A Slice of NOLA: New Orleans Must Dos
The first stop on my summer travels around the world was back to my home country but to a city I have never been before. Nawlins. NOLA. Whatever you want to call it. I heard so much about New Orleans and I was ecstatic to check it out. I was visiting for my company’s annual summit conference so over 25,000 people invaded the city and hundreds from my team. This threw in a lot of conference-ing into the mix our week there but nonetheless, we still explored the city, ate all of the things, listened to amazing live music, got lost on Bourbon street and left a little piece of our heart there forever.
Here’s a slice of our trip and some must-dos when you are planning yours–
Where to stay:
A big group? Garden District Mansions– I highly recommend checking out the houses in the Garden District on Airbnb. My team and I of 20 girls stayed in a gorgeous home that was spacious, clean, and a short Uber ride away from every area we wanted to go. Not to mention, it was absolutely STUNNING.
If you haven’t used Air Bnb before, use this link( www.airbnb.co.uk/c/susannaha11 to get 30$ off your first booking.
Even if you don’t end up staying there, make sure you wander around the Garden District and check all the houses. They are incredible. You can even take the old fashioned tram that runs from downtown New Orleans to the Garden district if you don’t enjoy walking a lot.
Solo travelers– If you’re on your own or on a tight budget, I highly recommend staying at Garden District House Hostel. It is one of the nicest hostels I have ever stayed in. Super clean, safe, lovely fully furnished kitchen, outdoor backyard area and very helpful staff. My boyfriend and I stayed there before the conference started and I would gladly stay there again.
Bourbon Street vs. Frenchman Street– If you ask a local, they will tell you to go to Frenchman Street. I highly recommend it. The music is unbelievable and the bars are fun and lively. Bourbon Street is like something out of movie. There are drunk people everywhere carrying their drinks to-go (Hello no open- container law), live music, beads, food, crowds. We went one night and one night was enough for us. I think it’s worth it at least to experience it but I wouldn’t spend a lot of time there unless you’re into the college-frat boy-spring break type drinking scene- then you’ll love it.
The French Quarter– If you love architecture and funky buildings this is the spot for you. It’s the oldest spot in New Orleans and you can find tons of hotels, bars, restaurants and shopping. I wish we spent more time here because it truly gives you the vibes of the city.
Jackson Square & St. Louis Cathedral– Right next to the French Quarter- Jackson Square is a bustling scene with street vendors, psychics, horse and carriages. Definitely stop into St. Louis Cathedral and check out the stained glass and incredible architecture. My friend and I actually got psychic palm & tarrot readings right outside the cathedral and it was absolutely mind blowing. I would highly recommend it. The spiritual vibes in New Orleans are very strong and they even do haunted ghost tours of the city (which friends of mine did and really enjoyed.) I’m not here to convince you, but if you’re into stuff like that I would love to share details of my psychic experience.
Walk along the New Orleans Riverfront– The Mississippi River is not just an impressive word we learned how to spell when we were young. The waterfront in New Orleans is beautiful and many different restaurants, parks, outdoor monuments and shopping along the way. If it’s raining you can head to the Riverside Marketplace Mall for some air conditioned outlet shopping. You can also catch a steamboat tour or dinner cruise which I didn’t have time to do but heard were wonderful.
And last but not least THE FOOD! The food and drinks in New Orleans seems to be all anyone talks about. But for good reason. They are exceptional. There are so many places we didn’t try that due to the conference we just had to have quick meals. When I go back- I will be trying all new places.
Acme Oyster Bar– The food was fab but if you have a dairy allergy like I do it will be extremely difficult to find something on the menu. Thankfully the staff was insistent on helping me find something I liked and I was not disappointed with my choice of red beans, rice and spicy sausage.
Mother’s– This is an amazing, authentic experience. But get ready to wait in line. The line was out the door when we rolled up but they are very efficient and in no time we were being called by the singing, southern chefs behind the counter. You order at the counter and they bring your food out rather quickly for the amount of people in there. I had seafood gumbo, grits and seasoned greens. It.was.awesome.
Red Fish Grill– I have never had a salad so big IN MY LIFE. It was seriously a platter that could have served four. I had a shrimp salad and my boyfriend got the most amazing flash-fried crab legs and a po’boy. I was feeling very rough from our trip to Bourbon street the night before so I topped the meal off with a delicious and spicy bloody mary. This is a must eat for me!
Cafe Beignet& Cafe du Monde– Beignet’s are New Orleans famous pastry dish- it’s kinda like a donut..,which if you know me.. YOU KNOW. Kinda like a carnival fried dough covered in powdered sugar. Obviously I couldn’t just have one so I tried them at both the famous cafes and they were both delicious.
Pat O’Briens Bar– If you are looking for the famous New Orelean’s “hurricane” this is the place to get them. It is such a fun, open bar with a lot of different areas and a million different drinks. I had one sip of my friend’s hurricane and decided it wasn’t for me. But that’s because I learned my lesson earlier in the trip with the Hand Grenades on Bourbon street. Do not get the Hand Grenades on Bourbon street. They will cause memory loss and they will cause you to miss your 6am live workout. (FAIL)
Mardi Gras World-My company rented out Mardi Gras World for a private party that leaders in the company earned. It was incredibly decorated and the halls leading into the venue were adorned with all of the colorful, larger than life floats from Mardi Gras. I’m not sure what it normally looks like when it isn’t hosting an event but I’m assuming it’s still pretty awesome.
As usual, some of my favorite memories made where when I was just roaming around the city with my boyfriend and friends. WALK A LOT. Like as much as you can. This is my favorite way to stay in shape and see as much of the city as possible. I was crushing about 20,000 steps per day so that totally cancels out all those Beignets and cocktails..right!? Kidding. But it doesn’t hurt.
New Orleans definitely lives up to the hype. But it’s HOT. If you go in the summer be READY for that humidity. Listen to all the music, chat with the locals, eat ALL of the foods and let me know what you think. Do you have anything you can add from your trip? I know it is a city I will see again someday. That’s my slice of NOLA. Hope you enjoyed and happy, healthy, delicious travels to you. ❤