This may be a little biased but I believe that New Orleans is the best city in the world. The food, music and all around culture of this beautiful town is unlike any other. People who are planning to visit always ask me for advice on what to do so I put together this guide of my favorite things. For over a year it’s been tucked away in a folder on my laptop but here it is for the world to see. I hope everyone gets the opportunity to experience this gem of a city.
New Orleanians are really proud of their cuisine therefore, it’s really tough to find bad food here. With so many great places to dine in the Cresent City you can’t go wrong. Here a some of my favorites:
Cafe Du Monde, of course! – I’ve been coming here since I was in diapers. Then it was Beignets (our version of the donut) and chocolate milk but I’ve since graduated to Cafe au lait’s. Don’t wait to be seated because it’ll never happen. Just wait in line, if there is one, and take the first available table you find when your turn is up. 1039 Decatur St.,www.cafedumonde.com
Mother’s Restaurant – Mother’s is famous for their ham but I prefer the classic shrimp po-boy. There is usually a line but it’s well worth the wait. 401 Poydras Street, www.mothersrestaurant.net
Court of Two Sisters – It’s a little pricey but you’re paying for the experience of sitting in a traditional courtyard with live jazz music. The food is great also. I recommend the jazz brunch with your girlfriends or a romantic date with your sweetheart. 613 Royal Street, www.courtoftwosisters.com
Resist the urge to eat the day away and enjoy some of these attractions:
Bourbon French Perfumes – This 164 year old perfumery is located in the heart of the French Quarter and is a great place to peruse for original, one-of-a-kind scents. My favorite is Kus Kus with it’s fresh, almost baby powdery aroma. I wear it all the time and it always brings me back. You can also have a custom made scent created just for you. 805 Royal Street, laoaks.com
Jackson Square – You can’t miss it. It’s located on Decatur Street (across from Cafe Du Monde) and on most Saturdays you can witness some beautiful outdoor weddings. My husband and I got married there in 2005.
St. Louis Cathedral – Ground was broken for this majestic building in 1907. Since then hundreds of thousands of visitors have peered inside this breathtaking structure, including the pope in 1999. cathedralstl.org
Carriage Rides – Located in front of Jackson Square on Decatur St. you won’t have a hard time hitching a ride on one of these carriages. While it may sound super cheesy and touristy it really is a great way to learn the city’s history.
Magazine Street – This funky area is a great place for shopping with plenty of unique antique shops and boutiques. You can also enjoy the restaurants and bars that are dotted here and there. magazinestreet.com
Old Time Photo – Go back in time and get your picture taken as a bank robber or saloon gal. It’s so much fun to play dress up with your friends or family, 630 St. Ann St.,www.sepiavisions.com
Ride the St. Charles street car – For just $1 you can head to the Garden District and enjoy the beautiful architecture.
Cruise down the Mississippi River – The Natchez is a majestic paddle boat that takes guests on an unforgettable journey down the mighty Mississippi., www.steamboatnatchez.com
The Hustler Hollywood Store – It is Bourbon Street so you’re allowed to get a little dirty. Here you can enjoy two stories of adult fun (if you’re into that sort of thing)., 111 Bourbon St., www.hustlerhollywood.com
Stroll through a cemetery– New Orleans cemeteries are unlike any others. The tombs are above ground and absolutely beautiful. Go here for a list of all the cemeteries in New Orleans along with each ones history. The renowned Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau is believed to be buried at St. Louis #1 cemetery.
The French Market – Great outdoor market with delicious food vendors and great shopping. Here you’ll find good deals on t-shirts, sunglasses, knock-off handbags, alligator heads and anything else you can imagine. www.frenchmarket.org
Check out neworleanscvb.com for other ideas and a calendar of events.
Here are some other great things about New Orleans:
– If you’re in a restaurant and haven’t finished your beer, no problem just take it with you!
– Hand grenades are our specialty drink and can only be found (authentically at least) in New Orleans. Pace yourself b/c they are strong (and very sweet).
– We are very proud of our football team so if you’re a Saints fan there’s no end to the paraphernalia that can be found. Who Dat?!
– If you’re easily offended then stay away from Bourbon Street. There’s plenty of bars and strip clubs where, throughout the day, ladies stand on the street to entice passerby’s to step inside. If you’re laid back, however, enjoy the show!
I think that everyone should visit New Orleans at least once in there lifetime so they can experience the rich culture that only the Big Easy has to offer. Whether it’s for the jazz and history or the liquor and night-life, there really is something for everyone in good ole’ Nawlins.