Skip to Content

Best New Orleans Fun Things to Do Day 2023

Greetings, Internet Stranger, and welcome to a New Orleans fun things to do day. The weather in New Orleans can be…uNpreDiCtaBle to say the least. Hurricanes aside, it’s often rainy, there are sometimes surprising cold snaps in the winter, and the heat in the summer can be oppressive.

However, that doesn’t mean you should spend your entire vacation in New Orleans in the back of Pat O’Brien’s, swilling Hurricanes. There’s tons of fun things to do in Big Easy, out of doors. That’s why I wrote this New Orleans fun things to do day of what I think are the best New Orleans outdoor activities. I hope you’ll join me for 24 hours of fantastic fun!

Want to cut right to the chase, Internet Stranger? The best activity in New Orleans is this excellent ghost tour with tons of amazing reviews.

Or if you want to explore all tours in New Orleans, check this search engine right here to find the best deals!

New Orleans fun things to do day

New Orleans fun things to do day

Where to Stay?

New Orleans is the kind of city where you want to splurge a little on your hotel. After all, the motto is “laissez les bons temps rouler”, and nothing makes the good times roll faster than a little luxury. Plus it’s easier to take advantage of a New Orleans fun things to do day if you’re in a centrally located hotel, and those are a bit pricey.

I recommend the Bourbon Orleans Hotel. It’s located right in the French Quarter, but it’s not crazy expensive. The rooms are comfortable and beautiful. Plus, the hotel is haunted! What more could you want for a New Orleans day trip.

If you want something a little less expensive, on the north end of the French Quarter, try the Homewood Suites by Hilton French Quarter. This hotel is a little bit more of a walk from the main attractions in the French Quarter, but it’s slightly closer to some of the other most New Orleans fun things to do, the rooms are massive and comfy, and the price is definitely right.

Finally, I recommend the Le Pavilion Hotel. It’s got an amazing location in the Central Business District which is within walking distance of the French Quarter, but not as noisy. It’s in a gorgeous historic building. Plus they have a free peanut butter and jelly spread every night. What more could you want?

If you’d rather find great deals for tons of other hotels in New Orleans, click here.

This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay during your New Orleans fun things to do day. With hundreds of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

best new orleans outdoor activities

New Orleans fun things to do day

Morning: Audubon Zoo

We get to start the day at my favorite outdoor spot in New Orleans: the Audubon Zoo. This Zoo is located in Audubon Park, which is a good distance away from the French Quarter. You can get here by taking an Uber. I usually walk back to the French Quarter afterwards. It’s quite a hefty walk, almost two hours, but it will take you down New Orleans’s most famous shopping street.

We’ll get to that part later, though. For now, let me just introduce you to the most adorable and cuddly animals in all of Louisiana. And yes, there will be a werewolf.

Approximately Top 5: Audubon Zoo Edition

best new orleans outdoor activities
1) Flamingos

The flamingos are the first things you’ll see when you step inside the Audubon Zoo, which is definitely one of the most New Orleans fun things to do. They’re kind of hard to miss with their flamboyant colors! I enjoy all the fun facts about the flamingos that they share at the exhibit.

For example, did you know that flamingos are naturally white? They only turn pink because of the color of the algae they like to eat. Also, flamingos are addicted to mirrors. It’s not because they are vain; it’s because they are lonely. Apparently adding mirrors to the flamingo exhibit gives the flamingos the delusion that they are surrounded by tons and tons of feathery flamingo friends.

This doesn’t make flamingos sound so smart, but I tried to eat my cellphone this morning, as I stuffed my bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich in my pocket, so who am I to judge?

best new orleans outdoor activities
2) African Animals

The rest of the zoo is organized according to the geographic origin of the animals. So we’ve got Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Swamp Time. (That last one is extremely important. After all, we’re in Louisiana, the King of Swamps.)

There are plenty of famous animals in each exhibit, but I prefer to concentrate on the obscure ones. That’s why, in Africa, I flock to this red river pig. These piggies are the smallest and brightest of all African pigs. I think the “bright” refers to the color, not their smarts, but I choose to believe these pigses are clever as well as fluffy and adorable.

However, I was a little disturbed to find out that the red river pigs eat birds. How do they get to the birds? Can these pigs…fly?

best new orleans outdoor activities
3) Swamp-tastic

I told you swamps were important! And yes, there is an entire swamp recreated inside Audubon Zoo. (It will look like there are wild alligators just floating around outside in said swamp, but don’t worry! They are probably just plastic.

In the swamp you’ll learn all about Louisiana animals, and how people are trying to get folks to eat this giant swamp rat called a nutria. There are tons of nutria, so it would be highly sustainable, but I honestly don’t think I could sit down to a dinner of Steak of Swamp Rat.

best new orleans outdoor activities

The star of the swamp show is the white alligator, who is Very Real and definitely not plastic. These alligators are white because of a rare genetic mutation. It’s not safe for them to be in the wild because they are so vulnerable to predators since they can’t camouflage, so as soon as a white alligator is discovered, it gets taken to a zoo.

Oh, and finally, here’s that werewolf I promised you.

best new orleans outdoor activities

See! I always keep my promises.

best new orleans outdoor activities
4) South American Animals

The South America exhibit has tons of colorful birds and exciting animals like jaguars. However, I’m going a bit strange here as well and recommending the anteater. To be more specific, the giant anteater. Want to guess how many ants this beauty eats each day? 30,000. That’s not a typo! That’s a three with four zeros after it!

However, what you won’t find in a giant anteater’s mouth is teeth. It doesn’t need them to masticate its buggy meals. All it needs is gums and a tongue. Do you know what I’m glad my job isn’t? I’m glad my job isn’t inspecting a giant anteater’s mouth for teeth. Being a travel blogger is much easier.

best new orleans outdoor activities
5) Asia

Again, lots of toplining animals here at the Asia exhibit. The most famous is probably the adorably floppy-eared elephant exhibit. But I’m going to suggest you check out the sweet little sun bear up in this tree first. (He’s a little hard to spot in my photo, but you can see him if you look closely.)

Sun bears are, unlike koalas and other bear imposters, actually bears. They just happen to be the smallest bears ever in the world. So it would probably be safe for me to keep one as a pet in my New York City apartment! They are called sun bears because of the gold markings on their faces. That’s charming and poetic! I hope I’ve convinced you to love the sun bears as much as I do!

best new orleans outdoor activities
6) Lunch at Picnic

The animals at the Audubon Zoo are adorable. The food at the Audubon Zoo, on the other hand, is pretty terrible. So I suggest arriving at the zoo early, getting a big breakfast beforehand, and then picking up a late lunch at Picnic. No, I don’t mean you should get a picnic lunch. I mean that you should sit down for a lunch at a restaurant called Picnic.

Picnic has all sorts of delicious lunch options. I got their fresh house salad, but they also make creative sandwiches and classic fried chicken. I recommend sitting outside if the weather is nice. After all, this is Picnic!

best new orleans outdoor activities

Another one of the most New Orleans fun things to do day is to stroll down Magazine Street, which is the main shopping drag in New Orleans. (Magasin is the French word for store.)

Picnic is just off Magazine Street, so just turn the corner after lunch, and you’re there. It will take a long while to get from Picnic to our ghost tour in the French Quarter, so just walk for as long as you are able and enjoying it!

best new orleans outdoor activities

Or you prefer, you can decide that one of the best New Orleans fun things to do day is walking around Audubon Park, which is right outside Audubon Zoo. It’s not as interesting as City Park, also in New Orleans, but it does have charming oak trees.

best new orleans outdoor activities

New Orleans fun things to do day

Late Afternoon: Ghostly Ghost Tour

One of the things that makes this city unique is that one of the most New Orleans fun things to do is the fearsome ghost tour! Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, going on a well-conducted ghost tour is like attending a play–a play that moves through the streets!

All the ghost tour guides I have experienced in New Orleans are talented storytellers who will lead you to the spookiest buildings and show you a scary…good time! On my most recent trip to New Orleans, I went on the Ghost tour, which leaves from the French Quarter. It was an excellent way to explore the neighborhood and make some new friends…only some of who were dead.

You can go ahead and book this fun tour right here.

Then get ready for…

Three Fun Facts: New Orleans Ghosts!

best new orleans outdoor activities
1) What Were Some of the Earliest New Orleans Ghost Stories?

Our guide, whom I shall call Emeril, said that when the French founded New Orleans, they had trouble convincing people to come here, especially young women. There was a group of Ursuline nuns who came here to start a convent, and you can see their building above, which is the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley. But for obvious reasons, these nuns weren’t going to get married and have babies to populate the colony.

That’s why the French government sent prostitutes to the colony and had the nuns freshen them up and get them ready to be wives and mothers. However, these young women were smuggled into the convent in caskets so they could get ready without being exposed to men first. Apparently this made the men in town suspicious, and they started rumors that the women were undead. So this is probably the first vampire story to make it to New Orleans.

I think this is proof that these young men had too much rum to drink because there’s no way my first assumption about some strangers in town would be that they were vampires. It would be my fifth assumption at best.

best new orleans outdoor activities
2) What’s the spookiest story?

I’d say it’s the tale of the LaLaurie Mansion. This mansion is often called the most haunted building in the country. They even did a whole season of American Horror Story about it. Emeril told us that people who touch the building have been known to be cursed, and even though I am not super stitious, I will NEVER, EVER touch this building.

The story of the LaLaurie Mansion is both true and heartbreaking. Delphie LaLaurie and her husband, who was a doctor, lived here in the 1830s in New Orleans, with their enslaved servants. One night there was a fire in the home, and when the fire marshals arrived, they discovered that enslaved people were being held and tortured in the building. (I’m not going to go into details about what they found on this blog because it’s too upsetting, but you’ll learn more on the ghost tour.)

The citizens of New Orleans ran the LaLauries out of town which, considering that slavery was widely practiced in New Orleans at the time, should let you know just how appalling the LaLauries’s treatment of their enslaved servants was. The LaLauries were never caught.

best new orleans outdoor activities
3) Are There More Recent Ghost Stories?

Yes, one of the most famous recent ghost stories is the tragic tale of Zackery and Addie. This couple fell in love during Hurricane Katrina, and they were even written up in the New York Times–you can read about it here. However, their relationship turned volatile, and eventually Addie disappeared.

Zackery told everyone she had left him and acted pretty normal for a couple of weeks, until one night he took his life by jumping off the Omni Hotel, which is in the background of my photo above. When the police searched his apartment, they found Addie, whom Zackery had murdered. There’s no power on earth that would compel me to describe what he did with her corpse on this blog.

Emeril said that Zackery’s ghost haunts the Omni Hotel, so that might make you more or less inclined to stay there. This story is so depressing; I wish we could all go back to the tale of drunken French colonials thinking that prostitutes were really vampires.

24 Hour Tip

Those are all the spooky secrets I can share with you for now. You’ll have to book the tour for yourself if you want to learn the rest of the creepy tales yourself. MWAHAHAHA!

Check rates and availability right here!

best new orleans outdoor activities

New Orleans fun things to do day

Evening: Dinner at Saint John

OK, I know I promised you an outdoor New Orleans fun things to do day, but I’m going to insist on taking us inside for dinner. I hope that’s all right, considering I am taking you to Saint John, which is one of the best new restaurants in New Orleans.

Saint John specializes in Creole recipes from the 18th century, you know, back when drunkards thought prostitutes were vampires. But we won’t be encountering any vampires during this meal, Internet Stranger! There’s too much garlic in this meal for them to bother us.

best New Orleans outdoor activities

I must insist you start with Saint John’s most famous appetizer: the oysters three ways. That’s oysters that have been poached, fried, and turned into an oyster dressing, served in a vol au vent pastry. Life doesn’t get more decadent than fried oysters, cream, and pastry, friends.

best New Orleans outdoor activities

For a main course, try the shrimp etouffee, which is absolutely smothered in a butter sauce. Again, we’re going for decadence! Old New Orleans glamour! Vampire Prostitutes! This was served with some fluffy Louisiana popcorn rice.

I had never heard of popcorn rice before coming to Saint John, but apparently you can only get it in Louisiana and it really does taste like popcorn. And if there’s one thing that shrimp doused in butter sauce needs, it’s more butter flavor.

best New Orleans outdoor activities

Finally we’ve got my favorite New Orleans dessert: the bread pudding. My mom, who was from New Orleans, used to make this on special occasions, so it tastes like my childhood. The decadence in this sweet treat comes from the custard sauce on top.

Plus, since I was sitting at the chef’s counter by myself, I got to watch the pastry chef finish cooking this beauty. There are always advantages to being a solo diner!

best new orleans outdoor activities

New Orleans fun things to do day

Tools For Travel

  • A cell phone charger so you can take photos throughout your New Orleans fun things to do day
  • My favorite guidebook to New Orleans, in case you have a few extra days to spend here and want to figure out what to do outside of a New Orleans fun things to do day
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly how solo travel can take your life from BLAH to amazing!
  • The most reliable travel umbrella that is small enough to fit in my purse, but strong enough to stand up to powerful winds when we explore the New Orleans fun things to do day
  • These great TSA approved clear toiletries bags, so I can always keep spare toothpaste and travel sized toiletries in any carry-on.
best New Orleans outdoor activities

That’s a New Orleans fun things to do day

What would you do on a New Orleans fun things to do day? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in New Orleans right now? Email me at and let me know!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should only enjoy one day of the best New Orleans outdoor activities

best new orleans outdoor activities

If you want to add a New Orleans in one day itinerary with the Faubourg Marigny and Frenchman Street, try this. If you’d prefer a New Orleans itinerary with the Garden District, I’ve got you covered here

Best New Orleans Fun Things to Do Day 2023 1