Safe to say I’ve caught the travel bug. My best friend, Arielle, and I took our annual trip to a Southern city this past weekend. The last two years we went to Nashville/Kentucky Derby and Savannah, but I was super excited to visit New Orleans this year.
We arrived bright and early on Friday morning ready to see what the city had to offer. We dropped our bags off at our Airbnb which was located on St. Peter Ave above Slice Pizza. Even though the trolley stopped right in front of where we were staying, we still Ubered around most of the time. I had no idea how big New Orleans is. I was used to everything being close by like in Nashville and Savannah.
Since we spent almost four full days in New Orleans, I’ve made a list of all the places we checked out:
District Donuts – This place had such great coffee and donuts we ended up grabbing breakfast from here twice.
Atchafalaya – The fried chicken and biscuits was delicious. We went for lunch on Friday, but they have live music during brunch on Saturdays.
Boucherie – Probably my least favorite place. I ordered some eggplant dish that I wasn’t crazy about.
Elizabeth’s – Super cute brunch place. They had amazing biscuits and cheesy grits. I recommend sitting upstairs if you can. Downstairs has a vibe of a diner while the upstairs is much nicer and has more natural lighting.
Coop’s Place – If you like spice you will love the gumbo and jambalaya here. They also have a really good grilled chicken sandwich. Make sure to get here early. The place was tiny and usually has a line out the door.
Cafe Du Monde – A MUST when you visit New Orleans. There will always be a long line (that moves quickly), but you have to get an order of their beignets. They are the best I’ve had!
Cafe Amelie – An adorable restaurant with an old southern home vibe and cute courtyard. Arielle said they had the best shrimp and grits. Seriously she raved about it for days.
Gumbo Shop – Come hungry is all I have to say! No we did not get any gumbo while at the Gumbo Shop, but we both got po boys. Arielle had their shrimp po boy while I had the blackened chicken. These were delicious, but the sandwiches were HUGE.
Royal House – We did not receive the best service here. They were pretty busy and took a while to take our order, but the food was pretty good. I even branched out of my comfort zone and tried fried alligator. It’s true what they say, it really tastes like chicken!
Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone – This place is truly unique. The bar looks like a carousel and very slowly rotates as you sit at the bar enjoying a cocktail.
Pat O’Brien’s – This bar had live music by local musicians who sang and played the piano. This place is known for their Hurricane drinks, but beware they taste like cough syrup. I was not a fan.
30/-90 – We went out here at night. On the first floor they had a live band playing while there was a DJ on the second floor. This is a great place if you want to get a mix of different types of music.
Bamboula’s – Like many bars on Frenchman Street, there was a live jazz band playing. It’s great for stopping in for a drink or two and enjoying the band’s performance.
The Maison – Similar to Bamboula’s there was a live jazz band playing. This place was much busier in the late afternoon into the evening as it’s a good place to get dinner while enjoying live jazz music.
Balcony Music Club – We popped in here quick (mainly to warm up since it was unusually cold all weekend). This was another bar that offered live music.
Tropical Isle Bourbon – Found on Bourbon Street, you MUST try their famous Hand Grenades. These drinks looked cool and we saw everyone walking around with them (no open container law there), but they were super strong and sweet. Tasted just like a watermelon fruit roll up!
Fat Catz Music Club – Another live music bar located on Bourbon Street.
Bourbon Cowboy – One of the best places for people watching on Bourbon Street. We saw some characters here. They also have a mechanical bull if anyone is interested in that.
Things to Do
City Park – A really nice park to walk around on a nice sunny day. It’s 50% bigger than Central Park and designed by the same guy who designed Central Park. You will find all sorts of things here like a museum, sculpture garden, mini golf, botanical gardens, etc.
Audubon Park – This park is BEAUTIFUL! We luckily had some time to kill before heading to the airport. We took the trolley from City Park to see this park. It’s much smaller, but absolutely gorgeous. Ponds, Spanish moss, and greenery everywhere you turn. This park is also home to The Tree of Life, a massive beautiful oak tree.
Jackson Square – A tiny park located near Cafe Du Monde that had many people performing tricks for money or selling street art.
PJ’s Coffee – This was located all around the city, but if you are looking for coffee they are pretty good.
VooDoo Tour – This was a free walking tour we did on Saturday morning. VooDoo is definitely not what I thought it was. This tour was very educational and I learned a lot about the history of New Orleans and the VooDoo religion. But be ready to partake in dancing and group acting! The animated tour guide really liked to get everyone involved.
Swamp Tour – We booked this through Cajun Encounters where they picked us up and drove us out to the swamp. I recommend doing this tour when it’s warm out since you will be going at fast speeds and may get chilly. Since it was so cold out we unfortunately didn’t get to see any alligators or wild pigs, but we watched our guide feed some cute raccoons. We also saw how some locals live and survive on the swamp. It’s crazy to think people live in areas where they have to travel around by boat if they need to get anywhere.
St. Charles Street – Walk or drive down this street to view all the pretty Southern mansions.
I know this was a long and detailed post, but I really hope this helps those who are looking to visit New Orleans. We arrived at the start of Mardi Gras season, but most of the parades and celebrations happen in February. Now that I’ve experienced New Orleans as a tourist, I am looking forward to going back one day and celebrating Mardi Gras in all its hype and glory!
Any guesses where I might be traveling next?