Ah, the Big Easy! This place has been on my list of dream trips since January (read the full list here!) and I am so thrilled that I finally got to go. Andrew and I went this past weekend for four days and we had a blast. I knew NOLA and I would get along because we both idolize a few of the same things: great food, delicious drinks, and awesome live music. It was nice to escape the craziness of New York for a while and go someplace brand new. I actually didn’t get a chance to plan as much as I normally like to on trips, but we went with the flow and had a great time. I had a whole list of recommendations that I either found from blogs or got from friends and pretty much all of them were great! But if you’ve got a short amount of time there here’s an abbreviated list of 12 of the best things to do in New Orleans.
Where To Stay
We highly recommend staying in the French Quarter, since it’s where most of the attractions in the city are located. The Garden District is another option that’s only a short Uber or a streetcar ride away from the center of the city. We stayed at the Olivier House Hotel and loved the old school feel it had. It was a block over from Bourbon Street but we couldn’t hear any of the noise.
One of the best places to take in the city is Jackson Square. This central meeting place features a statue of Andrew Jackson in the middle of it and is right next to St. Louis, which is the oldest cathedral in the United States.
If you’re looking for something to do when you have an hour to spare, check out the Voodoo Museum. This small museum is only two rooms and has a $7 admission fee and it’s right in the heart of the French Quarter. It won’t take you long to go through and you’ll learn some interesting facts about New Orleans’ relationship with voodoo.
Wander the Garden District
One of my favorite parts was exploring the Garden District. If you’re staying in the French Quarter you can take the St. Charles streetcar south into the area. We first stopped at Lafayette Cemetery and then walked along the massive houses, like Buckner Mansion (pictured below) where American Horror Story has been filmed.
cafés and Restaurants
One of the best deals in the area is the Antoine’s lunch special. If you happen upon this classic New Orleans eatery at the right time you could partake in their three-course, $20 deal. Oh, and did we mention $0.25 cocktails? Don’t miss out!
On our first afternoon in NOLA, we were looking for something quick but filling and hitting up Johnny’s Po-Boy was an excellent decision. I got a fried shrimp po-boy and Andrew got a traditional cajan platter. It may be a little packed around the lunch rush, but keep an eye out for when a table opens up.
If you know me, you know I love a good brunch, and Broussard’s was definitely one of the best I’ve ever had. EVER. When you order an entree you have the option to add on bottomless mimosas or rosé for only $12. They had a trio walking around and taking song requests from tables, and I can’t forget to give a shout out to my shrimp and crab cake eggs Benedict. I hope to come back here again.
If you want to try this traditional southern dish, there’s no better place than Gumbo Shop. Highly praised by Beyoncé and Caitlin Patton, this place will get packed on the weekends so stop by on a weekday for no wait and some delicious gumbo. I also recommend getting a side of shrimp creole!
Café Du Monde
If New Orleans makes you think of beignets, you have this place to thank for it. Café Du Monde has been serving the area since the mid-1800’s and for good reason. Their beignets are fluffy and delicious. Make sure to grab yourself their signature frozen coffee, similar to a frappuccino to go along with these tasty treats. Oh, and did I mention it’s open 24/7?
Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone
This incredibly unique bar is one of the coolest things that I encountered in New Orleans. Located inside the Hotel Monteleone, the Carousel Bar is not only gorgeous but it actually does rotate! This place fills up fast as you can imagine so get there when it opens to snap a picture!
While you’re out wandering in the Garden District don't forget to make a stop at Courtyard Brewery. This unassuming watering hole just celebrated it’s fourth anniversary and it boasts some of the best IPA’s in the area. Stop by and grab a seat outside to enjoy a nice, cold beer.
Cane and Table
If crafty cocktails are your game, Cane and Table is the name. This place has an impressive list of cocktails and its servers and bartenders know their stuff. If you pop in between 3-6 on a weekday you’ll be able to indulge in their happy hour options. Plus, since it’s New Orleans, you can always take a cocktail to go!
I know, I know, but look. I gave you three classy bars that you can go to and I have to throw Pat O’Brien’s in here. It’s a classic and has been serving up boozy drinks on Bourbon Street since 1933. Order the hurricane but heed my warning: a few sips will do the trick. Trust!
Watch the trip vlog here:
Have you ever been to New Orleans? What’s at the top of your to-do list?