As I posted a few days ago, we had an incredible time in New Orleans a couple of weeks back! I cannot wait to visit again one day, and would encourage anyone who has considered it as a potential future vacation destination to absolutely, 100% go for it.
While I love sharing our travel diary and jotting down every single thing we did in detail, I thought I’d create a more streamlined post – a city guide, of sorts – with some of our top suggestions for getting around in the city, where to stay, what to do, and where to eat and drink.
We’ve flown Southwest a few times now and are always impressed with their prices, service, and the overall experience. In fact, when we stepped off of the plane in New Orleans, and walked through the gate, they had a few of their team members standing by with a “Thanks for flying Southwest!” cake for passengers. // Visit Southwest
Exploring the City
We did about 80% of our exploration of the city on foot. The city is one of the most walkable we’ve been to. Snag a map from your hotel, or pull one up on your phone, and start walking! // Walking Maps of New Orleans
Though very walkable, the city is also massive, and spread across many neighborhoods. If we were looking to go to a few districts over, we’d request an Uber. There are thousands of drivers, and in most cases they arrived quickly and were a pleasure to ride with. Most rides we took averaged about $6-8. We also took an Uber into the city from the airport, and that was about $40. // Visit Uber
Psst! Get a discount on your first few rides with my promo code HERE.
Streetcar + Bus
Did you know that New Orleans is home to the oldest operating streetcar in the world? You can purchase a 24-hour pass for the streetcar, which has lines running throughout all major areas of the city, and that fee includes public buses, too. Jeremy used the public transport a few times, and we hopped the oldest streetcar (the green one on the St. Charles line) together during our stay to get across town. The ride was an experience in itself! // Visit New Orleans Public Transit
We didn’t get around to renting bikes during this visit, though we wish we had. Bike rentals are easily accessible and affordable, and we came across a few couples during our stay who went that route. Next time! // Visit NOLA Bike Rentals
Monrose Row Bed & Breakfast
I spent hours reading descriptions of boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, and Airbnbs in the months leading up to our stay. Several really cute and affordable Airbnbs were booked up months in advance because of Jazz Fest. I am SO glad I came across a listing for Monrose Row.
This B&B is situated in a residential neighborhood -Faubourg Treme – just two blocks away from the bustling French Quarter. The home and the grounds are beyond gorgeous, and the innkeeper, Cindy, is a gem. We learned a lot, and ended up experiencing much more than we had initially planned, through conversations with her.
She makes a delicious breakfast spread from scratch daily, taking into consideration allergy and dietary restrictions. One of our favorite B&B experiences ever! // Visit Monrose Row Bed & Breakfast
JW Marriott New Orleans
Hotels like this aren’t typically our style (we much prefer B&Bs and Airbnb rentals), but the conference was offering discounted rates at the JW Marriott, and it was situated a bit closer to the convention center. This was definitely a change of pace, as it’s right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter. We were content with the room and amenities, though, and would recommend this location for a business trip. // Visit JW Marriott New Orleans
If you do decide to go the Airbnb route, we’d highly recommend looking for one situated near, but not in, the French Quarter (though the Garden District or Marginy area would be great, too.) One to four blocks away is probably ideal, because you’ll get a taste of what it’s like to live like a local, without being too far from the action. We saw a few travelers checking into a place on Bourbon Street and were secretly wishing them luck getting any sleep during their stay! // Visit Airbnb
Landmarks + Must-Sees
While we didn’t make it to all of these, we did, at the very least, walk past each of them! The majority listed here are within walking distance of the French Quarter, though others will require a bike or ride.
- Buckner Mansion (the American Horror Story: Coven mansion)
- Bourbon Street
- Café du Monde
- Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
- City Park
- Congo Square
- Faulkner House Books
- French Market
- Frenchmen Street
- Hex: Old World Witchery
- Jackson Square
- Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
- Lafayette Cemetery #1
- LaLaurie Mansion
- Louis Armstrong Park
- Magazine Street
- Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo
- Preservation Hall
- Reverend Zombie’s House of Voodoo
- St. Louis Cathedral
These are some of the most popular landmarks, but there are truly hundreds! // More NOLA Must-Sees
Tours + Museums
There are loads of themed, self-led walking and biking tour guides online for New Orleans, and we used quite a few on our trip to save a little cash.
Additionally, many of the museums offer free or cheap entry – we typically took advantage of this and skipped paying for the paid tour options, but would highly recommend investing in a swamp and haunted history tour!
- Cajun Pride Swamp Tour
- Cemetery Tours
- Haunted History – We recommend the 5-in-1 tour to get the most bang for your buck.
- Historic Voodoo Museum
- Mardi Gras World
- Museum of Death
- New Orleans Museum of Art
- Old Ursuline Convent
- Old US Mint
- Pharmacy Museum
- The Algiers Ferry
- The Presbytere
- WWII Museum
Restaurants + Bars
We were a little concerned about the eating in NOLA, as their signature dishes frequently contain seafood and meat (J is allergic to shellfish and I’m a vegetarian) but we found tons of places that offer allergy-friendly selections.
There were plenty of completely vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free listings on several of the menus we saw around the city, too!
Here are the locations we visited and loved:
- 13 Bar // 517 Frenchmen St. // Website
- Arabella Casa di Pasta // 2258 St. Claude Ave. // Website
- Café du Monde // 800 Decatur St. // Website – (cash only!)
- The Courtyard Brewery // 1020 Erato St. // Website
- Crescent City Brewhouse // 527 Decatur St. // Website
- d.b.a. // 618 Frenchmen St. // Website
- District Donuts // 2209 Magazine St. // Website
- Dreamy Weenies // 740 North Rampart St. // Website – (cash only!)
- Elizabeth’s // 601 Gallier St. // Website
- Green Goddess // 307 Exchange Place // Website
- Industry Bar + Kitchen // 240 Decatur St. // Website
- Killer Po’Boys // 219 Dauphine and 811 Conti// Website
- Kingfish // 337 Chartres St. // Website
- Laura’s Candies // 331 Chartres // Website
- Napoleon House // 500 Chartres// Website
- Saint Lawrence // 219 N. Peters // Website
- SEED // 1330 Prytania St. // Website
- Sucré / 622 Conti and 3025 Magazine St. // Website
- Tahyo Tavern // 1140 Decatur // Website
- The Ruby Slipper Cafe // 1005 Canal St. (and many other locations) // Website
- The Rum House // 3128 Magazine St. // Website
- Tropical Isle // 727 Bourbon St. // Website
What to Bring
We realize not everyone travels alike, and that “necessities” differ from person to person, but, from personal experience, these are the essentials we’d recommend to make your adventures in NOLA as simple and stress-free as possible:
- A backpack or messenger bag (you’ll likely end up with a few souvenirs mid-day!)
- A phone charger stick (you’ll likely be using your phone a lot for map access and requesting Ubers)
- Cash (several places and experiences did not accept cards; though, there are plenty of ATMs around)
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Hand sanitizer and disinfecting spray (we usually have these with us during travel anyway, but given a few bathrooms we encountered and the state of some of the areas we walked through – we’re looking at you, Bourbon Street – we could have doubled up. We wouldn’t judge you for Lysoling your open-toed shoes at the end of a day out in NOLA!)
- Re-useable water bottles (most establishments have pitchers of water and cups sitting out for free, but having these will cut down on popping in to fill up and is more eco-friendly)
There you have it – probably only a small percentage of all there is to do and fall in love with in New Orleans!
We’d love to chat with you if you’ve been to, or plan to visit, this truly remarkable city!