We’re lucky to live in a world where travel is more accessible and enjoyable than ever before. In modern times, thanks to technological advancements, it’s easier than ever to fly all around the globe, visiting exciting new locations and experiencing new cultures. One of the best ways to really make the most of any trip is to stay in a hostel. These communal accommodation locations bring lots of people together in one friendly, welcoming environment, encouraging everyone to share their thoughts, ideas, experiences, advice, and stories. Staying in a hostel can quite literally be a life-changing experience, and it’s also a super way to save and enjoy the same great comforts you’d find in a hotel for a fraction of the cost. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
2.City House Hostel New Orleans
4.India House Hostel
5.Auberge NOLA Hostel
4 Best New Orleans Hostels
- Overview, Photo: Tessa/stock.adobe.com
- City House Hostel New Orleans, Photo: City House Hostel New Orleans
- The Quisby, Photo: The Quisby
- India House Hostel, Photo: India House Hostel
- Auberge NOLA Hostel, Photo: Auberge NOLA Hostel
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: New Orleans Musical Legends Park
The New Orleans Musical Legends Park in New Orleans, LA is a free park that allows visitors to sit, enjoy music and eat one of the top-rated beignets in the area. Lovers of jazz musical history, as well as those new to jazz or wanting to learn more, will enjoy this park and the general atmosphere of the area. Located in the historic French Quarter, the New Orleans Musical Legends Park started hosting local bands and live music and is now well known for being a quiet sanctuary in the middle of an otherwise loud and busy area.
A tribute to how important music is to the area allows musicians of all levels of society to have a safe space to play their music. All performances are free to the public. The purpose of the park is preserve the musical history and heritage of the New Orleans jazz culture in a way that allows the most access to the most amount of people. If visitors are lucky, they can also chance into a film crew, as the park is a well-known site for recording films and television shows of all varieties.
Although small, the park features life sized bronze statues of famous New Orleans jazz musicians.
Allen Toussaint - Most active in the 1960s and 1970s, Toussaint wrote and produced a series of hits for musicians such as Aaron Neville and Lee Dorsey. Some of his songs went on to be covered by well-known artists like Otis Redding, The Who and Ringo Starr. He also had a hand in producing the hit song “Lady Marmalade” with Patty Labelle. Toussaint has since been inducted into both the Rock and Roll and Blues Hall of Fame.
Fats Domino - Most well-known for his 1955 Top 10 song “Ain’t that a Shame,” Domino went on to have almost 37 different Top 40 hits. His cover of the song “Blueberry Hill,” went on to reach number two on the charts as well, selling more than five million copies.
Al Hirt - With 22 different Billboard chart topping records, Hirt was prolific in the 1950s and 1960s. Hirt started playing trumpet as a child, starting to make music professionally at the age of 16, and eventually hit number one with a cover of Allen Toussaint’s song “Java.”
Pete Fountain - Well known for his clarinet playing, especially during his time with the Lawrence Welk band, Fountain is a New Orleans staple. He also helped found the Half Fast Marching Club, which is one of the Mardi Gras Day parade most well-known participants. He recorded over 100 pieces of music during his active time.
Irma Thomas - Also known as Irma Lee, this New Orleans singer worked closely with Allen Toussaint as well. She wrote many well-known songs that were redone by famous singers like Otis Redding and bands like the Rolling Stones.
Chris Owens - Most well-known for the Chris Owens Review, run out of her and her husband’s club, she has been a staple in the New Orleans community since the 1960s.
Ronnie Kole - Kole is a legend on the jazz piano, having been given a Lifetime Achievement Award. He also has performed for many world leaders - including presidents and the pope. He also continues to be well known for his charity work.
Louis Prima - Trumpeter, singer, actor, and songwriter, Prima is possibly the most well-known musician from New Orleans. Well versed in the scat style, as well as swing music, Prima dominated the music scene for many decades.
The New Orleans Musical Legends Park is available for rent for weddings, receptions, and other private events. The park is free to rent with advance reservation and includes music from Steamboat Willie, if desired. There are also many live musical events that run throughout the year, so keep an eye on the website or local media for additional information. Those events are free as well.
Also make sure to enjoy the Louisiana Oyster Jubilee to enjoy oysters, live music, and hang out with friends outside in the beautiful New Orleans weather. A do not miss opportunity for anyone who is a fan of jazz, oysters or both! Recently celebrating their 10th year, this festival is still going strong.
Make sure to stop by The Cafe Beignet for fresh beignets (a local delicacy), cold drinks, coffee and other small snacks. Full breakfast is also served all day. Sit outside and enjoy the ambience of the park. Open until midnight or later!
New Orleans Musical Legends Park, 311 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA, 70130, Phone: 504-888-7608
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Attraction Spotlight: Mardi Gras
The year was 1699, a young explorer named Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville landed sixty miles south of the land where New Orleans now stands. Back then, he named the site Pointe du Mardi Gras, on the holiday's eve, and seemed fitting for his discovery. The first American Mardi Gras was celebrated in 1703. In 1718, New Orleans was proudly established, and Mardi Gras was an annual celebration by the 1730's. Before the parades as American knows them today started, Mardi Gras involved elegant balls and high society.
It was not until the 1830s that New Orleans started holding street processions, masked parade attendees, and gaslight torches to enhance the romance and festivity. In 1873, parade displays were made in New Orleans, changing the norm of having everything made in France. The Governor at the time, Governor Wormoth, effectively signed an act that made Mardi Gras an official holiday.
Mardi Gras is known for its music, parades, picnics, floats, and excitement. People wear costumes, dress in purple, green, and gold, and drape themselves in beads. Families flood the streets, everyone dresses up, and both visitors and locals have a great time.
People watching the parades throw balls, collect beads, play music, eat food, and mingle. Most businesses shut down on Mardi Gras day to enjoy the celebration. Do not forget to bring a bag to collect all of the trinkets thrown from parade floats.
Mardi Gras always falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Most visitors arrive the weekend before Mardi Gras to enjoy an extended weekend of festivities and the most popular parades such as Endymion, Bacchus, and Rex.
Endymion is named for the mortal in Greek mythology for whom Zeus granted immortality. In 1967, this parade became so famous that observers start snagging spots on the street early in the morning, despite the fact that the parade does not start until the evening. It is estimated that this parade tosses more than fifteen million throws.
When the Krewe of Bacchus was founded in 1968, it broke Carnival tradition by staging a Sunday night parade with bigger and more spectacular floats than any other parade at Mardi Gras. Now, the Krewe of Bacchus is one of the most revered parades in Carnival history. With more than thirty-one animated floats, this parade has Las Vegas-type entertainment, dancers, and celebrity appearances as Bacchus, the Greek god of wine.
The Krewe of Rex resists the use of technology in their parade with elaborately hand-painted floats. The originators of Carnival colors gold, green, and purple, they have held more parades than any other organization in Mardi Gras history. They are the oldest participating group in Mardi Gras and hold fast to the traditions of the holiday as they parade through the streets.
There is more to Mardi Gras than parades. Many other attractions await visitors and offer historical views of the traditions, food, and fame.
Kern Studios builds breathtaking floats that fill the streets in parades and celebrations. Visitors can see how Mardi Gras comes to life at Mardi Gras World, tour the massive studios where floats originate, and dress up in costumes to each King Cake. Watch historic videos and eat New Orleans food year-round at the on-site cafe with a view of the Mississippi River.
Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum features Mardi Gras Carnival attire and other French memorabilia. It is an excellent place for visitors to go back in time and see where the traditions started.
Antoine’s Restaurant lines its walls with celebrity visitors and is lavishly decorated in green and gold. The restaurant encourages reservations to ensure visitors enjoy their dining experience. Antoine’s is an exclusive experience requiring a strict dress code, and 175 years of tradition come together for an unforgettable meal.
The Steamboat Natchez provides a buffet-style Creole dinner with classic dishes like fried fish, Creole creamed spinach, and bread pudding with white chocolate sauce. Diners enjoy live music and a unique dining experience cruising on the Mighty Mississippi.
During Mardi Gras, visitors can get everything they need at a variety of shops. Beads by the Dozen sells hats, masks, toys, and beads. The Mask Store carries masks from the best local artists, and if visitors do not find the perfect fit, The Mask Store will make custom pieces to suit.
Mardi Gras is a celebration of epic proportions, with food, toys, and parades to match. Visitors have so much to choose from in so little time, that they come back year after year to experience the fun in a new way every time.
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Attraction Spotlight: The French Quarter
In the heart of New Orleans, LA the historical and cultural center known as the French Quarter is the oldest part of the city. Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville founded the square in 1718 and the district is now regarded as a National Historic Landmark due to its diversity of culture and architecture. The existence of the different styles can be traced back to the Great New Orleans Fire, which destroyed many of the existing buildings in 1788. Shortly after the fire, there was a period of Spanish rule in the city, during part of the 18th and 19th centuries. This allowed the colony's rulers to redesign and reconstruct the neighborhood in modern Spanish style. As one of the oldest neighborhoods within New Orleans, the city aims to preserve the buildings in the historic center. Houses and shops in this area have been protected by law since the 1920s and cannot be renovated or demolished without special permission from the city. Admiring the architecture is not the only reason this area should be toured; there are many cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops that add to the character of the French Quarter. This lively neighborhood is a center for both locals and tourists to enjoy with an array of things to do and see throughout the year.
There are a variety of attractions within the neighborhood that add to the culture of the historic and cultural district. Its Old World charm is evident in the range of old homes, public spaces, museum, and tours to experience. The 1850 House is a preserved house that acts as a museum to educate visitors on how a typical middle-class family lived during a very prosperous period in the history of New Orleans. Throughout the years, there have been many different waves of immigrants who occupied the area. In the Irish Cultural Museum of New Orleans, the exhibits tell the story of the 200-year-old history of Irish influence in the city. In the outdoor areas of the district, there are many different streets and squares that are well-worth a visit. Jackson Square is a beautiful park and gardens filled with street performers and local artistry, and is located directly beside the charming St. Louis Cathedral.
Constructed in 1724, this is the oldest active Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States. In contrast to the history of Catholicism, the mystical roots of Louisiana can be explored in the Bottom of the Cup Tea Room, which is a popular shop for jewelry, crystals, and tea where you can also find out your future. To learn more about the spiritual history of New Orleans, the Voodoo Museum tells the story of how Voodoo became an aspect of society, beginning in the 1700s. Exploring the mysteries and legends of mysticism, exhibits and haunted cemetery walking tours educate visitors about the unique traditions that have shaped this city. Another very popular attraction that encompasses seeing the entire French Quarter is a tour on the steamboat Natchez. Taking this riverboat down the Mississippi offers a new perspective on the bustling district. With tours running three times during the day, be sure to watch sunset on the cruise while enjoying the sounds of New Orleans jazz during dinner.
This historical hotspot is more than just a beautiful area to visit, it also has an amazing array of authentic local food to try. The combination of Creole and Cajun cuisine and the infusion of Italian and Irish culture into the neighborhood has created a hotspot for restaurants and cafés. Some must-try eateries include Antoine's, Central Grocery, The Gumbo Shop, and Café du Monde. However, for an outdoor food experience, visit the old French Market, which is the oldest public market in the United States. Founded in 1791, this open-air cultural hub features shopping, dining, and traditional music. Many different foods are displayed in the market, and a wide array of products are sold here.
When it comes to shopping in the French Quarter, the area is filled with colorful boutiques, specialized shops, and galleries. It should come as no surprise that in this historic area there is a surplus of charming antique stores selling everything from books to accessories. Browsing around these quirky shops adds to the distinct character of the French Quarter. Mixed in between the antique stores and boutiques on Royal Street there are many shops displaying the beautiful works of local artists. Spending time exploring the unique shops while interacting with the friendly locals gives visitors a glimpse into the welcoming and diverse French Quarter.
The French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
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