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Must Visit Attractions in New Orleans

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Having started out as the nation's first sugar plantation, then an urban park, and finally renamed in 1886 as Audubon Park in tribute to John James Audubon who painted many of his famed "Birds of America" in Louisiana, the 340-acre Audubon Park and Audubon Zoo is a place one can truly and peacefully enjoy New Orleans's old-world charm: fountains, statues, gazebos, lagoons, giant oak trees, and the occasional horse-back riders and carriages. There are also a golf course, tennis courts, and a extremely popular 1.8-mile-long paved jogging track. Do walk along the outskirts of the park and be wowed by the historic buildings of Loyola and Tulane universities, as well as many elegant mansions.

From the critter-filled swamps of Louisiana to the grasslands of Africa, you can explore some of the Earth's most intriguing habitats and the creatures that dwell within them at this world-class zoo. Rated one of the top zoos in the United States, it features two rare white tigers as well as Komodo dragons.

Step back into the Antebellum beauty of the old South with a tour of Oak Alley Plantation. A short drive from the city of New Orleans, Oak Alley Plantation gives visitors a glimpse into the life that once was for Louisiana residents. Visitors are invited to tour the mansion and grounds, including the quarter-mile-long picturesque canopy created by the stately branches of the 300-year-old oak trees that gave the former plantation it's name. Guides dressed in period clothing lead informative tours of the mansion. Oak Alley's signature Mint Julep's are available for sale at the mansion, and the Oak Alley Restaurant offers a full menu for hungry visitors.

Paddling along the Mississippi River is a great way to spend time in the city. Enjoying a buffet lunch while you glide along the river and take in the sights is the stuff of vacation dreams. The refreshing trip is bound to give you a considerable appreciation for the beauty of the area. Book your Paddlewheeler Creole Queen tickets and discover for yourself these scenic surroundings.

The center of all cultural activities, the French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans. The city of New Orleans was built around the main square of what was then known as the Vieux Carré, after the city's founding in 1718. However, most of the area's buildings come from the early 19th Century, when the city was acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. Although originally settled by French Creoles, by the early 20th Century they were mostly gone from the French Quarter, and bohemian culture began to boom in the area. Architectural delights like Jackson Square and its Saint Louis Cathedral are highlights of the neighborhood. The French Quarter's single most famous landmark, Bourbon Street, is a nightlife mainstay, being the main drag of Mardi Gras celebrations. Replete with rich architectural history and cultural implications, the French Quarter truly encapsulates New Orleans' vibrant spirit.

New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park provides an ideal platform for all to experience and share the cultural history of jazz in New Orleans. The park aims to educate visitors through its database of information, on the origin and development of jazz in America. A hallmark feature of this site is the Perseverance Hall, where black jazz performers played for black or white audiences in the 1800's. The park hosts special jazz events several times a year. The seasonal concerts for Christmas are extremely popular.

Originally known as Rue Bourbon, New Orleans' infamous Bourbon Street runs the length of the city's French Quarter, although it is the eight-block stretch of "Upper Bourbon Street," lined with bars and clubs of every genre, that is known for its lively nightlife scene. Initially a sought after residential neighborhood, shifting borders and demographics saw Bourbon Street succumb to the same vices the city had come to be known for, becoming famous for its restaurants, nightclubs and other risque establishments. Today, this street is best known for its involvement in the Big Easy's greatest festival, Mardi Gras, and its love affair with live jazz and blues. Each night, revelers throng the street with drinks in hand, their smiling faces lit by the multi-colored glow of neon lights. By day, the avenue's quaint architectural heritage comes to the fore, with time-honored eateries doling out traditional po'boys, beignets and other quintessentially, local eats.

Whenever you are in New Orleans, for business or pleasure, a must stop is Magazine Street. This is the street that has it all no matter what your shopping needs are. Whatever you're looking for, be it fashion, vintage clothing, children's clothing, shoes, or accessories, Magazine Street is the place to be. When you start to work up an appetite, try seafood, French cuisine, farmer's markets, chocolates, or stop into one of the many bars for a pick-me-up.

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