Music and food are two words that immediately come to mind at the mention of New Orleans. The French and Spanish traditions combined with Caribbean influences make the city one of the most unique places to visit in the United States. From the Garden District to the French Quarter and beyond, there is something to do and see for everyone in The Big Easy.
Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! – Let the Good Times Roll!
Things to Do in New Orleans
Warehouse Arts District
The National WWII Museum – Plan to spend the day at the museum where you can enlist as a crew member on the final mission of The USS Tang Submarine. Then take part in a one of a kind 4D experience, Beyond All Boundaries, where audience members embark on a journey through the nation’s bloodiest war with props, special effects and personal accounts.
Sandwiches at Cochon Butcher – Within walking distance of the museum is one of the city’s most popular sandwich shops. Take a lunch break and head over for the Le Pig Mac, a double pork patty sandwich that will convert any beef lover. You really can’t go wrong with any sandwich on the menu including the Cochon Muffaletta. Tip: Call in a to go order and pick it up when you arrive to avoid the long lunch lines.
Oysters at Lüke – After the museum closes, head over to one of John Besh’s restaurants, Lüke, to enjoy one of the most popular oyster happy hours in town: 75¢ from 3 to 6 p.m. daily. Order a dozen oysters and wash them down with a refreshing French “75” made with cognac, champagne and fresh lemon juice. Tip: Reservations are accepted during happy hour and highly recommended.
Ride the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar – Hop on the historic streetcar, in operation since 1835, and see the city from a different view. It’s also an easy and economical way to get around town. Keep in mind that the streetcar is not air conditioned.
Jazz Brunch at The Court of Two Sisters – Enjoy Jazz brunch any day of the week at the restaurant’s charming courtyard. Buffet selections include turtle soup with sherry, jambalaya, BBQ pork ribs, gumbo and sweet plump boiled shrimp. End the brunch on a sweet note and try their famous Bananas Foster with homemade French vanilla ice cream. It’s the perfect way to start a relaxing day in the French Quarter with good food and good music.
Muffaleta at Central Grocery – There are many options for a muffuletta in town, but one of the favorites is at this family-owned Italian grocery store. Fresh sesame bread packed with salami, mortadella, ham, mozzarella and provolone a generous serving of marinaded olive salad. If you’re in the mood to try something new, chocolate-covered grasshoppers and other delicacies are available. Tip: Avoid the long lines and arrive when the store opens and have a muffuletta for breakfast.
Old New Orleans Rum Tour – This distillery makes rum out of locally sourced molasses inside an old cotton warehouse in the Ninth Ward. The tour starts off with a cocktail and ends with a generous sampling of their rums and the Gingeroo, their bottled rum cocktail that goes down a bit too easy if you know what I mean. Free shuttle pick up from the French Quarter.
Live Jazz at Spotted Cat – Located on the famous Frenchmen Street just outside the French Quarter, this Jazz Club is a local favorite. The music is great and the drinks are reasonable. Sure, the space is small, the bar looks run down, and you may be standing the entire time, but that’s part of the experience. Check the calendar to see who’s playing or take a chance and head on over.
White Alligator at the Audubon Zoo – You can see alligators all day in Louisiana, but the chances of seeing a white alligator in the wild is slim to none. According to the Audubon Nature Institute, out of 5 million American alligators, there are fewer than 15 with the genetic condition that makes it white. Seeing this rare alligator was one of the highlights of our trip to New Orleans.
Three Martini Lunch at Commander’s Palace – Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme are two of the renowned chefs that have played a role in making Commander’s Palace one of the top Haute Creole cuisine destinations in the city. Lunch is the best way to experience the restaurant without breaking the bank. The two and three course prix-fixe lunches are a great deal, plus you can order up to three $0.25 martinis. The drinks are full size and strong. If you can still stand by the end of lunch, ask for a tour of the kitchen to see where the magic happens.
Self Guided Garden District Tour – After lunch, walk off those martinis and go on a self guided tour of the Garden District. Pick up a brochure at Commander’s Palace and start your tour there and learn about the interesting history of the Victorian building.
Oysters and Frozen Drinks at Superior Seafood – One of the most popular happy hours spots this side of town is at Superior Seafood. 4-6:30pm daily with $.50 oysters and 2 for 1 frozen drinks. Bar seating is first-come first-served. Arrive early, snag a seat at the bar and start off with an order of a dozen oysters and a frozen French 75 made with gin, champagne and fresh lemon juice. If you’re looking for something more substantial, try the Angels on Horseback Po-Boy loaded with bacon wrapped oysters fried to a crispy golden brown.
What are some of your favorite things to do in New Orleans? Leave a comment below.