It’s no secret that New Orleans is one of the most visited cities in the world because of its unique cuisine, historical landmarks and southern hospitality. But, have you ever given much thought to how many people actually come and visit each year?

As of 2014, domestic travelers spent $10.7 billion in Louisiana, which was up five percent from 2013. The tourism and hospitality industry also accounts for over 21,000 jobs. The mater strategic plan for this industry is to attract 13 million people and to add 33,000 jobs by 2018, New Orleans’ 300th anniversary.

New Orleans is a thriving metropolis that relies heavily on the dollars of its tourists. From the heart of the French Quarter to the hundreds of music festivals that are held there, the “Big Easy” attracts people of all ages and backgrounds to its vibrant and warm culture.

In 2014 New Orleans embraced 9.5 million visitors. Bourbon Street, alone, attracted 7.5 million visitors in 2015. This famous street is known for its quirky bars and rowdy crowd on any given night.

Not only is the nightlife an unforgettable experience, New Orleans is almost equivalent to taking a step back in time. Many hot spots tell a brief story of history such as the architecture in the French Quarter or the statues of well known war leaders (which will be taken down due to racist implications).il_214x170.914023458_c8d8

There are thousands of places to eat and sights to see, however National Geographic listed things to do in New Orleans for anyone looking to explore the most talked about features in the city:

Jackson Square:

            This is the foundation of Downtown New Orleans, located right in the center of the French Quarter that sees over 2 million visitors each year. It began as a French trading camp for practical purposes when the city was first founded, but now serves as a perfect picture setting for travelers from all over. Artists sell their work in the blocks surrounding it and street performers can be seen throughout the blocks nearby. It provides a perfect set up for people watching and shopping. A trip to New Orleans is not quite complete without checking out the Jackson Square/French Quarter.

Ogden Museum of Southern Art

            A respected art gallery for cultured enthusiasts is a short distance from the Quarter, showing off pieces and exhibits of all things southern. If you want to observe the art while socializing with a few drinks, the museum has after hours for adults, which includes live music. It combines two prominent culture aspects that fills New Orleans to completion and is a must-see.

City Park

The beautiful greenery attracts those who want to stroll and take in the intense summer heat. Just like any park, it provides walkways and fields to picnic in and sunbathe. The 1,300-acre family-friendly spot holds live music and includes activities for children such as the well-known amusement park, Storyland, which has been operating since 1906.

Audubon Zoo and Insectarium

This is an exceptional attraction for those intrigued by the creatures that walk among us. Nearly 900,000 visitors are seen each year to enjoy the hundreds of species and beautiful scenery. The zoo is one branch of the entire institution, as it includes an aquarium and insectarium which is North America’s largest museum dedicated to insects. The excitement will last all day for people of all ages.

Garden District

The image of these 1800-style mansions comes to many peoples’ minds when they think of New Orleans and this neighborhood might be to blame. The gorgeous streets of million-dollar homes create a neighborhood that was made more than just to live in, but discover. The famous street St. Charles flows through the center making these homes even more desirable. Anyone seeking authentic New Orleans living will get a lot out of exploring this heavenly area.

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