This year I was so excited to cross one more destination off of my bucket list: New Orleans, Louisiana! For anyone who has never explored NOLA, these are a few of my favorite spots that you definitely don’t want to miss! My trip to New Orleans was 3 days long, which I personally felt was plenty of time to see and do the main attractions! One thing I would change about our trip is the time of year we chose to go. If you are planning a trip, I recommend waiting until the weather warms up a bit in order to thoroughly enjoy walking around the city! We visited in January, just a few weeks prior to Mardi Gras, so it was pretty chilly most days, however we did get to see a lot of decor for the upcoming celebration! I wanted to share with you a few places in the city that I loved & give you a few tips that will make your trip as enjoyable as possible!
- Cafe Du Monde: If you ask anyone that’s traveled to NOLA, Café Du Monde will be the first place they tell you to go! Located in the French Quarter, there is always a long line for their amazing beignets & coffee! The wait is never too long, and it is totally worth it! You can sit outside in the tent year round and enjoy the authentic atmosphere the café has to offer! If you didn’t get covered in powdered sugar at Café Du Monde, did you really visit New Orleans??
- Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Piano Bar: Obviously Bourbon Street is one of the main attractions in NOLA! If you’re not a wild party animal, but you definitely enjoy the authenticity of a good drink, I have the perfect bar for you! Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Piano Bar was by far our favorite spot on Bourbon Street! It was at the farther end of the street heading away from the main drag; just far enough away from the craziness, but close enough to feel like you were there! This bar is the oldest one in the USA, and is lit completely by candlelight! There is a fireplace in the center, a baby grand piano in the back, and candles all over the bar and tables! Make sure you try the Hurricanes here, I guarantee you won’t find a better one! All of their mixed drinks are served in plastic cups you can take home as a souvenir! Don’t forget to leave your mark by signing one of the tables before you head home!
- Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House Seafood Restaurant: If you’re looking to have a nice seafood dinner in the heart of town, I cannot recommend this restaurant enough. It is conveniently located at the top of Bourbon Street, and has a wide variety of seafood & steak, including a raw bar. It is also home to the New Orleans Bourbon Society which is “a spirited society dedicated to the appreciation of fine bourbons.” You will be amazed at the selection of bourbons available to you, ranging from $3.00 to $157.00 per ounce. I personally can recommend their Gulf Shrimp dinner, as it was truly the best meal I had the whole trip! We loved it so much, we ate here twice! View the menu here!
- Mississippi River Walk & Cruises: Along the outskirts of the French Quarter is the famous Mississippi River! A short walk from Café Du Monde, is the dock where you can hop aboard a river boat and take a cruise all while having brunch or dinner! I recommend either taking the Brunch tour, or just a regular tour without a meal, as it is much easier to see the sights and take photos! (I have also heard & read that the dinner cruises are overpriced for the caliber of food that is served.) A great company to book with is The Creole Queen River Cruises! You can also walk along the shore and take in the sights on your own; including the Crescent City Connection Bridge!
- Iconic Architecture: NOLA is full of gorgeous buildings & homes! I spent the better half of one sunny afternoon just walking the streets and snapping photos of homes I absolutely loved! I personally chose to explore on my own in the interest of saving money, however I would love to book a tour of the Garden District the next time I visit! From the bold colors to the iron rod balcony’s there are hundreds of beautiful streets in and around the French Quarter to explore for free; there are even a few that have been converted into small art shops and museums!
Trip Tips: New Orleans, Louisiana
- Stay at a mainstream hotel! We originally had booked an older historical inn ( The Historic Streetcar Inn, to be exact) thinking it would be an authentic experience… wrong. It was old, dirty and disgusting. The moment we check in and saw our room, I hopped on Priceline, booked the Wyndham Garden Baronne Plaza Hotel and checked in 15 mins later. (which ended up being GREAT & walking distance from everything) If the rate seems to good to be true, it probably is.
- Do not venture out alone! There were a lot of homeless people in the city streets that will come up to you to talk, ask for money, and even walk a little ways with you. It personally made me pretty uncomfortable. This is really common in and around Bourbon street, not as much in the French Quarter. I personally would not go out walking alone.
- Grab a Fish Bowl on Bourbon Street! Fish Bowls will typically run you about $10, and they are HUGE! Seriously it’s way cheaper to grab one of these and take it bar hopping or shopping than to spend a ton of money on small drinks!
Have you ever been to New Orleans?! Are you planning a trip?! What is your favorite spot to check out? Let me know!