New Orleans is nicknamed the “Big Easy,” and the city blends Spanish, Creole and Cajun cultures, among others, melding them seamlessly with Southern charm. Fierce pride — in schools, in traditions, in family gumbo recipes — flows like the mighty Mississippi River through sidewalk musicians and crawfish boils, the festivals and rhythms that interlace to create an unmistakable NOLA vibe.
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WHEN TO GO
Weather in New Orleans is most pleasant between December and May, though if you visit during annual Mardi Gras celebrations, prices rise and crowds peak. Prices drop during summer and fall, though heat and humidity, as well as the possibility of hurricanes, can deter travelers.
NEED TO KNOW
Visas: Travelers from outside the United States will need a valid passport, as well as ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) eligibility or a full visa.
Money: Currency is U.S. dollars and ATMs are widely available.
Travel Health: Travelers (including U.S. citizens) should check for vaccination, proof of negative COVID-19 test and face mask requirements, as well as any travel restrictions before planning their trip. Before traveling, research and prepare for what to do if you get sick while away. For the latest health safety guidelines, as well as info on what’s currently open, check out NewOrleans.com.
Getting Here: New Orleans is served by Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). Airport shuttle services, as well as taxis and ride shares can bring travelers into popular districts like the Central Business District or French Quarter.
Getting Around: NOLA’s neighborhoods are easy to explore on foot. If walking isn’t ideal, the city’s streetcars are inexpensive and easy to navigate. Thanks to its flat geography, New Orleans is also easy to traverse on bike, and multiple bicycle rental and share companies are found throughout the city. Taxis and ride shares are also plentiful.
Local Lingo: Before you hit up “N’awlins,” learn some of the local slang. Krewe: Linked to Mardi Gras celebrations, a krewe refers to a club or organization that strolls through the city during carnival season aboard a decorated float. Fais do-do: A Cajun dance party. Laissez les bon temps rouler: A Cajun expression meaning “let the good times roll.”
Must-Have Apps: Regional Transit Authority; Drinker’s Edition; New Orleans Travel Guide
Insider Tips: New Orleans’ food culture is shaped by shaped by the city’s Cajun and Creole heritage and access to fresh, local seafood. Don’t miss the chance to dive into local favorites like jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish étouffée and charbroiled oysters.