New Orleans, Louisiana, is teeming with culture, color, and food. If you’re planning a trip to this city and wondering what to do in New Orleans, this post will share the best recommendations. Also, if you’re wondering what to do in New Orleans as a solo Black traveler, I made this trip solo a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve been able to update the itinerary with tips from friends who live in NOLA.
9 Things to Do in New Orleans in October
Here are 9 things I recommend doing in New Orleans if you visit in October – these are perfect for female solo travelers, couples, and families!
Go to the WWII museum
I’m not even a huge history buff, but I really enjoyed the WWII museum. There are interactive sections, self-guided tour areas, and some built-out sets depicting scenes from Vietnam, Germany, and other countries involved in the war.
Visitors get a “dog tag” assigned to a WWII veteran, and by the end of your tour, you can check on your vet and see if he made it through the war alive. Honestly, the museum is so huge I couldn’t see the entire thing in a day (and I devoted a whole day to it).
When you get hungry from walking around the museum, I recommend grabbing a bite at Cochon burger. It’s just a few minutes walk from the museum and was one of the best burgers of my life.
Eat Beignets at Cafe du Monde
I know some people say Cafe du Monde is overrated, but it’s a classic for a reason. I ate beignets at a couple of other places, and the best beignets I had in NOLA were at Cafe du Monde. Prepare for a large crowd, but the doughy joys and great coffee are worth it.
I didn’t get a chance to try it, but I’ve also heard great things about Cafe Beignet.
Take a walk around the French Quarter
The French Quarter is popular for the wonderful selection of shops, beautiful live music, and delicious food you encounter every step of the way. Immerse yourself in the vibrant surroundings.
If you’re like me and must buy a souvenir on every trip, stop by Roux Royale for unique pieces.
I got a fun apron (with a jambalaya recipe drawn/painted on) and a cute magnet – two of the best souvenirs I’ve bought on a trip!
Visit the Audubon Zoo
If you have kids, the Audubon Zoo is a must-visit. The zoo and nearby park are pretty massive and can take up to a full day to experience properly. You’ll see a wide range of animals from around the world including zebras, elephants, and giraffes.
You can bring your own food, and strollers and wheelchairs are allowed and supported. You can even rent a wheelchair (there are few available), if needed. Keep in mind that you can’t being glass containers, bicycles, skates, or coolers over 28-quart size large.
To save money on ticket prices, you can book ahead of time on the Audubon Zoo site. Kids and seniors enter for a little less than adult non-members. Members get free entry. Bonus tip? If you like the zoo, you should also visit the Audubon Aquarium.
Eat at Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery
The Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery is well known for their King cakes, but as a savory girl I loved the Banh mi and pho even more! The bakery sells lots of other sweet and savory treats like meat pies, brioche, sweet buns, and rice dishes.
Like Cafe du Monde, Dong Phuong’s is a classic NOLA food experience worth visiting. They tend to be pretty crowded in the mornings and at lunchtime, but the crowd tapers off after about 1 pm. If you’d rather not sit in a crowded restaurant, you can also order takeout like I did!
Visit the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA)
Seeing local art is a cool way to explore a new area. NOMA is open Tuesdays – Sundays 10 am – 5 pm. On Wednesdays, Louisiana residents can access the museum for free. There’s also a nearby sculpture park with beautiful pieces, which is free to enter if you’re on a tight budget. Reserve NOMA tickets and check out current exhibitions on the museum’s website.
I really wanted to visit this one but couldn’t squeeze it in. My artsy friends have raved about it and you love to check out the art scene when you visit new locations, I definitely recommend NOMA.
Ride a streetcar
Streetcars are quintessential NOLA. They’re a vintage means of transportation and remind me strongly of European transport systems – especially with the often cobblestoned streets they lie over. If you’re visiting NOLA, don’t miss the chance to ride in one of these.
I took one on my way to the WWII museum and went the wrong way. I had to travel all the way back – which made me a bit late, but made for a memorable (albeit frustrating) experience, ha!
Take a walking tour
Walking tours can be so much fun and are often a safer option for getting to know some cities if you’re a female solo traveler. NOLA is such a walkable city (especially downtown and the French Quarter) so it’s great to do a walking tour. If you’re a foodie like me, try a food tour instead!
A few good walking/food tour options:
- Free walking tour (Free Tours by Foot)
- Two Chicks Walking Tours (Explore the French Quarter, Garden District, or customized options)
- French Quarter food tour
- Saint Louis Cemetery tour
Try the gumbo at Gumbo Shop
Gumbo is a major part of the food scene in New Orleans. It’s typically made with okra, sausages, and sea food and is often served with plain rice. I’m funny about food textures, but I surprisingly enjoyed the gumbo at the Gumbo Shop.
I’m sure gumbo tastes just fine from other gumbo places, but Gumbo Shop came highly recommended by my AirBnB host, and I loved it.
Grab a coffee at Baldwin & Co
This last one is for my fellow remote workers, book lovers, and freelancers. If you’re on the hunt for a nice coffee shop where you can drink great coffee and knock out some work in a couple of hours, Baldwin & Co is perfect!
It’s a Black-owned indie bookstore and coffee shop with a podcast recording studio in Marigny. Creatives can rent the podcast studio (if they have a qualified engineer) for a day or two hours at least!
NOLA 5-day itinerary: What to do in New Orleans in 5 days
If you’re visiting NOLA for the first time, I recommend at least 3-5 days to experience as much as possible. I spent a whole week! Here’s my recommended 5-day itinerary for New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Day 1: Eat breakfast at Cafe Du Monde, take a stroll around the French Quarter, try gumbo for lunch, and do some shopping on Bourbon Street
- Day 2: Visit the Audubon Aquarium and grab lunch at Rock n Roll Sushi
- Day 3: Take a walking tour around your preferred area of NOLA and find a local spot to eat and relax
- Day 4: Ride a streetcar to the WWII Museum and grab a bite at Cochon Burger
- Day 5: Sleep in and take an afternoon stroll at the City Park. If you’re not exhausted from all the walking, pop in into the New Orleans Museum of Art for a quick browse
Frequently asked questions
Got some more questions? Here are the most common questions I get about visiting NOLA.
What should I pack for New Orleans in October?
October in NOLA can be a bit chilly, but still pleasant. Pack long sleeved blouses, cardigans to layer over lighter clothing, jeans or leggings, light jackets, and scarves. It’s warmer in the afternoons, so make sure you can take off top layers to avoid overheating.
I’ll be making a full packing list for NOLA, so look out for that soon.
Is New Orleans warm in October?
Yes, it’s warm in the afternoons. Daily temperatures range from 62 F in the mornings and evenings to 80 F in the afternoons.
Is October a good time to visit New Orleans?
Yes, it’s perfect! The Southern US can be terribly hot in the summer and NOLA gets pretty cold in the winters, so the fall weather is perfect for traipsing around the city.
How to get around in New Orleans
I used public transportation throughout my visit and never had to call a Lyft or Uber. Just download the app before your visit and choose a prepaid ticket bundle. A one-way ride costs $1.25, so I got a 7-day Jazzy Pass – which cost $15 – to make my life easier.
Check the app daily to get an idea of the bus schedules and plan your route ahead of time. If you stay Downtown, you’ll probably get around on foot for the most part. Bring comfy shoes!
If you’re wondering what to do in New Orleans in October, I’m sure my travel experience has given you a head start! Happy travels.