ll find the grave of the ‘Voodoo Queen’ Marie Laveau, 19th-century spiritual leader. But head down to 612 rue Dumaine in the French Quarter to get a personal taste at Voodoo Authentica, where practitioners offer readings using a variety of methods, including tarot. Here you can also buy voodoo dolls, potions, medicinal herbs and gris-gris (mojo) bags that promise to attract love, health and good fortune - with not a pin in sight. Now there’s an unusual souvenir.

3. Shop for vinyl

Music is everywhere in New Orleans, spilling out from the bars and clubs, marching down the streets and playing in all the shops. So why not take some home with you? Mushroom Records is the oldest independent music shop in the city, and has a phenomenal collection of good old-fashioned vinyl to happily lose yourself in for an hour or two. Find it on 1037 Broadway Street.

4. Taste Louisiana oysters

Louisiana oysters on a plate

Grown in the Gulf, the sweet, lightly chewy texture of the Louisiana Oyster makes it one of the world’s most special seafoods. And for the best in New Orleans, head to Superior Seafood at 4338 Saint Charles Avenue, which is consistently rated #1 for its oyster bar. Try them chargrilled for something different, with a side of crawfish bread – it’s the stuff of legend.

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