New Orleans, Louisiana

To meet the history of New Orleans, Louisiana, you need but amble about the French Quarter, the city’s footprint at the time of its founding in 1718. Jackson Square makes a photo-worthy entrée to outposts of the Louisiana State Museum: tour The Cabildo (circa 1799, site of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase) and The Presbytere, a matching 18th-century structure that today displays cultural exhibits. Nearby, the Historic New Orleans Collection interprets the city’s history through artifacts, art works, concerts and docent-led tours (if you’re looking for an intimate examination of New Orleans history, don’t miss this).

Tour operators including Gray Line and Louisiana Travel Services offer history-flavored jaunts (think: plantation-, cemetery- and museum-hops). For a pointed look, consider New Orleans Paddlewheels’ Chalmette Battlefield cruise, which disembarks at the site of this last major battle of the War of 1812, and the circa-1830 Malus-Beauregard House.