Things to Do in New Orleans

One-Stop Shopping for Activities in New Orleans

The city of New Orleans is renowned worldwide for its abundance of engaging attractions, tours and activities. With so many options to choose from, it can get overwhelming if you’re looking for things to do while taking a break from the intense SIGUCCS 2019 conference.

The Viator New Orleans site is a comprehensive one-stop resource for activities in the Big Easy. Whether you’re looking for an unforgettable group outing with your fellow SIGUCCS 2019 attendees or a quick escape after conference sessions, use this resource as your inspiration.

Free and Inexpensive Things to do in New Orleans

New Orleans is a city full of great restaurants, fun bars, and excellent shopping. There’s plenty to do that is no- or low-cost, some within walking distance of the conference hotel and some a little further out. Here is only a partial list of things to do around our great city.

  1. Explore the streets of the French Quarter and do some window shopping on Royal Street. Royal Street has plenty of art galleries, antique shops, and locally-owned boutiques to keep you fascinated.
  2. Take part in the world-famous nightlife of Bourbon Street. There are plenty of bars and nightclubs to visit, but you can have a memorable experience just walking down the street at night and people-watching.
  3. Listen to live jazz music on Frenchmen Street. Many of the clubs, including The Spotted Cat, Apple Barrel, and Café Negril, don’t charge a cover to get in. While you’re on Frenchmen Street pay a visit to the Frenchmen Art Market where you can chat with local artisans under a canopy of twinkling lights.
  4. Ride a Streetcar. While the famous New Orleans Streetcars aren’t exactly free to ride, at only $1.25 for a one-way trip they’re the best deal in town (make sure you have exact fare before boarding). Take the historic St. Charles streetcar line, which passes right in front of the conference hotel, and ride past the antebellum mansions of the Garden District, Audubon Park, Tulane University, and Loyola University.
  5. Visit the New Orleans Museum of Art. The 100-year-old New Orleans Museum of Art sits inside the 1,300-acre City Park in the Mid-City area of town. The museum has a collection of fine paintings, sculptures, and historical objects ranging from the pre-Christian era to modern. NOMA offers free admission to both the main museum and the sculpture garden every Wednesday – regular admission fees are $10 for adults and $6 for children. Take the “City Park” streetcar from Canal Street right to the museum’s entrance.
  6. Ride the Algiers Ferry. The Algiers Ferry gives you three of the best things you can find in New Orleans as you travel across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter to the neighborhood of Algiers. First, you get an up-close view of the Mississippi River, one of the most impressive natural landmarks in the city. Second, photography enthusiasts love the opportunities to see both the oldest parts of the city and a view of the downtown skyline from the ferry. Three, the ride is completely free for pedestrians and lasts about five minutes each way. Once you reach the other side, stroll around Algiers Point, one of the oldest areas on the Westbank of New Orleans. You can tour historic New Orleans homes, visit grocery stores stocked with local goodies, or stop into English-themed pubs for a drink. The Algiers Ferry leaves the Eastbank from Canal Street. The first ride of the day departs at 6 am, and the last leaves shortly before 12:15 am.
  7. Check Out a Cooking Demonstration. New Orleans cuisine is one of a kind, blending French, Spanish, African, Cajun, and Creole traditions into a unique taste you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re a foodie or love farmers markets, you should not miss Saturdays at the Crescent City Farmer’s Market in downtown New Orleans where you can browse seemingly endless rows of local produce, meat, seafood, and homemade goods. Most weekends, local bands perform for free inside the market, while local chefs give free cooking demonstrations. The Crescent City Farmer’s Market is held year round every Saturday from 8 am to noon on the corner of Magazine Street and Girod Street. If it rains, the market is moved inside an adjacent building.
  8. Take a Self-Guided Tour of the Garden District. Hop the St. Charles streetcar line to ride through one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in New Orleans. St. Charles Street is lined with huge oak trees and large mansions that boast rich history and exemplify southern grandeur. Other highlights in the neighborhood include Prytania Street, where Greek Revival homes are abundant, and Camp Street, where you can stroll through the park and view a host of beautiful statues.
  9. Stroll around City Park. 1,300-acre City Park includes the largest collection of live oak trees in the world, some dating back 600 years, according to the City Park Improvement Association. You can spend an entire day getting lost among the oaks, but there are also lagoons, water fountains, walking and jogging trails, and small lakes to take in.
  10. Catch the Street Performers at Jackson Square. The French Quarter’s Jackson Square is a year-round hangout for street performers and artists. The perimeter of the park is lined with painters and sketch artists creating and selling original work. On the square’s two side streets, street performers do everything from tap dancing to creating living sculptures. Behind the square you can catch solo musicians and bands, or get your fortune from a tarot reader.
  11. Visit St. Louis Cathedral. Dating back to the 1700s, Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France is an impressive blend of Old World architecture and Catholic treasures. The church features ornate woodwork, stained glass windows, and beautiful sculptures. While mass is still held inside the church, you can tour both the grounds and worshiping areas Wednesday through Saturday from 1 pm to 4 pm.
  12. Window Shop on Magazine Street.  Magazine Street stretches from the Lower Garden District all the way to Audubon Park. You can pass several hours window shopping along a row of galleries, shops, bars, and restaurants – many of which are located in historic buildings – that stretches for several miles. Since most of these businesses are local, you can find designer clothing, locally made art, antique shops, and funky home decor shops that you won’t find anywhere else. Magazine Street is open night and day all year long, and is within walking distance of downtown hotels. If you don’t feel like taking a long walk, you can hop the Magazine Street bus for a $1.25 fare. The bus stops at the corner of Magazine and Canal streets.
  13. Tour the cemeteries. Large above-ground cemeteries scattered around New Orleans known as the Cities of the Dead are must-see for any visitor. You can pay for a guided tour of many of them, but they’re also open to the public free of charge. The Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1 in the French Quarter is where many believe the grave of Voodoo queen Marie Laveau is, and people still leave ritual offerings in her honor.

Restaurants to Visit in New Orleans

We have broken down this extensive list in two categories: casual dining and upscale dining. Most of the establishments are near the hotel — those those that are not within walking distance are marked with an asterisk (*).

The price range is as follows:

$: 8 to 15 dollars
$$: 12 to 20 dollars
$$$: 18 to 30 dollars
$$$$: 25 to 35 dollars

For convenient food court and restaurants near the conference hotel, please read the Food Courts and Restaurants Nearby the Hotel page.

Casual Dining

RestaurantAddressPhone NumberTypePrice Range
Acme724 Iberville504-522-5973Seafood$$
Bon Ton Café (weekdays only)401 Magazine504-524-3386Cajun$$$
Borgne601 Loyola504-613-3860Cajun Seafood$$$
Bourbon House144 Bourbon504-522-0111Creole Seafood$$$
Crescent City Brewhouse527 Decatur504-522-0571American/Creole$$
Deanie’s841 Iberville504-831-4141Seafood$$
Drago’s2 Poydras504-584-3911Seafood$$
Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar739 Iberville504-522-4440Seafood$$
Grand Isle575 Convention Center Blvd.504-520-8530Seafood/Oyster Bar$$$
Gumbo Shop630 St. Peter504-525-1486Creole$$
Jacques Imo’s *8324 Oak504-861-0886Southern$$
Johnny’s511 St. Louis504-524-8129Po' Boys$
Kingfish337 Chartres504-598-5005Modern Southern$$$
Mother’s401 Poydras504-523-9656New Orleans Diner$
Mr. B’s Bistro 201 Royal504-523-2078Modern Creole$$$
N.O. Hamburger & Seafood Co.541 Decatur504-309-7902Burgers/Seafood$$
Palace Café605 Canal504-523-1661New Orleans Seafood$$$
Redfish Grill115 Bourbon504-598-1200Cajun & Seafood$$
Ruby Slipper200 Magazine504-525-9355Breakfast/Lunch$$
SoBou310 Chartres504-522-4095Regional/Cocktails$$$
Stanley541 St. Ann504-593-0006Sandwiches/Dessert$$
Trenasse (in hotel)444 St. Charles504-680-7000Gulf Coast/Louisiana$$
Walk-On’s Bistreaux1009 Poydras504-309-6530Louisiana/Sports Bar$$

Upscale Dining

RestaurantAddressPhone NumberTypePrice Range
Arnaud’s813 Bienville504-523-5433Traditional Creole$$$
Bayona430 Dauphine504-525-4455Mediterranean$$$$
Brigtsen’s *723 Dante504-861-7610Modern Louisiana$$$
Chophouse New Orleans322 Magazine504-522-7902Steakhouse$$$$
Cochon930 Tchoupitoulas504-588-2123Modern Cajun$$$
Commander’s Palace *1403 Washington504-899-8221Modern Creole$$$$
Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse716 Iberville504-522-2467Local Steakhouse$$$
Domenica123 Baronne504-648-6020Rural Italian$$$
Emeril’s800 Tchoupitoulas504-528-9393New American$$$$
Emeril’s Delmonico *1300 St. Charles504-525-4937Modern Creole$$$$
G.W. Fins808 Bienville504-581-3467Modern Seafood$$$
Galatoire’s209 Bourbon504-525-2021French Creole$$$$
Gautreau’s1728 Soniat504-899-7397Modern French$$$$
Herbsaint701 St. Charles504-524-4114Modern Louisiana$$$
K Paul’s416 Chartres504-524-7394Cajun$$$$
Luke333 St. Charles504-378-2840Louisiana French$$$
MiLa817 Common504-412-2580Modern Southern$$$
Nola534 St. Louis504-522-6652Modern Louisiana$$$
Peche800 Magazine504-522-1744Gulf Seafood$$$$
Pelican Club615 Bienville504-523-1504Modern Louisiana$$$
Restaurant August301 Tchoupitoulas504-299-9777Louisiana French$$$$
Restaurant R’Evolution777 Bienville504-553-2277Modern Cajun & Creole$$$
Tableau616 St. Peter504-934-3463Creole French$$$