New Orleans is a city like no other. The live music that is on every street corner all day and night, the great smell of Creole/Cajun food coming out of every restaurant door and the cutest boutique shops down every street in the French Quarter make this town so unique.
New Orleans was founded in 1718 by the French. The theme and architecture is influenced by them throughout the city and has not changed since its founding year.
When you arrive in New Orleans, you will drive about 20 minutes from the airport down to the historical French Quarter. There are many classic hotels in the area. My favorites are the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel and Hotel Monteleone. Both hotels are in great locations and within walking distance to everything you’d want to see in the Quarter.
Many people who think of New Orleans may immediately think of Bourbon Street but unless you’re about to celebrate your 21st birthday, you may not be too pleased to walk down this street on a Friday night. It’s filled with very young 20-somethings ready to hit the bar scene and it does smell pretty bad on that street because of all the foot traffic and spilled drinks. Of course, if you’ve never been, you have to at least take a walk down the street to see what it’s all about! If you’ve already had too many Hurricanes (the signature drink in New Orleans) you may want to do some mechanical bull riding at The Bourbon Cowboy! Don’t tell them I sent you there! (Insert shame face here!) You can find the best Hurricane drinks are right on Bourbon St. at Pat O’Brien’s. You can take your drinks in a to-go cup since there are no open container laws in New Orleans. I’d recommend not having more than 2. They’re very strong. You’ve been warned!
Some of the best music and nightlife in New Orleans is found on Frenchman St. you may need to take a quick Uber/Lyft ride over there which only takes about 3 minutes but seems like a long walk. Frenchman St. is filled with some of the best jazz and blues musicians in the world! Some of my favorite places to see the best live music are the Blue Nile, DBA and The Cat’s Meow. You really can’t go wrong at any place on Frenchman St.! If you choose to stay at Hotel Monteleone, to the right as you walk in is The Carousel Bar. This bar is one of the best in the town. There is live, soft jazz music there almost every night of the week and the vibe of this bar is great.
The food in New Orleans is like no other place I’ve ever been. It’s authentic and simply delicious. Some of my favorite places to go are The French Market where they have some of the best raw and cooked oysters, steamed shrimp and crawfish. Cafe DuMonde is nationally known for the famous beignets. Cafe DuMonde sits just a block off the Mississippi River where you can sit outside, under the canopy and have coffee and a beignet for breakfast. Felix’s is my favorite night time spot. It’s located just a few feet off of Bourbon St. When you walk in, you are greeted by the friendly staff. I visit this restaurant every time I’m in town. It’s just so simple, it works. Everything on their menu is delicious! My absolute favorite upscale dining is Irene’s. You will not be disappointed at this restaurant. All the fish is caught that day. The chef there prepares each dish like its his best one to date. The filets there are phenomenal as well. Each entree can be prepared with the signature spices and sauces of New Orleans.
Some of the best things to do in the city do not involve riding mechanical bulls on Bourbon St or cruising around the Carousel Bar. Because this city has such a great, long history, many people are fascinated about what has transpired in this small city over the past hundreds of years. At night, you can take a Ghost Tour around the city. It’s not scary, I promise. If it was, I would’ve never went on it myself! Lord Chaz does the best ghost tours. He knows every daunting detail of every haunted place and the most interesting stories about the city.
If you are up for an adventure, take a Swamp Tour. You will go into GatorLand and see some of the worlds most pre-historic creatures in their natural habitats . If you’re lucky, the gator handlers will let you hold one too! There are also bike tours all over the city. Grab a bike, ride around and listen to a tour guide tell you about the historical town. If you decide to have some relaxing down-time, take a ride on Steamboat Natchez. This steamboat takes you on a two-hour cruise along the Mississippi River. There’s a package that includes a meal if you’d like to dine while cruising. Otherwise, enjoy the beautiful scenery and the great jazz music they have on board the steamboat. Don’t forget to stop in Jackson Square at the heart of The French Quarter where will you find amazing street performers, art work by local artists and go inside the St. Louis Cathedral, which is the oldest cathedral in the country. I was married in that cathedral, too!
I hope you enjoy New Orleans as much as I do! Please leave any comments or e-mail me for your own thoughts of this amazing town!