Oh, New Orleans, where do I start? My Mom is from New Orleans and it has always held a special place in my heart. I have been lucky enough to call this vibrant city my second home and to have spent time there as a local and as a tourist. I would highly recommend these 5 things.
1. The French Quarter
I know you already knew this one. It's the reason you're going to New Orleans, right? This is an obvious one of course, but we're going to knock this one off your list in the best way possible: a pub crawl! There are so many unique bars and restaurants in the French Quarter and it's impossible to see all of them in one trip, but this has to be the best way to do it right? If you're looking for a play-by-play pub crawl already planned out for you, check out this post.
2. Cafe du Monde
Cafe du Monde is a 24-hour historic cafe shop in the French Quarter built in 1862 and known for its beignets and coffee with chicory. This is a must-do on your trip to New Orleans! It's important to note that this iconic piece of history remains a cash-only establishment to this day. Be prepared to wait in line if you go during the day. Tip: If you plan for a night out of drinking in the French Quarter, go here after your visit to the bars. You are less likely to see a line here at odd hours of the night.
3. Jackson Square
History, artists, street performers, historical churches, people watching, and more! Built in 1721, Jackson Square sits between St. Louis Cathedral and the Mississippi River and is surrounded by historical 18th century buildings.
4. The Garden District
The Garden District is known for its lavish gardens (obviously), charming shops and restaurants, historic mansions, and Lafayette Cemetery. My first trip to New Orleans as a tourist was on my best friend's bachelorette weekend. I had booked a walking tour with Two Chicks Walking Tours a couple months before on a trip with my family and it was so incredible, I decided to book it for the bachelorette group too. Our guide was amazingly knowledgeable and we had a blast seeing celebrity homes, mansions used in TV shows and movies, learning about Lafayette Cemetery, and so much more.
The meeting place for this tour when we did it back in 2016 was near District Donuts on Magazine Street so we went early and grabbed some donuts and coffee before the tour. The tour lasted a couple hours. After that, we browsed around the antique shops and cafes along Magazine Street and grabbed a drink before heading back on the trolly.
5. City Park
City Park is a 1,300-acre (that's about 50% larger than Central Park!) public park known for its centuries-old live oak trees. According to the City Park website, "The Park is home to the oldest grove of mature live oaks in the world, including the magnificent Anseman Oak and McDonogh Oak, which are between 750 and 900 years old." There are approximately 30,000 trees in this park including live oaks, magnolia, and so many more. You will also find plenty of Spanish Moss on these historic trees which have become a symbol of southern oaks.
Until next time!