From the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, you are a twenty-to-thirty-minute ride to the central business district. With plenty of public transport options as well as cabs and Uber to choose from, there is no reason why you shouldn't take the opportunity to visit the Big Easy even if only on a short New Orleans layover.
This city is just begging to be explored. It was heavily influenced by French colonization and the former African American slaves have also indelibly stamped their mark on the food, music, and culture of this vibrant city.
Any heavy luggage is only going to prove to be a hindrance, so drop anything you don't need at a New Orleans luggage storage service and head into town. You certainly won't regret it.
6 hour New Orleans layover
With clearing the airport, stowing luggage and getting into town, you are going to have to have your skates on to make the most of such a short layover. That does not mean that you won’t have a memorable visit. What it does mean is that you won’t be able to do everything.
Instead, choose just one area and explore it thoroughly rather than trying to see too much in a short space of time. The French Quarter is the perfect place to wander and absorb some of the unique atmospheres that this city has on offer. Built in the late 18th century, it offers some of the most delightful architecture with quaint houses fronted by gorgeous balconies with delicate cast-iron balustrades.
You will have time to visit the French Market where you will be able to try some local snacks or pick up some souvenirs. Don’t miss Jackson Square where you are almost bound to stumble on street performers plying their trade or local artists selling their wares. The square has Saint Louis Cathedral as its backdrop and you may just have time for a visit if you are quick.
- On a short New Orleans Airport stopover, you should probably target only one of the city's well-known tourist attractions.
- The French Quarter is stunning and there will be plenty there to keep you occupied before having to return to the airport for that connecting flight.
- Don’t forget to allow for traffic on your return and leave time to get through those tedious security checks.
8 hour layover in New Orleans
With a couple more hours to spend before making your next connection, you could easily spend an eight hour New Orleans Airport layover entirely in the French Quarter. To see a quirkier side of the area, don’t miss the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. Located in what was once an 1823 apothecary shop, this quirky museum explores the often strange and superstitious remedies prescribed in New Orleans’ past. It’s a great place to kill an hour and learn more about history. If nothing else, you’ll come away with a newfound gratitude for modern medicine. This museum is fairly small, so don’t try to bring heavy bags with you. Instead, leave them behind at a New Orleans luggage storage service.
- Visit the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum in the French Quarter.
- Learn about an often neglected aspect of the city’s history.
10 hour New Orleans layover
With a few extra hours to play with, you are in a better position to explore this city in greater depth, though you will still need to target your visit carefully to make the most of your time there.
Bourbon Street is synonymous with bars, festivities, and, of course, music. This is the birthplace of jazz after all. While bar crawling might not be your scene in the middle of the day and with a connecting flight to catch, you might still like to stroll along this street to soak up a little of the atmosphere and at least say you have been there.
For a slightly quieter alternative and the possibility of finding a great coffee house, wander over to Frenchman Street. After exploring, you will still have time to grab a meal, and this city offers some unique local dishes that you just have to try. Probably everyone in the world has heard of New Orleans gumbo, but a couple of other classics to look out for are the po-boy sandwich and anything made with fresh crawfish. You won't have trouble finding exciting restaurants serving these local specialties.
- This city lends itself to being explored on foot and that really is the best way to experience it.
- The more historical districts offer the best architecture and tend to be where most things are happening.
- Don't miss out on the opportunity to try some of the traditional dishes and specialties.
12 hour New Orleans layover
With a full day ahead of you, this long layover offers the chance to take in a few more of New Orleans’ fabulous sights and attractions. You should have time to explore one of the city’s many museums and, as one would expect with any city that caters largely to tourism, there are plenty to choose from. There are museums for art, history, culture, and nature. There is even one dealing with the Mardi Gras.
For something a little more unconventional, you might like to consider the Museum of Death. With exhibits that cover subjects such as serial killer art, mortician and coroner’s instruments, and crime scene photographs, you might want to save this one until after lunch.
One of the best city views is to be had whilst cruising the Mississippi River on a paddleboat. If this mode of transport doesn't bring back memories of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn then nothing will. The Natchez is the only remaining steam paddle cruiser and it offers two-hour sight-seeing excursions but there are other paddle boat options available.
- With more time you will be able to see more, but don’t try to do it all. There is simply too much going on in this city to do everything.
- With a bit more time, you may like to visit one of the city's many and diverse museums.
- A paddleboat cruise is as about as classic a sightseeing tour as one could imagine while in New Orleans.
24 hour New Orleans layover
With its close association with both the blues and jazz, an overnight New Orleans layover makes for a wonderful opportunity for any music lover. You won’t need to search far and wide to find musicians doing what they do best. There will be buskers in the streets and almost every bar will play host to a band of one kind or another.
Frenchman Street is where you will find most of the up-and-coming new groups, while Bourbon Street bars tend to be more about jazz and blues. Whatever your musical tastes lean towards, there is likely to be something happening that will please your ear.
This sort of music isn’t for everyone and if you prefer something more classic such as opera then make your way to the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts where you can listen to the likes of Carmen or The Magic Flute.
The city is teeming with nighttime walking tours, wine tasting events, and wonderful restaurants, so an overnight layover is certain to be a memorable occasion. After dropping your bags at a New Orleans suitcase storage, you’ll be sure to have a great time.
- If you are planning on listening to street music then be sure to carry some cash with you for when that hat is passed around.
- Although this city is very music orientated, don't overlook the food scene or you will be sorry.
- Tours are a great way to experience a city and learn about its history.