Hey there, I’m just on my way to visit my good friend, New Orleans … have you met? Oh, you haven’t yet had the pleasure? Let me introduce you, because she’s a ton of fun and I know you’ll really love her. She is always up for a big party with lots of people, music, and colour, so you better bring your energy whenever you hang. Some people call her The Big Easy or Paris of the South, but my favourite nickname is NOLA – it really sums up her fun spirit. When you meet her, she’ll greet you with a big kiss and a warm hug instead of a handshake, so be prepared! Ok, let’s go …
What to Eat, See & Do in NOLA
Are you itching to take your best girls to New Orleans for a bachelorette or maybe sneak off for no other reason than to soak up all the jazz and beignets? Crescent City is perfectly suited to hosting groups of friends and family, with a never-ending good time spirit that ensures fun for all. Anytime is the right time to visit, but if you hit the town during Mardi Gras, the party only gets bigger and better. NOLA has no shortage of things to do and amazing places to eat, so pack your sense of fun along with your appetite and get going!
NOLA Flytographer Randy, who regularly has his camera focussed on his plate as a food photographer, offers up his best picks:
“My favourite breakfast/brunch spot is Willa Jean, located in the Central Business District. It has incredible natural light and showcases a fresh take on southern cuisine. My favourite lunch spot is Turkey & the Wolf in Uptown, where all the rules are thrown out the window – it makes you rethink what a sandwich shop should be. For dinner, go to Meaux Bar, an intimate restaurant in the French Quarter highlighting some of New Orleans’ best ingredients. My go-to nightspot is Hot Tin, an amazing Uptown rooftop bar with the only view of downtown.”
Some other tasty spots pulled from Randy’s mouth-watering IG feed (so you know they have the local stamp of approval):
- Brennan’s – Traditional Louisiana fare in an upscale setting with room for a big group.
- Domenica – Modern classic Italian for fresh pasta and pizza.
- Paloma Café – Brunch it up big, baby!
- Shaya – Modern Isreali with a fantastic outdoor patio; also good for groups.
- Johnny Sánchez – Colourful authentic Mexican in a chic bistro.
- Mojo Coffee House – Two locations serve up locally-roasted coffee and treats.
- Jack Rose (formerly The Caribbean Room) – Slated to open in April, this revamped Creole-style restaurant is still the place to get your Mile High Pie fix.
- City Greens – Salads and healthy options when you need to hit pause on inhaling all the rich, gooey, deep-fried things.
French Quarter – There is no way you can go to NOLA without diving into the Vieux Carré! New Orleans was built around this historic quarter, and it still pulses with all the romance, glamour and energy of days gone by. Dance and eat your way through.
Crescent Park – When you need a collective break from the Quarter, wander along this riverside park and enjoy sweeping views of the city.
Garden District – History lovers will have plenty to see in this leafy neighbourhood that was once filled with plantations and now boasts well-preserved 19th-century mansions.
NOMA – Not all the culture is found in NOLA’s bars and streets! Spend some time at the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art with its incredible collection of French and American art and an impressive 5-acre sculpture garden.
Mardi Gras World – Can’t get the gang here for Mardi Gras? Next best thing: go on a behind-the-scenes tour in a working studio creating the floats, costumes and culture of this world-famous event. Guaranteed to add some colour and fun to your party.
Faubourg Marigny – Head to Frenchman Street for an authentic Cajun experience of food and jazz. A great place to start (or settle in) is The Spotted Cat, or grab a private room for your squad at The Maison.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 Tour – Visit the city’s most famous cemetery with its hauntingly beautiful mausoleums and fascinating residents, including voodoo queen Marie Laveau.
Randy’s shopping picks: “My favourite shop is Goods That Matter on Magazine Street. They have fantastic gifts and donate a portion to a different non-profit, depending on the product. The best bookstore in Uptown is Octavia Books. The best sunglasses can be found at the locally-famed KREWE in the French Quarter.”
Café du Monde – A must-do, or you can’t say you really visited NOLA: stop by this 24-hour coffee stand on Decatur Street that has been open since 1862 to savour their original powdered beignets and creamy café au lait. (They close only on Christmas Day, so your luck is out if that’s the day you go.)
Are you ready to put on your party dress for a weekend date with New Orleans?