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  • Writer's pictureTara

NOLA in a Weekend

People travel from near and far to experience the nightlife, cuisine and culture of New Orleans, the city nicknamed the "Big Easy." It's difficult not to feel the history and grittiness of NOLA. You can soak up the scenery of the historic French Quarter, tour the elegant Garden District or listen to jazz & the blues on Frenchmen Street. Seventy three neighborhoods make up the city, which is a melting pot of French, African and American cultures.

Weekend Itinerary:

Day 1:

  • Arrive at your hotel, settle in, and then hop on a city tour to get your bearings. The city tour will bring you to a cemetery, brewery, show you the area from Katrina, Frenchman Street and more.

  • Once you've got a taste of the city, explore the French Quarter's shops, restaurants and the beautiful architecture.

  • Have lunch at Original Pierre Masperos in the French Quarter - make sure to try the friend gator appetizer, it's tasty!

  • Continue to explore Jackson Square before you go back to your hotel to freshen up.

  • Dinner at GW Finns - perfect dinner spot to kick off your trip.

  • Drinks, Dancing and Live Music on Bourbon Street - you haven't seen New Orleans until you've been to Bourbon Street.

Day 2:

  • Start your day at Cafe Dumonde, or for faster service Cafe Beignet #beignetdonethat

  • Head to your gator tour - it's a must and will most likely be the highlight of your trip.

  • After holding gators, go straight to Jackson Square for lunch at Tableau.

  • Following lunch, get your palm read or tarot reading outside by Jackson Square and shop the local street vendors.

  • End the day at the infamous Commander's Palace restaurant before exploring Frenchman Street for live music.

Day 3:

  • Breakfast at Brennan"s

  • Followed by a day at the Oak Alley Plantation

  • Depart for Home

When it comes to food, New Orleans does not fool around with 200 restaurants and 300 bars - you have a plethora of options to choose from. New Orleans' cuisine is a mix of Caribbean, African and European influences that is truly unique.


  • Cafe Dumonde - Known for beignets, Cafe Dumonde has been around since 1862. The original French Market coffee stand has been serving powdered sugar-capped beignets with chicory-blended coffee for folks 24 hours a day.

  • Cafe Beignet

  • Original Pierre Masperos is an easy place to get a table for lunch. Make sure to try the fried alligator - it may surprise you.

  • Tableau for lunch at the center of Jackson Square.

  • GW Finns is a high-end seafood establishment, must book in advance.

  • Brennan's was my favorite restaurant with bright and fun decor. It's perfect for brunch, but make sure to book in advance.

  • Commander's Palace is a must! One of the oldest restaurants in NOLA, known for their turtle soup. Perfect way to end your trip. Book in advance and if you eat steak - order it and thank me later! It had one of the best steaks I've ever had.

  • Irene's Restaurant - I didn't make it there, but on my list for next time!


  • There are loads of gator tours to go on, but we went on Ultimate Swamp Tour - private boat for 6 at $80 per person.

  • Visit one of the 43 cemeteries that surround the city.

  • Experience the city's supernatural vibe at the Voodoo Museum or by taking a guided ghost or vampire tour through taverns, alleyways, and cemeteries from Voodoo Bone Lady. There is also Voodoo Authentica - a cultural center of potion oils, voodoo dolls, rituals and readings.

  • Tarot Readings are easily found in voodoo shops and also local readers at Jackson Square.

  • Cajun Encounters for a city tour - takes you to the garden district, cemetery, and shows you the area that Katrina affected.

  • Bourbon Street - catch some beads and drink a Hurricane as you dance in the streets. Preservation Hall is a well known jazz club where you will find a line around the block, but it's worth the wait. Or if you want something less trendy - stop by Bourbon Bar for a more low key vibe.

  • The locals go to Frenchman Street for live music, it's where Harry Connick Jr. got his start.

  • End the trip or even stay a night at Oak Alley Plantation. A 45 minute drive outside of main New Orleans town. Ticket entry is $25 for the grounds and an extra $25 to enter the home. The plantation is a 200 year old National Historic Landmark. It has been a sugar plantation, a cattle ranch, rice operation and a chicken farm. Make sure to allow for at least 2-3 hours. There is so much pain, beauty and history on these grounds and behind these walls - it's educational.


Hope you enjoy exploring the Big Easy!

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