In less than a month, more than 2,000 attendees—including practicing osteopathic family physicians, residents and student—will descend on the Big Easy for the 57th Annual Convention & Scientific Seminars. The event will be held at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, minutes from the French Quarter and in the middle of all the action.

Whether you’re coming early, staying after or just looking for a fun way to fill your nights in New Orleans, here are some recommendations of the best places to try, from ACOFP President Robert DeLuca, DO, FACOFP dist., and James E. Froelich III, DO, FACOFP dist.:

Places to See & Things to Do

Tour the local area.

French Quarter (The Vieux Carre)

Often called the Crown Jewel of New Orleans, the French Quarter is one of NOLA’s most historic neighborhoods. Wander around the French Quarter and soak up the history. There are plenty of things to do and places to eat around every corner. That’s what happens when a place hangs around for 300 years.

Jackson Square

Known as one of New Orleans’ most recognizable landmarks, Jackson Square is a National Historic Landmark nestled in the center of the French Quarter. Go to Jackson Square for the street art, street music performances, lots of local culture and an open-air, anything-goes atmosphere. While you’re there, check out Dr. DeLuca’s favorite New Orleans establishment, Muriel’s for great creole food, excellent service and maybe some ghosts.

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas|1 Canal St., New Orleans

Located on the Mississippi River adjacent to the French Quarter, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas immerses you in an underwater world. This world-class aquarium is just a little downriver from the Hilton and great for kids.

Mardi Gras World| 1380 Port of New Orleans Place, New Orleans

Across the river but worth the trip, experience the pageantry and grandeur of Mardi Gras in ‘Nawlins. In 1984, Mardi Gras World was created as a way to provide visitors a behind-the-scenes look at creating the floats that make Mardi Gras zing. It draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world each year. Protip: There’s a free shuttle right from the Hilton and tickets are $14–22.

Swamp Tours

Yep, you’re in Louisiana and gators are king. Pricey yes, but how many of your friends have been on an alligator tour?

Learn the history.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum| 514 Chartres Street, New Orleans

For those who want to experience a medical blast from the past, visit the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum on Chartres Street. This was the first pharmacy in America (circa 1823) and founded by Louis J. Dufilho, Jr., who was the first to pass a licensing examination, making his pharmacy the first United States apothecary shop to be conducted on the basis of “proven adequacy.” Very small and somewhat macabre, but worth perusing. Protip: Make sure check out the bloodletting and leaches exhibits.

The National WWII Museum| 945 Magazine St., New Orleans

For all you history buffs who are planning to attend the convention in New Orleans, be sure to see the WW II museum just a few blocks from the hotel. The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.

Experience the legendary New Orleans music scene.

Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub| 733 Bourbon St., New Orleans

An old icon on Bourbon Street for live, livin’ fast, loud jazz. They’ve been doing this here on Bourbon Street with no cover for decades. Do not miss this place if hot jazz is your thing.

Preservation Hall| 726 St. Peter St., New Orleans

Time to step back to the 1930s! Best described as “just a magical music place,” it’s a tiny hole in the wall, crowded and hard to get into—but it will be a jazz and blues experience of a lifetime. Protip: Buy tickets to sit, and buy them early.

Where to Eat

Keep it casual.

Cafe Du Monde French Market| 800 Decatur St., New Orleans

A trip to New Orleans wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the legendary Café Du Monde. Otherwise known as “beignets,” these “French Market donuts” are the only thing on the menu besides “coffee black,” café au lait and milk. Protip: Look through the windows to the inside and if there is an open table, go in. All the people in line are waiting for outside seating.

Chartres House Restaurant and Oyster Bar| 540 Chartres St., New Orleans

Sit upstairs and outside. It’s quiet, it’s cozy and it’s priced right. The cashew-crusted redfish, oyster dishes and jambalaya are cajun—and just right.

The Napoleon House| 500 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA 70130

The tiny 200-year-old building shows its age, but sitting here brings back history. They’re known for their muffuletta, but you can’t go wrong with the shrimp remoulade, stuffed avocado and red-hot grilled alligator sausage.

Go upscale.

Antoine’s Restaurant| 713 Saint Louis St., New Orleans

Antoine’s is the epitome of turn-of-the (20th) century New Orleans high-society dining. At noon, you can stop by the Hermes Bar in front for a NOLA cocktail then walk on through the restaurant like a local and view the Mardi Gras memorabilia on the walls in every room. Stay and dine if you want to feel like Southern high society.

Bon Ton Café| 401 Magazine St., New Orleans

Time travel back to 1953. Start with their signature drink the Rob Ramsey, follow that up with some turtle soup or a cup of gumbo as appetizers and then be amazed at the fresh red drum fish covered in oysters or the crawfish etouffee.

Commander’s Palace| 1403 Washington Ave., New Orleans

Reservations and dress code—need we say more? This famous restaurant has been churning out world-renowned food by world-renowned chefs for nearly 125 years.

Emeril’s New Orleans|800 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans

Founded by Emeril Lagasse—the man that made television chefs into heroes—his namesake flagship establishment has it all. The ambience, service and cuisine are all five star.

Carousel Bar & Lounge | 214 Royal St., New Orleans

For a late-night cocktail visit the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone on Royal, featuring great drinks, classic New Orleans music and a bar that revolves.

We hope this helps you plan your trip and we’re looking forward to seeing you in New Orleans next month!

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