Hello, hello, hello and welcome back to another edition of Travel Tips Tuesday, where bloggers chat about their favorite cities around the world and give their perspective on their experiences. I’m super excited about today’s post, because two of my favorite Philly bloggers are sharing my favorite city (that I’ve never even been to) – New Orleans! I’m not sure when my fascination with New Orleans began, perhaps with AHS: Coven, but this city has long captivated me, and I hope to visit there soon.
Jess and Martine run an awesome blog called Broke Girls Go Out, where you can find how to make the most of the City of Brotherly Love without breaking the bank. Without further ado, take it away girls!
Hey Positive Publicity readers! Thanks so much to Camille for letting us gush publicly about our love for New Orleans.
We started a tradition two years and three trips ago to take an annual vacay together. Of the places we’ve been recently (first a weekend trip to Washington, D.C., 5 days spent in New Orleans, and then another 5 the following year in Nashville; also we both went separately to Miami for a first time), we have to say, NOLA is our hands down fave!
In NOLA there’s no clear separation between locals and tourists – the whole city is so vibrant, and the culture all-encompassing, everything feels novel without feeling sell-out-y (totally a word). And we should know- one night we were locals completing our undergrads at LSU. (And not a single person questioned it… #drunkdiaries)
Definitely plan for a couple of days or even a week in The Big Easy, as there is sooo much to see, do and eat!
Must do and see:
We’ll just get the obvious out of the way. Bourbon Street is *the* place to be pretty much any night of the week, year-round. If you’ve been to Nashville, it’s like Broadway, except Broadway is short, quiet and disappointing in comparison.
Bourbon Street is where you’ll find groups of 50-something’s decked out with their Mardis Gras beads and letting loose at 5 p.m. It’s where you’ll find people from all walks of life with drinks in hand (yay open container laws!), getting confetti and beads dropped on them from patrons of the balconies above as they walk past. You probably don’t want to spend every night at the cheesy, super loud bars on this street, but you’d be remiss to pass up the chance completely.
Every city has its architectural icons – we have the Liberty Bell, France has the Eiffel Tower… New Orleans has Touchdown Jesus. OK, so you don’t need to walk by the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue to make your trip complete, but because our hotel was located blocks away in the French Quarter, we found his victorious shadow a friendly and memorable landmark on our way to and from daily adventures.
Frenchmen Street is Bourbon Street’s hip older sibling. There you’ll find a plethora of live music and chill vibes, perfect for letting loose without the crazy crowds and chaos of Bourbon Street.
Definitely take a tour of one of the cemeteries while you’re in the city. We toured the Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District, which is a popular spot for movies filming in New Orleans. St. Louis Cemetery # 1 is also a great cemetery to tour- it’s home to Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau’s grave.
Speaking of the Garden District… Don’t be afraid to venture out of the French Quarter, and don’t miss the Garden District, which is where a lot of the mansions are. There are plenty of art shops there, too! If you go, check out Zele NOLA, a multi-vendor art market that features local artists (with affordable artwork!).
We’re big fans of ghost tours (we’ve done one on almost every trip we’ve been on- does that make us lame?) and NOLA is the perfect place to go on them! We loved the Haunted History Voodoo Tour which covered the history of voodoo, with just the right amount of creepiness mixed in.
Where to eat:
Cafe du Monde, because duh. You might be surprised to learn that it’s not a tourist trap, but an absolute must-visit. And if your days are packed full of activities, our expert travel advice is to make a drunken coffee and beignets stop around 2 a.m. (Bonus points if you get two complete strangers to share a beignet, Lady in the Tramp style!… Not that we did that, or anything…)
The one thing we didn’t seem to see a lot of in the French Quarter (and maybe it’s because we really weren’t looking for them) was cafes. We did find one perfect one, though- Petite Amelie. We would have stopped here every morning if it was closer to our hotel!
We had the best brunch at Surrey’s Juice Bar in the Lower Garden District.
If you’re looking for a fancy dinner, we highly recommend Bayona. Perfect for our girl date night (or a real date night, of course)!
And don’t forget to take advantage of NOLA’s open container laws! We got in the habit of stopping at Fat Tuesdays for frozen daiquiris before we went out adventuring at least once a day, if not more! We’re typically beer and wine girls, but when in Rome…
Why you love this city/favorite thing about it:
It’s funny – one afternoon when we were wandering around the French Quarter, we agreed that, while we liked New Orleans a lot, we probably wouldn’t come back unless invited to a bachelorette party or birthday bash in the future. Weeks after returning to Philly, we were already missing the city and agreed that we both absolutely wanted to go back!
What we loved most about NOLA was that there were plenty of things to do besides getting drunk. Sure, there’s a TON of opportunities to get drunk, which we also loved. But we’re old now, and being wasted the entire trip was not on our agenda. We were pleasantly surprised to find that there was so much stuff that doesn’t (or doesn’t have to) involve drinking.
Anything a first timer visiting this city should know?
Skip the shuttle to/from the airport- taking a cab is cheaper!
If you’re looking for a place to stay, we loved the Olivier House Hotel! It was quaint, centrally located and possibly employed a vampire as the night concierge- what more can you ask for out of your NOLA accommodations?
We ate and drank A LOT, but barely made a dent in the NOLA food scene. We recommend doing some restaurant research ahead of time and choosing the spots you definitely want to hit.
Save room in your suitcase for souvenirs! There’s artwork and adorable things for sale pretty much everywhere, and most of it is reasonably priced, so expect to pick up at least a few things while you’re there.
And please, for the love of God, if you see a voodoo doll that you really want, scoop that sucker up because you might just lose him if you decide to “think about it” for a bit. (Again, not that we did that…)
*All photos by Jess and Martine of Broke Girls Go Out*