Special thanks to Krissi Fajgenbaum, Charlie Palmer, and Phyllis Koehler for the recommendations and pictures!

Trek down to the bayou where the streets, people, and dishes are brimming with flavor. Inspired by French-colonial architecture and customs, this southern hub is unlike anywhere else in the United States. Find lively locals, packed bustling bars, and spicy specialties everywhere you go!


Things to Do

Audubon Zoo: Really stellar conservation organization. The zoo has an awesome section that highlights local animals of the swamp and bayou, but also animals from all over the world. If you want to see animals close up, they have several feeding times, and beautiful peacocks casually stroll through the zoo.


Bourbon Street: Go wherever looks fun to you! The street is packed with colorful establishments, and Bourbon Cowboy is fun if you’re into rowdy country bars and bull riding.

Festivals: There is ALWAYS something going on. The city will literally turn every delicious NOLA food and music into some sort of festival. Our favorites are: Crawfish Festival, Oyster Festival, VooDoo, Jazz Fest and Cajun-Zydeco Festival.

French Market: Take a stroll around, shop at vendors (get a voodoo doll so you can torment your enemies), and grab a regional lunch like Cajun Crawfish, all while listening to Zydeco music. A total of 6 blocks!


Frenchman Street: Explore this lively street in the evening and go where the music takes you! La Maison is a personal favorite, where you’re bound to find an amazing band and get groovin'.


Jackson Square: Historic area, walk around and see local painters or street performers.


Tipitina’s: Awesome spot with amazing local vibe and artists. Uptown, which means you’ll escape the tourists.


Mardi Gras: This one should be a given. The date changes yearly based on Easter (check the schedule here) but is typically in February or March. This wild event fills the streets with parades and inflatables. There will be no shortage of masks, booze, and beads. 


Pride Parade: One of the best places in the United States to experience Pride! Music and amazing food fill the streets.

Voodoo: One of our favorite festivals that combines art and music. It's a must! 

Places to Eat

Brennan's Brunch: Home of Bananas Foster -- if you’re into salivating while someone whips up this life changing treat right beside your table. They also have great Eggs Benedict with local flare (they add fresh-caught rabbit).


Cafe du Monde: Beignets and cafe au lait. Make sure to bring cash!


Central Grocery: Must try the muffuletta! This combo of olives and Italian meats will tantalize anyone’s taste buds. One bite and you’ll be dreaming about it long after leaving.

Coops Place: Some of the best cajun fried chicken in the area!

Drago's: Fantastic charbroiled oysters and other seafood options.


Galatoire's: Really nice downtown spot where you'll find locals frequently, which tells you it’s authentic. Bring a sports coat & make reservations.

Grand Isle: Can't go wrong with their awesome happy hour deals on house cocktails, shrimp, and oysters from 4-6. 


Hansen's Sno Bliz or Plum Street Snoball: Famous snow cones, especially the creamy ones. Every local has their personal favorite snow spot, so you really can't go wrong.


Jacque-Imo's: Funky southern hotspot closer to Tulane, near uptown.


K-Paul's: Always a favorite for dinner. Known for their super savory southern, fresh seafood, and fried delectable dishes. Just know, a reservation is necessary.

Manolito: Recommended by locals - tasty cuban food and awesome rum drinks. 


Surrey’s Cafe: If you need a reprise from tourists, this cool low-key spot is the move. They've got a bomb brunch.

Places to Drink

Hand Grenade on Bourbon St: It is a NOLA rite of passage, the staple big plastic cup. Pick one up from any shop or cart, it'll do the trick.


Pat O’Brien’s: This is a classic NOLA spot. Hangout in their adorable courtyard while drinking a famous Hurricane.


Superior Seafood: Snag a frozen mojito or their famous Frozen French 75 cocktail paired with chargrilled oysters that'll change your life! Go at happy hour for BOGO (buy one get one) drinks.

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop: One of New Orleans oldest structures, as well as an awesome piano bar and hurricane drinks. 

Hotel Monteleone Carousel Bar & Lounge: Grab a cocktail while riding the 65 year old carousel inside the hotel.

Old Absinthe House: Area landmark serving absinthe cocktails. 

Wander Bourbon Street for 13 blocks of entertainment, bars, and clubs, or the 3 blocks of Frenchman Street. One of the best things about New Orleans is the open container law, so take advantage of wandering with to go cups!

Places to Stay

Hotel Saint Marie is in the heart of the French Quarter, just off Bourbon Street and close to the French Market. Wander outside to hear local bands playing at the numerous bars and clubs off Frenchman Street. 

During the many festivals of NOLA the hotels can get expensive, but the best area to stay is walking distance to the French Quarter. Make sure you book far in advance, especially if you're coming for Mardi Gras - things can book up fast!


Any time during the year there are many Airbnb options. Pick whether you want to be closer to the ruckus of Bourbon Street or tucked away in uptown.


Ride the Streetcar: It’s fun, cheap, and can take you most places you need to go. St. Charles Street will take you from downtown to uptown and you’ll pass lots of cool places on the way! We recommend grabbing frozen mojitos at Superior Seafood during the ride!! Shout-out to no open container laws.


As always, Uber is accessible, easy, and cheap.

Hotel Saint Marie Courtyard

Bourbon St

Bourbon St

Cafe du Monde

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