21 Things To Do In New Orleans
Hi everyone! A lot of you know by now, but I was laid off in January from BuzzFeed, along with 250 other talented reporters, writers, and journalists. It stings a bit, but now is the time for me to take a break and travel (especially since I got a very nice severance package). This trip was actually planned before my layoff, but it couldn’t have come at a better time!
Without further ado, I’d like to present my ultimate travel guide for New Orleans in Louisiana! I ate SO much amazing food and heard incredible live music. Obviously you should go on Bourbon St, walk around Jackson Square, and explore the French Quarter, but I wanted to provide more of my personal recommendations. NOLA is such a fun spot for a weekend getaway and I couldn’t love it more. So go out and explore the Big Easy! 💜💚💛
1. Grab breakfast at Cake Cafe & Bakery and make sure to have a slice of king cake!
This is SO important. The place felt more local and not as touristy, and the king cake was to die for. It had apple and goat cheese inside, and it was the perfect sweet pairing with our shrimp & grits.
2. Head to Studio Be and enjoy the artwork on the buildings.
This was a really nice thing to see and it was good to appreciate the artwork. It’s also a short walk from Cake Cafe & Bakery, so that was perfect.
3. Go to St. Roch Market and pick something to eat from the various vendors.
I actually didn’t have enough room in my stomach to hit up the food hall, but everything looked really good and the reviews on Yelp are great.
4. Enjoy some of the best damn BBQ of your life at The Joint.
My boyfriend (a foodie) has tried a lot of BBQ in his life, and he claims this is the best he’s ever had. It’s very simple, decently priced, and the ribs are AMAZING. Definitely treat yourself to a meal here if you have the chance.
5. For some chill outdoor drinking and jazz, get wine and cheese at Bacchanal.
Can’t recommend this enough! It was one of my favorite activities we did. There’s lights outside, a live jazz band playing, and wine specials to enjoy. This is probably a solid date spot too and romantic at night.
6. When you need a snack, head to the famous Café Du Monde and eat some beignets!
I thought these would be overhyped and not worth the wait, but OMG they were everything as promised. Such a good treat to share and have with a cup of coffee. The line looked long, but we actually only waited about 10 minutes for seating (in the afternoon on a Saturday). Also note that you will get powder ALL over your clothes, so maybe avoid dark colors.
7. And if you’re in this area already, have a muffuletta at Central Grocery!
This is the home of the muffuletta, so there’s really no other place to get it! My boyfriend and I got half a sandwich, and then split that half (it’s pretty huge). The shop itself is like a bodega/grocery where you can buy spices and other ingredients, and the place is famous for their sandwich. It’s essentially meat, cheese, and pickled veggies. It’s very salty, so be warned!
8. To walk it all off, head to French Market for local crafts and gifts.
They have lots of jewelry, hats, shirts, and crafts. I bought a pair of earrings here that I am obsessed with! Great spot to buy all your souvenirs.
9. Want a rooftop view? Go to Hot Tin at the Pontchartrain Hotel.
The rooftop is really nice and has unique furniture and decor. You can sit inside (covered and warm) or venture outdoors for a breeze. The downstairs also has a cool room that has a painting of Lil’ Wayne.
10. After the bar, take a walk to District Donuts and get yourself a monstrous dessert.
We ate a raspberry cheesecake donut and I am STILL thinking about it. They have lots of rotating options per day and you’re guaranteed to find something delicious. We couldn’t even eat half and we were sharing.
11. If you somehow have room in your stomach, get a salad or sandwich from Turkey and the Wolf.
Lol, I got a wedge salad topped with ranch, bacon, and everything seasoning. I don’t know if I consider it a salad since there was hardly lettuce in comparison to the toppings, but it was good nonetheless. They also have a bologna sandwich that they’re known for!
12. Oh, and don’t forget to stop by the Buckner Mansion if you love AHS: Coven!
Surprise, bitch. You can see the mansion IRL! It’s very big and pretty, but there’s not much else you can do besides snap some pics. But still a filming location to visit if you are a fan of AHS.
13. If you’re looking for more nature and less chaos, take a drive to New Orleans City Park and sit under an oak tree!
The park also has statues, a theme park, and a kiddy section. It’s also 50% bigger than Central Park in NYC.
14. Looking for some bomb seafood? Do not miss Peche!
Oh man, this meal was UNREAL. Definitely get the whole red fish, it is their star dish. We also ordered oysters, hushpuppies, brussels sprouts, and shrimp. I recommend getting a bunch of things and sharing it so you can try multiple things.
15. And visit their sister restaurant Cochon for some stellar BBQ.
I tried some things I’ve never eaten before — like fried alligator and rabbit. Everything was A+ and the oysters were a favorite.
16. Time for a drink? Hit the Carousel Bar at Monteleone Hotel early to grab a seat and enjoy the ride!
Yep, your bar rotates like an actual carousel. This was such a unique spot and their Bloody Mary was the best I’ve ever had. Don’t miss this! And remember, go right at 11 a.m. for better chances at scoring a seat.
17. And if you love dueling pianos and fruity drinks, head to Pat O’Briens!
This bar is well-known for their Hurricanes, which is a red, sugary drink that will likely give you a hangover. Consume with caution! You don’t want to go throwing up on Bourbon Street, ok? And of course, watch some talented musicians take requests and play them out with the piano!
18. For breakfast or dessert, order the Banana Fosters at Brennan’s!
This is where it originated and it should not be missed. It’s light and rich at the same time, and the breakfast is good too. Try to make reservations beforehand, it fills up quickly.
19. If you’re on Frenchman Street, grab a hot dog at Dat Dog.
I tried the alligator one (without knowing it was alligator!) and I enjoyed it. Their dogs are packed with toppings as well.
20. For cute outdoor eating, enjoy the jazz brunch buffet at The Court of Two Sisters.
Live music, unlimited food, and nice vibes. What more could you ask for?
21. And of course, you must get a Poboy at Killer Poboys!
The shrimp poboy is the ULTIMATE POBOY!
And that’s all I’ve got! Special shoutout to International House Hotel for the wonderful stay! It was a really nice space with amazing hospitality. And here’s a NOLA map I created if you want to open on your phone as you roam around the city. If you have any other questions about my New Orleans trip, comment below. Safe travels!