7 Things To See in New Orleans When You Only Have 24 Hours

7 Things To See in New Orleans When You Only Have 24 Hours

The Ultimate Quick Tour of New Orleans

Whether you’re in town for a work conference or just looking for a fun way to spend your day before jumping on a cruise ship, New Orleans offers an array of activities that are perfect for a quick 24-hour stay. The best way to get to all these landmarks? A Hop On Hop Off New Orleans Tour provided by City Sightseeing New Orleans of course!

With a Hop On Hop Off Tour, you’ll be able to visit any of City Sightseeing’s 18 stops throughout New Orleans. When you’re short on time but still want to explore, this flexible ride option offers a great alternative to public transportation or walking. Whether you want to stop by Jackson Square or do some shopping at Magazine Street, this guide to 7 things to see in New Orleans when you only have 24 hours should be a go-to resource.

The St. Louis Cathedral

Officially called the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France (yep, a real mouthful), the St. Louis Cathedral can be found in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It is one of the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic cathedrals in the United States. 

Founded in 1718 — the same year New Orleans became a French colony — the church was rebuilt and renovated several times throughout the centuries. The building as it stands today was built in 1794 and reflects a significant expansion in comparison to the smaller churches on the lot that preceded it. While you’re in the area, you can also explore Jackson Square, the historic park in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Visitors can go on a self-guided tour of the cathedral or attend Mass held at 12:05 PM on weekdays. Review the cathedral’s official website here for more information.

Tomb of the Unknown Slave

Situated next to the historic St. Augustine Catholic Church, the Tomb of the Unknown Slave honors the countless individuals with African ancestry that were forcibly enslaved and killed as part of the transatlantic slave trade. The Tremé neighborhood that hosts the Tomb is well-known as one of the oldest African-American communities in the United States. 

The St. Augustine Catholic Church itself served as a religious center for free and enslaved people of color since 1841. Erected in 2004, the Tomb of the Unknown Slave is a poignant reminder of the countless contributions made by nameless people who, more often than not, were denied a voice to tell their stories.

You can reach the Tomb of the Unknown Slave by disembarking at Tremé – Rampart & Ursulines from your Hop On Hop Off New Orleans bus at City Sightseeing. This is also known as Stop No. 4.

Bourbon Street

As one of the most famous streets in New Orleans, you should make an effort to visit Bourbon Street at least once during your 24-hour stay in the city. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, Bourbon Street spans 13 blocks and is filled with jazz clubs, music venues, Cajun and Creole restaurants, and historical landmarks. 

Established in 1718, the street was named after the House of Bourbon, which was the last name of France’s ruling dynasty at the time. A natural melting pot, Bourbon Street became popular for its strong French, Spanish, Creole, and American influences, all of which have contributed to its eclectic character. If you happen to be in town for Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street is the place to be. 

You can reach Bourbon Street by disembarking at CANAL STREET – 500 Canal St. from a Hop On Hop Off New Orleans bus at City Sightseeing. This is also known as Stop No. 6.

American Italian Cultural Center

New Orleans’ American Italian Cultural Center (AICC) is a well-respected institution dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of Italian Americans. With a variety of exhibits, programs, and events that showcase Italian American culture, the center is a great place to stop and explore for a few hours. 

With a range of permanent and rotating exhibits, the museum includes artifacts from Italian immigrants moving to New Orleans and Italian language classes for varying skill levels and proficiencies. Depending on when you visit, the center might also be hosting a film screening, lecture, or concert that focuses on celebrating traditional Italian culture.

You can find information about admission to the American Italian Cultural Center and its operating hours on its website

Magazine Street

For one of the more unique places in New Orleans, visit Magazine Street, a 6-mile thoroughfare that stretches from the Central Business District to Audubon Park. Dating back to the early 19th century, the name ‘Magazine Street’ likely came from warehouses (also known as “magazines”) that lined the street in the early days of New Orleans’ development. 

The street has a broad mix of architectural styles, including pre-Civil War mansions, Victorian homes, and Creole cottages. Known as a shopper’s paradise, Magazine Street is home to a diverse array of boutiques, antique stores, and art galleries. You can complete your day of browsing with a meal at the many restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and bars that dot the street’s sidewalks

You can reach MAGAZINE STREET – Magazine St. & Jackson Ave. by disembarking from a Hop On Hop Off New Orleans bus at City Sightseeing’s Stop No. 11.

Buckner Mansion

A historically significant landmark in the Garden District, the Buckner Mansion is a stunning Greek Revival-style architectural wonder. Built in 1856 by a wealthy cotton magnate, the Buckner Mansion was considered one of the largest and most opulent homes in its heyday. In the late 19th century, the mansion was sold and transformed into the Soule Business School. Later renamed the School of the Sacred Heart, this institution was dedicated to the education of young women, a relative rarity in the American South. 

Encompassing approximately 20,000 square feet in total, the Buckner Mansion is a great attraction to walk past, particularly for fans of the television show American Horror Story (it was heavily featured as Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies). Since it is still a private residence, visitors are limited to admiring the mansion from the street level.

You can reach Buckner Mansion by disembarking from a Hop On Hop Off New Orleans bus at City Sightseeing’s Stop No. 11, MAGAZINE STREET – Magazine St. & Jackson Ave..

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

As the oldest and most famous cemetery in New Orleans, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is home to the final resting place of many recognizable names. Established in 1789, the cemetery is located in the French Quarter and spans just one city block. 

Its jaw-dropping above-ground tombs, though, make it different from almost every other graveyard in the United States. With Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and Homer Plessy buried there, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is a great landmark to explore when you have 24 hours to spare in New Orleans.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is open for guided tours. You can reserve a tour time here. For a City Sightseeing and St. Louis Cemetery Tour combo, you can book a Hop On Hop Off ride here.