Solo travel new orleans

Solo Travel New Orleans: 27 Fun Activities + Safety Tips!

If you’re thinking of solo travel New Orleans, you may be wondering:

“Is New Orleans safe for a solo trip?”

“Is New Orleans fun alone?”

If your idea of an awesome trip includes good food, good music, and good company, then you’re in for a fantastic time here in the Big Easy! 

New Orleans (or N’awlins, as you’ll be inclined to say after one too many of their famous sugar-dusted beignets) promises a truly unique experience that is hard to find elsewhere, thanks to its rich history and warm Southern hospitality.

Read on as WWB guest writer and New Orleans nerd Julie shares unique activities you can try in NOLA and safety tips for female solo travelers.

New Orleans Solo Trip: 27 Fun Things To Do Alone

1. Go On A Spooky Ghost Tour

2. Tour The Oldest Cemetery in New Orleans

3. Try New Orleans’ Most Iconic Dishes

4. Go Cafe-Hopping For Coffee And Beignets

5. Stroll Past Famous Homes In The Garden District

6. Enjoy A Scenic Jazz Cruise Along The Mississippi River

7. See Curious Medical Practices At The Pharmacy Museum

8. Learn About New Orleans’ Dark History On A Plantation Tour

9. Listen To Some Darn Good Jazz

10. Enjoy A Jazz Brunch

11. Shop For Local Products At The French Market

12. Have A Wonderful Walk At Louis Armstrong Park

13. Discover Nature (And A Monster?) On A Swamp Tour

14. Revisit History At The National WWII Museum

15. Browse Local Boutiques On Magazine Street

16. Join An Authentic Cooking Class

17. Get A Sneak Peek At Mardi Gras 

18. Appreciate Southern Art At Ogden Museum

19. Track Down Banksy’s “Umbrella Girl” Street Art

20. Walk The Meditative Labyrinth At Audubon Park

21. Listen To The Hidden Chimes Of The Singing Oak Tree

22. Browse The Shelves Of Faulkner House Books

23. Listen To Chilling True Crime Stories

24. Learn About Voodoo Traditions At The Historic Voodoo Museum

25. Check Out Joyful Local Art At JAMNOLA

26. Get Your Fortune Told

27. Kayak Through The Swamps

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Some of the links here are affiliate links, and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. I hope you find the information here useful! Thanks!

Is New Orleans Safe For A Solo Trip?

Generally, New Orleans is safe for a solo trip. The high concentration of people, police, and lighting in the French Quarter adds a level of security for solo travelers. Take extra care as you would anywhere else. Avoid deserted streets. Limit alcohol; a tipsy lone traveler is an easier target even if you do solo travel New Orleans.

Solo Trip New Orleans: 27 Cool Things To Do

1. Go On A Spooky Ghost Tour

When you’re solo travel New Orleans, going on a walking tour is a great way to get to know the city better, and possibly even make some new like-minded friends!

Explore the haunted history of New Orleans by joining one of their wildly popular ghost tours and listening to spine-tingling stories behind the city’s most iconic locations.

Popular pit stops include Lalaurie Mansion (yep, the one that inspired a whole season of American Horror Story), the former home of a socialite with a violent streak, and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, known for eerie sightings of former dwellers from past centuries.

Here are more recommendations on the best ghost tours in New Orleans.

2. Tour The Oldest Cemetery in New Orleans

Opened in 1789, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the final resting place of some of the city’s most iconic personalities, including renowned voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, and civil rights activist Homer Plessy.

It’s also home to eccentric (and still alive) actor Nicolas Cage’s 9-ft pyramid tomb. Whether or not you’re a fan of his meme-worthy antics, you’ll probably be tempted to take a peek at this odd fixture.

Don’t miss out on this place even if you’re enjoying solo travel New Orleans!

Do note that the cemetery is not open to the public. Only certain tour operators are granted access to the cemetery grounds. Make sure the cemetery tour you sign up for clearly indicates that it includes entry into the cemetery (like this cemetery tour).

3. Try New Orleans’ Most Iconic Dishes

A list of things to do solo in New Orleans is not complete without talking about all the glorious food the Crescent City has to offer!

New Orleans is home to the best of Creole and Cajun flavors thanks to its rich multicultural heritage. Here are some must-try classics when in NOLA:

  • Po’boy: This next-level sandwich is made with pillowy French bread stuffed with anything from roast beef to fried seafood. Give the stellar shrimp po’boy at Liuzza’s by the Track a try!
  • Gumbo: This hearty stew gets its signature flavor from the holy trinity of bell peppers, celery, and onions, and usually includes chicken, sausage, or shrimp. The High Hat Cafe is a popular pick.
  • Jambalaya: The legendary Mother’s Cafe is a great choice if you’re in the mood for this soulful braised rice dish.
  • Crawfish: These official crustaceans of Louisiana can be enjoyed in many ways, from the crowd-favorite crawfish boil to the comforting crawfish étouffée. Check out Deanie’s Seafood!
  • Bananas Foster: Caramelized bananas flambéed in rum and topped with vanilla ice cream, what’s not to love? Try this classic dessert where it was first invented, at Brennan’s.

You can also meet fellow foodies and explore the colorful cuisine of New Orleans on the French Quarter food walking tour.

4. Go Cafe-Hopping For Coffee And Beignets

What’s a visit to New Orleans without beignets? You can’t miss cafe-hopping on your solo travel New Orleans to-do list.

Deep-fried choux pastries topped liberally with powdered sugar, my oh my! Heads up: you’ll probably end up with the white stuff everywhere so maybe save your favorite black dress for another day.

These NOLA-style doughnuts pair perfectly with a cuppa café au lait (coffee with milk). You can enjoy the best beignets and coffee at these locations:

  • Cafe du Monde: Although ultra-touristy, this iconic chain is worth going to for classic beignets. Pair your pastries with traditional chicory coffee.
  • New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Co: This quieter cafe with charming retro vibes is a favorite among locals. Try the chocolate beignets for something different.
  • Cafe Beignet: You can find this popular beignet chain all around New Orleans. Expect awesome beignets and superb coffee.
  • The Vintage: Enjoy pillowy beignets at this très chic Parisian-inspired cafe.
  • LUCA Eats: This family-owned joint is best known for its wildly popular Oreo beignets and locally roasted French Truck coffee.

Here are more recommendations on where to enjoy the best beignets in New Orleans. Getting excited about solo travel New Orleans yet? 😉

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5. Stroll Past Famous Homes In The Garden District

A popular idea for solo travel New Orleans is to take a stroll in the pretty Garden District neighborhood, known for its grand Greek and Italian-style mansions.

Take a leisurely walkabout in this historic area and try to spot these famous houses:

  • The Jefferson Davis House (1134 First Street): Former Confederate President Jefferson Davis died in this house in 1889.
  • The Brevard-Rice House (1239 First Street): Acclaimed gothic fiction writer Anne Rice bought this house in 1989. It became a key feature in The Mayfair Witches series she was writing at the time.
  • Buckner Mansion (1410 Jackson Street): If you’re a fan of American Horror Story, you’ll instantly recognize this shooting location from the show.
  • Women’s Opera Guild (2504 Prytania Street): Curious to step into a Garden District home? Check out the Monday tours available here.
  • Nolan House (2705 Coliseum Street): If this place looks familiar, it’s because it was the stately house in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button movie.
  • Eustis-Bullock House (2627 Coliseum Street): The lovable actress’ home is a fine example of the rarer Swiss Chalet architecture style in the area.

If you’re interested in learning more about New Orleans architecture and listening to stories of Garden District’s most popular residents, join a Garden District walking tour.

6. Enjoy A Scenic Cruise Along The Mississippi River

Hop aboard the Evening Jazz Cruise and enjoy the city’s glittering skyline from a whole new perspective! Bonus: the old-timey boat makes for an aesthetically-pleasing photo op.

On board the cruise, you’ll be treated to a toe-tapping good time with a jazzy performance by Grammy-nominated New Orleans band Dukes of Dixieland. You also have the option to include dinner in your cruise.

7. See Curious Medical Practices At The Pharmacy Museum

If vintage cabinets of curiosities are right up your alley, you’ll want to head to the Pharmacy Museum, home of the first licensed pharmacist in the US.

The apothecary offers an intriguing peek into old medical practices. Fascinating exhibits include curious concoctions of miracle elixirs, perfumes, and potions, as well as “under the table” collections of voodoo powders and gris-gris amulet bags.

Solo travel new orleans

8. Learn About New Orleans’ Dark History On A Plantation Tour

Take a trip back to the Old South to learn more about the somber past of slavery.

Get to know the antebellum period better on a visit to some of these well-preserved plantations:

  • Laura Plantation: This historic estate is a part of the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. Its rich collection of surviving records tells four generations of stories of the family and enslaved people who lived here.
  • Oak Alley Plantation: Oak Alley gets its name from its memorable landscape: a canopy formed by 300-year-old oak trees. With a history of over 170 years, the exhibits here detail the lives of enslaved men, women, and children at the estate.

Expect to marvel at fine architecture and lush landscape when you explore the “Big House” (the planter’s residence), slave quarters, gardens, and sugar cane fields on these tours.

9. Listen To Some Darn Good Jazz

If you’re looking for some good live music, my personal tip would be to skip the touristy Bourbon Street. Instead, head to Frenchmen Street to check out more intimate jazz bars like The Spotted Cat and Cafe Negril.

Want to enjoy some good jazz for free? On certain days, the New Orleans Jazz Museum offers free admission to some of their best jazz concerts; check the events calendar to see their upcoming shows.

10. Enjoy A Jazz Brunch

While you’re enjoying solo travel New Orleans, you have to treat yourself to a proper Louisiana-style spread coupled with a live jazz performance. This is brunch at its very best!

There are a few spots in town that offer a jazz brunch, but The Court of Two Sisters is arguably the most popular pick. The beautiful setting here really makes the meal: its courtyard dining area is naturally shaded by beautiful wisteria trees.

The jazz buffet is available daily here. Top picks in the brunch buffet include turtle soup, prime rib, duck a l’orange, and bananas foster.

Here are more recommendations on where to enjoy the best jazz brunch in New Orleans.

11. Shop For Local Products At The French Market

The bustling French Market is a quaint shopping pit-stop, offering everything from artisanal products to fresh food.

The Flea Market has an eclectic mix of specialty shops, offering anything and everything you can think of: clothing, jewelry, footwear, soaps and lotions, crockery, carvings, sweets, and more!

For local art, drop by the Dutch Alley Artist’s Co-Op. The gallery is owned and operated by artists themselves, which gives a personal touch to the regional artworks on display.

The food stalls will transport you to culinary heaven, offering a wide range of local fare from fresh oysters to gator burgers. If you must try one thing here, it has to be the pralines at Loretta’s Authentic Pralines; these nutty Southern candies are too good!

12. Have A Wonderful Walk At Louis Armstrong Park

When you feel like taking a break from the hustle and bustle of NOLA, take a breather at Louis Armstrong Park. Dedicated to the jazz legend himself, the public park is a great place for a relaxing stroll.

While you’re here, head to Congo Square. Throughout the 19th century, this part of the park used to serve as a gathering spot on Sundays for enslaved and free people of color to meet, dance, sing, drum, and celebrate.

13. Discover Nature (And A Monster?) On A Swamp Tour

Swamp tours are a must when in NOLA, and Honey Island Swamp is one of the more popular locations to explore due to it being one of the nation’s most pristine wetlands.

Spot native wildlife in the area on your boat ride. Highlights include alligators, red foxes, bald eagles, wild boars, and snakes. There is also a boat-accessible Cajun village worth exploring in the area.

Legend has it that the swamp is also home to the mythical Honey Island Swamp Monster, which is said to be a half-ape half-man creature with yellow eyes and a funky odor. Yikes!

14. Revisit History At The National WWII Museum

Designated as the official World War II museum in the US, the National WWII Museum “tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today.”

Highlights here include the D-Day Invasion of Normandy exhibit, the USS Tang Submarine interactive experience, and the Campaigns of Courage collection which presents the war from the viewpoint of an American soldier. 

The museum is huge and if WWII is something you’re particularly interested in, allocate at least half a day here to go through the exhibits.

15. Browse Local Boutiques On Magazine Street

Clothes, jewelry, furniture, art, and antiques: you can shop for these and more at this long stretch of local boutiques. Magazine Street is a little less touristy compared to the French Quarter area and is a good place to score one-of-a-kind vintage goods.

Magazine Street’s colorful collection of eateries makes this a popular dining destination as well.

 Here are some top spots worth checking out:

16. Join An Authentic Cooking Class

Here’s another fun way to celebrate the drool-worthy food scene in New Orleans: join a cooking session at the New Orleans School of Cooking!

Housed in a renovated 19th-century molasses warehouse, the school has been teaching home-style Louisiana cooking since 1980. Join their demo and learn how to prepare NOLA’s greatest hits like gumbo, jambalaya, and pralines!

17. Get A Sneak Peek At Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras, New Orleans’ biggest annual festival, is known for its larger-than-life parades and colorful costumes. A lot of these creations used to be designed and built by “Mr. Mardi Gras” Blaine Kern at his studio Mardi Gras World.

Today, the studio offers a behind-the-scenes look at the whimsical floats that have come to characterize Mardi Gras celebrations. You can visit any time of the year and check out their enormous collection of parade floats and festival costumes.

18. Appreciate Southern Art At Ogden Museum

Ogden Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Southern art. There are currently more than 4000 South-themed artworks that make up the museum’s collection, including sculptures, paintings, prints, woodcrafts, and photos.

As part of its efforts to showcase American South art, history, and culture, the museum also hosts live music performances by Southern musicians. Check out their events calendar to plan a good time to visit.

19. Track Down Banksy’s “Umbrella Girl” Street Art

In 2008, murals by British graffiti artist Banksy appeared on the streets of New Orleans. Among them is Nola, or Umbrella Girl as it’s fondly known, which is now one of the best-known pieces from the series.

Located on St. Claude Avenue at Kerlerec Street, Banksy’s now-iconic Nola depicts a girl holding an umbrella over her head, except the rain is falling from inside the umbrella instead of from the sky.

This political piece reflects Banksy’s thoughts on the government following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

20. Walk The Meditative Labyrinth At Audubon Park

To symbolize healing and hope in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Labyrinth at Audobon Park invites visitors to take a meditative journey through its winding paths.

Installed by stone artist Marty Kermeen, the winding design of the Labyrinth’s bricked walkway encourages you to focus on one step at a time until you eventually find your way to the center.

21. Listen To The Hidden Chimes Of The Singing Oak Tree

This hidden gem serves as a calming respite from the sweltering sun and the sounds of the city. Although The Singing Oak is in a common area of the City Park, not everyone knows to look a little closer and spot the hidden wind chimes in its branches.

Located in the Southern part of City Park, The Singing Oak is marked with a plaque that reads “Let the wind bring you a melody, a smile, and a sense of peace and nature”.

When you get to the tree, take a seat under its shade and relax to the lilting tunes of the chimes. Fun fact: The chimes are tuned to the pentatonic scale, an homage to New Orleans jazz.

22. Browse The Shelves Of Faulkner House Books

Widely regarded as one of the country’s most charming bookstores, Faulkner House Books is a national literary landmark.

The bookstore is named after famed American writer William Faulkner; in 1925, Faulkner was staying in the building that now houses the bookstore.

Perks of solo travel New Orleans: you can spend as long as you want browsing through their well-stocked shelves of new and used books. The bookstore also has the complete works of Faulkner.

23. Listen To Chilling True Crime Stories

If you’re inexplicably drawn to the true crime genre, as we ladies often are, I’m guessing you’ll be up for listening to stories of gruesome true crimes that happened here in New Orleans.

The True Murder Tour recounts the real-life horrors that have rocked the city, including the infamous Trunk murders in the 1920s, to the more recent 2005 Katrina Cannibal murder-suicide.

24. Learn About Voodoo Traditions At The Historic Voodoo Museum

Voodoo has played an influential part in the history of New Orleans, and you can learn all about it at the Historic Voodoo Museum

It’s one of the world’s only museums dedicated to voodoo.

This small but comprehensive museum offers a “must-do” walkthrough of voodoo relics and artifacts. If you’re especially interested in spiritual services (psychic readings, custom gris-gris, and such), the museum is happy to offer recommendations.

25. Check Out Joyful Art And Music At JAMNOLA

JAMNOLA, which stands for “joy, art, and music”, is a creative space boldly celebrating the best of New Orleans: music, art, and food!

The whimsical space hosts 12 immersive rooms, each showcasing NOLA’s cultural gems as seen through the eyes of local artists. Jamnola’s psychedelic installations provide plenty of Insta-worthy opportunities.

26. Get Your Fortune Told

Sidewalk tarot readers are a common sight in New Orleans, especially in the French Quarter. Whether you believe that they can give insights into your past, present, and future or not, it’s still a fun quintessentially NOLA activity to try!

For a more private setting, you can pay a visit to Bottom of the Cup Tea Room. Spiritual services available here include psychic readings and tea leaf readings.

27. Kayak Through The Swamps

Craving for more adventures in nature? Go kayaking! It’s not every day that you get to paddle through the wild Louisiana wetlands.

On the Manchac Swamp Kayak Tour, you’ll explore the picturesque bayou onboard a tandem kayak, giving you a closer look at the rich wildlife in the area. Exploring the swamp via kayak also you the chance to access some of the narrower waterways.

FAQs on Solo Travel New Orleans

Now that you’re all set with activity ideas, let’s discuss your biggest questions regarding New Orleans solo female travel.

What Is The Safest Area To Stay In New Orleans?

Nothing is more important than solo travel New Orleans in safe areas, right?

Travelers often regard Uptown and the Garden District as the safest areas to stay in New Orleans. These residential areas have some of the lowest crime rates. They are also near to the most popular attractions, making it easier and safer for you to get around.

Is New Orleans Safe To Walk Alone?

Generally, New Orleans is safe to walk alone. Common sense applies! Don’t walk alone in quiet and dark places. Consider walking tours so you can sightsee in a group. Keep your valuables hidden; use a discreet money belt to store important items.

Solo travel new orleans

Is New Orleans Fun Alone?

Solo travel New Orleans sounds daunting, but the city’s charm makes New Orleans fun alone. Culture, nature, adventure; there is something for everyone. The friendly locals make you feel welcome too! New Orleans is a great destination for any solo traveler.

How Many Days Do You Need In New Orleans?

I would suggest visiting New Orleans for at least 3 full days. This gives you just enough time to enjoy the main attractions, though it may be a bit of a tight squeeze. If you prefer a more relaxed itinerary, consider extending your stay to at least 4 or 5 days.

Ultimately, If You’re Looking For An Unforgettable Adventure, Traveling Alone To New Orleans Is A Great Idea!

Imagine tucking into a hearty serving of shrimp and grits while a sultry saxophone croons in the background, and pondering all the amazing ways you could spend your day.

Would you be going on a stroll through the grand houses of Garden District, perhaps? Or getting up close with gators in Honey Island Swamp? Maybe even a curious visit to see Nicolas Cage’s bizarre pyramid tomb?

That’s the best part about traveling alone in New Orleans – what you do is completely up to you! That being said, always remember to be extra vigilant.

Avoid dark and quiet alleys, keep your valuables out of sight, and retain a clear mind by limiting alcohol.

Have a rockin’ good time in N’awlins!

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