Attention, travelers: New Orleans is so much more than Mardi Gras. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind destination for a fall, winter, or spring getaway, I can’t recommend NOLA enough.
Chloe, Director of Client Success, here. I’m thrilled to say that I’m getting married in New Orleans next spring — so this is the perfect time to catch you up on all the must-do’s for visiting the visual/cultural delight that is “The Big Easy.”
- Maybe you’re reading this because you were lucky enough to snag tickets to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, coming to the Superdome in October 2024. Or, maybe you have tickets to Jazz Fest, the major music festival that happens each spring (happening April 25-May 5, 2024). Either way, lucky you.
- Gastro travel. On top of the city’s world-renowned Creole and Cajun food scene, two New Orleans restaurants were just named on the third annual New York Times Restaurant List of 2023’s 50 best restaurants in the country.
- The history. According to Tennessee Williams, “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.”
- While we don’t have a NOLAtoday (maybe one day), check out fresh events, itineraries, and guides via Visit New Orleans, @GambitNewOrleans, and Eater’s Guide to New Orleans.
Act like a local:
- Eat: While you absolutely must get classic eats like chargrilled oysters at Acme, turtle soup during jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace, fried chicken at Willie Mae’s, and the roast beef debris po’boy at Mother’s, there are a ton of new restaurants doing incredible things in the kitchen. Don’t miss the city’s authentic Vietnamese scene, including Mister Mao (still on my bucket list) and MOPHO (order the curry red beans and rice).
- Drink: The Purple Drank from Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar (possibly the oldest bar in the US), a Hurricane from Pat O’Brien’s, happy hour cocktails at Atchafalaya, beers and snacks from Avenue Pub, French wine in N7’s secret garden, dive bar vibes at Vaughan’s Lounge, outdoor wine sips at Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits, and an Iced Oji from French Truck Coffee.
- Listen: A few of our favorite live music venues (where you can see live jazz and other acts all year round) include Maple Leaf, Preservation Hall, The Spotted Cat, Tipitina’s, and d.b.a. — but that’s just the start of the list. (Make sure to stop by the open-air market Frenchmen Art Bazaar to browse local art, clothing + more before or after Spotted Cat.)
- History: 40% of New Orleans’ urbanized area is within a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. See the history just by walking through the streets of the circa-1718 French Quarter, riding the St. Charles streetcar through the mansions of the Garden District, or visit one of these cultural meccas: Ogden Museum of Southern Art, The National WWII Museum, and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. And don’t forget to honor the dead (and admire the stonework) at St. Roch Cemetery No. 2.
- Shop: With all that history comes an amazing antiques scene. Hit up the antique shops on Royal Street, including The Brass Monkey, French Antique Shop, Royal Antiques, Keil’s Antiques, and Vintage 329. If you’re looking for women’s clothing, stop into Funky Monkey and Century Girl Vintage on Magazine Street. For books, visit Crescent City Books, Beckham’s Bookshop, and Faulkner House Books. And make sure to bring a few records home to remember the music scene: Pick one up at Louisiana Music Factory (say hi to the shop cat, Snooks), Euclid Records, or Peaches.
Where to stay:
- Vrbo: Try this beautifully updated second-floor unit in a historic home with a large balcony overlooking St. Charles Avenue, located in a super convenient spot between the Garden District and Uptown (~$248/night).
- Splurge hotel: The stay of my dreams is at The Chloe, an aesthetically stunning 14-room boutique hotel, restaurant, bar, pool and patio, all housed in a 19th-century Uptown mansion on St. Charles Ave. (~$300+/night).
- Save hotel: The Canopy Hilton New Orleans is beautifully designed and situated in the Central Business District within a 10-minute walk to the French Quarter. Bonus: Guests can use the hotel’s Canopy Bikes to get around the city (~$110/night).
Enjoy New Orleans — and if you happen to be there in March 2024, buy the bride a drink.