The Most Fun City In All Of America, According To Rick Steves

Travel expert Rick Steves has spent decades helping people travel to destinations throughout Europe with guidebooks and his tour company. While Europe is the main focus of his career in the travel industry, he has had plenty of memorable experiences outside of the continent as well. In fact, Steves' favorite country isn't even in Europe. As for his native country of the United States, he has some favorite destinations too. The American city he calls the most fun is New Orleans, Louisiana.

Steves often encourages travelers to get off the beaten path, which can sometimes mean visiting places with fewer tourists. However, New Orleans is an exception. "While full of tourists, it's also bursting with culture and a contagious love of life that seems to thrive oblivious to its many visitors," he states on his website. "I had more fun in New Orleans than any city I've visited in the USA." This city brings vibrant street musicians, delicious food, and historic landmarks together. With so many options, Steves recommends taking a bus tour to help get oriented. Among the choices are New Orleans City Tours and Adventures and City Sightseeing New Orleans.

Jackson Square encompasses multiple historic sites

Given the French history in New Orleans and his fascination with Europe, perhaps it is not a surprise that Rick Steves enjoys this city. In the city's French Quarter, you'll find the old buildings with wrought-iron balconies so often associated with New Orleans. Bourbon Street is the most recognizable hub in the area, and you should watch out for colorful beads even if you are not visitng during Mardi Gras. While Bourbon Street is worth a visit, Rick Steves points to Frenchman Street for an even better time. Be sure to have some local food and drinks on this street and listen to live music from local artists along the sidewalks. New Orleans is one of the best cities in the US for live music, after all!

Step back into the mid-1800s at Hermann-Grima House just feet from Bourbon Street. Tours at this house reveal the experiences of enslaved people in New Orleans who lived right in the city. Find more history at Jackson Square. Though the St. Louis Cathedral is hard to miss, this square has museums too, like The Cabildo. The Louisiana Purchase was signed here and it now houses dozens of historical exhibits. Near Jackson Square is also the 1850 House Museum showcasing daily life during this era. Its gift shop is also a perfect place to buy handmade souvenirs from locals.

Rick Steves had plenty of memorable meals in New Orleans

Following the Mississippi River east from the French Quarter takes you to the French Market District. Go for shopping opportunities like the French Quarter Flea Market, Shops of the Colonnade, Crafts Bazaar, and the French Market Corporation. This market area has been in New Orleans in some shape or form for over 200 years and features anything from hats to sports gear to candy. Exploring these shopping spaces and the riverfront paths on foot will surely take you to something unique.

A trip to New Orleans would not be complete without food. "I can't remember enjoying eating anywhere in the USA as much as in New Orleans," Rick Steves explains on his website. Steves specifically mentioned Elizabeth's for seafood, even at breakfast. His other notable dining experiences included upscale French-Creole cuisine at August and classic southern food at Boucherie with a similar sophistication, but lower prices. Whether you opt for some morning seafood or another staple of New Orleans like gumbo or a Po'Boy, the city's food alone might be worth the trip.