New Orleans Weekend Itinerary
According to Tennessee Williams, “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland”. He’s not wrong! This mystical city, in the heart of the south, is known for its vibrant music, delicious cajun food, European culture, and most of all resilience. Heading to New Orleans for a weekend? In this guide, I’m going to break down everything that you need to know before visiting, the best things to do in NOLA, and the best places to eat. New Orleans’s nickname is “The Big Easy” and this city makes you feel as though you have traveled back in time. And remember people, it is pronounced naw-lins!
Weather in New Orleans
In order to experience all that New Orleans has to offer it’s best to visit during the spring/fall months when tourism is down and the temperatures are bearable. Beware of visiting in the summer months it can be overcrowded and extremely hot & humid. Finally, keep in mind the most popular time to visit is Mardi Gras and it’s celebrated in NOLA for about two weeks.
Best Things to Do in New Orleans
Visit Jackson Square
Jackson Square was easily my favorite part of New Orleans. It’s a historical park located in the French Quarter. There is an array of musical acts that line this square so you can post up for hours and listen to music. Finally, in 1803 this is where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. You can also take a private carriage tour, which I highly recommend!
Bourbon Street is the quintessential street in New Orleans that dates back to 1718. Today it’s bustling with live music in almost every bar, to-go drinks every 10 feet, and endless partying. You truly can’t experience NOLA without walking down Bourbon Street. Finally, the Mardi Gras parade is the most popular New Orleans event to celebrate on Bourbon Street. A staggering 1.4 million people visit during Mardi Gras every year!
Explore Frenchmen Street
Frenchmen Street is the best way to explore NOLA like a local. Music pours out of every venue on this street and the artists migrate here for markets in the evenings. It was one of the best parts of this New Orleans travel guide!
The Garden District
The Garden District in New Orleans is an area with beautifully preserved historic mansions. You can take the St. Charles streetcar in order to access the Garden District. It’s also home to the world-famous Lafayette Cemetery. Not your average tourist jaunt, but this is one of the most unique activities to do in New Orleans! Finally, if you’re a fan of the show American Horror Story, The Coven House is also located in this area.
Book a Haunted Walking Tour
New Orleans is steeped in history pertaining to witchcraft, voodoo, and ghost stories. One of the coolest activities to do is booking a haunted walking ghost tour in the French Quarter. It’s the perfect spooky activity to immerse yourself in the culture and learn about the legends that surround this haunted city!
Visit Mardi Gras World
Mardi Gras world is a tourist attraction in New Orleans that offers a behind-the-scenes look at past Mardi Gras floats and parade props. Over 500 floats are housed in this warehouse. They offer tours every day and tickets are $22.
French Quarter New Orleans
The French Quarter is the vibrant heart of New Orleans history. It’s one of the most charming places I ever visited. It’s famous for its charming colorful buildings with cast-iron balconies. Come here for the jazz clubs, delicious New Orleans cajun food, and simply marvel at the beautiful architecture.
Take a Ride on a Streetcar
The St. Charles Streetcar Line is the oldest running line in the world (been around since 1835). This line runs in a 6-mile crescent through the central business district to Uptown New Orleans and around the Riverbend to Claiborne avenue. Fares are $1.25 and need to be paid with direct change when boarding. Finally, you can ride this directly to the Garden District (20-30 minutes from Downtown).
New Orleans Weekend Itinerary
Here is a sample 3-day New Orleans Itinerary that you can follow:
- Arrive in New Orleans in the afternoon
- Drinks at the Carousel Bar
- Dinner at Mulate’s
- Haunted walking tour
- Breakfast at Cafe du Monde
- Walk around the French Quarter
- Jackson Square
- Lunch at Stanley’s
- Walk down and experience Bourbon Street
- Dinner at Coquette
- Drinks at Lafittes Blacksmith Bar
- Brunch at Monty’s on The Square
- Streetcar ride to The Garden District
- Lafayette Cemetery walking tour
- Explore Frenchmen Street
- Walk through City Park
- Depart NOLA
Restaurants in New Orleans
Cafe Du Monde – If New Orleans is known for any particular food it’s beignets. And Cafe Du Monde is the most iconic spot! It is hands down the most tourist spot in New Orlean but everyone needs to visit at least once. Make sure you go here early in the AM or late at night to beat the crowds!
Stanley’s – A chic brunch eatery at the corner of Jackson Square. It’s in a prime location for people watching since it’s located directly in Jackson Square! Our favorite was the Eggs Benedict Poor Boy (pictured above).
Coquette – Coquette is a family ran farm-to-table restaurant known to awaken your palette! Major interior goals as well. Make sure to make reservations for this restaurant.
The Best Cajun Restaurants to Try
- Atchafalaya Restaurant
- Cochon and Cochon Butcher
- Restaurant R’evolution
- Mulate’s – The Original Cajun Restaurant
Nightlife in New Orleans
Sazerac Bar – Located in the Roosevelt Hotel this swanky (non-tourist) bar is filled with historical wonders. Urban legend says that an attempted assassination took place here on Senator Huey P. Long in the 1930s. The bullet hole is still there today!
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar -Lafitte’s is a local legend. It’s easily the creme de la creme of New Orleans nightlife. It doesn’t look like much on the outside but it’s one of the oldest bars around, serving frozen drinks since the 1700s!
Carousel Bar – Carousel Bar should be on the top of your list for your New Orleans weekend. It is a local legend in New Orleans. It’s a carousel-themed bar that actually rotates like a carousel. It’s extremely popular so go in expecting to wait quite a long time in order to sit at the bar. But it’s a cool experience nonetheless!
Hotels in New Orleans
Hotel Monteleone: Known for its wonderful customer service. It’s situated right off Bourbon street so if you’re into the party scene, this is the spot for you! Finally, be sure to book a room with a balcony!
Cambria Hotel: We personally stayed at the Cambria Hotel. Although it was a little out of the way from the main attractions, it was nice and quiet. Furthermore, we enjoyed the updated rooms and amenities!
Loews New Orleans Hotel: The Loews New Orleans Hotel is located adjacent to the cable cars if you’re looking for a hotel that has easy transit access. They offer a great happy hour, endless amenities, and a wonderful breakfast spread!
In conclusion, New Orleans is the perfect weekend getaway for couples. Especially during the warmer months when music fills the streets 24/7. Thank you for reading and to check out more of my USA Travel Guides.
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