I never really had an interest or thought about going to New Orleans until Jared had insisted we go when we had planned a random casino trip down to MGM in Mississippi. Not that I was opposed at all, I am always down for a spontaneous travel adventure!
While I was just excited to cross off ONE more state on my travel bucket list, Jared implied that we would be crossing off TWO states because it was too good to pass up since we would be so close. After arriving to our first destination and exploring a little bit in Mississippi first, we then rented a car and drove right on down to New Orleans, Louisiana for a little mini staycation. We tried to accomplish as much as we could in just a little amount of time.
In this blog post I’ll share all the things we did and ate and even though we didn’t get to explore the whole city in just two days, I’ve also done some research on all the things that are must-dos when you visit.
New Orleans (also known as NOLA) is a vibrant and lively city known for its rich history, distinct culture, and delicious food. It is located in southeastern Louisiana, United States, right along the Mississippi River. The city was founded in 1718 by French colonists, named after the Duke of Orleans, and has been shaped by a variety of influences, including: French, Spanish, African, and American. As a result, the city has a distinct blend of cultures that can be seen in its architecture, music, food, and many other aspects of its culture. Two of the things that New Orleans is most commonly known for, is its music and food. The city has a long tradition of jazz music and is home to many famous jazz musicians. It is also known for its blues music with a vibrant scene and many live music venues. The city is home to a variety of unique and delicious dishes, including: gumbo, jambalaya, and po’ boys. It’s also known for its famous Cajun and Creole cuisine, which combines French, Spanish, and African influences. In addition to its music and food, New Orleans is also famous for its annual Mardi Gras celebration, which is one of the largest carnivals in the world. The celebration takes place in the weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday and attracts visitors from around over world.
First things first, transportation. To get to New Orleans, you can fly into the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, which is located just outside of the city. There are also many ground transportation options available, including taxis, shuttles, and rental cars. If you are driving into New Orleans, the city is easily accessible by car, with several major highways leading into the city. There are also a number of parking garages and lots available throughout the city if you need to leave your car while exploring. Many of the city’s attractions are also within walking distance of each other, making it easy to explore by foot as well.
Where To Stay
We stayed in a cute little city centre studio Airbnb with a rooftop pool and an AMAZING view. It was a completely open condo space with quick walking access to Bourbon Street and all the restaurants around it. New Orleans has a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Here are a few other suggestions for other places you can stay in the city:
- The French Quarter – This is a popular neighborhood for visitors to New Orleans, and there are many hotels and guest houses located in this area, including some with beautiful historical architecture.
- The Garden District – The Garden District is a beautiful neighborhood known for its grand mansions and lush gardens, and it is home to a number of bed and breakfasts and guest houses.
- The Warehouse District – This is a trendy neighborhood with a number of modern hotels and boutique inns, as well as a range of restaurants and bars.
Views from our Airbnb, which were obviously way more stunning in person:
New Orleans Must-Dos
New Orleans is a vibrant and lively city with a rich history and culture. Visitors to the city can enjoy a wide variety of activities while visiting here. There are many great places to visit while you are in the city, some including:
- Visit The French Quarter – The French Quarter is also known as the Vieux Carré, is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans and is located in the heart of the city. It is known for its vibrant atmosphere, beautiful architecture, and iconic landmarks like Jackson Square and Bourbon Street. The French Quarter is a popular tourist destination and is home to many restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as a number of historic sites, such as the St. Louis Cathedral and the Presbytère. It is a great place to experience the unique culture and history of New Orleans.
- Experience Bourbon Street – Right at the heart of The French Quarter, Bourbon street is known as the party that never stops. It is a major tourist destination, and is lined with bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and shops. It’s famous for being the center of New Orleans’ party and music scene, with live music and entertainment options. This street is also known for its boisterous atmosphere, as well as for its colorful reputation.
- Eat A Beignet At Café du Monde – This iconic coffee shop is located in between Jackson Square and the French Market and is a must-visit for anyone in New Orleans. It is known for its delicious beignets and chicory coffee. If you don’t want to wait in line, there’s also a Café du Monde in the mall for a very similar experience!
- Visit The French Market – The French Market is a historic market in the French Quarter of New Orleans that has been in operation since the late 18th century. It is a popular tourist destination and is known for its array of vendors selling a wide range of goods, including produce, clothing, crafts, and souvenirs. The French Market is also home to a number of restaurants and cafes, making it a great place to grab a bite to eat. It is open daily and is a great place to experience the local culture and shop for unique items.
- See Jackson Square – Jackson Square is a historic public park in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. The park is named after Andrew Jackson, who was the hero of the Battle of New Orleans and later became the 7th President of the United States. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and is known for its beautiful landscaping, historic monuments, and lively street performers.
- Experience Mardi Gras – This is a must-see for anyone interested in Mardi Gras, as it offers guided tours of the floats and costumes used in the famous annual parade. Mardi Gras is an annual celebration held in New Orleans, and other cities around the world. It is famous for its colorful parades, featuring elaborate floats and costumed revelers, as well as its street parties, live music, and special events. Mardi Gras is a time of fun and celebration, and is an important part of the culture and history of New Orleans.
Other Things To Do
If you’re visiting for more than just a weekend like we did, here are some other great things to do out in New Orleans where you can learn about the history and culture of the city:
- Explore the National WWII Museum – This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of World War II and is a great place to learn about the war and the role that New Orleans played in it.
- Spend a Day at Audubon Park and Zoo – This is a beautiful park and a great place to spend the day, with a range of animals to see and plenty of green space to relax in.
- Visit St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 – This is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans and is home to many famous graves, including voodoo queen, Marie Laveau.
- Take a Tour – Ghost tours, donkey tours, or swamp tours – you can’t go wrong with an informational tour exploring the city and learning about its historic culture. We specifically went on a donkey tour which took us all around the French Quarter.
- Take a Stroll Through the Garden District – This is a beautiful neighborhood known for its grand mansions and lush gardens, and it’s a great place to take a leisurely stroll.
- Visit the New Orleans Jazz Museum – New Orleans is known for its lively music scene, and there are many venues throughout the city where you can see live jazz, blues, and other genres of music. The museum features a variety of exhibits and displays that highlight the history and evolution of jazz in New Orleans, as well as the impact that the city has had on the world of music.
- Visit the New Orleans Museum of Art – This museum is home to a wide range of artworks, including pieces by famous artists like Monet, Picasso, and Warhol.
Where To Eat
New Orleans is known for its delicious and diverse cuisine, and there are many great places to eat while you are in the city. Here are a few recommendations:
- Café du Monde – As I mentions above, this iconic coffee shop is a must-visit for anyone in New Orleans. It is known for its delicious beignets and chicory coffee.
- The Italian Barrel – We ate here for dinner one night and it was a cute little romantic Italian spot with delicious food.
- Cornet Nola – Here we ate right on Bourbon Street on the second floor with a nice view of all the liveliness of the city. The restaurant is known for its Creole and Cajun cuisine, as well as its lively atmosphere and great music. We tried the famous “Gator Tail” app, a common place where this is served. It was definitely not for me but I am glad to have experienced it once.
- Commander’s Palace – This is a classic New Orleans restaurant known for its Creole cuisine and elegant atmosphere.
- Antoine’s – This is the oldest family-run restaurant in New Orleans and is known for its French-Creole cuisine and grand dining rooms.
- Cochon – This restaurant serves modern Cajun cuisine and is known for its wood-fired dishes and charcuterie.
- Mother’s – This is a classic New Orleans lunch spot known for its hearty sandwiches, including the famous “Ferdi Special.”
- Dooky Chase’s – This restaurant is known for its Creole cuisine and its role in the civil rights movement.
- Brennan’s – This is a fine dining restaurant known for its elegant atmosphere and delicious Creole-influenced dishes.
- Willa Jean – This bakery and restaurant serves delicious Southern-inspired dishes and has a lively atmosphere.
- The Court of Two Sisters – This restaurant is known for its jazz brunch and its beautiful courtyard setting.
New Orleans Night Life + Where To Drink
Bourbon Street is a famous street in New Orleans that is known for its exciting nightlife and numerous bars. Mardi Gras is a whole other experience in itself and definitely is a wild and fun scene. However if your visiting on the off season, here are a few recommendations for bars on Bourbon Street:
- The Old Absinthe House – This is a historic bar that is known for its absinthe cocktails and lively atmosphere.
- The Bourbon Heat – This rooftop bar has a tropical theme and is known for its views of Bourbon Street and its specialty cocktails.
- The Cat’s Meow – This karaoke bar is a popular spot for singing and dancing late into the night.
- The Beach on Bourbon – This bar has a tropical theme and is known for its frozen drinks and live music.
- The Tropical Isle – This bar is known for its strong cocktails served in souvenir cups, as well as its live music.
- The Bourbon Pub – This bar is a popular spot for LGBTQ nightlife and is known for its dance parties and drag shows.
- The Bourbon O – This bar has a speakeasy theme and is known for its craft cocktails and live jazz music.
We had such a good time experiencing New Orleans in just a short period of time and I am so glad we were able to get there. New Orleans is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in experiencing rich history, distinct culture, and delicious food. You can’t go wrong getting to know the wonderful and exciting streets of New Orleans. If you have any other questions, feel free to send me a DM! Be sure to follow me on Instagram for new blog post alerts, daily updates, outfits, travel + food spots, and MORE!
UNTIL NEXT TIME,
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