Friday, February 21, 2020

My New Orleans Travel Guide


New Orleans had been on my travel wish list for a long time, and I can finally cross it off my list! Truly, I am in awe of this remarkably unique city and its beautiful mix of cultures. As a history buff, New Orleans is a wealth of rich history and myth, from the French and Spanish influences and voodoo to Mardi Gras and beyond. I absolutely fell in love with the city during my time there and know that I'll be back to learn more about its storied past...and also eat a lot more good southern cookin'!

I went with a group of friends, and we packed quite a lot into our long weekend in the Big Easy! We didn't get to do it all, but we managed a fair amount, so here are my picks on what to do—and more importantly, where to eat!—in the city.

Where To Eat

Me and my friends outside of voodoo queen Marie Laveau's house

Acme Oyster House:

We went here twice and would have gone here a third time if it weren’t for all the other restaurants we wanted to try over the weekend! Friends, I have never been a big fan of oysters (in fact, the first time I tried them, I scrunched up my nose in disgust and proclaimed that they “tasted like Sea World”). But wow, did New Orleans make me a believer! The oysters here were giant and delish. You can get them raw, but the real move here is the chargrilled oysters. Don’t forget to dip your bread in the extra oil and garlic!

Peche:

Another great spot for oysters and other raw bar classics. I’d steer clear of non-seafood items here though, as my friends weren’t impressed with their selections.

Napoleon House:

Imagine a sandwich that’s as big as your face. Now imagine someone telling you that’s the HALF portion! The famed muffuletta at Napoleon House is a monster of a sandwich, but boy is it delish! My friend Steph and I split a half sandwich and I still couldn’t eat the whole thing, so go in hungry! Napoleon House is also the birthplace of the Pimm’s Cup, a refreshing and sweet cocktail perfect for the South. Pro tip: order the “Englishmen’s Pimm's” for an extra kick of alcohol, since the OG drink is pretty weak.

Parkway Tavern:

Despite this spot being right by our Airbnb, we never had the chance to stop here, but considering every single Uber driver said they had the best po' boys in town, I feel confident that you should try it!

Ruby Slipper:

Such a fun brunch spot! I got the shrimp and grits, which was delicious. The eggs Benedict also looked amazing! Also, they serve biscuits that are the size of a softball. Truly a beautiful thing.

Cafe Du Monde:

Yeah yeah, you’ve heard it in probably every NOLA recommendation, but it’s on all the lists for a reason! The line looks intimidating but moves fast, and the yummy, doughy beignets topped with a pound of powdered sugar are worth it! Another great spot to check out is Cafe Beignet, which has a few locations throughout the city.

What To Do

In front of St. Louis Cathedral

Cemetery Tour:

I know it sounds macabre, but New Orleans is a place that celebrates both life and the afterlife, so a cemetery tour is actually a great way to learn about the history and traditions of this unique city. Our tour was a great primer on the French Quarter as a whole, and we gained a lot of insight into how the city has evolved throughout the centuries.

Swamp Tour:

Just 30 minutes outside downtown, you can find yourself on the edge of the fascinating ecosystem that is the Louisiana Bayou. Skip the zoo and get ready to see wildlife in action; we saw raccoons, turtles, herons, and of course, alligators. We actually visited the swamp in the midst of hibernation season, so gator sightings were few and far between, but we did get lucky and spot a beautiful 10 foot alligator out for a swim. Worth it!
A new friend!

Find A Parade:

New Orleans does it up real big for Mardi Gras, but did you know that there are parades for three weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday? We visited a few weeks before the big day, but still managed to see 2 big parades.

We downloaded the WDSU Parade Tracker App so we could check the status and route or each parade, which helped us know exactly where to find a viewing spot—and when we could stop into a bar and grab a to-go cocktail before the parade got to us! Just a heads up if you’re traveling with kids: some of the parades skew on the adult side (as in, the parade we saw on Saturday contained at minimum 100 visual penis references) so ask around if you’re unsure!
Boas and masks are essential for a parade!

Hit Up Bourbon and Frenchman Streets:

Look, you have to go out when in New Orleans. You just gotta! And their lax open-carry drink laws make it very easy to have a fun time hitting the town.

Bourbon Street is as rowdy as everyone has told you, and there are a lot of questionable puddles you probably don't want to step in, but if you are looking for places to go dancing, drink a lot, and have a wild night out, this is the spot.

For a more sophisticated evening, head up to Frenchman Street were there are a solid 2 or 3 blocks of blues and jazz bands playing in bars. Go early if you want to avoid standing in line, and prepare to pay a cover for the live music, but this is also a fun destination for a night out on the town.

Have you been to New Orleans? What's your favorite spot in the city?

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I love hearing your thoughts! Thanks for reading! ♥︎Lindsey

Currently Coveting