Before making my way down to Louisiana, I hadn’t been on a vacation in a very long time, so this extended weekend trip down to New Orleans with my boys was long overdue, and trust me, it did not disappoint. New Orleans is a crazy and amazing city with so much to do and even more history. I think that is what initially drove me to visit Nola; I just love a good story, and boy does New Orleans have tones!
The city itself is beautiful; the vintage architecture, the Mississippi river and the palm trees all make for a truly picturesque environment that makes you feel as though you are transported through time. The people are extremely friendly and don’t even get me started on the food (#foodcoma) all week and if you’re a music buff like me then absolutely add New Orleans to your travel list. As difficult as it is for me to narrow down my trip to my 5 favourite aspects of it, I’m going to try. If you find yourself down in the Big Easy I highly recommend checking out some, if not all of these hot spots!
- Bourbon Street and the French Quarter: This one is a no brainer. Bourbon St. is a very famous street in New Orleans known for its music, food and bars. This street is definitely where the party is at. I ran into about 5 different bachelor/bachelorette parties during my visit, all partying it up on Bourbon. The bars in this area are a lot of fun; keeping with the French Quarter architecture many old buildings have been turned into restaurants and bars and most places will have a gallery or balcony with outdoor eating and drinking options which is perfect for hanging out in the Louisiana sunshine. Night out idea: Have a world famous Hurricane in the courtyard at Pat O’Brien’s (maybe share one with a friend…they’re deadly) then go next door and see a concert at Preservation Hall, the Jazz band is incredibly talented and the atmosphere and music are so authentic you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to the past.
- Louis Cemetery and Walking Ghost Tour: I’ve always been fascinated with the supernatural, and with New Orleans’ history it really emulates the feeling of a truly haunted place. My friends and I took a tour to visit St. Louis Cemetery as it, like much of New Orleans has a very interesting history. The cemetery is filled with beautiful, old, Spanish style tombs (and one new Greek inspired one for Nicholas Cage? seriously, google it) that have been passed down within families throughout the city’s history. It was truly incredible to take a look through all of these tombs and learn the spooky and sometimes tragic stories behind them. After the tour of St. Louis, we decided to take a haunted walking tour throughout the city, where the tour guide stopped at many beautiful old houses and areas telling us stories of horrors, murder, vampires and haunted hotels (check out the Jackson Hotel, creepy stuff!) Warning, not for the faint of heart!
- Jackson Square and Café Du Monde: Jackson Square is a park area surrounded again by beautiful architecture and filled with artists, fortune tellers, buskers and a French Market just down the street. You can buy art pieces, get a henna tattoo, have your cards read or go to any of the various antique and vintage shops that surround the area. It’s a really great place to spend the afternoon out in the sunshine with a lot of entertainment and things to do all around. Across the street from the square is Café Du Monde, where the world’s best beignets are made. Beignets are a traditional French pastry coated in powdered sugar that has become famous in New Orleans, and for good reason; they are amazing! Enjoy them with a refreshing Café au Lait and you’re set!
- Garden District: The Garden District is a great little excursion if you are looking to get out of the direct city center and see a greener part of New Orleans. Take a ride on the trolley up to the area and have lunch or coffee at one of their various cafes and take a walk through the gardens while checking out some of the incredible homes that are there. The area is filled with these old, gorgeous mansions that you generally do not see anywhere else. I am a big fan of the show “American Horror Story” and they used one of the houses in the Garden District as their filming location for “Coven” which was really interesting to see, and let me tell you the houses are even more beautiful in person!
- Frenchman St: While Bourbon St. had great music, Frenchman is where it’s really at if you’re looking for authentic Blues and Jazz where the locals go for good music. This is where I spent my last night in the city and it was a really great experience. Frenchman St. is a strip of bars where almost everywhere you go has a live band or musician. This street has so many bars with incredible musicians, lots of dancing and good vibes. Check out The Blue Nile which has a really great outdoor balcony overlooking Frenchman St. and The Spotted Cat, where some nights they teach swing dancing and every night they have a great band to get your hips moving!
New Orleans was truly a great experience, where I not only had a blast, but learned a lot too, which I think makes for a memorable travel experience and I absolutely can’t wait to go back, hopefully soon!