New Orleans is one of my favorite U.S. cities. You can feel the soul and heart of the city hit you as soon as you land in the Big Easy. My favorite memories of being in New Orleans are of merely walking around the city and taking in the sights – most of which are usually covered in sugar from those beignets or beads from visitors out on Bourbon St 😉 A few of my favorite spots:
1. Cafe du Monde
Speaking of those beignets, I have to cut right to the chase and start with Cafe du Monde. Known as the Original French Market Coffee Stand Since 1862 and being a popular tourist destination, you can expect some lines here; especially on the weekends. But the beignets and chicory coffee are more than worth the hype. I’ve had the classic cafe au lait and iced coffee – both will not disappoint. And yes, you can believe I ordered an entire order of beignets for myself. Maybe not the best place for a first date with all of that powdered sugar all over your face not being the cutest look, but so delicious! Note: Cash Only
2. Jackson Square
Cafe du Monde sits off of Jackson Square, a historic square in the French Quarter that is constantly filled with live music, artists, tarot card readers, and street performers. Jackson Square faces the Mississippi River and features several historic buildings, including the iconic St. Louis Cathedral.
3. Bourbon Street
When in New Orleans, eh? I recommend checking Bourbon both in the daylight and after dark. Phenomenal people watching and you’ll definitely meet people from all walks of life who are all after the same thing as you: have a fantastic and fun time on Bourbon St.
4. Frenchmen Street
If you’re looking for a more low-key night than Bourbon, Frenchmen St is your place. More of a local hangout spot, you’ll find door after door of live music covering everything from jazz to reggae. The Spotted Cat was one of our favorite spots to visit to grab some Abita Purple Haze and take in some incredible jazz. My other favorite spot on this street is the Frenchmen Art Market – an evening art market showcasing local artisans.
5. City Park
During my last visit to New Orleans, we stayed with a friend in Mid-City New Orleans who took us on a drive through City Park – a beautiful public park in the heart of the city. As one of the oldest urban parks in the country, the gorgeous green space is very calming in a otherwise commonly known loud city.
6. Lower 9th Ward
One of the most moving moments of our trip in New Orleans was driving to the Lower 9th Ward to see the area that was most devastated by Hurricane Katrina. It was incredible to see some streets that were rebuilt completely and back to normal while others were still completely devastated. I was also with my friend who had volunteered 10 years ago with the recovery efforts and got to hear in her perspective how much had changed from when she was there.
7. St. Charles Street Car – Garden District
Coming in from Mid-City to the French Quarter, we took the St. Charles Street Car to get downtown and avoid parking. One of three street car lines in the city, the route passes through the uptown neighborhood by Tulane and Loyola Universities with spectacular views of antebellum mansions that will make you drool and want to move to the Big Easy tomorrow.