New Orleans is easily one of the top 5 places I have ever been. The history, the culture, and the people make New Orleans a must visit destination.
A favorite activity of mine to do in New Orleans is walk the streets early in the morning. You’ll see a different side to New Orleans that will make you feel the magic of the city. The streets being cleaned, a few stragglers who haven’t gone back to their hotel room yet, and a random saxophone in the distance are what await you in the morning.
So, what should you do for a weekend getaway to New Orleans?
Breakfast in a Go Cup
Magic in a cup, as I like to call it. This delicious breakfast, New Orleans style, is filled with yummy goodness. It has bacon, grits, scrambled eggs, sausage gravy, and hash browns all in a portable cup. Easy to eat while you walk the streets in the morning and perfect if you maybe enjoyed the nightlife a little too much the night before.
Found at Envie Espresso Bar & Cafe (1241 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116).
Explore Bourbon Street, but only because it’s a must
Bourbon Street is filled with characters and history. Here are some of the can’t miss places.
- Visit the Cat’s Meow to see karaoke but also to hang out on the outdoor balcony where the business owners will sometimes hand you BAGS of beads to throw down to other people. Fair warning, people will do whatever to get you to throw the beads.
- See the only shark attack on land at The Tropical Isle. No really, order the shark attack and have your phone ready to record the spectacle! Also, be careful of their famous drink – it will knock you off your feet!
- Want to visit the oldest known bar in the U.S. that is believed to have been frequented by pirates in the 1700’s? Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar is the place for you!
- Dueling pianos and the famous Hurricane await you at Pat O’Brien’s. Note – I was not a fan of the Hurricane but it’s a must try while in New Orleans!
- Stop in to any of the daiquiri shops (my favorite is the Big Easy Daiquiri at the corner of Bourbon & St. Louis Street)
- ~Voodoo~ vibes galore when you visit Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo. Just for fun, consider getting a psychic reading!
Bourbon Street is a wild experience – a must while in New Orleans but, one and done is the motto on Bourbon Street. Once you’ve seen it, you can move along to the better street in New Orleans – Frenchman Street.
Think of Frenchman Street as Bourbon Street’s calmer, more relaxed older brother. If you want more of the jazzy music and more food options, Frenchman Street is where you should be.
Some must do’s on Frenchman are:
- Try a alligator hot dog and crawfish Étouffée fries at Dat Dog
- Listen to music at any of the venues along the street
The Best Burger EVER
Port of Call, a couple streets over from Frenchman Street, has one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Expect a wait as it’s always busy. Note – they don’t have french fries so the burger comes with a baked potato. Also, one of the best baked potatoes I’ve ever had!
Located at 838 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116.
Take a Walking Tour
There are plenty to choose from but I definitely recommend either a ghost tour or the cemetery tour. Little did we know when we visited, you actually have to be with a tour group to enter the famous St. Louis Cemetery.
You’ll learn so much about the history of the city through a walking tour by people who know the city so it’s a MUST.
Walk the River Walk
See the mighty Mississippi River up close and personal as you watch the enormous boats pass by, wondering where they’re headed and where they’ve been.
Stop at the mall to cool off and explore Woldenberg Park.
Visit the Carousel Bar
Don’t expect to be able to snatch a seat since this bar is always crowded but definitely go see it in person! It’s truly a bar that looks like a carousel and actually moves (slowly, of course).
Located inside the Hotel Monteleone at 214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130.
Cafe Du Monde
No trip to New Orleans is complete without some beignets and cafe au lait. The only place to get these delicacies is at Cafe Du Monde. This iconic establishment has been around since 1862, so they know what they’re doing!
Beginner’s tips since this place is almost always packed:
- Since they’re open 24/7, go for a late night snack instead of breakfast. There’s barely anyone there at night!
- It’s CASH ONLY
- If you do go in the morning, go to the side window and order instead of sitting down to eat. You can order and then head across the street to Jackson Square to eat.
Located at 800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116.
Some places on my list that I still want to try are:
- Steamboat Jazz Brunch Cruise
- Magazine Street shopping
- Commander’s Palace
- Mother’s Restaurant for bread pudding and jambalaya
- Brennan’s for bananas fosters
I didn’t include these places as “must do’s” because I try to only write about places I have actually experienced.
Where to Stay
Each time I’ve visited New Orleans, I stay at the French Market Inn. It’s cozy, charming, supposedly haunted, and in the perfect location.
New Orleans is a place I can visit many times and never tire of it. It’s a must visit, not only in the U.S. but in the entire world.
To help you with your planning, here’s a sample 3-day itinerary!
Unfortunately, travel is currently limited and discouraged in some areas. However, don’t let that stop you from planning a trip for the (hopefully) near future!