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Set in the USA’s Deep South, where a true fusion of cultures and the mighty Mississippi River flows throughout, New Orleans is an intoxicating holiday destination. There’s eye-catching architecture, striking street art, spectacular Southern comfort food and a nightlife scene with a truly infectious rhythm – all elements that make New Orleans holidays utterly unforgettable.
The city known as the ‘Big Easy’ has captured the hearts of visitors for centuries, making it one of the most popular city breaks in the USA even today – and it’s not hard to see why. Its complex history has led to the entwinement of Native American, French-Canadian, Spanish and Caribbean cultures, which come together in the region’s unique food, Creole cuisine. With gumbo (meat and shellfish soup) and beignets (fried dough) on menus across the city, expect to eat well on your New Orleans holiday.
Expect to party hard, too. This city has a reputation for wild nights out, not only in its numerous jazz and blues clubs but also during the world-famous Mardi Gras (annually in February). The carnival is an explosion of colour and celebration, with parades encompassing brass bands, elaborately costumed dancers and a convivial atmosphere that’s almost palpable.
There are other festivals throughout the year too, with jazz and blues at the forefront of the music scene. And year-round, there are some excellent attractions to enjoy, from vintage streetcar rides to fascinating museums and historic buildings with stories to tell.
New Orleans is generally a very safe place to visit. The city has all the usual issues you’d expect in any populous urban space – such as pickpockets – but residents are generally friendly. For up-to-date travel advice for the USA, check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
You’ll need at least four days for your New Orleans holiday. During this time, you’ll be able to explore the French Quarter, visit museums and even spend some time on the Mississippi River or out in the nearby national parks.
Unlike many cities in the USA, New Orleans is a very walkable place. Its neighbourhoods are generally compact, which means you can easily stroll around the French Quarter or CBD. If walking is too much effort, use the streetcars or hire a bicycle.
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