So there’s a long weekend coming up and you’re looking for a weekend getaway. You’re sick of Miami, LA is too far, and Vegas is always a great idea but ticket prices are through the roof. Here’s an alternative: New Orleans.
The history of the city (it was French, then Spanish, then French again, and finally good ol’ American) is unlike most places in the US. The various European influences can be seen in the styles of the buildings throughout the French Quarter.
The Garden District, which is home to many celebrities including Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Eli and Peyton Manning’s parents, and many others, is very different. A more residential area, the Garden District features elegant, large homes, built in a variety of styles. One house may feature Greek columns, an American porch, and Mediterranean styles all at once–a sort of marriage of the best architecture has to offer.
If you are in New Orleans, or most large cities for that matter, book a tour through a company called Free Tours on Foot. (Tour guides work becaUse they love their city and are paid through your tips!) The walking tour of the French Quarter comes highly recommended. Following the tour, you’re able to roam and enjoy the city while knowing a bit about its culture.
Riding the Steamboat Natchez, the only working steamboat on the Mississippi River is also a must-try unique experience. The steamboat takes you on a 2-hour cruise through the Mississippi River.It’s relaxing; you can soak up some sun, while learning about the history of New Orleans and enjoying some live jazz!
Unlike most of the United States, NOLA’s residents still rely on streetcars as public transportation, which operated more like a time machine than a city bus.
The MOST important part about New Orleans is the food. Beignets, cafe au lait, jambalaya, gumbo, po’ boys, shrimp etouffé… the list goes on and on. The food in the South is delicious, but the food in New Orleans is its own breed. A classic NOLA meal consists of a combination of Cajun and Creole cooking (the latter meaning native to New Orleans), which typically includes various spices, seafood, and rice. And, of course, hot sauce! You can’t forget the hot sauce!
A hidden gem our experts recommend is Le Croissant D’Or Patisserie, a cute little bakery with delicious breakfast sandwiches, croissants, and coffee.
Beignets at Cafe du Monde are a must on every list of what to do in New Orleans. The line (which always like it will go on for hours, but usually takes around 20 minutes) is intimidating, but is well worth the experience. Listen to the lists, if you are ever in New Orleans, go to Cafe du Monde (it’s the city’s original coffee stand) and get beignets with frozen cafe au lait.
Also, try a hurricane (if you don’t know what that is Google this cool NOLA drink!). Take it with you into the streets in a to-go cup (NOLA has an open container law, inexistent in much of the U.S)
Shopping: Royal Street is home to so many beautiful boutiques, art galleries, and antique stores. Designers choose to showcase their work in the colorful city of New Orleans elect to display their work on Royal Street. When an artist is in the gallery, a sign is displayed in the window. This allows the client and artist to get to know each other prior to making a purchase.
The street artists are different than those you have seen anywhere else. A human transformer performs almost daily on Royal Street. Several magicians will stop you to do a little trick and hope for a monetary tip.
Most notably, on the corner of Royal and Toulouse, is a duo of female performers. These women play their violins with such intricate movements that create the most beautiful modern music. Their skill makes it almost impossible to pass by without stopping for several minutes to listen. They may not always be in the same spot, but keep an eye out for Tanya & Dorise.
Should you have questions about NOLA and all it has to offer, feel free to message me, I’d be happy to help you plan a memorable weekend.