Weekend Getaway Guide: New Orleans, LA
New Orleans has topped a bunch of the “places to go in 2018” stories, so I’m pretty appreciative for having kicked off my year in this fantastic city, celebrating New Years Eve amongst the crowds on Bourbon Street.
It’s common that when you think of New Orleans, you automatically think of Mardi Gras and the carnival-like celebrations that take over the city.
But being there, I learned that there is so much more to this city than booze, beads and boobs.
New Orleans has a vibrant nightlife scene, jazz bands, and live music that fill the streets. The city is also known cooking up some delicious and unique foods, from authentic Creole cuisine to dishes with French and Spanish influences.
Nicknamed The Big Easy, the locals are warm, neighborly and super laid back. Plus, the city is celebrating its 300th birthday this year! So if you’re heading there for a quick getaway, here’s a guide to getting the most out of your weekend.
I opted to stay at one of the newer hotels in New Orleans, and it was a great choice. The NOPSI Hotel is technically located in the Central Business District, and it’s perfectly located for a lot of the things you might want to see and do in New Orleans.
It’s a quick 2 blocks from Canal Street, and 3 blocks from the beginning of Bourbon Street. We basically walked over this way every day and explored the French Quarter on foot.
The hotel amenities are also key – there’s a gin bar to the left of the lobby, and a whisky bar to the right.
JACKPOT. Gin is my drink of choice, and whisky just happens to be my boyfriend Michael’s favorite. So needless to say, we were in heaven. ;)
The NOPSI also has an amazing rooftop bar and pool. I can only imagine how popular this is during the summer months! But even during January, with cool temps and beautiful views of the city, the rooftop was well used.
Now I know this BARELY scratches the surface of things to eat and places to dine in New Orleans. But instead of the tried and true recommendations for beignets (Cafe Du Monde), jambalaya, po’boys (Parkway Tavern), gumbo, fried chicken, and even more exotic things like turtle soup (Commander’s Palace), I figured I’d switch it up and share some other places to eat.
Cafe Conti – great, semi-healthyish breakfast spot off Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. Fave dishes include their benedicts and crepes, and they have a few sister restaurants you might have also heard of.
Willa Jean – hands down the best biscuits in town. So fluffy and perfect, I’d do anything to eat one right now. You can go simple, having a warm plain biscuit with butter and strawberry jam, or get the fried chicken sandwich.
Crescent City Brewhouse – head to CCB for a lunch near the water and get a beer flight to try a selection of their craft brews. The BLT sandwich is AMAZING. If you’re feeling adventurous, the fried alligator appetizer was actually really good – and the waitress told us they soak it in buttermilk before frying, so its perfectly tender.
Domenica – a hot-spot Italian restaurant located in The Roosevelt Hotel that serves some really, really good pizza – and that’s coming from a New Yorker. Everything we ate here was good. Plus, the famous Sazerac Bar (also inside the Roosevelt Hotel) is a perfect pre- or post- dinner spot.
Bourbon House – there’s only a handful of fine-dining restaurants located right on Bourbon Street, and Bourbon House is one of them. It has huge windows that overlook the activities going on outside, a fab oyster bar, and authentic New Orleans’ dishes for a fancier dinner spot.
There’s obviously plenty of places for parties, booze and gambling (there’s a Harrah’s Casino in the Central Business District), and some other fun activities to enjoy too.
Like the Steamboat Natchez Tour, a river cruise down the iconic Mississippi River with jazz music and optional lunch or dinner. It’s a nice way to see the city from the riverfront, spend a little time learning about New Orlean’s history, and drink on a boat.
If you’re into or interested in New Orleans’ iconic black magic, check out the VooDoo Museum or the Death Museum for a quick tour through the history and to learn a little more about this spiritual practice.
But if you’re really only looking for the Bourbon Street action, check out this guide to surviving the party scene!