What to See in New Orleans in One Day & Ancestry DNA Coupon Codes

I travel for business a lot which means that I get to visit a lot of different cities but don’t usually have a ton of time to look around. Particularly if I am going to be in a city I’ve always wanted to see, I will do some research ahead of time and see what sights and attractions I most want to look into and what I can reasonably fit into my schedule. Then I put it all into an itinerary of where I can walk or take public transit to and what order I should visit things in. I decided to publish one such guide of a city I’d visited just before the pandemic started: New Orleans! I also have an Ancestry DNA coupon for you.

Why Ancestry DNA?

You may not be interested, but since I’ve started travelling a lot for work I found it interesting to look into my family history to see if I had any connections in the areas I’ve been visiting. Ancestry.com is a website that allows you to build out a virtual family tree. They have a massive database of historical records to comb through, all you have to do is give them a few names (your grandparents for example) and it will start populating your tree with possible ‘leaves’. You can also do their DNA testing to get a more detailed version of your genetic heritage. I haven’t yet used that to track down any far-flung relatives as I most definitely do not have time for that on business trips! But it might be interesting to look into one day. For now I get enough amusement out of going through the historical archives and finding out more about my family history.

1 Day in New Orleans: The Top Attractions

In my opinion New Orleans is about 2 things: the food, and the architecture. Since I’m usually travelling for business, I don’t really have the luxury of dancing the night away in a jazz club until 2am, so if that’s more your speed this will not be your guide. Typically I fly in on a Saturday night, spend my Sunday sight-seeing, and then I’m in meetings the rest of the time. Sunday isn’t always the ideal day for sight-seeing as some things will be closed and there may be reduced public transportation, but I always look into that ahead of time. Without fail I’ve always been able to find somewhere good to eat and some beautiful things to look at, usually all within walking distance of each other.

Café du Monde

I think this is an interesting place mostly just because it’s been here forever, it’s a New Orleans institution. It was originally opened in 1826! Treat yourself and get a beignet. Don’t worry calories don’t count while you’re on vacation, plus you will be doing a ton of walking. I was a fan of their coffee as well, quite delicious. It’s also open 24 hours, so even if you get a super early start to your day to see as much as possible you will be able to indulge. Going earlier rather than later is definitely recommended as it gets quite busy later in the day.

coffee and a beignet

The café is located in the French Quarter which will be largely closed if you go in the morning, but it’s still worth a walk around to see all the gorgeous buildings and there are usually some street performers playing as well. Interestingly enough although it is named the ‘French quarter’ most of the architecture is actually Spanish! This was the original area that was settled when New Orleans was first formed, and despite being battered by hurricanes many of the buildings go back to that time. Bourbon Street is the one with all the jazz clubs that used to attract big-name musicians and burlesque performers back in the day. Definitely worth a stroll down even if the clubs aren’t open.

Jackson Square

This is sort of the ‘town square’ of old New Orleans, with the St. Louis cathedral and lots of other historical landmark buildings. A great one to stop into is The Cabildo which is now a museum of Louisiana history. Formerly a government building, it’s now open to the public and features exhibits on the history of New Orleans and surrounding areas.

You also have to go to Pirates Alley, it’s narrow and not that long but it’s gorgeous and packed with unique and interesting shops. Apparently there is a highly dubious local myth that Andrew Jackson (whom the square is named after and features a statue of) met a pirate named Jean Lafitte here for a meeting. Although it’s highly unlikely that it’s true, I find the idea that Andrew Jackson would come to a secret meeting with a pirate in a busy pedestrian alley by a giant church quite amusing.

Aquarium of the Americas

This might seem like kind of an odd choice if you aren’t 10 years old, but hear me out. This is actually the best place in New Orleans to see the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, and necessarily, all of the other access points are blocked by levees so you can’t really see much. Also I’m simultaneously terrified of and fascinated by fish & other marine life so I like the exhibits as well. For the record, I think the otters are cute and not scary. Reef fish on the other hand…They have a walk-through tunnel at the entrance where you are surrounded by water that is very cool. And yes, they have ‘gators if you wanted to see one while you were in Louisiana.

For Lunch: try a Po-Boy

These will not be hard to find, there are lots of little shops as well as bigger restaurants offering Po-Boys in New Orleans. What is a Po-Boy? It’s a sandwich on French bread featuring various different kinds of fillings (usually deep fried), and lots of sauce. Unless you are allergic to shellfish, I recommend trying either an oyster or shrimp Po-Boy. The smoked sausage is also very good if seafood is not your thing. Every place puts their own spin on the sandwich, so it’s hard to nail down the ‘best’ place to get one as it really depends on your preferences. Just try one, you won’t be disappointed I promise.

Get on the Streetcar on Canal Street

Once you’re done at the aquarium and you’ve had something to eat it’s not far to Canal Street where you can get on a streetcar. I honestly just stay on that for a loop, it goes through so many beautiful places and past grand old manor homes and other gorgeous architecture. The streetcar is not even expensive to ride, as it’s operated by the local transit authority.

You can also get off at Audobon park and take a bit of a break here under the shade of it’s trees. Depending on what time of year you visit the afternoon heat & humidity can get a bit oppressive in New Orleans. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit for a while and read a book, have a nap, or people watch.

For Dinner: Gotta be Cajun

It would be criminal to visit Louisiana and not have some Cajun food. Again it’s tough to recommend a ‘best place’ there are a lot of good options from casual to very upscale. If you’re looking for something a bit fancier and want to see Bourbon Street in the evening then Red Fish Grill is quite good, but there are lots of other less expensive options as well. I’ll be honest, I would be happy with a second Po-Boy. I think this comes down to personal taste again, but definitely try some of the amazing local Cajun food and don’t just hit up the McDonalds.