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New Orleans Attractions

The Host City

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, home to Creole cuisine, and rich with history and culture. It is centrally located with an easy to walk downtown and world-class convention facilities. It’s a place of chefs and delectable cuisine and a unique blend of French, Spanish, Caribbean, and African cultural influences in its architecture, food, people, and music. Most of the city’s restaurants, attractions, tours, accommodations, and event venues are within walking distance of each other, it’s easy to get around the “Big Easy” and is the perfect setting for networking. Within the 12-blocks of the historic French Quarter, come enjoy the charm of New Orleans, while attending the SOT Annual Meeting. New Orleans combines big city choices with the small town friendliness. Laissez les bons temps rouler—let the good times roll!

New Orleans has a subtropical climate, with agreeable year round temperatures. In March, temperatures typically range from 52°F to 72°F, with about 4.7 total inches of rainfall throughout the month. For an up-to-date, detailed weather forecast, visit the National Weather Service Forecast Office.

Science-Based Attractions in New Orleans

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

1 Canal Street | T: 504.581.4629

One of the top five aquariums in the country is located just steps away from the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in the historic French Quarter! The aquarium is home to more than 10,000 animals representing 400 species, including rare and endangered species. See the only two Sea Otters in the South play, or view exotic frogs, animal presentations and feedings help you understand these underwater creatures.

Audubon Butterfly and Insectarium

423 Canal Street | T: 504.581.4629

The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is dedicated to the largest group of animals on the planet: insects. This family friendly attraction allows you to experience insect encounters, bug animation and surprises in an immersion theater, a serene Japanese butterfly garden and much more.

Audubon Zoo

6500 Magazine Street | T: 504.581.4629

Visit the Audubon Zoo and see animals from all over the world in natural habitat settings, including the natives at the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit. The zoo grounds include more than 50 acres, and are located on the former site of an 18th-century sugar plantation and the 1884 World Exposition. Take a ride on the swamp train to easily view all their major exhibits, and bring your bathing suit for the Cool Zoo water park stop!

New Orleans Area Activities and Downtown Points of Interests

Blain Kern’s Mardi Gras World

1380 Port of New Orleans Place | T: 504.361.7821

Take a tour of Blaine Kern Studios, where they have been building Mardi Gras floats for over 60 years. See what it takes to create these magnificent centerpieces of the parade, at the place where Mardi Gras lives all year long.

French Quarter

Between Canal Street and Esplanade Avenue

New Orleans’s French Quarter, also known as Vieux Carré, comprises 78-square blocks which are situated between Canal Street and Esplanade Avenue. Founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienneville, the whole city developed around this area, which has now been designated a National Historic Landmark. From Bourbon Street and beyond you can view the Quarter’s architecture, which is a mix of Spanish, French, Creole, and American styles, or find some of the best restaurants in the city and explore eclectic shops. The Quarter is a vibrant place where you can always discover something new, whether it is a local artist or a jazz band playing on the street corner.

Garden District

St. Charles Avenue to Magazine Street, and Jackson Avenue to Louisiana Avenue

After a pleasant ride on the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar, take some time to explore one of New Orleans prettiest neighborhoods, which happens to be home to one of the best-preserved collections of historic Southern mansions, many of which are owned by local celebrities. Walk down Magazine Street to enjoy its numerous boutique shops and wonderful restaurants, or explore Lafayette Cemetery No.1 to see why New Orleans is considered one of the most haunted cities in America.

St. Charles Avenue Streetcar Line

St. Charles Avenue

Made famous by Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” you can hop on the oldest continually operating street railway system in the world to explore areas of New Orleans such as the Garden District, Uptown, and Riverbend for only a $1.25 fare each way.

St. Louis Cathedral

615 Père Antoine Alley | T: 504.525.9585

The jewel of Jackson Square, originally built in 1718, the current cathedral dates back to the mid 1800’s, making it one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States. St. Louis Cathedral’s beautiful architecture is a blend of Renaissance and Spanish Colonial styles that is uniquely New Orleans. Each year hundreds of pilgrims flock to the cathedral’s cemetery to see the tomb of Marie Laveau, a renowned Voodoo priestess in New Orleans.

The Cabildo

701 Chartres Street | T: 504.568.6968

Now the flagship building of the Louisiana State Museum, this building was once the site of the Louisiana Purchase and the home of the Louisiana State Supreme Court until 1908. This historic building where monumental decisions such as Plessy v. Ferguson originated, now houses exhibitions on Louisiana’s history.

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art

925 Camp Street | T: 504.539.9650

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art is the home of wonderful collections of paintings, photography, and ceramics all from below the Mason-Dixon Line. Every Thursday night the museum stays open late for Ogden After Hours, featuring live music and soul food while you peruse the galleries.

The National World War II Museum

945 Magazine Street | T: 504.528.1944

While you’re in New Orleans visit one of the top museums in the country on World War II, for a special, immersive, and enlightening experience. Walk through three grand pavilions to view larger than life exhibits with retellings of stories of survival. Be sure to see “Beyond All Boundaries,” a 4D film narrated by Tom Hanks in the museum’s Solomon Victory Theater.

New Orleans Golf Courses

Audubon Park Golf Course

6500 Magazine Street | T: 504.212.5290
19 minutes from the Convention Center.

Re-designed in 2001 by Dennis Griffiths, this course sits in the middle of the city and boasts a competitive executive-18-hole course that is a par 62, while its 4,220-yard layout is set among hundred year-old oak trees.

Lakewood Golf Club

4801 General DeGaulle Drive | T: 504.373.5926
12 minutes from the Convention Center.

This recently renovated course has hosted 26 New Orleans Opens, and celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2011. You can expect thrilling courses to play with challenging fairways, tees and greens, all tucked among gorgeous cypress and oak trees.

English Turn Golf and Country Club

1 Clubhouse Drive | T: 504.391.8018
18 minutes from the Convention Center.

This 18-hole championship course was designed by world famous golfer Jack Nicklaus in 1988. This former PGA Tour stop boasts expansive green lawns surrounded by flower gardens.

Green in New Orleans

The city’s compact downtown area is very walkable and minimizes the need for transportation. At the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, new green practices are helping save water, conserve energy, and reduce waste. Look for recycling bins around the center and put your paper products to better use. For more information, visit the MCCNO website. Outside of the convention center, the city of New Orleans also is doing its part to be green, with its New Orleans Area Green Business Project encouraging “green” practices among businesses in the region, by offering tools to implement more efficient and sustainable business operations.

New Orleans Fun Facts

  • The first Mardi Gras parade took place on Shrove Tuesday in 1838 in New Orleans.
  • Riders on Mardi Gras floats are required, by law, to be masked.
  • New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz, the only true American musical art form. Jazz gave birth to the Blues and Rock and Roll music. Jazz was originally called jass, in reference to the fragrant jasmine that women in New Orleans Storyland red light district wore. Jazz musicians originally played in the district bordellos.
  • The total mileage of canals both above and below ground in New Orleans exceeds that of Venice in Italy.
  • Originally built in 1718, the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans is the oldest cathedral in the US. The present structure, the third one on the site, dates from 1789.
  • Helping New Orleans live up to its reputation as Hollywood South, 25 feature-length films and 12 TV series or pilots were shot in the city in 2014, and 130 feature-length films have been shot here in the last five years.
  • Poker and craps were invented in New Orleans during the 1700s.
  • The formal transfer of the Louisiana Purchase was made at the Cabildo building in New Orleans on December 20, 1803.
  • New Orleans has more than 140 registered festivals, providing year-round entertainment for locals and visitors alike.
  • The famous beignet is the Louisiana State donut.