Go List 201325 PLACES TO GO IN 2013

New Orleans
Show Map Photo: Jack Edwards/New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau

New Orleans Value

From the country's best jazz festival to a booming cocktail scene, there's no better place for an affordable escape

Why Go Now The impact of Hurricane Katrina still lingers in some parts of New Orleans but this is a city with an unwavering determination to live on and let the good times roll. There's nearly always a party happening here, but 2013 is sure to be a blowout: The highly anticipated National World War II Museum expansion will be complete (featuring a simulated submarine experience among other cool attractions) and the city will host Super Bowl XLVII on February 3, coinciding with Mardi Gras to fill out the already full-to-bursting roster of yearly festivals. There's entertainment for every budget, whether you plan to attend the world-renowned Jazz and Heritage Festival, visit for Mardi Gras festivities, or happen upon a spontaneous dance party with some of the best street musicians in the country. –by Caroline Trefler

Where to StayIf you're looking for the latest hotel openings, check out the Saint Hotel, at the edge of the French Quarter, or the Hotel Modern, in the artsy Warehouse District. For our money, though, we gravitate to the city's Grande Dame properties. The Windsor Court defines old-world elegance and superior service, while the grand Hotel Monteleone has been attracting a distinguished clientele since it opened in 1886.

Insider TipIf you're planning to go to the Jazz and Heritage Festival—the last weekend in April and first weekend in May—book your hotel early because the city fills up fast. It's worth noting, though, that some rooms do open up a month out, as some travelers cancel their reservations when it's time to pay the deposit.

Word of Mouth Fodorite SharonG sums it up perfectly: "Favorite thing—seeing every type of person, gay, straight, young, old, handicapped and highfalutin' just enjoying themselves and not looking askance at each other. Oh, and being able to carry your cocktail with you on the street. Hope my liver recovers soon."

When to Go Early spring is probably the best time to go to New Orleans, after the winter chill and before temperatures start to soar, though summer is prime time for festivals.

Plan Your Trip Start planning using Fodor's New Orleans Travel Guide.

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