In New Orleans, there's something exciting to be found for every age and taste. You may walk around the city alone, following your own itinerary. If, on the contrary, you prefer to be guided around, there are plenty of group tours available. One might take you through the historic places of the Garden District, while another will focus on the enigmatic Cities of the Dead. Whatever your interest might be, there is plenty to keep you busy.
Do not hesitate to bring you children to New Orleans, they won't be bored with all those grown-up entertainments. Your kids will appreciate the nature-oriented sights at the Aquarium of the Americas located on the river near Jackson Square. Their imagination will be captured by the Audubon Zoo creatures. By the way, the zoo is not far from Magazine Street, so you can easily direct your steps towards the place after a hot shopping day. The science exhibits at the Louisiana Children's Museum on Julia Street allow for art activities that will keep the kids busy for hours. And, if you are an adventurous creature, consider the alligator swamp tours.
When you are tired of the hot sun and busy tourist activities go for a stroll in the Jazzland theme park. The City Park and Storyland near Lake Pontchartrain offers your imaginative fidgets a wonderful playground. You can as well consider a trip across the Pontchartrain Causeway, the world's longest over-water bridge (24 miles), which connects Metairie and Mandeville.
For a relaxing break between walking tours get on board Creole Queen or Cajun Queen for a river cruise (the cruise packages are offered both by the Aquarium and the Zoo). Creole Queen and Cajun Queen are docked near the Riverwalk and Jackson Square. These old-fashioned paddle wheel boats will take you on a quick one-hour trip around the port during which you can enjoy the river and beach scenes at lunch in a lovely restaurant. Both boats also offer a Dinner Jazz Cruise with cocktails, a buffet and a two-hour jaunt past the glittering downtown skyline. You can as well have a wonderful rest on board the Natchez, a steamboat that offers daytime (and nighttime also) two-hour tours with a casual buffet and Dixieland music. If you won't be satisfied with quiet and peaceful river sails, avail yourself of Aquarium/Cruise/Zoo packages that offer a John James Audubon trip (John James Audubon is the modern riverboat connection between the Aquarium of the Americas and the Audubon Zoo).
History buffs will find their New Orleans vacation incomplete if they fail to enjoy the plantation homes tours, which start in the city and include a bus drive to historic homes in the area. You may order a half or a full day tour from several tour operators. The bus will take you about 30 miles outside of the city to see such places as the Laura Plantation, which have been made into museums to exhibit the pre-Civil War lifestyle. Some lands, such as the Nottoway Plantation, have been renovated into bed-and-breakfast hotels, crossing the threshold of which means to step two hundred years back when the American South was famous for its gentle and quiet spirit.
New Orleans is the only major American city that lies 4 to 6 feet below sea level, so the dead can't be buried underground because of the high water table. Instead they are put into tiny stone crypts, the cemeteries referred to as "Cities of the Dead". The Metairie Cemetery is noted for its age-old architecture. Lafayette Cemetery introduces you to historic headstones. It has been the site of numerous weddings. St. Louis Cemetery is famous for its iron ornamentation. It is the final resting place of Marie Lavaou, the most popular voodoo queen of the late 1800s. The Cemetery/Voodoo History tour takes you tint if you attend one of the cooking classes offered by the New Orleans Cooking School. They are fun and not too expensive ($20 per person). Besides, for these twenty dollars you will be able to taste authentic New Orleans cuisine: your lunch will be prepared right in front of your eyes - jambalaya, gumbo, and bread pudding are awaiting. Plenty of beer to wash it all down comes for granted. All the ingredients to make the dishes at home can be purchased at the brewery.
Your New Orleans vacation can't be imagined without paying a visit to the French Quarter. It is the heart of New Orleans' nightlife. Enjoy yourself fully but don't spend too much money on your night adventures, otherwise you will have cents left to make you shopping. And that is another important feature of your New Orleans vacation.
Though the surrounding areas boast luxurious malls, New Orleans still believes in the age-old marketplace tradition. You can make shopping at the French Market, America's oldest operating public market. In the French Quarter, Royal Street is famous for its elegant antique furniture, decor and jewelry. You will as well enjoy the Riverwalk Marketplace. And then there is Magazine Street, known as the "Street of Dreams". Six miles of eclectic shops, hip boutiques, art studios, galleries, spas, restaurants and cafes can be, indeed called a shopper's dream.
Holding in mind all those means of entertainment, do not forget about your accommodation. Though, you have nothing to worry about when planning your New Orleans vacation. New Orleans hotels and New Orleans rental service offer only the best. You have a long list to choose from, just browse through the Internet or consult your local tour operator and you will surely get the thing you need. Bon voyage!