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It feels like I’ve been traveling a ton this year!
New Orleans is unlike any other city I have been to before. If you like history, then New Orleans is the perfect place to travel to. Being from the west coast where everything is fairly new, New Orleans seemed like a different country due to it’s age and history.
My husband and I visited NOLA and it’s easily one of my favorite cities I have ever visited.
What to pack
We arrived on July 12, 2017 in the middle of the scorching humid summer. The south is very humid and can have sporadic thunderstorms and showers for about 30 minutes. It will then clear up and be very hot and humid. I packed light clothing for this trip as I can’t handle heat very well. Ladies, expect to wear your hair up, a tank top, shorts, and good walking shoes. I wore my Merrell Women’s Terran Lattice II Sandal. I highly recommend getting these sandals as they are great for exploring and it also matches anything. I walked 9 miles a day wearing these sandals. I also recommend bringing another type of shoe to change the pressures of your foot. You don’t want to be miserable for the rest of your trip because your foot hurts! You need a shoe with heavy soles as the streets have different textures and lots of cobblestone.
Where to stay
We stayed in a private room at The Quisby which is located in the Warehouse/Garden District. This is a very cute boutique hostel and close to the French Quarter without paying the French Quarter prices. The Quisby offers free breakfast at 8am. The breakfast consists of croissants, bread, English muffins, jelly, salami, cheese, juice, and coffee. I am a coffee snob, and their coffee is excellent.
How to get anywhere
The cable car stop is right in front of The Quisby which makes it super convenient to go anywhere in the city. Our main transportation was the cable car, next was the bus, and finally Lyft. We used Lyft when walking to a cable car or bus stop was unbearable because of the heat or when we needed to go further outside of the French Quarter. A daily pass on the cable car and bus stop is $3 and you can download the RTA app to buy the pass, or just pay cash. Lyft is not allowed at the airport, so you will need to get an Uber. If you have a Costco Membership, I would rent a car instead. I looked at the prices before heading to New Orleans and it was only about $25 a day to rent which comes out cheaper than all the Lyfts, cable cars, and buses we took for six days, but I am not sure about parking prices though. It seemed that everyone just parked on the street for free.
What to do
New Orleans is filled with history, culture, scenery, and more. It is known for being one of the most haunted places in the US so of course a ghost tour is in order as well as a voodoo tour, and cemetery tour. New Orleans cemeteries are built above ground since the city is below sea level and bodies once washed up above when it would rain. The most famous cemetery is the St Louis #1 Cemetery where Marie Laveau, voodoo queen, was buried. Nicolas Cage also has built his tomb here. You heard that right. Nicolas Cage has a tomb here.
I recommend many tours to get the history of exactly what you are looking at. Free Tours by Foot offers great tours. It’s the only tour guide company that let’s you tip what you like. I signed up for a lot of these tours and they are loaded with interesting facts. Try to do one on your first day there so you can get some background of the city.
The French Quarter is the most popular location in the city. Do this on a weekday as the weekends tend to be packed. This will make you feel like you are in a different country due to the French architecture. Bourbon Street is just wild and every person visiting the city needs to experience this at night, especially on the weekend. Frenchmen Street in the Marigny neighborhood is where you will find jazz on the street and in the bars. It is laid back and much more classy than Bourbon. Frenchmen is also known for it’s art market.
To the south of the French Quarter is the Garden District. The architecture here is quite different because the people who moved here were Americans. The houses are lavish and many famous people own and live in this neighborhood including Sandra Bullock, John Goodman, and Archie Manning. The house which was used in American Horror Story Coven is also located in this neighborhood. The Lafayette Cemetery is also in this neighborhood. This cemetery is the only cemetery in New Orleans where Hollywood can film. Ever watch any movies or tv shows with cemeteries? It is most likely filmed here.
If you are into dog rescue, Villalobos Rescue Center is also in New Orleans. This is the rescue from the tv show Pit Bulls and Parolees. New Orleans also has the largest WWII museum and requires a few hours to see everything.
Don’t forget to check out Canal Street, Magazine Street, Riverwalk, Crescent Park, plantations, and the swamps. Crescent Park offers an amazing view of the skyline and the Mississippi River.
Where to eat
We ate out every day for mostly every meal and the list below are my favorite places for food. I hate wasting money on not so great food, so I’ve already done the work for you!
Cafe Du Monde – This place holds the world-famous beignets. There is a line if you go during prime hours so go when it isn’t a prime time and you can snag a seat fast. The beignets are only $3 for 3.
ACME Oyster House – Amazing oysters and Cajun food. ACME is inside Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel too so you don’t have to wait in line at the other locations.
Gallier Restaurant & Oyster Bar – This place is amazing and probably was one of my favorite places to eat. Gallier had the best charbroiled oysters I have ever had. The waitress is awesome too. She apparently works there 10am to 10pm! Go visit her! You will enjoy your time.
Cochon – This place is popular and requires reservations, but seating is available outside. The fried alligator is delicious and so is the gumbo! The price is a bit high for the amount of food received as they are small portions.
Cajun Seafood – Located in the 7th ward, this is not in the safest neighborhood, but they sure do have the best seafood boil at a great price. Don’t worry though, there is a sheriff that keeps guard at all times. The crawfish boil is only $4.99/lb! This place is a must visit. It is in high demand as we waited in line for an hour, but it was worth the wait!
The Tayho Tavern – Owned by Villabos Rescue Center, this restaurant is pit bull themed and serves some great tasting burgers and amazing tater tots!
Have you ever been to New Orleans before? What are some of your favorite things to do?