13 Things To Do in New Orleans for Young Adults (for 21+)

by Flora
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Are you on the hunt for the best things to do in New Orleans for young adults? Look no further! We’ve compiled the ultimate list of must-visit spots that are perfect for millennials and Gen Z-ers looking for a memorable time in the Big Easy.

Renowned as one of the most livable cities in Louisiana, New Orleans is a city that dances to its own rhythm. It’s vibrant and brimming with life, set against a backdrop of historic streets and the mysterious beauty of the Mississippi River. It’s perhaps the best destination to kick off our list of unique places to visit in the Southeast.

New Orleans is a place where the music never stops, from the jazz clubs of Frenchmen Street to the lively beats echoing through the French Quarter. This makes New Orleans an ultimate fun vacation spot for young adults in the US.

Explore the most picturesque locations in New Orleans. Whether you’re exploring the haunting beauty of its historic cemeteries, tasting your way through its culinary delights, or getting swept up in the magic of Mardi Gras, there’s always something new to discover. Here are the top activities in New Orleans for young adults that will surprise you!

The best things to do in New Orleans for young adults right now

Things To Do in New Orleans for Young Adults

In this guide, we’re diving into the heart of New Orleans, showcasing the top activities for young adults. New Orleans is a city that’s constantly evolving and embracing the new while honoring its rich heritage, making it one of the cities to live in the Southeast. From the legendary nightlife and music to the hidden gems in New Orleans that make this city unique, get ready to explore all that New Orleans has to offer. Let the adventure begin!

1. Jazz it up at Frenchmen Street

Alright, let’s hit the real vibe of New Orleans with a trip down Frenchmen Street. Missing out on this is like going to NYC and not seeing Times Square – it just doesn’t happen. For all the young souls out there, Frenchmen Street is your golden ticket to the heart of New Orleans’ jazz scene.

As the sun dips, the sounds of saxophones and trumpets start calling your name. Frenchmen Street is lined with legendary jazz clubs, each with its own flavor. Ever heard of The Spotted Cat or Maison? They’re just starters in the feast of music you’re about to dive into. Here, music is everything, pulling everyone – locals and travelers alike – into its beat.

For anyone seeking what's hip in New Orleans for young adults, Frenchmen Street is the ultimate destination.
For anyone seeking what’s hip in New Orleans for young adults, Frenchmen Street is the ultimate destination.

Frenchmen Street is also packed with art, impromptu street performances, and some killer spots to grab a bite. It’s the kind of place where your night starts with a bang and just keeps rolling.

So, for anyone hunting for what’s cool in New Orleans for young adults, Frenchmen Street is it. It’s where you feel the real pulse of the city. Grab your crew, hit the street, and let the music take you wherever it wants to go.

2. Explore the French Quarter

In the French Quarter, you’ll find that every scene is bursting with life, history, and a dash of mystery. This is the heart of New Orleans, and trust me, it beats loud. The French Quarter in New Orleans is arguably the most visited place in Louisiana. From the iconic wrought-iron balconies to the sound of jazz floating through the air, the French Quarter is where New Orleans’ soul shines brightest. The French Quarter stands out as a top choice for anyone deciding where to stay in New Orleans

Start your adventure with a beignet in hand from Café du Monde because, let’s be honest, what’s a visit to New Orleans without tasting these sugary delights? Then, meander down Royal Street, where art galleries, antique shops, and street musicians make every step an experience. Don’t forget to look up and admire the stunning architecture that tells tales of centuries past. This historic neighborhood is a treasure trove of culture and history, making it one of the top things to do in New Orleans with teens.

In the French Quarter, every corner teems with vitality, history, and a hint of enigmatic allure, promising an unforgettable experience.
In the French Quarter, every corner teems with vitality, history, and a hint of enigmatic allure, promising an unforgettable experience.

As night falls, Bourbon Street comes alive with neon lights, lively bars, and that infectious New Orleans energy. Whether you’re here for the history, the food, or the party, the French Quarter has something for everyone.

For young adults hitting up New Orleans, the French Quarter is an experience of its own. So, dive in, let your curiosity lead the way, and discover why the French Quarter is the heart and soul of New Orleans.

3. Dive into the ghostly past with French Quarter Phantoms

If you’re in New Orleans and craving some chills, signing up for a tour with French Quarter Phantoms is the way to go. This is a journey into the heart of the city’s haunted history. It’s led by guides who know how to mix facts with spine-tingling storytelling.

As the sun sets, you’ll meander through the shadowy streets of the French Quarter. French Quarter Phantoms takes you beyond the usual tourist spots, diving deep into tales of love, betrayal, and eerie happenings that have left their mark on the city.

French Quarter Phantoms provides a night out that you'll remember for a lifetime.
French Quarter Phantoms provides a night out that you’ll remember for a lifetime.

One of the highlights? The infamous LaLaurie Mansion, a place so chilling it’ll make your skin crawl. And let’s not forget a visit to the resting place of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, where whispers of voodoo magic still linger.

French Quarter Phantoms offers an unforgettable night out. It’s all about peeling back the layers of New Orleans’ rich history to uncover the stories that make the city truly unique. So, grab your bravest friends and let French Quarter Phantoms show you the darker side of the Big Easy.

4. Feast on Cajun and Creole cuisine

No trip to New Orleans is complete without diving fork-first into its world-renowned Cajun and Creole cuisine. This city’s food scene is a melting pot of flavors, traditions, and culinary innovation. It’s a paradise in New Orleans for foodies and anyone looking to spice up their taste buds.

Start your culinary adventure at one of the city’s iconic eateries, like Commander’s Palace or Willie Mae’s Scotch House. Here, the dishes tell the story of New Orleans’ rich cultural tapestry. From the spicy kick of a classic jambalaya to the comforting embrace of gumbo, each bite is a journey through the soul of the city.

Begin your culinary journey at iconic eateries like Commander's Palace or Willie Mae's Scotch House for an unforgettable experience.
Begin your culinary journey at iconic eateries like Commander’s Palace or Willie Mae’s Scotch House for an unforgettable experience.

New Orleans is home to a vibrant street food scene. It’s where food trucks and pop-up vendors serve up inventive takes on classic dishes. Imagine savoring a po’boy sandwich loaded with fresh, local ingredients or discovering a new favorite among the city’s fusion cuisine offerings.

For young adults exploring New Orleans, indulging in the local cuisine offers an opportunity to connect with the city’s heart and history.

5. Delve into history at the National WWII Museum

For a change of pace and a dose of history, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans is an absolute must-visit. This museum is a deeply immersive journey into one of the most pivotal times in world history.

As you step into the museum, you’re transported back to the era of the Greatest Generation. Through state-of-the-art exhibits and rare artifacts, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the sacrifices and challenges of those who lived through World War II. The museum’s interactive displays, including a 4D cinematic experience narrated by Tom Hanks, bring history to life in a way that’s tangible and impactful.

The National WWII Museum provides an immersive experience, delving deeply into one of the most pivotal eras in global history.
The National WWII Museum provides an immersive experience, delving deeply into one of the most pivotal eras in global history.

The museum also delves into the human stories of the war. It’s a powerful reminder of humanity’s capacity for both destruction and incredible heroism.

This is a place to reflect, learn, and come away with a deeper understanding of history’s impact. So, take a break from the music and food, and immerse yourself in a truly unforgettable experience.

6. Kick back in City Park

Alright, after all that jazz and history, how about we chill for a sec? City Park in New Orleans is the perfect spot for just that. Imagine sprawling out over 1,300 acres of green. Yeah, it’s huge, and it’s got everything you need for a perfect chill day or an active one, if that’s more your style.

Think about wandering under those massive oak trees, feeling tiny and kinda awestruck. Or maybe you’re up for a little adventure on Big Lake in a paddleboat, where the city buzz fades into the background.

City Park is the perfect destination for relaxation or enjoyment, offering a myriad of activities to suit your mood.
City Park is the perfect destination for relaxation or enjoyment, offering a myriad of activities to suit your mood.

But hey, City Park is also full of cool stuff to keep you busy. Ever checked out an art museum in a park? The New Orleans Museum of Art is right there, plus a sculpture garden that’s like walking through an outdoor gallery. If you’re feeling competitive, there’s mini-golf, or you can zip around on bikes.

And because no park day is complete without snacks, you’ve gotta hit up Morning Call Café for some beignets. Because, let’s be real, beignets make everything better.

So, if you’re looking for a spot to relax or just have some fun, City Park is where it’s at. It’s a little slice of chill in the middle of all the city’s excitement.

7. Go behind the scenes at Mardi Gras World

Step into the workshop where Mardi Gras comes to life year-round. Welcome to Mardi Gras World, folks, where the party never stops, and you get the VIP tour of how New Orleans’ biggest bash is crafted.

Walking in, it’s like a confetti bomb of creativity exploded. Giant floats that tower over you, sparkling costumes, and props that look like they’ve jumped straight out of a fantasy novel. Ever seen a ten-foot-tall jester or a dragon that breathes smoke? You will here. This place is where the magic happens, from sketch to parade.

Step into the vibrant workshop where the spirit of Mardi Gras is brought to life every day of the year.
Step into the vibrant workshop where the spirit of Mardi Gras is brought to life every day of the year.

You’ll learn the nuts and bolts of float building, from welding frames to the art of papier-mâché. And the best part? You can actually try on some of the costumes. Yep, snap that selfie in a full-on Mardi Gras getup; it’s encouraged!

Mardi Gras World gives you the backstory on this epic festival, showing you why it’s the heartthrob of New Orleans. You’ll leave with a real appreciation for the artistry and energy that fuels Mardi Gras.

So, for anyone hitting up New Orleans, Mardi Gras World is a must-see. Trust me, it’s an experience that’s as unique and vibrant as the city itself.

8. Cruise the Mississippi on a steamboat

Imagine gliding along the Mississippi River, the city skyline shrinking behind you, aboard a piece of living history. That’s what you get with a steamboat cruise in New Orleans. It’s a journey back in time, with the paddle wheels churning and jazz bands playing, all while you take in the sights and sounds of the mighty Mississippi.

Board the Steamboat Natchez or the Creole Queen, where you can kick back on the deck, feel the breeze, and maybe even catch a live jazz performance. These boats are throwbacks to the 19th century, complete with all the charm and none of the hassle. As you cruise, you’ll get panoramic views of New Orleans from a whole new angle.

For young adults exploring New Orleans, a steamboat cruise offers a relaxed way to experience the city's charm.
For young adults exploring New Orleans, a steamboat cruise offers a relaxed way to experience the city’s charm.

These cruises often come with some delicious Creole cuisine, making your journey down the river a feast for both your eyes and your taste buds. And let’s not forget the narration that accompanies your trip, filling you in on the river’s history.

For young adults exploring New Orleans, a steamboat cruise is a chill way to see the city. It’s a blend of relaxation, history, and good old-fashioned fun.

9. Shop ‘til you drop at the French Market

Nestled in the heart of the French Quarter, the French Market is a bustling hub of culture, food, and shopping that’s been serving locals and visitors alike for over 200 years. It’s a lively part of New Orleans’ soul, offering a colorful mosaic of sights, sounds, and smells.

Wander through open-air stalls, each bursting with local produce, artisan crafts, and unique souvenirs. Here, you can find everything from handmade jewelry and vibrant artwork to spicy Cajun spices and fresh beignets. The French Market is where New Orleans’ rich tapestry of cultures comes together, offering a taste of the city’s diverse heritage.

The French Market is a lively embodiment of New Orleans' essence, presenting a vivid mosaic of sights, sounds, and aromas.
The French Market is a lively embodiment of New Orleans’ essence, presenting a vivid mosaic of sights, sounds, and aromas.

It is a place to indulge in some of the city’s best street food, from gumbo and po’boys to fresh seafood and exotic fruits. As you meander, you’ll be serenaded by street musicians, their tunes adding to the market’s vibrant atmosphere.

For young adults looking for fun things to do in New Orleans, the French Market offers an immersive experience. It’s a chance to mingle with locals, sample the flavors of the city, and find that perfect New Orleans keepsake.

10. Enjoy the arts on Julia Street

Tucked away in the Warehouse District, Julia Street is a beacon for art lovers and culture seekers. This stretch is famously known as the heart of New Orleans’ thriving arts scene. Contemporary meets classic, and every gallery door opens to a new world of imagination.

Among the myriad of artworks, certain iconic pieces stand out, drawing visitors from around the globe. Imagine coming face-to-face with George Rodrigue’s famous “Blue Dog” series at Rodrigue Studio. Or, delve into the haunting beauty of James Michalopoulos’s New Orleans-inspired landscapes, capturing the city’s spirit in bold, swirling colors.

Nestled discreetly in the Warehouse District, Julia Street shines brightly, drawing art lovers and culture enthusiasts to its vibrant atmosphere.
Nestled discreetly in the Warehouse District, Julia Street shines brightly, drawing art lovers and culture enthusiasts to its vibrant atmosphere.

The Contemporary Arts Center, a cornerstone of the district, regularly features installations and exhibits from internationally acclaimed artists, challenging perceptions and inspiring dialogue.

It’s where you can lose yourself in the stories painted, sculpted, and sketched by the hands of both local and international artists. So, take a stroll, let the art pull you in, and discover the masterpieces that make Julia Street a New Orleans jewel.

11. Paddle through history with Bayou Paddlesports

Ready for a splash of adventure in New Orleans? Bayou Paddlesports is your go-to for all things kayaking in Bayou St. John.

Bayou Paddlesports stands out for its top-notch service and a wide range of kayaking options, making it perfect for both beginners and seasoned paddlers. Set off on a sunny afternoon, paddle in hand, and meander past lush greenery, historic homes, and maybe even spot some local wildlife. It’s a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle and connect with the tranquil side of New Orleans.

For an adventurous experience in New Orleans, Bayou Paddlesports is your ultimate destination for kayaking in Bayou St. John.
For an adventurous experience in New Orleans, Bayou Paddlesports is your ultimate destination for kayaking in Bayou St. John.

Kayaking with Bayou Paddlesports is a must-do for young adults in New Orleans. It’s the ultimate blend of leisure and exploration and the sheer joy of being on the water. Whether you’re looking for a solo journey or a fun group activity, Bayou Paddlesports delivers an unforgettable experience.

So, grab your friends, book a kayak, and let Bayou Paddlesports guide you through the heart of New Orleans from the unique vantage point of Bayou St. John.

12. Sip and learn at the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery

Believe it or not, nestled within the vibrant city of New Orleans lies an experience that coffee aficionados and history buffs alike will relish—a visit to the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. This hidden gem offers an intriguing look into the craft of making one of the city’s most beloved beverages: rum. It truly pairs perfectly with New Orleans’ coffee culture, that’s for sure!

Embark on a journey to the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. This is where you’ll be treated to an insightful tour that delves into the distilling process, from fermentation to bottling. Discover how local ingredients are transformed into smooth, flavorful rum, a staple in many of the city’s signature cocktails.

Add the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery tour to your list for enjoyable activities in New Orleans for young adults.
Add the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery tour to your list for enjoyable activities in New Orleans for young adults.

But what makes this experience a must for young adults? It’s the perfect blend of education and indulgence. Sample some of the distillery’s finest rums, learn about the history of rum-making in New Orleans, and even pick up a bottle or two to bring a taste of the city back home with you.

So, if you’re looking for fun activities in New Orleans for young adults, add a tour of the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery to your list. It’s an opportunity to sip, savor, and explore the spirited side of New Orleans in a way that’s both informative and utterly enjoyable.

13. Dance the night away at a rooftop bar

Wrapping up our New Orleans adventure, there’s no better way to soak in the city’s vibes than from above. Ending your night at a rooftop bar is the perfect finale to your exploration.

After a day of wandering through historic streets, you find yourself ascending to one of the city’s chic rooftop bars. The city lights twinkle below, the cool evening breeze carries the faint sounds of jazz from the streets, and you’ve got a craft cocktail in hand.

As your time in New Orleans comes to an end, conclude your day with a visit to a rooftop bar.
As your time in New Orleans comes to an end, conclude your day with a visit to a rooftop bar.

Rooftop bars like the Hot Tin – the rooftop bar of the Pontchartrain Hotel – offer not stunning panoramic views of the city’s skyline and the Mississippi River. You’ll find a  sophisticated atmosphere that captures the essence of New Orleans nightlife.

Ending your night on a rooftop bar in New Orleans is about feeling connected to the city in a unique way. It’s where you can reflect on the day’s explorations, make plans for your next visit, or simply enjoy the moment.

So, as your day in New Orleans draws to a close, make your way to a rooftop bar. It’s the perfect spot to cap off an incredible journey through one of America’s most enchanting cities. As such, it will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

The best things to do for young adults in New Orleans for all types of travelers
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