New Orleans is a city rich in culture, & you can feel that as soon as you arrive. ✨ Everything from the French colonial architecture, to the smell of the fresh beignets on Royal St. — NOLA is a very unique city compared to other places in the United States. 📍
WHERE TO STAY: Warehouse District
Right in the heart of Downtown New Orleans, the Warehouse District is a very trendy & safe spot to stay in. A lot of the brick buildings have been transformed into new businesses & hotels. It’s a very walkable area which makes it easy to stop by one of the local coffee shops, creole food spots, or even grab a cocktail!
My hotel of choice: Sonesta ES Suites New Orleans Convention Center
Conveniently located in downtown and a short walk to the convention center! Upon entering the staff & security were super nice & helped us out quickly. We even got a free upgrade to a bigger suite with a separate bedroom! 🙌🏾 I also really enjoyed staying at Sonesta because of the full kitchen! Having access to a full fridge, stove, & microwave always makes the trip experience better for me. I left every restaurant with leftovers so having a place to store & reheat my food was perfect!
WHERE TO EAT:
Galliano Restaurant - 200 Julia St, New Orleans, LA
For my first meal in New Orleans, I knew I wanted a true Louisiana dining experience and I found just that at Galliano Restaurant. They put a twist on traditional Cajun food to create an elevated taste and feel of Louisiana. For appetizers I had the BBQ Shrimp, which is essentially cajun butter shrimp and they were HUGE! The gumbo & fried shrimp were also excellent! For the main course, I had the andouille stuffed pork chop and it was very tasty. 😋 Portion sizes were no joke and the vegetable sides were delicious too. I wish I had more time to squeeze in another dinner here! 😫
Gus’s Fried Chicken - 308 S Diamond St, New Orleans, LA
Looking for that classic fried chicken meal with all the fixings? Gus’s is it. 😮💨 They’re known for their hot & spicy fried chicken recipe that comes straight out of Tennessee. 🍗 I recommend going early to beat the lines! The chicken breast & legs were my favorite, along with the baked beans and macaroni & cheese. Since 1973 they’ve expanded across the country and I’m so happy they opened locations near me in Burbank & Long Beach! 🙏🏾
Pier 424 - 424 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA
I was strolling down Bourbon St. and walked upon Pier 424, a restaurant serving fresh seafood directly from the local Louisiana Gulf. Complete with the longest oyster bar in New Orleans, Pier 424 is located in the center of the action of Bourbon St., but allows you to get away from the craziness and have a nice indoor dining experience. Here I tried a NOLA classic for the first time, the shrimp po-boy. Served on French bread and "dressed" with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayonnaise — this might’ve been my favorite meal of the entire trip. 😍 I also tried the chicken jambalaya which was super flavorful & cooked perfectly! If I’m ever stumbling down Bourbon St. again, I’m stopping by Pier 424 for a snack.
Cafe Beignet - multiple locations
The name says it all, but they have so much more to offer than just beignets. Cafe Beignet is known for there sweets, but they also serve huge club sandwiches, breakfast plates, & NOLA specialties like jambalaya and red beans. No matter what time you go there’ll most likely be a line, but it is so worth it!
WHERE TO DRINK:
THINGS TO DO/SEE:
Take a Steamboat Ride
Experience the Mississippi River like no other! Hop on a tour of the Steamboat Natchez or the Riverboat to enjoy a couple hours on the water cruising down the river. 🚢✨ They even offer cruises with a jazz band & food for a full Louisiana experience. ❤️
Attend a festival
NOLA has a ton of festivals to choose from throughout the year like Mardi Gras, The BUKU Project, & Essence Festival! Plan a trip around a festival to take your experience in the city further. I love meeting the locals & attending events is the perfect way to meet people with similar interest.
Walk Jackson Square
Take in the views of St. Louis Cathedral from Washington Artillery Park! Head down the stairs and enter the gates towards the cathedral. Tons of grass & shaded areas to relax in, and conveniently located right next to Cafe Du Monde!
Shop at the French Market
A farmers market & flea market hybrid filled with local food vendors & businesses! Stop by to pick up some souvenirs, try some good food, & listen to live music! 🎺
There's so many more places I could mention and also wish I could have visited, so I'm positive I'll be back in New Orleans soon to check everything of my list! Have you been to NOLA or plan on going? I hope some of these spots make it onto your list for a future trip to New Orleans!