There’s more to New Orleans than Mardi Gras.
Sure, the February festival draws a big, rowdy crowd, but the spirit within this city stays strong year-round. See for yourself—hop on a flight and follow along with our 48-hour itinerary.
Boucherie • (504) 862-5514 • 1506 S. Carrollton Ave
You can’t expect to stick to your healthy diet in New Orleans, which is just fine for the weekend. At Boucherie, for example, you have to try the Krispy Kreme bread pudding. The inventive menu also includes a blackened shrimp-and-grit cake, applewood smoked scallops, and Boudin balls with garlic aioli. One bite and you’ll know how this former food truck managed to upgrade to full restaurant status.
Killer Po’Boys • (504) 252-6745 • 811 Conti St
A weekend in NOLA wouldn’t be complete without a po’boy, either. In the heart of the French Quarter, you’ll find the aptly named Killer Po’boys with savory toppings like meatloaf, Gulf shrimp and pork belly slathered in a rum ginger glaze.
La Petite Grocery • (504) 891-3377 • 4238 Magazine St
You could also entrust your New Orleans eats to the James Beard-nominated chef at La Petite Grocery, which began in the 1800s as a tea, coffee and butter depot. Amid a candlelit dining room, toast to a great weekend over the eatery’s famous blue crab beignets.
French 75 • (504) 523-5433 • 813 Bienville St
Perhaps the most famous haunt in NOLA is French 75, and it’s perfect for a guy’s weekend, as it used to be the gentlemen’s-only area of Arnaud’s. It’s not like the more raucous bars you’ll find in New Orleans. They serve creative cocktails, including the French 75 Cocktail, a blend of Moet and Chandon champagne, Courvoisier VS, sugar and lemon juice.
The Other Bar • (504) 231-7011 • 5039 Freret St
Perhaps you want to branch out from the French quarter. Located in the Freret Street neighborhood, The Other Bar is less rowdy, but it still has plenty of fun. There’s skee ball and arcade games, as well as a great list of rums. You can get canned beer, too.
Tipitina’s • (504) 895-8477 • 501 Napoleon Ave
Of course, it wouldn’t be NOLA without a little music. Tipitina’s, a classic neighborhood juke joint, is an iconic music institution in the eyes of locals and tourists alike. It’s the place to go in the city for live music and a drink. So if you’re in the mood for soulful jazz or local hip hop, Tip’s is your place.
The Roosevelt • (504) 648-1200 • 130 Roosevelt Way
If you’re really in the mood to treat yourself in New Orleans, there’s no other option: You have to stay at The Roosevelt. This Waldorf Astoria hotel will take your breath away as soon as you walk into the glistening gold lobby, dripping with crystal chandeliers. You might not want to leave all weekend, either, since they’ve got an award-winning restaurant, live music, rooftop pool and a spa on-site.
Loft 523 • (504) 200-6523 • 523 Gravier St
Clean, minimalist, modern vibe more your thing? Loft 523 may be up your alley. Located only a few blocks from the French Quarter, this boutique hotel has 16 soho-style lofts (plus two penthouses), and is your sexy sanctuary away from the craziness right outside its walls. Each loft is about 600 square feet, which gives you plenty of room to stretch out and relax after a long day of exploring (I mean, drinking).
New Orleans City Park • (504) 482-4888 • 1 Palm Dr
One of the city’s greatest feats post-Hurricane Katrina was the restoration of New Orleans City Park to its former glory. In fact, the 1,300-acre landmark is more pristine than ever, despite the natural disaster devastating the centuries-old trees. You can walk or bike while you check out some of the park’s famous attractions.
The Blue Nile • (504) 948-2583 • 532 Frenchmen St
Another draw of New Orleans: live music. Make it your mission to check out at least one performance. A place like The Blue Nile would be an ideal spot to drop in, since they draw excellent artists and bands of all genres—funk, blues, soul and brass. Even if it’s not your usual concert, you might just find yourself drawn into the spirit of New Orleans.
Oh yeah, about those city tours
Don’t feel pressured to pay for a tour of the city. Instead, you could hop on one of the city’s streetcars for a cheap, breezy ride to the top destinations. You’ll want to stick to the red and green lines, which take you to places like Metairie Cemetery, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the city’s riverfront.
What are your suggestions?
If you live near or have been to New Orleans and you have travel suggestions that we missed, we’d love to hear them in the comments!
All photos copyright via their respective owners.