In the first week of 2013, my good friend Lindsay and I spontaneously booked a flight to New Orleans. No specific reason really. Probably just our wanderlust flaring up. Neither of us had ever visited New Orleans before and it is known for it’s excellent dining and nightlife. So yea, why not?
We stayed at the Renaissance New Orleans Arts Hotel, a few blocks from the Mississippi River and about a 1 mile walk to Bourbon Street. The hotel was very clean and modern, there was a rooftop pool and hot tub and our room was humongous. I really liked the location because it got us a little bit away from the hoopla of Bourbon Street but if you’re looking to stay right in the action this might not be the place for you.
The best way I can describe Bourbon Street is by comparing it to The Strip in Las Vegas but with bars instead of casinos. And why would you want to gamble your money away when you could drink it away?
We arrived just after New Years Eve and forsaken bead necklaces filled the gutters. There weren’t any infamous New Orleans celebrations going on, just the typical Bourbon Street crowd as well as Sugar Bowl attendees. We enjoyed sitting next to the heater in a small courtyard, sipping hurricanes and people-watching.
We spent a few days walking the French Quarter, lounging in Jackson Square, listening to live music (our favorite street performers were the band Yes Ma’am) and eating mind-blowing food. Oh man, the food! Did I mention that eating is one of our favorite activities? Who doesn’t like to sample the local cuisine when they travel? #Foodstagram Am I right?
There are a few eateries I would say you absolutely HAVE to hit up when in New Orleans.
Brunch at the Ruby Slipper Cafe. It has a great atmosphere and you can’t go wrong with one of the daily specials. Sit at the bar if you have the chance, it’s fun to chat with the wait-staff.
Beignets at Cafe Du Monde, the original French market coffee stand. Yea, it’s the “typical” thing to do. But it’s worth it. People aren’t lying when they say they have the best beignets in the city. Be sure you don’t hesitate at the door, it’s a seat-yourself place and tourists tend to crowd around the entrance when trying to get in.
Charbroiled oysters at Drago’s. Don’t question…just do it. You’re life will be changed. You’re welcome.
We found these gems by chatting with the locals, pretty much every bartender or waiter we had. They gave amazing recommendations and didn’t once steer us wrong.
Anyone have plans to visit New Orleans? Any recommendations we may have missed out on? I would definitely suggest that any 21-and-uppers out there consider New Orleans the next time you’re looking to get a fix of culture and nightlife.
And if you do end up finding yourself in New Orleans, eat some charbroiled oysters..mmk?