I would suggest the cemetary tour, the ghost and/or vampire tour, and Garden District tour. French Market for coffee and Beinets. As for food and entertainment, take a walk down Bourbon the first night or two, the jump off the touristy places and find some wonderful shops and restaurants. Don’t forget to go to the Cathedral in Jackson Square. It is awesome.
Definitely check out the French Quarter area. And stop in Cafe du Monde for beignets. There are a few cute statues and art in the park, but I can’t remember where we went now.
Once you have done the requisite tourist items, do these:
- Funky Monkey
- Spotted Cat
- Mimi’s (upstairs)
The statues and art mentioned in the other post are in City Park and that is definitely worth a visit. Ride the Canal streetcar to get there.
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Absolutely go to Cafe du Monde for the beignets (I do not recommend wearing dark colors because you WILL get powdered sugar all over you lol). Signing up for one of the cemetary tours or the plantation tours is also fun for day activities. There is a dinner cruise on the Steamboat Natchez that lasts about 2.5 hrs, during which you have a delicious buffet dinner with a live jazz band playing on the top level and a narrated tour up and down the river. And of course, there’s Jackson Square and St Louis Cathedral – there are always local artists selling their wares and street musicians putting on an impromptu show.
If it’s your first time down there, then yes Bourbon Street is a must for at least a night or two. If you’re into drinking at all, head straight to Tropical Isle and grab yourself a hand grenade (two of these and you are GOOD for the night without being sloppy plastered). There is no shortage of bars and clubs on Bourbon – but I recommend Razou’s or The Beach if you want to get your dance on.
Where you absolutely MUST go is Frenchmen Street. It’s a short walk from the French Quarter – if you walk down Decatur Street and keep going past Esplanade (or just ask any cabbie, there are plenty of them around), you will turn a corner and you’ll be on Frenchmen. It’s going to look like shady area at first – don’t be put off by that – just keep going about 4 blocks and you will suddenly be in the midst of your choice of hot, happening jazz clubs where the locals go for some real New Orleans jazz. I highly recommend Monday nights at DBA, or any night at The Spotted Cat. Another great spot for live jazz is Preservation Hall or Tipitina’s.
As far as the food goes…my goodness, prepare to be in a food coma for part of the trip. I forget exactly where it is off of Decatur, but there is a famous little hole-in-the-wall eatery that serves the best po-boys in town. But really, anywhere you go that isn’t a fast food chain – you’re going to get some good eats.
I agree with everyone above. I would also suggest checking out Audubon Park, The Garden District and the antique stores on Magazine Street. There is also a ferry that is free if you are on foot that leaves from by the Aquarium and takes you across the river to Tangiers(one of my favorite neighborhoods, great for a walk). The Ferry is great in the summer when you feel like you might melt from the humidity, the wind coming of the river will cool you down. And my favorite resteraunt is Coups on Decatur, the marinated crab legs are amazing.
If you want to hear some live music, I recommend you research what is on and where beforehand. I made the mistake of touring the Deep South with no particular plans and didn’t hear nearly as much live music as I had hoped. You will probably be able to hear some jazz any evening, but for rock and blues I think you need to know where to go.
My favorite city! You will have the best time!
Restaurants: High priced: Commanders Palace, Brennans, Palace Cafe, K-Pauls, Restaurant August (John Besh), Arnauds, Irene’s, Bayona, Parasol, Ralphs on the Park, Muriels, Brigstens, Mr. B’s,
Mid to low price: Mothers, Fiorellas (best friend chicken and fried pickles), Angeli (pizza), Maspero’s (on Decatur), Cafe Dumonde (beignets), Port of Call (burgers). Pick up a Muffaletta at Central Grocery, a bag of Zapps and a cold beer, walk over to the Moonwalk and watch the boats go up and down the Mississippi. Johnny Po’Boys, Mandina’s, Camellia Grill, Clover Grill
Shopping on Royal St (lost of cute shops, art galleries and antiques), Magazine Street, the French Market (cheapo souvenirs)
Live Music: Anywhere on Frenchman St. Just wander and when you hear something you like, go on in! Some places I enjoy are d.b.a, Blue Nile, Snug Harbor,…Howlin’ Wolf, Tipitina’s Uptown, Maple Leaf (cab it there), Donna’s, Palm Court, of course Preservation Hall
Bourbon Street is good for a stroll down one night just to experience it, but its mostly night/dance clubs, strip clubs, souvenir shops. But you do have to experience it. Do walk down to the 900 block of Bourbon to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop- cool bar…
Don’t miss Napoleon House, get a Pimms Cup. The Sazarac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel. The Carousel bar in the Hotel Monteleone. A Hurricane in the patio at Pat O’Briens.
Catch the Canal St. Ferry over to Algeirs (its free), take a left and walk around the River bend to The Old Point bar. Hang out and have a few beers, take the ferry back. Take the Streetcar all the way up St. Charles, visit Oak Street, funky little shops (and the Maple Leaf)
If you don’t have a hotel booked yet, I strongly urge you to avoid chain cookie cutter hotels and stay at Place D’Armes, Hotel Provincial, or another quaint old historic building….
You are in luck with the vintage shopping. I’m not much of an antique shopper, but my boyfriend and sister are, and they had a great time on Magazine Street.
My favorite places to eat were Cochon and Acme Oyster House. Unfortunately the second may not be worth going to if you won’t be able to get tasty gulf oysters. Blame BP.
Cooter Brown’s for some oysters. The quarter is mostly for tourists, but you should hit it up at least once.
There’s a lot of live music going on down there, so I’d do some research first. Le Bon Temps Roulet, Maple Leaf, and I’ve also heard some good music at the quarter itself.
If you don’t go shopping at On the Other Hand on Oak Street you’ll regret it. Its the best Vintage shopping in New Orleans with amazing clothes and even more amazing sales. I’ve been going here for years and have gotten everything from prom dresses to amazing jewelry (long, classic string of pearls). The owner is a charming woman named Kaye.
I would also suggest trying Popeye’s mashed potatoes with gravy. It may not be gourmet, but its a local staple.
All of the above are very good suggestions. The seafood here including oysters are safe. We are known for our seafood and would not sell or serve you tainted seafood. Support our culture and eat!
Try to get out of the Quarter. This city has so many wonderful neighborhoods—each with its own character and treasures.
I recommend this site as a starting point: http://www.neworleansonline.com/
We are a semi-tropical city so it can be very humid and hot. Pack light clothing and stay hydrated.
Thank you for wanting to visit us and enjoy!
You guys are AWESOME! Thanks so so much for all your answers! Sounds like we’d totally dig Magazine street, and can’t wait to eat some yummy southern food! Not huge drinkers (but I’m a bartender…go figure!) but the sazerac bar sounds very interesting…my colleagues would kill me if I didn’t check it out!
Cheers again, really appreciate everyone taking the time out to answer my question!
-Don’t do the Ghost Tours unless you like being lied to and basically told whatever it is that the Tour Guide concocted that day. (It’s all drama and story telling, virtually no facts.) Magic Tours does tours with actual professors who’ll give the REAL history of New Orleans.
-As far as restaurants go, the Quarter has some of the classic’s like Galatoire’s, Antoine’s, K-Paul’s, The Rib Room, and others, but they’ll set you back a pretty penny.
-Visit the D-Day Museum, it’s amazing.
-Check out a lot of the historic museums and homes in the French Quarter. It’s the real way to get a taste of the city’s history. (Beauregard-Keyes House, Old Ursuline Convent, etc.)
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