New Orleans, Louisiana
First-time visitors are often struck by the European flavor of New Orleans. It's everywhere in the architecture, cuisine, music and characteristic accent of the locals. And the "Big Easy" has around 40,000 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Clearly, more than just home to Mardi Gras, it is a mix of cultures with African, French, Spanish, Creole and Cajun influences -- a city of privileged and poor, and a place of history, romance, intrigue and debauchery.
This famed quarter (Vieux Carré) is the heart of the original city and features much of the rowdy characteristics that New Orleans is known for, such as the nightlife on Bourbon Street and street performers on Jackson Square.
This National Historic District includes Spanish moss-covered mansions, antiquated graveyards with hauntingly beautiful tombstones, the Audubon Zoological Gardens and Tulane University.
Aquarium of the Americas
This impressive array of underwater habitats, including local creations of the Mississippi River and Delta wetlands, as well as a Caribbean reef tube and as far away as the Amazon basin.