I recently had the pleasure to visit the vibrant city of New Orleans with my travel blogger bestie Cherrie Lynn. We went on this trip with the tourism board of Nola and fell in love with this incredible vibrant city!
Nicknamed the “Big Easy,” it’s known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy, singular cuisine reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures. New Orleans is the best city to visit for fun, parties, events and culture and has something for everyone! It’s such a great getaway for a girls trip, bachelorette, family or even couples. Here is a quick travel guide if you are ever planning a trip to the city.
Where to stay ?
We stayed at the Selina Catahoula Hotel. Nestled on a quiet street in a renovated townhouse in the heart of downtown, Selina Catahoula Hotel is ideal for making the most of New Orleans. Located in Central City, New Orleans, the hotel is just a short walk from St. Charles streetcar line, the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, a bustling food scene, and some of the best museums and retail in the region. I loved its central location, we were able to walk almost everywhere! On-site features include their award-winning Piscobar, rooftop terrace, outdoor courtyard, ‘Grab & Go’ convenience store, and an on-site restaurant.
Things to do :
1 ) Explore the French Quarter :
Here are a few suggestions on what to do in the French quarter :
- Visit the Presbytere, part of the Louisiana State Museum, 751 Chartres St. The Presbytère was designed in 1791 to match the Cabildo, alongside St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter. It stands today as a beautiful reminder of both Louisiana’s singular past and its vibrant present.
- Stroll through Jackson Square to see the iconic Andrew Jackson statue and the St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral still in use in North America. Jackson Square is also the location of an open-air artist colony, where artists display their work on the outside of the iron fence.
- Had to Cafe Du Monde for some fresh beignets, right across from Jackson square.
- Visit the historic French Market. Reminiscent of some European markets, this open-air area features shopping, dining and music in a tradition that is uniquely New Orleans. From Café du Monde near Jackson Square to the bazaar at the end of Esplanade Avenue, there are five blocks of specialty retail shops and a community flea market with locally-made jewelry, clothing, cuisine and art.
- New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, 514 Chartres Street: The museum is housed in the site of the apothecary of America’s first licensed pharmacist.
- Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo, 739 Bourbon St., Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo and Reverend Zombie’s Voodoo Shop are located in the historic New Orleans French Quarter. Locals, tourists and the strangely curious have enjoyed these stores since Marie Laveau’s it first opened its doors in 1988. They offer a wide variety of items to help in both learning and practicing spiritual and religious ceremony.
- Shopping on Royal Street. This area is an eye-pleasing mix of classy antique shops and boutiques, fine jewelry stores, colorful art galleries and world-class hotels and restaurants. It is no wonder tourists and locals alike flock to Royal Street when they want a real New Orleans experience.
- Lunch/dinner at any of the fan restaurants ! Brennans is our fave.
2 ) Other fun areas to explore :
We loved Freret street as well as the Garden District and Magazine street. The Garden District is a dynamic community grounded in a strong sense of tradition. Some of its homes are still known by the names of the families that built them over a century ago. Laid out in 1806 by Barthelemy Lafon as an open, semi-urban system of interrelated parks with basins, fountains and canals, the Garden District was “one of the earliest expressions of the Greek Revival to appear in New Orleans,” according to noted architect, the late Samuel Wilson, Jr. Both Freret and magaizine street have tons of cool restaurants, shopping and fun wall art/murals to explore.
3 ) Ride the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar to Lower Garden District
We took the iconic Charles streetcar to Audubon Park near Tulane and Loyola. Audubon park has the beautiful Oak trees which are not to miss when you visit here!
4 ) Enjoy live music on Frenchmen Street
Nola has a vibrant jazz music scene! Some suggestions on where to go – D.B.A and the Spotted Cat Music Club.
5 ) Eat and drink your way through the city!
Nola is such a foodie city, we absolutely loved it! See below for all our recommendations.
Restaurants, Cafes and Bars to try :
1 . Cafe Du Monde – The Original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. The Cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No trip to Nola is complete without beignets and a cafe au lait!
2. Cafe Beignet – Another iconic cafe and a must visit on your trip! Unpopular opinion but I liked their beignets better than Cafe Du Monde.
3. Lorettas Pralines – Recently voted as the best beignets in Nola, Lorettas Praline beignets were our absolute fave!
4. District Donuts – for their yummy speciality donuts
1 . Seaworthy – for delicious Cajun seafood. Try the oysters and shrimp po’boys.
2. Brennans – Go here for brunch! And do not miss their world famous banana fosters!
3. Val’s – modern mexican cuisine and a cool ambiance.
4. Elizabeth Street Cafe – yummy Vietnamese food in a super cute setting.
5. The Vintage
6. La Petite Grocery – traditional New Orleans cuisine, loved their Blue Crab Beignets.
7. Ruby Slipper Cafe
8. Willa Jean
1. Bar Marilou – love the vibe of this speak easy bar!
2 . Cure – Cure has been named one of “America’s Best Bars” by Esquire, listed as one of the “Best Cocktail Bars in the U.S.” by Food & Wine, and hailed among New Orleans’ best cocktail bars. A must visit!
3. Carousel Bar
Hope this guide helps you plan a trip to New Orleans!
Thanks for stopping by! xoxo