This past spring Max and I had the chance to visit New Orleans. It’s been on my list for awhile now and this charming city did not disappoint. Halfway through, our friends John and Jordan Vickers met up with us and (willingly!) became our unofficial tour guides for the remainder of our time. Even with a very short two and a half day stay, we managed to pack in almost everything we wanted to do, see, eat and drink. Read on for my top picks in this New Orleans city guide:
Where To Eat in New Orleans
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the delicious food options in New Orleans but more so a list of our favorites while we where there.
- Cafe Amelie
This little cafe was exactly what I pictured in my mind when I thought about the ideal patio for enjoying brunch. It’s tucked away off Royal Street with half the seating inside and half outside – snag an outdoor table if you can. Standouts here were the french toast and shrimp and grits. Learn from our mistake and make reservations for brunch, lest you end up waiting an hour like we did to be seated.
- Bourbon House
This was our fancy dinner of the trip. Initially we were told it was an hour wait for dinner on Saturday night (not sure if this is common, we were there on a holiday weekend!) but ended up snagging a table in the front room that served the full menu. Don’t miss the crab fingers or their unique twist on NOLA bbq shrimp.
- Roch Market
There’s something for everyone at the trendy St. Roch Market. The crawfish poutine from Fete au Fete was a standout for sure but all of the other vendors looked equally tempting.
- Imperial Woodpecker Sno Balls
Stop by here if you decide wander over to Magazine Street. The portions are generous and they make their own syrups. I had the Strawberry Basil and it was delicious.
A Beignet Tour
I am an equal opportunity beignet lover. Fried dough covered in powder sugar washed down with a piping hot cup of coffee? Count me in. With all the options available, a beignet tour of New Orleans was most certainly in order. I’m not here to tell you which beignet was best (it’s FRIED DOUGH covered in POWDER SUGAR – you really can’t go wrong here) but depending on the experience you’re looking for, one spot might suit your fancy over another.
- Cafe du Monde– The Classic With The Best Coffee
The coffee at Cafe du Monde was by far the best. The menu has about 4 items on it, three of which are drinks. Make sure to bring cash!
- Cafe Beignet– The Charmer With Additional Breakfast Options
High marks for the cutest location and interiors. If you’re looking for beignets along with other breakfast options, this should be your spot. Get there early in the morning to snag a table.
- Morning Call– The Shortest Wait for the Best Beignets
I take it back. These are the best beignets. It’s a little out of the way but if you’re planning a half day at City Park/NOMA etc, make sure to stop by! Morning Call is also cash only.
Best Drinks in New Orleans
Unless you’re into crazy crowds, getting accosted by drunk people or accidentally stepping in a puddle of lord knows what, I HIGHLY recommend staying off of Bourbon Street at night. Keep the crazy to a minimum and bar hop at a few of these notable joints:
- The Sazerac Bar in The Roosevelt
Start off your evening at The Roosevelt, by far the fanciest bar on this list (with the price tags to match!) I’d still recommend stopping by for the swanky atmosphere and the best French 75 you’ll ever have, as declared by none other than Jordan Vickers herself.
- Latitude 29
This funky little tiki bar is located inside a small boutique hotel in the French Quarter. The tiki drink menu was extensive and the bakwan jagkung (aka fritters) were equally delightful. It was an easy walk from The Roosevelt – an added bonus that reduced our total Lyft rides for the night.
- Carousel Bar & Lounge in Hotel Monteleone
A revolving carousel in a bar? You bet. We didn’t actually end up ordering anything because this place was packed but the concept is pretty novel and would be worth the wait if you aren’t planning to bar hop throughout the evening.
- Hot Tin
Looking for a roof top bar with a sweeping view of downtown New Orleans at night? Hot Tin has you covered on all fronts. It gets pretty crowded but the views, unique decor and drinks more than make up for it. Don’t miss this one.
We didn’t stop by here Sunday night (although it is open in the evening!) but instead enjoyed a leisurely afternoon of wine and cheese on the back patio. The live music was incredible. Bacchanal is well outside the tourist zone but it’s 100% worth the Lyft ride over.
Photo Credit: The Daily Meal
Sightseeing + Shopping in New Orleans
- Magazine Street– Lionheart Prints
Magazine Street is a fun spot to spend half a day exploring. There’s a bunch of local boutiques, antique stores and restaurants along the way. Lionheart Prints was a personal favorite and I purchased a hand lettered print to hang up at home.
- Royal Street
Take a walk down Royal Street for the quintessential French Quarter view of rod-iron balconies filled to the brim with flowers. Plus, you’ll need a walk to counteract all the food you’ve been eating 😉
- Jackson Square
It’s hard to miss Jackson Square smack dab in the middle of New Orlean’s French Quarter. Grab a bag of beignets and a coffee to-go from Cafe du Monde across the street and enjoy them on a bench here instead.
- City Park
We didn’t get the chance to explore City Park as much as we would’ve liked but there are lots of activities to do here, including the New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden (see below).
- NOMA Sculpture Garden
Located in City Park, the New Orleans Museum of Art Sculpture Garden has shady walkways and is a peaceful place to relax. BONUS: it’s free and right next door to Morning Call.
- Audubon Park + Trolley
Max is an avid runner and even on vacation he still likes to get a run in if at all possible. Wake up early and take the St. Charles trolley line there and back. It’s $3 for an unlimited day pass and the trolley passes through New Orlean’s beautiful Garden District.
- Faulkner House Books
Once the home of William Faulkner, this quaint bookstore off of Pirate’s Alley in the French Quarter is a well curated collection of both used and new books.
Between the history, delicious food options and festive atmosphere, we’re already planning for a trip back! Did we miss any New Orleans must-do’s from your list? Leave a comment and let me know! P.S. Check out all of our other travel blogs + city guides here.