Believe all the good things you’ve heard about New Orleans. A hub of history, culture and great food, this city does not disappoint with plenty to keep you entertained – and for much longer than 48 hours if you’ve got the time. My visit to New Orleans in late April was booked as a time-filler en route to Cuba, so it was a hit the ground running 2 days. I stayed at the W Hotel in the French Quarter which I highly recommend. It was the perfect location, just a short stroll into the heart of the quarter. Its onsite restaurant and bar Sobou was also a delight, with some of the best service and cocktails.
If you’re heading to NOLA on a tight schedule, here’s a quick guide to a hard and fast good time.
1. Walking Tour Of The French Quarter
There’s plenty of tour centres spotted around, they all seem to offer a similar thing at similar prices so don’t waste too much time weighing up your options. We booked a walking tour which lasted approx 2 hours. It was a fantastic experience and meant we quickly got some insider info that was also immensely fascinating. Don’t forget to grab a super-sized takeaway cocktail pre-tour from Willies and really make like a local.
Wander through the French Quarter Market and be sure to pick up a Bloody Mary from the Organic Banana juice bar along the row of food vendors – they’re rated the best in town.
2. Cafe Du Monde
The iconic Cafe Du Monde is a must-do. Famous for Beignets & coffee (also the only two things on its menu), its a great place to stop by for a quick pick me up. Constantly jam-packed, don’t let that put you off, the table turnover is pretty quick, so you’ll likely get a seat after a short wait, or simply grab a takeaway en route back to your accommodation.
3. Watch Live Jazz on Bourbon Street
Take a stroll around Bourbon street after dinner and watch it come alive. Mardi Gras decorations, vibrant lights, buskers and a huge selection of jazz bars to stop by will keep you entertained into the late hours of the night.
Other places to enjoy music:
- Preservation Hall in the Quarter http://www.preservationhall.com/hall/concert_schedule/index.aspx
Following that, Pat O’Brien’s, bar next door is also worth a look although can be very touristy.
- Frenchman’s Street – The go-to neighborhood for some of the city’s popular live-music venues.
- Tipitina’s – Rustic, black-and-white tiled warehouse space & landmark since ’77 for live music & Cajun dancing. www.tipitinas.com
- Fritzel’s on Bourbon St – a hub for old school jazz in the middle of the Quarter. www.fritzelsjazz.net
4. Eat authentic southern food
One of my absolute favourite things about New Orleans was the food – and the quality of it. Grab yourself a Po’ Boy, fried chicken and ribs and your time in NOLA will instantly get that much better. While I didn’t get to try all the vendors on my hit list, I did get to experience the devine Cane & Table restaurant – which I can’t recommend highly enough. A gourmet take on southern classics, the ribs were so good we ordered a second round.
Some other dinner options that came recommended include:
- Antoines – The Oldest French-Creole Fine Dining Restaurant in New Orleans.
- Pascale Manales – very authentic NOLA experience. Famous for their barbecue shrimp . http://www.neworleansrestaurants.com/pascalsmanale/
- Clancy’s – Uptown classic fine dining, upscale neighborhood restaurant. http://www.clancysneworleans.com/
- Brennans, Arnauds or Galatoires – famous and classic – but similar to each other. Pick one!
- Cochon – Stylish renovated warehouse serving elevated, pork-focused Cajun fare in a group-friendly setting. http://www.cochonrestaurant.com/
- Franklin – French Quarter eatery offering inventive New American fare & cocktails in a hip setting. New style NOLA cooking offering VERY good gumbo. http://www.thefranklinnola.com
- Boucherie – Updated Southern food, sandwiches, house-smoked meats & cocktails served in a cozy cottage setting. http://boucherie-nola.com/
- Sylvain – Elegant gastropub with cocktails & American fare in a former carriage house with courtyard seats.
Thanks for reading christyle