“There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better.”
I love to travel! When I’m going on a trip I do extensive amounts of research and planning to make sure I’m experiencing the best of the city and getting the most out of my time there. Even though I have plans when I travel, I love to ask the locals their recommendations once we arrive. This always gets me thinking – What recommendations would I give a tourist in New Orleans? What restaurants would I tell them to eat at? What bars would I tell them to get happy hour at? What activities would I tell them to do?
One of my favorite things to do is play tourist in my city as often as I can! I think I’ve gained enough experience over the past 20 something years to give you some great recommendations of how to do NOLA! So…. Here is my New Orleans Travel Guide!
NEW ORLEANS TRAVEL GUIDE
“You can live in any city in America, but New Orleans
is the only city that lives in you.”
New Orleans has always been at the center of my heart. After spending 4 years in Baton Rouge for college and returning home, I truly began to experience and appreciate all New Orleans has to offer. There’s just something about this place – the food, the music, the culture, the history, the traditions, the people. There is no other place like it in the world! I know I’m being biased but come visit and see for yourself!
Some tips for when you visit:
- The New Orleans airport is about 30 minutes from the city so keep that in mind when making your plans. Also, our new terminal will be open so soon so traveling to NOLA will be even better!
- New Orleans is HOT and HUMID from about May to September. If you’re coming during those times, prepare accordingly.
- The best way to get around in New Orleans is with ride sharing apps, like Uber and Lyft. That’s what we use when we’re out and about in the city. But you can also hop on the streetcar, have a pedi-cab drop you off, or rent a blue bike at different spots in the city. New Orleans is fairly a small city so it can be easy to get around.
More on where to eat and what to do below.
WHERE TO EAT IN NOLA
“When you go to New Orleans, you’re not just going to a city,
you’re going to an entire culture.”
*Let’s be real, you could spend 2 weeks in New Orleans straight and not eat at all of the great restaurants. I tried to not overwhelm you with all of the places to eat but somehow this list is this long, and I didn’t even include every place I wanted to LOL. Enjoy!
Ruby Slipper. My mom’s favorite breakfast spot. There are multiple locations in the city so do your research before heading to one to see which one has the shortest wait time. And great breakfast drinks – bacon-infused vodka Bloody Mary and traditional Mimosa with a splash of pomegranate juice.
Elizabeth’s. In the bywater, this is a locals’ favorite breakfast spot. Get there early because the wait gets crazy!
Camellia Grill. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night drunk food. You can come to this New Orleans classic diner any time of the day!
Willa Jean. Chic cafe with new twists on southern foods along with baked goods, coffee and cocktails. And you’ve got to get the chocolate chip cookies with milk and a side of batter on a whisk.
Pizza Delicious. The BEST pizza place in the city of New Orleans, located in the Bywater.
Pizza Domenica. A rustic and fun place with gourmet pizzas.
Company Burger. Best burger in the city! I love places that have two thin patties instead of one big one.
Port of Call. I’ve eaten here since I was a little girl. Big burger with a big baked potato. And you HAVE to get a Monsoon!
Parkway Po-Boy. If you’re looking for a roast beef po-boy or surf and turf (roast beef and fried shrimp), go here.
Domilise’s. If you’re looking for a fried shrimp or fried oyster po-boy, go here.
Central Grocery. If you’re looking for a muffaletta, you’ve got to go to the place that invented it.
Liuzza’s. If you can’t decide if you want a po-boy or a muffaletta, you can have the best of both worlds with the frenchalata (a muffaletta on french bread, like a po-boy).
Dat Dog. Gourmet sausages and hot dogs. Choose from the menu or build your own with 30 different toppings!
*BBQ joints have been popping up all over New Orleans. I’m not mad about it because I could eat BBQ every day. These are my top three faves!
Superior Grill. My favorite margarita in the city!
Juan’s Flying Burrito. Classic mexican dishes, plus some with New Orleans twists.
NEW ORLEANS CLASSICS
Drago’s. Looking for chargrilled oysters? Look no further.
Brennan Restaurants. So many choices! Brennan’s, Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, Mr. B’s, The Bourbon House & Palace Cafe! Make sure to get the bananas foster dessert! It’s my fave!
Desi Vega’s. My favorite steakhouse in the city!
Galatoire’s. Fine dining serving French-Creole cuisine. Men, must wear a jacket!
Commander’s Palace. This iconic blue and white restaurant is a New Orleans landmark for Creole cuisine. And the bread pudding souffle is to die for!
Pascal Manale’s. So good! Best known for their BBQ shrimp but also serves New Orleans-Italian dishes.
Cafe du Monde. You cannot come to New Orleans without getting beignets!
Creole Creamery. An old-school, traditional American ice cream parlor. They make their ice cream in-house every day!
District Donuts. Donuts, sliders, and brews. Want breakfast? Come here. Want lunch? Come here.
*Breweries have been popping up all over New Orleans lately. These are my top three faves!
WHAT TO DO IN NOLA
“Everything in New Orleans is a good idea.”
Shops at Canal Place. The best place to do some luxury shopping in the city! And Morton’s Steakhouse is an added bonus.
The Riverwalk. New Orleans’ premier outlet mall where you can shop 25% – 65% off everyday! Sits right in the heart of downtown on the Mississippi River.
French Quarter Shopping. No, this isn’t an actual store but any street you walk down in the French Quarter will have a store for you to shop in. Whether it’s a national store like H&M or Sephora, a local art gallery, or a souvenir shop, there’s something for everyone!
City Park. There’s so much to do here! Walk or run on the trail, rent bikes or paddle boats, walk through the sculpture garden, enjoy the kid amusement park Storyland, get beignets, and so much more!
Festivals. No matter what time of year it is, there always seems to be a festival going on in New Orleans. From King Cake Festival and Macaroni Festival to larger festivals like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, and everything in between!
French Market. Enjoy 6 blocks of outdoor shopping from local vendors.
The National WWII Museum
New Orleans Museum of Art
Audubon Nature Institute
*I know I said nightlife but since this is New Orleans, you can go to any of these spots during the day and the party will be going.
Frenchman Street. Ryan loves this lively area! So much to see and do, away from the touristy Bourbon Street. Enjoy lunch or dinner at local restaurants, pop into a bar for some live entertainment, or enjoy the art market.
Cat’s Meow. This is such a tourist attraction, but I don’t care. It’s worth it! My girlfriends and I LOVE to karaoke and where else to do it than the most popular karaoke bar in the city!
Hot Tin. My favorite rooftop bar in the city. Located in the Pontchartrain Hotel, this is the absolute best view of the city for the gram!
Pat O’Briens. This is probably the most touristy place that you will find the most locals. Everyone loves Pat O’s for two reasons – hurricanes and the piano bar! So much fun!
Wrong Iron. Buzzin’ place no matter the day of the week, but especially on the weekends. Locals’ favorite beer garden! Serves 50 beers, 10 wines, 5 cocktails, and 4 frozen drinks all on tap, plus an additional drink menu. I threw Ryan’s surprise 27th birthday here!
Carousel Bar. Located in the Hotel Monteleone. There’s nothing like sitting at a bar that looks like a beautiful carousel, oh yeah, and moves like one, too! I promise you won’t get sick. It moves slowly!
Gold Mine Saloon. If you’re looking to get your dance on, this is the place! After a wedding in the city you can bet everyone will go here after. We even went here after our wedding! And you HAVE to get the Flaming Dr. Pepper.
Sazerac Bar. Anytime I go here, I feel like I’m taken back in time. Located in the Roosevelt Hotel. And you’ve got to try the world’s first mixed drink – the Sazerac. After Ryan proposed, he had all of our friends and family waiting to celebrate here!
Rock ‘n’ Bowl. Jam out, bowl, eat, and have fun at this spot!
Bacchanal Wine. This is a hidden gem. On the edge of the city, you’ll only find locals here. Enjoy wines by the bottle, delicious cheese boards, and live entertainment.
Lucy’s. Such a versatile place! During the day you’ll find people eating lunch. At night time, you’ll find the music bumping and people dancing on the bars.
There you have it! New Orleans in a nutshell according to moi! I hope you found fun things to do and yummy things to eat and drink during your visit to my hometown! You’re going to have a blast!
If you’re planning a trip to New Orleans, what are you looking forward to the most? And if you’re from New Orleans, what’s your favorite thing to do here? Let me know in the comments.