New Orleans, Louisiana
FESTIVALS! Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest. There’s almost ALWAYS a festival going on no matter when you come.
- More about your oliver guide: Elizabeth Newcomer
- Trip type: Adult, City
- Activity level: easy
- Ideal length of trip: FIVE DAYS
to & from
- I prefer Delta, though you can get some good cheap flights on Southwest. MSY is building a new terminal, so stay tuned for Airport upgrades!
- No need to rent a car, you can get around Uptown by riding the Streetcar. Uber is another reliable way to go from place to place, as well as the trusty old United Cab.
Where to Stay
- The Soniat House is great for a young couple. It’s a romantic and intimate Boutique Hotel in the French Quarter with loads of charm.
- The Pontchartrain (located in the Garden District) and Ace Hotel (Warehouse District) are trendy new hotels with lots of style and cool, hip bars.
- The Windsor Court is the elegant old standby. If you’re into posh afternoon tea, this is your spot.
- Hotel Monteleone has the famous Carousel Bar and is a good choice for staying in the Quarter.
- There are some great Airbnb options if you want the “local” experience. Check out staying in Uptown, the Marigny or the Bywater. Treme Manor is great for larger parties.
Where to Eat and Drink
- Surrey’s: Traditional American sprinkled with Latin Fare served with organic juices!
- Elizabeth’s: Country style food in the Bywater
- Commander’s Palace: Try to sit in the Garden Room and enjoy your Bloody Mary to some great Jazz Music (feel free to dress up!)
- Turkey and the Wolf (Voted #1 Best New Restaurant in America by Bon Appetit): this unassuming sandwich joint has delicious and unique options between sumptuous bread…try the Ham sandwich and the Fried Bologna sandwich…the Deviled Eggs with Chicken skin is also to-die-for.
- Shaya: Incredible Israeli food from a James Beard Award-Winning chef, reservations are hard to find at this place, so try going for lunch…the lamb and hummus are exquisite
- Parkway Bakery and Tavern: This Obama approved casual joint has great Roast Beef Poboys.
- St. Roch Market: Stop by this Southern Food Hall for a plethora of choices when you’re exploring the architecture in the Bywater.
- Napoleon House: This may be my favorite restaurant in New Orleans…this French Quarter home was offered to Napoleon when he was in exile, he never made it, but the décor has stayed the same. My favorite is the Muffaletta with a Pimm’s Cup.
- Galatoire’s: If you wanna feel like a real local, go to this white table cloth Fine Dining French Quarter Establishment for a 3 hour lunch on Fridays (Jackets required).
- Butcher: the casual lunch version of Cochon, the Muffaletta is also amazing here
- Willie Mae’s: Real. Southern. Fried. Chicken. Enjoy the lines, they’re part of the experience.
- Company Burger: Addictive cheeseburger, delicious fries and shakes!
- Upperline: My favorite restaurant for dinner, this unique spot features the Art collection of the beloved owner Joann Clevenger. Try the Fried Green Tomato with Shrimp Remoulade, the Oysters St. Claude and the Slow Roasted Half Duckling with Garlic Port.
- Gautreau’s: Intimate and secluded restaurant in Uptown New Orleans, a local favorite
- Restaurant August: Stunning French Food by Chef-favorite John Besh
- Peche: Fresh, Beautiful, Modern Seafood
- Lillette: Uptown, try the Alaksan King Crab Claws with Passionfruit Butter
- Cochon: Everything Pig! James Beard Award Winning Restaurant
- La Petite Grocery: good for lunch and dinner, the Blue Crab Beignets are out of this world! The Hamburger is also melt-in-your-mouth good from James Beard Best Chef in South Award Winner and Top Chef Contestant
- Sylvain: Upscale Gastropub in the French Quarter, sit in the courtyard of this old, authentic carriage house.
- Cure: Stylish cocktail bar on the hip street of Freret in Uptown.
- Bouligny Tavern: Fun Happy Hour in this cool Gastropub.
- Hot Tin-Rooftop Bar (atop Pontchartrain Hotel): This exquisitely designed bar has great drinks and a killer view.
- Columns Hotel: this “haunted” hotel is right on the Avenue, and great to sit outside the porch and listen to the streetcar go by…best Bloody Mary’s
- Pat O’Brien’s: Have a hurricane and listen to the tunes at this Piano Bar with a great courtyard right off Bourbon Street.
What to Do
- Pick up a Friday Times Picayune that has a Lagniappe Section or on Monday, the free Gambit (available in most coffee shops) to find out everything that is going on in the city.
- FESTIVALS! Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest…there’s almost ALWAYS a festival going on no matter when you come.
- Walk the streets of Chartres and look at antiques on Royal.
- Get your palm read at Bottom of the Cup or in Jackson Square and follow it up with beignets from Café du Monde.
- Faulkner House Books: a quaint bookshop in Pirate’s Alley featuring Southern Literature
- Julia Street: Check out the local art galleries (check out the nearby Contemporary Arts Center, as well)
- Grab beignets from Morning Call after a walk through New Orleans Museum of Art Sculpture Garden (kids can play on nearby playground in City Park).
- Antique shopping on Magazine Street
- Grab an iced coffee from Still Perkin’ (located on Prytania and Washington), grab a good book from Garden District Books and walk across the street to check out Lafayette Cemetery.
- Clue Carré is a fun live escape game, great to go with a large group!
- Audubon Zoo or the Aquarium is a nice outing for kids
- Go see a movie and have a glass of wine at the Broad Theater
- Take a streetcar down St. Charles Avenue to Audubon Park WWII Museum: if you’re a history buff, this museum is impeccably curated and worth staying at for a few hours
- Check out Rebirth Brass Band and the Maple Leaf Bar on Tuesday nights
- Frenchmen Street (DBA, The Spotted Cat, Blue Nile, Snug Harbor – Ellis Marsalis plays on Friday nights)
- Preservation Jazz Hall for Traditional Jazz
What to Pack