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New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

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New Orleans Overview

If you're looking to treat yourself to a truly amazing vacation, then consider going to New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition to its outstanding cuisine, it's famous as the birthplace of jazz, and home to the biggest carnival in the country, breathtaking architecture and the best cultural events. At the "big easy", visitors enjoy the good life with the most relaxed fun. With its fabulous hot summers and mild winters, scheduling a visit shouldn't be a problem.

New Orleans boasts a rich heritage as represented in the beauty of the historical landmarks and architecture. On the banks of the Mississippi River, travelers can take a cruise on an authentic steamboat. The city is home to the original Creole town homes, characterized by their big courtyards and unique iron balconies. (Tip: The best place to see these is along the famed French Quarter.) In addition, through the avenues of Saint Charles, visitors will be impressed by the magnificence of the pre-war plantations and mansions designed in Victorian and Colonial styles. But New Orleans hasn't remained in the past. Canal Street displays an array of contemporary high-rises befitting of any metropolis.

New Orleans is the best city to enjoy live music. Everywhere you go-from small establishments to elegant hotels-you'll hear the sounds of jazz. There's always a festival to attend. Mardi Gras, for instance, is the queen of carnivals, bringing visitors from all corners of the globe. The Jazz Festival is in the same category, featuring diverse entertainment. Dance in the streets to the sounds of blues, rhythm and rock'n'roll. Here, music reigns supreme.

Perhaps you've heard of Creole and Cajun food. Among the popular dishes are gumbo (seafood stew), jambalaya (seasoned rice with a variety of sausages) and rice with red beans. Seafood favorites include shucked oysters, shrimp etouffe and boiled crawfish.

Many New Orleans attractions date from the French and Spanish colonial periods and are considered historical landmarks. One example is the Cabildo, the spot where the Louisiana Purchase took place. The museums are also fun and educational, offering insight into the area's history and traditions. Travelers have the rare chance to witness out-of-the-ordinary cultural folklore, such as voodoo, which played a major role in city life.

New Orleans is also a perfect destination for shoppers. Tourists who relish the thought of searching for treasures find that the variety of antique shops is astounding. Those who prefer to look for the trendiest will have nothing but compliments for the boutiques that line the "street of dreams" or the French Quarter.

After visiting this southern U.S. city, you'll agree that New Orleans is synonymous with fun.

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