John and I have been to New Orleans several times for several different occasions. Regardless of the reason, we always have a fantastic time. If I could put together a perfect weekend, out of all of my favorite places, here is what it would be like:
First, we love the AirBnB's in New Orleans. Some of our favorites aren't listed anymore, but the Garden District is our favorite area to look. It's uptown and really close to Magazine street. (If you've never used AirBnB, use this link for a discout!)
We usually get to town on Friday evening and head straight to dinner. Trying new places is our favorite thing, but one of the best in Nola for an afternoon delight is The Original Gumbo Pot. It is just off of Decatur street with plenty of shopping and bars nearby, and it's only a few blocks from Bourbon Street.
As much as we love Bourbon Street, we always recommend going to Frenchmen’s Street and visiting the cluster of bars there. If bar hopping isn't your thing, go to my favorite “run of the mill pirate bar”, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar and enjoy a casual evening of piano music in candlelight.
We like to get up early the next morning and head to Tchoupitoulas Street to grab a great “cali-mex” beachy brunch at Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant. After breakfast, you might have a hard time deciding what to do in Nola, but here are a few of our favorite options:
To start, if you aren't hurting too badly after your first night out, grab a drink from any bar and take it with you while you explore. We like the famous Huge Ass Beer.
You can always take a ghost tour. We chose the Haunted History Tour and loved walking around the exclusive St. Louis Cemetery #1 while being lectured about its history and the history of the city. If guided tours don't appeal to you, hop on a trolley car and stop off when you see something that catches your eye.
Jackson Square is the most iconic place in New Orleans for good reason. This beautiful, centrally located park is surrounded by bars, restaurants, and artists. We've found the fence that surrounds Jackson Square to be, more often than not, covered in impressive works of art, and the Decatur Street side of the square is often host to an eccentric performing artist or two.
Head over to Red Fish Grill on Bourbon Street for a great seafood dinner, but make sure to have a reservation ahead of time. You might not get to try this New Orleans classic if you don't! After dinner, keep heading down Bourbon Street and enjoy the New Orleans nightlife. Maybe even go sing some karaoke at The Cat's Meow like we did on one trip with John's fraternity.
If you have the late night munchies and none of the pizza bars on Bourbon Street look good, go brave the crowd at Café Du Monde and get some fluffy, sugary beignets with a cup of rich coffee to end the night.
Surrey’s Uptown is a fantastic spot for a relaxing Sunday brunch after a long night out in New Orleans. If the wait at Surrey's is too long, any of the restaurants on Magazine Street will do the trick before you have to leave the Big Easy.