New Orleans is one of my all time favorite cities. I think it’s one of those places that you absolutely love or absolutely hate. Maybe you even hate to love it or love to hate it. I have found that people have really strong opinions on NOLA. I personally fell in love with this city a few years ago when my husband (then – new boyfriend) and I took a quick trip there. We landed on NOLA because it was a place neither one of us had been before. We’ve both been back multiple times. I think it’s a city that gets better and better each time you go.
Trust me when I say that you will hardly be in your hotel room when you are in this city, but as an avid lover of a nice hotel stay I completely understand the importance of this selection. Below are the three hotels I’ve personally stayed in.
The Roosevelt New Orleans – This luxury hotel was gorgeous and had several amenities. It is a little further away from all of the action than the other two hotels are, but it is unique and had a lot of character. The mosaic tile on the lobby floor is original to the building dating back to the 1800s. There is also a seasonal rooftop bar to grab a drink if you have a little bit of down time.
Full disclosure: we stayed here about one day after Hurricane Isaac, so we did find a cockroach near our room. Honestly, it didn’t even phase us. We called maintenance to let them know and it was the first and last one we saw.
The Wyndham New Orleans – French Quarter – The location of this hotel is amazing. By no means is this a luxury hotel, but due to it’s location, I have to say it was very quiet and I was impressed. We couldn’t hear any street noise from our room! The lobby is extremely small and gets crowded easily. This was only a problem when we had the hotel hold our bags before and after we checked out of our room. There is a sports bar type restaurant attached to the hotel lobby. We grabbed a drink and an appetizer in here when we needed to kill a few minutes – not worth your time. There are a zillion better places to do that, but it is convenient. I’d like to note that there is a Walgreens right on the corner. Sounds silly to mention, but I am pretty sure we popped in that Walgreens daily.
JW Marriott New Orleans – We found ourselves at this hotel after our flight got cancelled unexpectedly. I am a Marriott Rewards Member and was able to book this hotel stay on points. This hotel seems to be geared towards their business clientele, but needless to say, we really enjoyed our stay here. The hotel is very clean and modern. As part of my Marriott perks, we received access to the Lobby Lounge and indulged in some pretty great snacks. Coming from the ultra quiet Wyndham, this hotel was extremely loud. If you are a light sleeper, this is not the hotel for you.
There are endless places to drink in NOLA and I mean endless! Of course you can binge drink on Bourbon Street, but if that’s not your scene – no worries! There are plenty of other options. Some of my favorites are listed below.
The Carousel Bar – This place is tucked inside the Hotel Monteleone and is literally a revolving carousel. It is slightly difficult to get a seat at the carousel because everyone wants to take a ride, but I suggest going at off times or hovering around some people who look like they are finishing up. It’s worth the wait.
Pat O’Briens – Home of the Hurricane! You can’t go to NOLA without having a Hurricane. It’s a staple. This place is fun, but if it’s too chaotic in there for you – ask for your cocktail to go!
Kingfish – We just happened to stumble upon this trendy bar and were pleasantly surprised with the interesting cocktails and savory appetizer list. My cocktail looked like art!
As with drinking, NOLA does not lack for insanely great places to eat. This is a city for foodies.
Cafe Du Monde – If you’ve never been to New Orleans, you HAVE to go here for beignets and an iced cafe au lait. I mean…
Acme Oyster House – Great place for lunch. This is where you want to come for the traditional po-boy sandwich. I don’t particularly love these, but if you’re going to have a po-boy I’d get it from here. How cute are my husband and I on our very first trip together?! #lovestuff
Court of Two Sisters – Obviously my sister and I had to come here, duh. But, seriously though… the Caesar salad is the best you will ever have. They make it tableside. Unfortunately, the patio was closed due to inclement weather. Supposedly, it’s the best place to sit.
Salon Restaurant by Sucré – I happened to recognize the name Sucré based on a gift of macaroons I received from close friends. I asked my mom and sister to go in and take a look. As soon as we walked in, we were instantly distracted by beautiful macaroons and gorgeous chocolates. Little did we know there was an adorable restaurant above this store. It was the middle of the afternoon and we hadn’t had lunch yet. It turned out that this restaurant had Summer Tea for $35 a person that includes beverages, savory sandwiches, baked goods, and sweet treats! We decided to go for it and loved every second. I highly recommend this place! The picture below is just the sweet treat portion! Insane, right?!
Bourbon Street – This is what everyone always thinks of when they think of New Orleans. Bourbon Street is fun, but there are so many more fun things to do than get blacked out on this street. With that said, you should experience Bourbon Street at night at some point in your life! It really is as crazy as everyone says.
Jackson Square and the French Market are located near each other and are just so full of life. From paintings to jewelry, artisans are all around in this area. My husband and I walked away with a fleur-de-lis painting that was painted during Hurricane Isaac on reclaimed wood salvaged from Hurricane Katrina!
St. Louis Cathedral – Located in Jackson Square, people have worshiped on this site since 1727. It’s worth going inside. We lit candles in honor of my dad’s recent passing.
Haunted History Walking Tour – This sounds super cheesy, but it’s a great way to explore the city on foot and get your bearings. I suggest doing this early on in your trip. You will also learn a lot of history about NOLA with some spooky stuff mixed in. Not to mention, they encourage you to bring a cocktail along and stop halfway through the tour at a haunted bar to use the restroom and grab another beverage! Don’t worry – you won’t see any ghosts.
Frenchmen Street and Frenchmen Art Market are a must. Frenchmen Street is where you’ll find all the jazz bars with live music. It’s a lot less chaotic than Bourbon Street, but equally as unique and fun. The Frenchmen Art Market has all sorts of unique items from candles, to jewelry, to art – you are bound to find great souvenirs here!
Do something local – New Orleans has parades, block parties, and festivals year round. Take a look at the local calendar to see if there is something that might interest you! My husband and I stumbled upon the Southern Decadence Parade, which turned out to be an absolute blast! My mom, sister, and I participated in the Spring Fiesta Historical Home Tour where five beautiful, privately owned and occupied, homes were opened up to the public.
Tour Cemetery Number One – This sounds like strange thing to do, I’m sure. However, New Orleans cemeteries are very well known. The tombs are all above ground and date back to 1800. There are horse and buggy rides that you can pick up in Jackson Square that take you on a tour. If you are a history buff, you’ll love this. It was gloomy when we went, but it set the perfect tone for our photos!
For a complete New Orleans itinerary, click here and enjoy your trip!