By Sponsored Stories19 Feb 2018It’s hard to summarise New Orleans in one word – it just has so many different sides and flavours. But if we had to pick one word, it’d definitely be colourful. Chat with anyone that’s been to the States, and you’ll hear it shouted at your again and again: go to New Orleans, go to New Orleans! New Orleans (NOLA) is a special place, unlike anywhere else in the USA and indeed the world. 2018 marks the city of New Orleans’ 300th Anniversary, a time full of celebrations of rich history, unique traditions and diverse culture. So you’ve definitely gotta add it to your bucket list. In the meantime, start dreaming about all the cool things waiting for you in NOLA with this handy guide. AND GET READY TO WIN AN EPIC TRIP! for you and a mate. Make sure you read until the end where we’ll tell you how you can WIN the Ultimate $10,000 Itinerary to the USA thanks to American Airlines and Brand USA. Where to stay New Orleans has always been a melting pot of people, music and food, and nowhere else is this more apparent than in the historic French Quarter neighbourhood. Charming architecture and unique shopping opportunities line every street, and at close proximity to the city’s Downtown area, this really is the most convenient (and colourful) part of town to stay in. The Sheraton New Orleans Hotel is located just steps from the French Quarter and within walking distance of Bourbon Street, the Riverwalk, the Port of New Orleans and much more. With numerous room categories and splendid views of the colourful city, guests staying at this modern 4-star property can also use the rooftop pool for a refreshing dip before tucking into some delicious Cajun cooking at the on-site Roux Bistro restaurant. Where & what to eat & drink Besides music and Mardi Gras, New Orleans is also best known for its amazing Cajun and Creole cuisine, which fuses French, Spanish, Caribbean and African flavours into something deliciously new and unique. New Orleans’s culinary landscape reflects the cultural diversity of the city itself, and again, it’s in the French Quarter that you’ll come across the city’s best places to wine and dine. The Bourbon House is an amazing seafood restaurant on Bourbon Street renowned for its giant shrimp and oysters topped with caviar, whilst Napoleon House is special not only for its muffuletta sandwiches, jambalaya and gumbo but for its place in local lore as the supposed home for Napoleon Bonaparte after his exile from France! Oh, and make sure you order a “Hurricane” – the city’s signature drink – made with rum, fruit juice, and syrup or grenadine before paying your check. With locations all around New Orleans, including inside the French Quarter at French Market, there’s no excuse of leaving the city without stopping by at Cafe du Monde for a serving of their world-famous beignets (square pieces of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar, served in orders of three) and coffee – Yum! If you prefer getting closer to all the action in the kitchen and learning the secrets behind Cajun cooking, then make sure you book a cooking demonstration class at New Orleans School of Cooking, where professional chefs prepare classic Cajun/Creole dishes in front of your hungry self whilst telling you the history of New Orleans cuisine. Classes include a delicious meal with drinks and recipe cards to take home. Like the sound of this? GET READY TO WIN AN EPIC TRIP WORTH $10k! What to do The hardest part of a stay in New Orleans is choosing how you’ll spend your days and nights, as there’s just so much to do! Music lovers will definitely want to go for a walk along Royal Street to see some of the city’s best street performers and buskers play an eclectic variety of music styles, from jazz (NOLA is the birthplace of the musical style after all!), blues, rock, country and funk! The largest concentration of performances is to be found daily between the 200 and 800 blocks. If you prefer your music with a drink, head to Frenchmen Street, which is packed with clubs, bars and lounges playing live music every night of the week. For history buffs, jump on a streetcar at St. Charles, Canal Street or Riverfront and take a tour through 300 years of history reflected in amazing architecture. Or check out the National World War II Museum to educate yourself on American military history. If you’ve ever been curious about voodoo magic, stop by at the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum to learn about the ancient tradition. If you’ve missed Mardi Gras time but want to see how those colourful floats are made and the history behind the parade, visit Mardi Gras World. Win the ultimate $10,000 itinerary to the USA! Can’t wait to celebrate the 300th birthday of New Orleans? Then you’ll be happy to know that American Airlines and Brand USA are giving travel agents across the country the chance to win the Ultimate $10,000 Itinerary to the States. Simply visit the competition microsite to share your knowledge of American Airlines and the U.S.A. by building your ultimate U.S. itinerary using their all-American fare. What will you win? An EPIC USA trip for you AND a mate is what! WIN: Two Round-trip American Airlines tickets from Sydney to Los Angeles in Premium economy AND all internal flights on American Airlines PLUS! PLUS! PLUS! 2 incredible nights in Los Angeles… INCLUDING: 2 Nights at the NoMad Hotel LA, 2 Front of Line Passes for Universal Studios Hollywood, 2 x 1 Day GO LA attraction passes, 2 Starline Tours 24-hour hop on hop off bus passes, 1 x $150 USD Westfield Century City Shopping gift card AND 2 x return LAX airport transfers! 2 mind-blowing nights in Las Vegas… Pic: KA, Cirque Du Soleil INCLUDING: 2 nights MGM Grand Hotel & Casino valued at up to $460 per twin share for two people, Cirque du Soleil show valued at up to $140 per person, Night Strip Helicopter Tour valued at up to $200 per person (with Papillion Group), AND Private Transport valued at up to $150 per vehicle. And one unforgettable night in New Orleans INCLUDING: 1 complimentary room at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel on March 24th and 25th, a voucher for 2 for a cooking demonstration at New Orleans School of Cooking, 2 passes to The National WWII Museum, 2 vouchers for Cafe du Monde for beignets and beverage of choice and Airport transfers on Airport Shuttle. How amazing is that?! Five finalists will be shortlisted after creating their amazing itineraries and then flown to Sydney for free to compete in an All-American Dream Itinerary Challenge on 21st March where they’ll have to show the judges who know American and America best and compete for the EPIC grand prize. Runners-up will still walk away with 2 x Return Premium Economy tickets SYD-LAX, so this is definitely something worth entering! American Airlines operates the world’s largest network, connecting Aussies with 234 destinations in the USA and offering up to 192 (207 in the summer and 189-192 in other months) daily departures from LAX – more than any other airline. To enter this fantastic contest visit the American Airlines microsite at aa.com/americandream READ: Win a dream US Holiday! More details on the competition READ: Go inside American Airlines’ completely renovated lounge at JFK You’re in New Orleans for three days. Where do you go and what do you do? This article was brought to you by: Other stories you may like One of these 5 Travel Agents WILL WIN a $10,000 trip to the USA Head South! This is where you’ll discover the true heart & soul of America UNMISSABLE: Wed 21 March = BIG Prizes, epic food & drinks, Art vs Science’s Dan Mac + YOU!