How to See New Orleans Like a Local
Planning to visit New Orleans? You already know that it has a ton to offer, from the magnificent Antebellum mansions to the French Quarter, endless parties, delicious food, and fantastic jazz venues, but among all that awesomeness are thick crowds and plenty of tourist traps too.
While you could buy one of the New Orleans houses for sale and become a local, if that’s not in the cards right now, enjoy a more authentic experience by visiting this beautiful southern city like a local.
Rent a Bike and Explore Beyond the French Quarter
While the French Quarter is definitely worth a visit, to truly see the city like a local, you need to get out and explore some of the other neighborhoods. Rent a bike from Buzz Nola or another downtown outfitter and head out on two wheels to check out City Park, the largest public park in New Orleans. Located between Lake Pontchartrain and Bayou St. John, it covers some 1,300 acres right in the city. While you’re there, you might even be able to catch a concert on the lawn.
You’ll find a scenic biking route along the Bayou on Moss Street, a primarily residential area with access to locally-owned shops and eateries on Esplanade Avenue close to the border of City Park. Or, head to the Black Pearl, a levee-bordering neighborhood with access to the Mississippi River trail.
Take the Ferry to Algiers
Many visitors plan on riding the popular Creole Queen, an old-time paddlewheeler, but it doesn’t come cheap, and it’s bound to be packed with tourists. If you want to save your money and have a more tranquil good time, take the free ferry that travels across the Mississippi from the French Quarter to Algiers Point, a historic neighborhood that’s well-worth exploring. The must-visit here is the Old Point Bar, which has appeared in many films, including the “Green Lantern” and “The Expendables.” Enjoy a drink, a round of pool, and then hop back on the ferry to return.
Explore the Arts Scene
New Orleans’ art scene has helped to put the city on the rise to cultural capital status. The Contemporary Arts Center is largely responsible for that, with its fall/winter exhibition, Make American What America Must Become, An Exhibition of Gulf South Artists, on view through January 24, 2021. Be sure to check out the galleries on Julia Street nearby, as well as the intriguing Where Y’Art space in the Marigny, where you’ll find works by local artists, including some fantastic affordable pieces.
Forget About Bourbon Street, Check Out the Live Music on Frenchman Street Instead
You can’t visit New Orleans without taking in some great live music, but instead of heading to famous Bourbon Street with the crowds, cheesy shops, and karaoke bars, stroll over to Frenchman Street in the Faubourg Marigny. Just about any one of the venues here is sure to make for an unforgettable night, particularly Cafe Negril with a dance floor and a variety of eclectic tunes, the Spotted Cat with its famous jazz acts on a tiny stage, and Snug Harbor for live jazz and historic ambiance, dating back to the 1800s.