Heaping bowls of gumbo, captivating French Creole architecture, and mesmerizing Dixieland music welcome visitors to the original birthplace of Jazz: New Orleans, Louisiana. Although it is widely known for its famous Mardi Gras celebration each year, The Big Easy offers countless other major attractions along with an eclectic culture and exquisite cuisine.
Visitors often flock to the French Quarter, the oldest neighborhood in the city, where they book reservations at the quaint New Orleans hotels in this historic area. Bourbon Street, possibly one of the most popular areas of the French Quarter, features a strip that comes alive at night with celebrations, festivities, and arguably some of the best hotels in New Orleans located in the heart of all the nightlife action.
St. Charles Avenue also offers accommodations, many of which are close to the elegant antebellum homes and architecture. Some of the mansions on St. Charles Avenue were even converted into New Orleans resorts, where guests can book rooms and experience the upper-class lifestyle of the prewar Deep South.
Trying to drive around New Orleans may be more hassle than it’s worth as it’s sometimes difficult to find not only inexpensive parking spots, but parking spots in general. Fortunately, The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) offers a convenient and affordable means of exploring New Orleans with both bus and streetcar service. The RTA buses currently run 32 routes while the streetcars feature three lines: Riverfront, Canal Street, and St. Charles.
Cabs also provide quick service. Meanwhile, in areas such as the French Quarter, walking is the one of the simplest ways to get around, and some streets even offer bicycle rentals for faster commutes.
New Orleans has a mind of its own when it comes to alcohol. There are no requirements for when a bar needs to close at night, so some bars stay open around the clock, while others are open until 4, 5, and 6 a.m.. Additionally, the only open-container laws pertain to glass and cans, which means visitors can roam the streets with plastic containers of alcohol. Though the laws here may be different from other U.S. cities, remember to drink responsibility and don’t ever wander off alone through the city.
Another popular piece of travel advice pertains to Mardis Gras. This celebration is usually the first image to pop up when New Orleans is mentioned, but contrary to popular belief, Mardis Gras is actually family friendly. Often referred to as the “Greatest Free Show on Earth,” it is a celebration with picnics, parades, and floats, where kids pick up the tossed gifts thrown into the crowds. For a kid-appropriate celebration, stick to St. Charles Avenue and around Napoleon Avenue and Lee Circle.
New Orleans boasts a subtropical climate, which means the city doesn’t experience a harsh winter. During the winter months, New Orleans temperatures average around a comfortable 62 F, so don’t expect the balmy temperatures featured during the summer months. Though the temperatures don’t plummet in this city, they certainly do rise. In the summers, brace yourself for humidity and high temperatures, as July averages temperatures around 91 F each day.
For the mildest temperatures, visit between February and May before the sweltering heat rolls in. September and November also offer relief and comfort from the steamy summer months. Autumn features a pleasant climate, but this season does tend to attract hurricanes, so keep this in mind while booking your New Orleans vacation.
When it comes to planning a trip to the Big Easy, the choice is easy, too, as any time of year offers comfortable temperatures and a never-ending supply of entertainment from crayfish boils to that signature Dixieland music. Browse our selection of hotels, car rentals, and flights to New Orleans here on Expedia.com to book the cheapest deals around.