Finding the ideal location for your next reunion is no easy task. You need to select a city that’s centrally located, welcomes visitors and boasts activities for all ages. You’ll want lodging and dining to be diverse and close to all the great places your site has to offer. Finding a location that blends these elements together can be immensely difficult, so why not bring your group to the Big Easy?
For almost 300 years, New Orleans has been a melting pot. French, Caribbean and Southern culture blend together to create a distinct flavor found in no other city in the world. With help from the New Orleans CVB, your Louisiana reunion can become as much a part of history as the city itself.
What to See in the Crescent City
The French Quarter, New Orleans’ most famous neighborhood, boasts enough history and culture for an entire trip on its own. Your group can explore Jackson Square and interact with the painters, performers and caricaturists who populate the plaza. Preservation Hall keeps the spirit of traditional New Orleans jazz alive and gives abbreviated performances for groups with short attention spans.
If your group prefers a more family-friendly environment, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas houses exhibits perfect for children. Located just off Canal Street in the heart of town, the aquarium features the Caribbean Reef Tunnel, a 30-foot viewing area for tropical sea life you normally need a scuba suit to view. The Louisiana Children’s Museum has the Little Port of New Orleans, where small conductors can guide a mock towboat up the Mississippi River, and Fetch!, an exhibit based on the popular PBS show that experiments with flying objects. At the National World War II Museum visitors can experience storming the beaches of Normandy and fighting in Midway with hundreds of historical artifacts. Interactive exhibits let you explore the war’s European and Pacific theaters. Real tanks and personnel carriers will astound younger members of your group.
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Located south of downtown, the Garden District remains one of the best-preserved historic neighborhoods in the country and provides a more relaxed alternative to the bustle of Bourbon Street. Here you can explore St. Charles Avenue, home to mansions of the Antebellum-era elite and residences for Loyola and Tulane universities. Your group also can soak in the New Orleans vibe at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, the largest float designing and building facility in the world. It’s here where most of the floats for the annual Mardi Gras parade are created, and your group can tour the facilities to watch craftsmen complete entire floats using fiber-optic cables and laser lights. At the Audubon Zoo, hundreds of species roam freely in 58 acres of natural habitats. Highlights include a Cajun houseboat full of alligators and a baby animal nursery.
Your group can spend an entire day in City Park, a 1,300-acre recreation area in the heart of New Orleans. The Botanical Gardens features a simulated rainforest and a living fossil exhibit with plant species older than the Jurassic Period. Those in your group interested in art can explore the Sculpture Garden or the New Orleans Art Museum, which features works from local artists to pre-Columbian cultures to everything in between. Groups with large families can enjoy the Carousel Grounds Amusement Park, play in the interactive Storyland and try a round of miniature golf at City Putt.
Cajun Cuisine in the Heart of Dixie
Home to some of the most unique cuisine in the world, New Orleans is the perfect city for your group to try Cajun. A mixture of French, Creole and Spanish culinary traditions, this often spicy and hearty cuisine can be found in every corner of the city. Specialties include jambalaya (a stew of sausage, rice and peppers) and gumbo (shellfish and vegetables served over rice). For less adventurous members in your party, the city also boasts excellent steakhouses and barbecue joints.
Traveling to New Orleans
New Orleans is accessible by car from the east and west coasts on Interstate 10, which stretches from Florida to California. Drivers from the north can arrive on Interstate 55, which starts in Chicago and runs all the way down to Louisiana. Flights arrive at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Those on a budget or uncomfortable renting a large rental vehicle can use the excellent public transportation throughout the city. Buses, ferries and the city’s famous streetcars can all whisk you to popular destinations.
For more information about how to make a New Orleans reunion unique to your group, the New Orleans CVB provides maps, photos, travel information and itineraries for parties of all ages and sizes. Looking to explore the city during Mardi Gras in February or Jazz Fest in April? The website can help you navigate the city with your group during any time of year.