More Than Mardi Gras: Exploring New Orleans

New Orleans and Mississippi RiverThe Crescent City, the Big Easy, America’s Most Interesting City—it’s known by many names, but no matter its moniker, the city of New Orleans is an enticing one. It is home to a rich history, a diverse population, and a culture that has seeped into its Southern sidewalks over the course of nearly 300 years. Today, the city is home to some of the biggest festivals, including Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, where thousands flock to this epicenter of history and music to laissez les bons temps rouler.

But if you’re moving to New Orleans, you’ll want to know about more than just the best places to visit on Bourbon Street. Once you’ve got the perfect New Orleans apartment, it’s time to get acquainted with your new home. Here are a few tips for exploring New Orleans as a new resident.

Get Your Bearings

New Orleans has its own set of cardinal directions. Instead of north, south, east, and west, locals navigate relative to the landscape. Going north toward Lake Pontchartrain? You’re actually heading lakeside. Going south toward the river means you’re going—you guessed it—riverside. Then you’ve got downtown (east) and uptown (west).

Learn Your Neighborhoods

You’ll also want to learn where you are in terms of neighborhood names. Everyone knows the famous French Quarter, but branch out lakeside (see what we did there?) and you’ll find Lakeview, Gentilly, Esplanade Ridge, and the Upper Ninth Ward. Go riverside, and you’ll hit Algiers, Uptown, and the Garden District; uptown, and you can explore Mid-City and Carrollton; downtown, and you’ll find Marigny, Bywater, the Lower Ninth Ward… and that’s just to name a few! (Keep in mind, though, that locals may draw those neighborhood borders a little differently, so “Marigny” to one might be “Bywater” to another.)

Getting Around New Orleans

Considering exploring New Orleans without a car? You’re in luck. The city of New Orleans earns a Walk Score of 56 and a Bike Score of 60, meaning that it is fairly walkable and has a pretty good infrastructure for cyclists. According to Walk Score, the easiest neighborhoods in New Orleans to navigate car-free are the French Quarter, the Central Business District, and Faubourg Marigny. Out of 100, all three neighborhoods score above 75!

What to Do as a New Orleans Local

From music festivals year-round to over-the-top holiday light displays during December, New Orleans knows how to show locals and visitors alike a good time. Put together a list of events to hit by checking out The Times-Picayune‘s event calendar or the event calendar of the New Orleans Official Tourism Site. You’ll soon find your favorite sights, sounds, and scrumptious eateries in the City That Care Forgot.

Share Your Tips for Exploring New Orleans

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