As you all know I’m all for maximizing weekends so about two weekends ago I hit New Orleans solo for 48 hours! While most think it’s solely great to visit for Mardi Gras there’s much more to make you visit year round. From the rich history, culture, and cuisine this magical city has stolen a piece of my heart.
Where to Stay
If you love being in the midst of the party opt for being in the French Quarter. However, since I value my sleep I stayed at The Troubadour – A Joie de Vivre Hotel one of the boutique hotels located in the Central Business District (CBD). Their rooms feature a Bluetooth speaker, steamer, Jonathan Adler toiletries, and an impressive mini bar with a cocktail setup. What I love about the CBD is it allows you to be close to the party but still get the opportunity to relax & recharge once you’re ready to call it a night.
What to Do in the Day
NOLA takes the cake with the number of interesting tours and attractions catering to every traveler. Get around town and ride in style on a streetcar the current fare is $1.25 a ride. For a full day of exploring invest in a one-day Jazzy Pass for $3 with unlimited rides. I rode down to the Audubon Aquarium which boasts a 400,000 gallon Gulf of Mexico exhibit and a number of immersive wildlife experiences. It was so cool to pet the stingrays and learn about our underwater friends! Later I took a stroll through Woldenberg Park and ended up at the dock of the Steamboat Natchez. This iconic vessel is one of the very few original steamboats left sails down the Mississippi River and offers a beautiful view of the skyline. Pricing varies from $32-81 per adult depending on which cruise you take however each include live music.
What to Do at Night
Make your way to Bourbon Street at least once just to experience the madness. Stop over at Tropical Isle and try the popular Hand Grenade – a neon green drink made from a secret recipe. To be honest it wasn’t my favorite but to each their own. Some bars I did enjoy were the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone and The Old Absinthe House. Before leaving Bourbon St. a stop at The Jazz Playhouse is a must! It’s a sexy lounge located inside the Royal Sonesta where you’ll discover a true experience of jazz music. When I was there I got to enjoy the sounds of NOLA legend Germaine Bazzle & friends. For a less crazy New Orleans nightlife experience visit Frenchman St. instead.
Where to Eat
New Orleans is heaven for foodies! It’s a place where you’ll find traditional French cooking mixed with that Cajun and Creole flair. Start off your day at the Ruby Slipper – a cafe that is well worth the wait. Luckily you can order a cocktail street-side to fill the time. However, I highly recommend making reservations for this voted top breakfast spot.
Next up on the must-haves when in New Orleans are the char-grilled oysters from Acme House and beignets and café au lait at the famous Café du Monde. Both depending on the location is available nearly if not 24 hours for the most part.
For dinner, I went to DTB that stands for Down the Bayou which recently opened in uptown New Orleans back in March. It’s a cute spot featuring a seasonal menu with some of the freshest ingredients. Although everything was delicious my favorite dish was the Fried Cornbread which had a ham hock marmalade, goat cheese, and jalapeno for the perfect savory/sweet combo.
Last but not least, I went to Maypop for their dim sum brunch. Their chef Michael Gulotta holds the recognition of being one of the Best New Chefs in America from Food & Wine and is the sweetest person I had the pleasure of meeting. His menu – a fusion of southern & southeast Asian cuisine packs a flavor so bold you’ll still be dreaming of what you ate weeks later. I literally cannot pick one single favorite item from here as it was all so good! I indulged in the Crispy Fried Oysters, Hot Chicken on a Biscuit, and the Sweet Corn Panna Cotta which had a cornbread funnel cake.
All in all, just pace your self because the food induced coma is too real!
Want to see more photos from my trip? Head over to my Facebook album here and I’ll see you back next time…
xo Sincerely Shanti
Photography of me by Lily Magnolia Rose Art