One of the best things about visiting New Orleans is that you can do so without ever having to rent a car. Most of New Orleans' top attractions are in downtown and the French Quarter, making it easy to get around. For those attractions that aren't in downtown, the New Orleans streetcars are a viable transportation method. When it's all said and done, if you only get 24 hours in a city, New Orleans isn't a bad place to do so.
For your first stop, make your way to the French Quarter and the New Orleans waterfront, and more specifically Cafe du Monde. There's a reason this French cafe is constantly bustling with people. Order a cafe au lait and some beignets, which are staples of New Orleans. While you can order just three of these delectable pastries, it may be tough to stop at that.
From Cafe du Monde, you can now explore some of the surrounding area. Just steps from Cafe du Monde, you'll often see street performers in front of Jackson Square. This is a great introduction to the street entertainment of New Orleans. Jackson Square is one of the most visited parts of New Orleans and worth a short visit.
Just a couple blocks from Jackson Square, walk toward Bourbon Street. This is the most famous street in New Orleans, and a must visit. While it's the most touristy part of the Big Easy, Bourbon Street is worth it for the many street performers, that range from mimes to magicians to jazz musicians. The street is also lined with boutique shops, bars, and restaurants. By this time, it'll be time to stop into a small cafe and have one of New Orleans' famous po' boys.
It can get hot in New Orleans, so you may be ready to head indoors for a break from the warm temperatures. Just a few blocks from the French Quarter is the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. The aquarium features over 15,000 creatures and is one of the top aquariums in the U.S. Also part of the aquarium is the IMAX theatre, which has daily showings of documentaries.
For your evening, jump onto the New Orleans streetcar toward the Garden District. The Garden District features some of the most beautiful homes in New Orleans and makes for a nice early evening walk. Just a few blocks from the heart of the Garden District is Magazine Street. Magazine Street is lined with restaurants and bars, making for the perfect nightcap before you turn in.