New residents and expats to New Orleans won’t be disappointed when it comes to the city’s wealth of lifestyle offerings. It is abundantly clear why tourism is such a booming industry in the Crescent City. There really is something for everyone in NOLA.
Whether one’s idea of fun is spending hours absorbing the city’s rich history, admiring art or taking in some of its performing arts – culture enthusiasts will love life in New Orleans. As the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans is known the world over for its nightlife, and prospective residents will be spoilt for choice when it comes to evening entertainment. Foodies, too, will be well taken care of in New Orleans. From Southern soul food and Creole cuisine to international fusion foods, the Crescent City boasts a number of gastronomic delights.
New Orleans is a city that is full of life, colour and vibrancy and new arrivals are sure to find plenty of exciting things to do with their downtime.
Art and culture in New Orleans
Art, theatre and music are the lifeblood of New Orleans, a city filled with colour, vibrancy and sound the whole year-round. NOLA has an impressive history when it comes to the arts. In 1796, New Orleans played host to the first documented opera performance in the USA and became home to the first ever commercial movie theatre on Canal Street in 1896. It is also, of course, and as previously mentioned, the undisputed home of jazz.
New Orleans is home to a rich stock of museums and art galleries. From the world-renowned National WWII Museum and New Orleans Museum of Art to slightly more quirky offerings such as Mardi Gras World, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum and the Historic Voodoo Museum, NOLA has cultural attractions galore.
Nightlife in New Orleans
As the sun goes down, New Orleans comes to life and you’d expect nothing less from a city that produced musical giants such as Louis Armstrong, Dr John and Trombone Shorty. From the smooth sounds of the live jazz clubs to vibrant cabaret shows, NOLA residents have great entertainment on every street corner.
Nightlife spots in New Orleans are strewn across the city, so new residents will have their fair share of exploring to do. A stroll from Frenchmen Street in Marigny through to the French Quarter will reveal block upon block of lively little cafes, music clubs and restaurants. The world-famous Bourbon Street is another popular haunt for Crescent City revellers, and the Bywater also showcases some brilliant local talent.
Eating out in New Orleans
New Orleans has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the USA’s food capitals. NOLA’s food scene is a real mix of tradition and innovation. From Creole delicacies such as the iconic shrimp gumbo, mouth-watering jambalaya or delectable crawfish étouffée to more eclectic offerings featuring flavours from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and beyond, New Orleans has a myriad of offerings to suit even the most worldly and sophisticated of palettes.
New residents of the Crescent City will be thankful to learn that eating out in New Orleans doesn’t need to cost the earth. While there are certainly plenty of opportunities to get a fine-dining fix when one is looking to push the boat out, New Orleans is very much about its comforting soul food, which can be found dished up at an array of humble eateries and fantastic foothill markets throughout the city.
Sport and outdoor activities in New Orleans
Sports fans won’t be disappointed with a move to New Orleans. Crescent City residents are pretty passionate when it comes to their pro sports teams. NFL fans can get behind the New Orleans Saints while basketball enthusiasts will love following the New Orleans Pelicans in their NBA games. The New Orleans sporting calendar is full throughout the year, so it's guaranteed there’ll never be a dull moment.
New arrivals keen on spending time outdoors will find plenty to keep them occupied in New Orleans, as long as the weather behaves. The city is home to a number of lovely parks that are perfect for a lazy day in the sun. The Mississippi River provides endless opportunities too, from boat rides to fishing trips.
►Learn about NOLA's best attractions on our See and Do in New Orleans page
Are you an expat living in New Orleans?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to New Orleans. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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