Planning a trip to New Orleans soon and need a few ideas for stuff to do or places to go? Well look no further – I’ve got quite the list for you! Living about an hour and a half from New Orleans, I’m there fairly often. While you should definitely check out some of the more touristy things on your first visit, you should make sure you check out some of those less-touristy things too. Here’s a list with both, which will hopefully help you plan your next trip.
The New Orleans French Market has been in the same location since the 1790s. How crazy is that? Today, the market is home to several dozen shops, stalls, and restaurants and is definitely a must-see. It’s a great place to check out work from local artisans, as well as grab a few souvenirs and a quick bite to eat. While most of the vendors accept credit cards, be sure to bring some cash with you in case you want to haggle with the stall-owners.
You’re probably seeing this and thinking “Duh!”. The French Quarter, while home to so many fun places to shop and wonderful places to eat, is a beautiful place in and of itself. While you’re shopping around, be sure to take the time to actually look around at the beautiful architecture, wrought-iron balconies, and cobblestone streets. Also make a stop on the levee to see the mighty Mississippi River and get a great shot of Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral.
After walking around for a while, be sure to stop in the original Café du Monde to grab some delicious beignets and a café au lait. Their chicory coffee blend is delicious, so if you prefer your coffee with a little less milk, be sure to give their regular coffee a try. The lines can get pretty long depending on the time of day, but not to worry – they usually move fairly quick. If you don’t want to wait, there is another Café du Monde location in the River Walk, and while it might not be the original, the beignets are just as delicious!
Royal St. in the French Quarter is filled with amazing clothing boutiques, home decor stores, and antique shops. Located just one street over from Bourbon St, you’d never imagine it would be so quaint and full-of-life. A stark contrast to the loud, bright, overpowering Bourbon St. and definitely more kid-friendly as well. You may even catch a jazz band or two playing.
Ah, Magazine St. With the Audubon Zoo on one end, it passes right through the Historic Garden District and all the lovely homes there, and ends right in the heart of the French Quarter. You can find an assortment of shops and restaurants all up and down Magazine St. I wouldn’t recommend walking the entire thing in one go, but would advise you drive down and make stops in the little pockets of shops as you see fit. You can find so many unique things on Magazine St., from antiques to art to vintage clothing. Definitely a must-see on a shopping day.
If you saw my post on Facebook the other day, then you know I made my own little shopping trip to Magazine St. My friend that was in from Canada was busy with conference stuff, so I decided to make a little trip to get out of the apartment I rented (more about that later this week). I definitely got a ton of shopping done and even found a few cute things for my house.
If you read my Weekend in New Orleans post a few weeks back, then you know some of my favorite restaurants and shops are on Magazine St. I’ll be writing a post about that later this week, but if you really want some authentic pralines, Tee-Eva’s is the place to go! Nothing against the many candy shops in the French Quarter that sell pralines, but Tee-Eva’s is by far the best I’ve had.
If you’ve never been to New Orleans before, then you should definitely check out Bourbon St. Otherwise, I’d skip it unless you have a specific destination in mind. Why you ask? Well for one, it is a bit overrated. *Gasp* I know, I know. Bourbon St. is pretty famous. And can be fun. But frankly, with the exception of a few places, the bars are over-priced and the drinks are kind-of terrible.
If you love to drink super sugary drinks in giant souvenir cups, go for it. Otherwise, head to one of the many amazing craft cocktail bars off of Bourbon. And, if you do decide to walk down Bourbon, do so in something other than sandals. Trust me. And bringing your kids probably isn’t the best idea. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a few gems on Bourbon St. (more on that in a post later this week), you just have to know where to look!
The National WWII Museum has to be my favorite museum in NOLA. We go every time we’re in New Orleans, and it always such a treat. They are constantly rotating out exhibits and creating new permanent ones, and they never disappoint. If I lived in New Orleans, you can bet I’d have an annual pass. Definitely plan to spend several hours here though – the museum is huge. And is kid-friendly for all of you with small children. They have interactive elements throughout the museum to keep everyone interested, and a few places to grab a snack while you’re in between exhibits.
I actually went to this museum for the first time just this weekend and absolutely loved it. If you want to know more about the food/alcoholic beverage history of the south and New Orleans, this is definitely a good place to do it! They are also home to the largest absinthe collection in the US, offer cooking classes, and have a delicious restaurant right next door.
If you’ve read some of my other travel posts, then you know my fiancé and I love zoos and aquariums. The Audubon Zoo and the Audubon Aquarium are no different. The zoo itself is situated down Magazine St, about a 15-20 minute drive from the French Quarter. The Aquarium on the other hand is right by the French Quarter, close to the River Walk. You can even book special “Meet The Animals” appointments at the aquarium and feel the otters/penguins! Just be sure to book in advance.
Have any questions or think I missed something? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!