If you haven’t been to New Orleans, this is the blog for you! This is one of my favorite cities in the country. If you want food, culture, history, and good music, you have to come here. Let me say it again, you have to visit New Orleans.
I have been going to NOLA for the past five years now and it never gets old. From the char-grilled oysters at the famous Drago’s to the Hurricanes at Pat O’Briens, you are never at shortage of things to do.
You will never find more incredible, smart, caring, hospitable people than you will in New Orleans. They have a great way of always making sure you feel at home.
So, for you first-timers, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite places to go and things to do while I am in New Orleans. I encourage you to do follow it.
New Orleans is broken up into several districts. You have the Art/Warehouse District, (not far from the convention center and has tons of art galleries and fantastic restaurants), Central Business District (CBD) the French Quarter (Bourbon street), the Garden District, Marigny, Treme, Uptown (up and coming neighborhood with St. Charles Street and Magazine street- amazing restaurants and cute little shops)
Where to Stay:
- The Loews New Orleans– One of the nicer and newer hotels in New Orleans. Not far from Canal street and easy access to the Quarter. Enjoy brunch at the restaurant and get their famous turtle soup and sip on the Swizzle Stick. As your server about the history of the cocktail. $$
- The Eliza Jane $$
- Renaissance Arts Warehouse District– a really cute hotel that sits in the warehouse district. Good if you want to get away from the chaos that is the French Quarter $
- The Ace Hotel New Orleans $$
- Hotel Maison De Ville– even though this hotel sits not too far from Bourbon Street, but this hotel attracts more of a mature crowd. Slightly older, if you will. Or maybe even your honeymooners.
- The Roosevelt, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel $$$
- Cambria Hotel, New Orleans Downtown Warehouse District– another hotel located in the Arts District. A new hotel, built for multiple guests staying in the room. It’s very unique and the decor is definitely funky. Good if you are price-conscious. $
- Hotel Monteleone– an oldie but definitely a goodie! $$$
Where to Eat
New Orleans has some of the best food hands down. They have perfected southern cuisine with a side of hospitality. Here are some of my absolute favorite places to eat whenever I am in NOLA
- Commander’s Palace– The staple of New Orleans. So much history behind the restaurants and the chef’s that have worked there, i.e. Emeril Lagasse. This restaurant is very old school New Orleans with the service to match. Dine for dinner or for their ever-popular brunch. It’s a total party!
- Brennan’s– Owned by the same family as Commander’s Palace- again excellent service. The bananas foster was created here and debuted on their menu in 1951 and is still the most ordered item on the menu to date
- Drago’s– famous for their charbroiled oysters
- Peche– french style cuisine. A little on the pricey side, but the food is quality and tasty. Order the whole fish to share!
- Court of Two Sisters– decent food- great brunch buffet. A really cute spot for a date night.
- Dooky’s Chase– another historical restaurant! Opened in 1941, it started off as a small spot that serviced African Americans and their pointing to discuss strategies for civil rights. Eventually the owner, wanted it to be come more than just a po’boy shop and enchanced the menu to make it fine dining. To this day tons of celebrities and politicians have rolled through to eat at this famous joint in the Treme district.
- Cochon– such a fun spot with a creative menu. Also stop by Cochon Butcher for a delicious muffulata sandwich
- La Petite Grocery
- GW Fin’s
- Emeril’s – a timeless classic
Where to Drink
Again, New Orleans has so much history to the city, starting with their cocktails. From the Szaerac to the Pimm’s Cup- It’s a hard to not have a good quality drink while you’re down here. Here are some of my favorite cocktail spots.
- Arnaud’s French 75– one of my favorite cocktails
- The Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone– such a staple in the city. Tons of movies have been filmed at this bar. Ride the carousel inside the hotel and sip on some delicious cocktails.
- Hot Tin
- Kermit’s Treme Mother in Law Lounge
- Molly’s at the Market
- Napolean House– hands down the best Pimm’s cup in the city
- Old Absinthe House– just go there and you’ll understand why
- Pat O’Briens– I actually hate this bar. It’s a complete tourist trap. BUT you have to go at least one time and order a Hurricane. You can’t say you’ve been to New Orleans without visiting PB’s
- Sazerac Bar
What to Do
- Go on a cocktail walking tour. Learn the history of all the cocktails of New Orleans. Cost: $
- Take a stroll down Frenchmen Street for amazing live music. Cost: Free
- Toss some beads off a balcony at Bourbon Street. A little demeaning I know, but one set of beads if fine :). Cost: Your dignity
- Take the free trolley and go to the Garden District to visit the beautiful homes. Cost: Free
- Walk down Magazine Street and visit the boutiques
- Visit the World War II Museum. Cost: $$
- Join a Second Line parade. Cost: Free
- Enjoy a beignet at Cafe Du Monde with a cup of coffee. Hot tip: either arrive right as they open or later in the day. Sit inside, there’s never a wait to grab a table. Cost: $
- Wander down Royal Street and gaze at all of the beautiful antique and chandelier stores. Cost: Free
- Visit Mardi Gras World. Visit the place where all of the famous floats are stored for Mardi Gras every year. Walk through the den and take tons of photos of the floats. Hot tip: they offer a free pick-up/drop-off shuttle service with your tour package. Cost: $
- Take a photo in Jackson Square. Cost: Free
- Go to a Saints Game. Cost: $$
- Visit a cemetery. Creepy I know, but it’s fascinating to see the above ground crypts. As you know, NOLA sits below sea level, literally a floating swamp. So it’s hard for caskets to stay buried underground. They tend to resurface-or your family can pay extra to have concrete poured on top to ensure it doesn’t raise. But that’s the reason why you see so many above ground crypts. It’s eerily beautiful. Cost. Free
- Learn how saber a champagne bottle at Brennan’s everyday at 5:00 PM. Cost: Free
I have two more trips to New Orleans this year for work and I can’t wait! I can taste the gumbo already. If you’ve been to New Orleans before, leave a comment of some of your favorite places to visit. Until next time…xoxo!