New Orleans evokes images of non-stop partying with events like Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, and the annual Red Dress Run. Of course, these are things you love to do with friends, but you can do so many more relaxed things—especially after a big night out.
Things To Do With Friends in New Orleans
Here are some of my favorite things to do with friends in New Orleans. These don’t necessarily have to involve alcohol, but if you simply must, New Orleans is the place to do it because you’re allowed to walk the streets with your drinks in hand. You’ll find plenty of daiquiri shops along the way.
1. Explore the French Quarter
This is a great way to start a visit to the Big Easy. Discover the heart of New Orleans as you stroll through its historic streets, immersing yourself in live music echoing through the air. Indulge in the vibrant atmosphere and savor the rich flavors of local cuisine, making each step a memorable experience. The French Quarter is a treasure trove of things to do with friends, blending history and entertainment seamlessly.
2. Take a Steamboat Cruise
Embark on a classic adventure along the majestic Mississippi River with a Steamboat Cruise. Witness the cityscape from a unique perspective, creating unforgettable moments as you enjoy the leisurely pace and old-world charm of a bygone era. Bookings are a good idea. Try the Creole Queen or Steamboat Natchez.
3.Indulge in Beignets at Café du Monde
Treat your taste buds to a quintessential New Orleans experience by indulging in the city’s famed beignets at Café du Monde. Delight in these delectable, powdered sugar-covered pastries, making each bite a sweet and memorable rendezvous with friends. On most days, you’ll be entertained by a jazz band that sets up nearby. Enjoying beignets and jazz at Café du Monde is one of those simple yet delightful things to do with friends in the city’s heart.
4. Attend a Jazz Performance
Immerse yourself in the soulful melodies of jazz in the birthplace of this iconic genre. If you head down Frenchmen Street during the evening, you can hop from jazz club to jazz club, enjoying whatever type of jazz or blues you like. If you think you’re not a jazz fan, don’t rule out the energy a live performance can bring.
5. Wander Through City Park
Experience the beauty of nature in the heart of the city. This 170-year-old 1300-acre oasis just to the north of the city features plenty of things to do with friends, including a carousel, the famous Singing Oak, and an intricate sculpture garden. Create lasting memories with friends as you rent a paddleboat on the serene waters of the Big Lake, surrounded by lush greenery.
6. Visit the National WWII Museum
Step back in time and explore the riveting history of World War II at The National WWII Museum. Engage in an immersive journey through exhibits, artifacts, and stories, making it a compelling and educational experience for you and your friends.
7. Take an Airboat Tour
Embark on a thrilling adventure into the heart of Louisiana’s swamps by taking an exhilarating airboat ride. Take a Swamp Tour to discover the unique ecosystem, marvel at the wildlife, and encounter fascinating creatures like alligators, creating an unforgettable experience in the heart of nature. Top tip: the smaller the boat, the faster and more fun the ride is.
8. Go on a Haunted History Tour
Uncover the mysteries and tales of New Orleans’ spooky past with a guided Haunted History Tour. Walk through the historic streets, hearing chilling stories that add an eerie yet captivating dimension to the city’s rich history, making it a thrilling experience with friends. Remember, take a cocktail with you to enhance the experience!
9. Visit Mardi Gras World
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the magic behind Mardi Gras floats. Visit Mardi Gras World to witness the creative process, vibrant colors, and intricate designs, providing a unique and entertaining experience for you and your friends. This is a great thing to do indoors if the weather isn’t great.
10. Take a Streetcar Ride
Embark on a charming journey through New Orleans by hopping on the St. Charles streetcar. Enjoy a leisurely ride, soaking in the scenic views of the city’s architecture and landscapes, making it a delightful and picturesque experience. Rattling along in this iconic transportation is a must-do activity for a trip to the Big Easy.
11. Shop at the French Market
Embark on a shopping adventure at the bustling French Market. Browse through a diverse array of stalls offering local crafts, spices, and unique finds, creating a fun and vibrant experience as you explore the market together. You can also indulge in some classic New Orleans cuisine at one of the food outlets here.
12. Create Your Own Perfume/Cologne
For something completely different, immerse yourself in fragrance creation with a unique experience to craft your perfume or cologne. Engage in a sensory journey as you blend various scents, creating a personalized fragrance that is a lasting memento of your time with friends in New Orleans. Check out Fragrances of the French Caribbean and the Crescent City for more details.
13. Escape Rooms New Orleans
Embark on a thrilling adventure of problem-solving and teamwork at an escape room in New Orleans. Test your wits and collaborative skills as you work together to decipher clues, solve puzzles, and unlock mysteries within a set time frame. This immersive and challenging experience is a great thing to do with friends. There are several venues to choose from.
14. Check Out Historic House Museums
New Orleans has some amazing historic house museums that showcase the incredible story of the city’s past. You might also find that some of your favorite TV shows were filmed in these locations, such as AMC’s Interview With The Vampire, which was filmed at Hermann–Grima House, amongst other places.
15. Caesars Superdome or the Smoothie King Center
Caesars is home to The Saints, and you can catch a great game of football there or check out some other events, such as the Taylor Swift concert in October 2024. If basketball is more your thing, check out the Smoothie King Center—home of the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s also a great place for concerts such as The Eagles, Stevie Nicks, and Bad Bunny.
16. Harrah’s Casino
Indulge in the vibrant energy of Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans. Try your luck at various gaming tables and slot machines, immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, and enjoy the entertainment and dining options. The casino also houses a hotel that’s right near the French Quarter.
17. Fulton Alley Bar and Bowling