Top Things to Do in New Orleans

The Big Easy is big on fun: Mardi Gras, jaw-dropping Southern mansions, lazy riverboat rides along the Mississippi and so much more. Check out our list of top things to do in New Orleans.

You Might Also Like

Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

Spectators attempt to catch beads from a Bourbon Street balcony during the parades. 960 1280

  

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras

For New Orleans locals, Mardi Gras is considered an event for the whole family. 960 1280

  

Beads at Mardi Gras

Beads at Mardi Gras

The crowd goes wild for the "specialty beads" thrown from this colorful float. 960 1280

  

Mardi Gras Costumes

Mardi Gras Costumes

Some people spend days putting together the perfect costume. 960 1280

  

Mardi Grad Parade

Mardi Grad Parade

Large parade floats are towed through the streets of New Orleans behind farm tractors. 960 1280

  

Ribbon dancer at Mardi Gras

Ribbon dancer at Mardi Gras

A ribbon dancer and street musicians perform during Mardi Gras. 960 1280

  

Beds in the trees

Beds in the trees

Cheap beads known as "throws" cover nearly every inch of this tree. 960 1280

  

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

A reveler does the "funky chicken" in the middle of Bourbon Street. 960 1280

  

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

Many watch the parades from balconies on Bourbon Street. 960 1280

  

Partygoer at Mardi Gras

Partygoer at Mardi Gras

A partygoer channels his inner animal with a wacky blue goat costume. 960 1280

  

Mardi Grad Parade

Mardi Grad Parade

The Gnome King and Queen are kind enough to pose for a picture. 960 1280

  

Rex Parade for Mardi Gras
Here Comes Alice

Here Comes Alice

Partygoers and parade bystanders get excited as a float -- paying homage to the fairytale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland -- rolls down Canal Street for the Rex parade. New Orleans lights up with excitement every year for Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Mardi Gras started in Louisiana in the late 17th century when the area was under French colonial rule. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Rex, the King of Carnival

Rex, the King of Carnival

Rex, the King of Carnival, parades down St. Charles Avenue during the Mardi Gras parade. 960 1280

Reuters  

Rex Parade

Rex Parade

The Rex parade, pictured here, is one of New Orleans’ most celebrated Mardi Gras parades. It’s led by an organization (The School of Design), which chooses one member every year to wear the honorary title “Rex.” The distinction is one of the highest honors a person can receive in New Orleans. 960 1280

Getty  

Have Some Beads

Have Some Beads

Members of the Rex organization toss beads from a float to revelers. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Zulu Parade

Zulu Parade

Catch the beads! A large crowd reaches up for beads as a Zulu parade float -- one of the more controversial parade participants, because of their exaggerated blackface -- rolls down New Orleans’ Canal Street on Mardi Gras. 960 1280

Getty  

Mardi Gras Colors

Mardi Gras Colors

Two revelers pass by a home before a Mardi Gras parade. Those decorations you see -- beads, ribbons, masks and streamers -- come in traditional Mardi Gras colors: green (symbolizing faith), gold (power) and purple (justice). 960 1280

Getty  

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

Crowds flock to Bourbon Street in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras Day. The annual Mardi Gras celebration ends at midnight, when the Catholic Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. 960 1280

Getty Images   

St. Charles Avenue

St. Charles Avenue

Joe Perez with the Mondo Kayo Social and Marching Club parades down St. Charles Avenue in the French Quarter. 960 1280

Reuters   

Mardi Gras Faces

Mardi Gras Faces

Members of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club ride on a float during the Mardi Gras parade. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Krewe of Zulu

Krewe of Zulu

A reveler with the Krewe of Zulu parades down St. Charles Avenue. 960 1280

Reuters   

Marching Club

Marching Club

Members of the Mondo Kayo Marching Club dance down St. Charles Avenue. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Go, Saints!

Go, Saints!

New Orleans Saints fans dance to the beat of the famous song "When the Saints Go Marching In" at a bar on Bourbon Street. 960 1280

Getty Images  

French Quarter

French Quarter

Mardi Gras participants beg for beads to be tossed from a balcony in the French Quarter. 960 1280

Getty Images   

March Down St. Charles

March Down St. Charles

One of the main Mardi Gras parade routes, St. Charles Avenue is also home to an active business district. Here, members of the Krewe of Zulu ditch the corporate look for a vibrant march down the avenue. 960 1280

Reuters  

Grab a Mask

Grab a Mask

A little drizzle can’t keep these revelers from celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans’ French Quarter. 960 1280

Reuters  

Mardi Gras Dance

Mardi Gras Dance

A reveler dances in his festive tent dress and elaborate costume during Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans. 960 1280

Reuters  

'80s Flashback

'80s Flashback

NOLA’s Mardi Gras attracts hundreds of people, including celebrities like '80s singer Cyndi Lauper, caught on camera heading to her float for the Krewe of Orpheus parade. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Krewe of Proteus

Krewe of Proteus

At the Krewe of Proteus parade, an excited crowd waits for people -- on top of this illuminated float -- to throw more beads to bystanders. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Mardi Gras   18 Photos