Why New Orleans is one of The Best Cities The US Has to Offer

Photo courtesy of Flickr user wallyg

Known around the world as The Big Easy, New Orleans is located below sea level, but is very high on the list of the United States’ most popular and most visited cities. With it’s proximity to the mighty Mississippi river and a truly diverse and multicultural population, New Orleans is a vibrant city with a great deal to offer the visitor, from legendary parties to delectable food and a plethora of delightful things to do and see in between.

The French Quarter

Undeniably the heart of New Orleans, the French Quarter, or Vieux Carre, is a 1.7 square kilometer area housing some of the oldest buildings in the United States. Jam packed with restaurants of every possible variety, bars serving everything from luxury high end bottles of champagne to cheap booze packed concoctions guaranteed to have you stumbling in seconds, and music venues projecting their funky sounds into the streets, the Quarter is where the action is. Try the rabbit jambalaya at Coop’s Place, sip a famous ice cream daiquiri at the Gazebo Cafe, or check out a jazz band at Preservation Hall. Whatever your choice, expect revelry and shenanigans at every turn.

New Orleans City Park

Located in the neighborhood of Mid City, just a few miles west of the French Quarter, City Park’s 1300 acres make it one of the largest urban parks in the USA. Home to the New Orleans Museum of Art as well as the largest grove of live oak trees in the world, the former Allard Plantation is an oasis in a sometimes hectic city. Walking and biking trails, an amusement park, an equestrian center, and boating on the bayou make City Park one of the highlights of a visit to New Orleans.

Fairgrounds Racecourse

Also located in Mid City, Fairgrounds Racecourse is the oldest horse racing site in the country. During racing season, visitors and locals alike pack the stands to bet on the ponies. Pan Zareta and Black Gold, two famous American racing thoroughbreds, are buried in the track infield and the Louisiana Derby, run in early March, offers a purse of 1,000,000 USD, making it one of the richest horse races in the United States. Fairgrounds also hold the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival over two weekends in late April and early May. Jazz Fest, as it’s known, attracts people from all over the world to hear top musicians in all genres perform, as well as to sample some of the finest food New Orleans has to offer. While you’re near Fairgrounds, don’t miss a barbecue shrimp po’ boy at Liuzza’s by the Track. It’s one of the best sandwiches in the world.


Cemeteries are not usually high on the list of tourist attractions, but New Orleans cemeteries are a sight to behold. Due to the high water table in the city, the dead cannot be buried in the ground. Consequently, elaborate tombs have been constructed and most of them house several generations of families, making some of them over two hundred years old. It is very easy to wander for hours amongst the crypts, reading the inscriptions and taking advantage of the abundant photo opportunities. Some of the highlights are voodoo priestess Marie Laveau’s tomb in St. Louis Cemetery #1, and Lafayette Cemetery #1, where many movies have been filmed, such as Interview with the Vampire.

Easily the United States’ most diverse city, New Orleans has had a hard time over the last several years. Battered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, some feared that the city may have seen its charm and spirit swept away on the flood waters. That is not the case at all. New Orleans has rebounded with a vengeance, due mainly to the fierce loyalty the residents have to their beloved city. This lively and gorgeous city is now, and always has been, one of the best destinations the USA has to offer.

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