At the end of May and the beginning of June, I went to one of the most beautiful cities in the South with three of my best friends to visit my friend's parents who live in a suburb about 25 miles west of New Orleans. I have never been to New Orleans before, along with the whole state of Louisiana in general, so I was so excited to be able to go here. There are so many places you can go to while in New Orleans but there are a few places and things that you have to do that you absolutely have to plan into your upcoming trip there.

The French Quarter

The French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans. It is full of little shops, restaurants, bars, and so much more to do. The best part of the French Quarter is the architecture of all the buildings down there.

They are famous for their balconies which is famously used during Mardi Gras when people in the parades will throw their bead necklaces to the people up there. All of the buildings are so famous that they are protected because the whole district is considered a National Historic Landmark.

One warning I will give to you is that crime is really bad down there especially at night so I would try to avoid the area during the night hours.

St. Louis Cathedral/Jackson Square

St. Louis Cathedral, also known as Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, is the oldest cathedral in the United States. It is dedicated to King Louis IX of France.

The current building was started in 1789 and was finished in 1794. The outside of the building is absolutely beautiful but the inside is way more beautiful so you should definitely just step out from the heat to look at the beautiful architecture.

In front of the St. Louis Cathedral is Jackson Square. It is a historic park that is home to a statue of Andrew Jackson who was a hero in the Battle of New Orleans and the 17th president of the United States. The park is full of artists who are trying to sell their paintings. It is a nice place to sit down under a big tree to take in the beauty of the cathedral and park.

Audubon Zoo

The zoo is located in a section of the Audubon Park in an uptown historic district in New Orleans near Tulane and Loyola University. It covers 58 acres and is home to about 2,000 animals.

The major exhibits include the reptiles and swamp. It is also home to a rare white alligator with blue eyes which was one of the coolest things to be able to see in person.

The tickets are only $18 which may seem like a lot of money for someone who is in college but it is so worth the money with the number of animals and things you get to see.

Airboat Tours by Arthur

A ride on an airboat in the swamps is a huge thing to do in Louisiana. 35 miles southwest of New Orleans is a town called Des Allemands where there is a great place to be able to go on an airboat tour.

Airboat Tours by Arthur is a little business on the side of the highway where you can be able to do an airboat ride. You get to tour the swamps of Louisiana and see a lot of wildlife.

The tour guide I got was a super cool guy with a thick Cajun accent. He really got up-close and personal with the alligators who he would joke about being his buddies. The airboat rides are kind of expensive but it is 100% worth it.

Louis Armstrong Park

It is a 32 acre located in a neighborhood called Tremé which is northeast of the French Quarter. The park is obviously named after jazz legend Louis Armstrong who was born in New Orleans. The front entrance of the park is a huge metal sign that says, Armstrong.

The park contains a couple of buildings like New Orleans Municipal Auditorium and Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. It is a really cool place to hang out in when it isn't too hot.

St. Louis Cemetery Number 1

This is one of the three Roman Catholics cemeteries located in New Orleans. It is the oldest and most famous one because of the people who are buried there. There are a lot of famous New Orleanians buried here like renowned Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau. American actor Nicholas Cage purchased a pyramid-shaped tomb which will eventually be his final resting place.

If you want to tour the graveyard then you should do it through a company called Royal Carriage Rides. You start at Jackson Square and take a carriage ride through the French Quarter until you get to the cemetery. The guides give you a lot of good background history about everything you need to know about the cemetery.

New Orleans, Louisiana is full of cool attractions and a lot of historical places. Next time you're thinking about a fun getaway or vacation, you should definitely put New Orleans on the map.