New Orleans The Crescent City

New Orleans is a quirky city with a unique character quite incomparable to any other city in the US or the world. Situated on a swamp, surrounded by the sea, Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River, the city chose to swim rather than sink by constructing levees, pumps and canals to protect the city. But this is an ongoing battle.

The jazz, the extravagant celebrations and the Big Easy lifestyle once again make New Orleans one of the party capitals of the US. Nightlife options are burgeoning and strains of local jazz and blues rhythms are once again echoing through the streets of the atmospheric French Quarter.

Legendary Bourbon Street continues to host carnivals and parades, including the annual Mardi Gras, which has a reputation for being the most scandalous and sensational event on the world's festival calendar.

Besides all the partying, New Orleans has still has serious opportunities for sightseeing. The city is full of picturesque buildings, lush parks, riverboats, vintage streetcars and museums displaying everything from voodoo culture to modern technology.

Home to one of the world's largest street parties, New Orleans isn't short on attractions and the place to start is without a doubt the world-renowned French Quarter. Take a stroll along the legendary Bourbon Street to lap up the sights, sounds and smells of the Big Easy.

To gain more perspective into the city's history, visiting D-Day National World War II Museum is a number one destinations. The New Orleans Voodoo Museum shows off the city's underbelly while tourists can marvel at Mardi Gras floats at Mardi Gras World.

The city has many marvellous parks, not least of all the City Park which is ideal for a picnic and bring a book for a bit of fresh air and relaxation. Areas of the city are navigable on bike, with a favourite route taking riders through Garden District, a suburb favoured by several celebrities.

If one is a sports fan, they should see if there are any football games on at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Regardless, it's worth checking out anyway as its 680 ft (210m) diameter makes it one of the largest dome structures in the world.

Visitors will do well to purchase the New Orleans Power Pass. Available in one, two, three or five consecutive day options and includes discounted admission to about 27 of New Orleans' top attractions, offering cheaper admission and the opportunity to skip the queue at many locations.

Known for its use of Cajun pepper, tropical fruits, and spices, dining out in New Orleans is an exciting sensory experience. Creole cuisine is a melting pot, incorporating French, Spanish, Mediterranean, Caribbean and African flavours, as well as hearty comfort food from the Deep South.

Travellers will find the world-famous French Quarter, mostly geared towards tourists and this is where just about any and every kind of Creole restaurant is found, particularly on the famous Bourbon Street. Restaurants serve mouth-watering arrays of jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbo and Cajun crawfish, amongst other local favourites.

Those with a sweet tooth are in for a treat in New Orleans, where the desserts are as sticky as they come. Favourites include pecan pie, while pralines and Bananas Foster are staples on most restaurant menus.

Don't forget an order of deep-fried beignets with your coffee. Nor should you miss the cocktail menus in New Orleans, particularly as they sport the trademark, notorious cocktail called the 'Hurricane'.

New Orleans has its own special take on the sandwich, which comes in two varieties. Po'boys, served on a round French loaf and packed to the rafters with beef, oysters, shrimp, gravy and all the trimmings. Muffalettas are huge Italian loaves stuffed with cold meats and olive salad.

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Travel guide by wordtravels.com © Globe Media Ltd.