New Orleans is known for its easy spirit, mystery, history, friendly citizens (it was voted as one of the friendliest cities in the USA) and nightlife - just think Mardi Gras and parades of floats and beads at the annual festival. Steeped in rich history and a true amalgamation of cultures, the city is the birthplace of myth and mystery. In the heart of all this is the French Quarter, a bustling and lively scene bursting with galleries, bistros and shopping experiences. As the home of the W New Orleans - French Quarter, this area is an example of pristine architecture that exudes the history of New Orleans. Guests can take a tour of the area as guides tell tales of haunted mansions, and after that stop in at a famous restaurant for world-class cuisine.
An interesting stop in the French Quarter is the Archdiocesan Archives - a vast collection of records that are meticulously kept and that serve as a magnifying glass for New Orleans history. For the ultimate in provincial shopping, guests can head to the New Orleans' French Market. This is one of the oldest markets in the area and is a mixture of distinctly New Orleans style and European market atmosphere. For guests who prefer the arts, the Le Petit Theatre is a community theatre operates continually and can be traced back all the way to 1916; stop in for a show and support the local arts scene.
As the city is known for its culinary scene, visitors can take home some of the gastronomic magic that is New Orleans with a class at the New Orleans School of Cooking. The classes take place in a renovated warehouse dating back to the 1800's. Here real Louisiana cuisine is the star as Gumbo, Pralines and the distinct seasoning skills of a creole chef is taught to patrons.
One the most classic images of New Orleans is a riverboat letting off some steam along the coast. Visitors can hop aboard the Steamboat Natchez and set sail. Evening cruises are highly recommended as this is where the jazzy spirit of the Big Easy is shown off.
The beauty of New Orleans is that it is never short on entertainment - whether it is a trio of street musicians performing on a corner or simply taking in the sights of historic building and unique sculpture gardens in the city. Simply strolling through the Big Easy, visitors will find hidden spots, secret jazz cafes, and friendly faces amid the thick history that blankets the mysterious city.
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