I don't even know where to start about New Orleans! Joe and I attended a wedding there last weekend, and made a 4 day weekend out of it with some of our other friends. It has to be the most unique city in the states - it was like no other city I've been to. I felt like I wasn't even in the US, as it has such a heavy French and Spanish influence on culture, architecture and history.
Our cute airbnb loft
The city is crazy... in a fun and wild type of way... and the architecture is so charming. The bright colors and French inspired architecture were exactly what I pictured the South to be like. Walking around in the Garden District, I just admired the historic mansions! In the French Quarters, the creole style architecture was so unique too, and my favorite part was that there were plants and flowers on every balcony! 💕
The nightlife is beyond explaining. The city has so much tradition, and one of my favorites of their traditions was the live jazz! Frenchman Street is one-of-a-kind. It's a slightly toned down (although I was shocked that was the 'toned down' street) and less smelly alternative to going out on Bourbon Street. Frenchman Street is lined with bars - all with these amazing live jazz bands performing! Magazine Street was also a cool area, located in the Garden District and filled with lots of restaurants, bars and stores. If I had to related it to something here, I would say it's the NOLA version of San Francisco's Marina. Finally, Bourbon Street. The craziness that you've all heard of is true. We ventured there to go out for drinks with the entire crew after the wedding reception we were at, and had a fun night filled with Hurricanes and jazz!
Preservation hall in the middle
I don't even know where to start about the food - let's just say my body hated me all week! So much seafood (YUM) and so much fried food (YUM)! We got food recommendations from lots of foodie friends and family members, which is always the way to go when you're traveling! Tried and true. Iced Irish coffees at Molly's, beignets at Cafe du Monde, brunch at Atchafalaya, and dinner at Jacques-Imo's were my favorites.
Getting around New Orleans is extremely easy. We took UberX (which is SO inexpensive compared to San Francisco), the St. Charles Streetcar, or walked everywhere. Just like in the Bay Area, the airport is about a half hour away from the city. We took Southwest, which flies directly to NOLA from Oakland. Thanks to Ridebooker for setting up our fabulous rides. You can book a ride to/from the Oakland Airport with Ridebooker here or to/from the New Orleans airport here. Can't wait to use the service more on future trips - they have great prices for a door-to-door car service, and best of all the drivers are so helpful and friendly!
While getting around the city - logistically - is easy, keep in mind that it's HUMID AF! Weather says 85-90 degrees? That means feels like 110. My body definitely took some time to adjust from the cool and windy San Francisco weather. If you're planning to visit NOLA in the summertime, wear dresses or shorts and tank tops the entire time, and bring an umbrella as there's about 10-30 minutes of tropical storms each day! All of us Californians were shocked by the amount of rain we saw there. We were worried about the weather the week before the trip since the forecast said it was going to rain the entire time, but it lasted about 30 minutes max each day! Just don't go out without an umbrella at any time in case you get caught in it.
I've been telling all my friends this, and I'll tell all my readers the same: if you haven't been to NOLA yet, start planning this as the location of your next trip! It's such a fun and different city, with a culture you won't find anywhere else.
MY NEW ORLEANS TO-DO LIST
download it here!
Do a free walking tour of the French Quarters
Wander around the Garden District
Lafayette Cemetery no. 1 (all of the tombs are above ground in NOLA - many bigger than rooms here in San Francisco!)
Admire and take photos of all the southern mansions
Ride the St. Charles Streetcar
Have a drink and play cards on the deck at The Columns Hotel
Visit the shops and boutiques on Magazine Street
See the Mississippi River
Atchafalaya (best brunch!)
Buffa’s (divey spot for brunch with live jazz)
Jacques-Imo’s (dinner spot with great southern, NOLA style food)
Café du Monde (the famous spot for beignets – a must!)
The Ruby Slipper Café (great for lunch)
Napoleon House (lunch spot with great muffalettas – famous Italian style sandwiches)
Central Grocery (best muffalettas in NOLA)
Croissant D’Or (French pastries and sandwiches)
Coop’s (hole in the wall with great fried chicken!)
Molly’s (known for their iced Irish coffees – DELICIOUS!)
d.b.a. (jazz club on Frenchman Street)
Maison (jazz club on Frenchman Street)
Pat O’Briens (deuling piano bar just off of Bourbon Street)
30-90 Degrees (music club on Frenchman Street with live jazz on the first floor and a DJ on the top floor)
Spotted Cat Music Club (live jazz on Frenchman Street)