One of USA’s greatest cities, New Orleans is all about the good times. It is thronged with several points of interests from sightseeing places and museums to parks and jazz clubs. Honestly, 3 days aren’t enough to explore this insanely, gorgeous city. If anything, it’s about enough to whet your appetite and make you come back for another trip. We have done our best to mix-n-match the top attractions that you must cover if you are on visiting the city for a short 3-day trip. So, let the good times roll!
WHAT TO DO :
There is no better way to begin your holiday in New Orleans than by visiting its oldest and most popular neighbourhood. Built on the banks of the Mississippi River, the French Quarter has been the heart of The Big Easy for 300 years and is definitely a must-visit place. Stroll the streets, people-watch and admire the many music clubs, shops and galleries you find here.
Head over to Jackson Square, French Quarter’s historic hub. Visit the famous St. Louis Cathedral, which has been in existence since the year 1794. Watch street performers, enjoy a horse and buggy ride, have your portrait painted or your fortune told.
Love the jazz? End your day by checking out Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub located in a historic 1831 building at the core of French Quarter. There are frequent events that the pub hosts ensuring the guests have a fascinating time.
You can start your day by exploring the lively neighbourhood of Marigny (pronounced mer-in-knee). This is where you can find blocks of colourful homes that look so pretty and absolutely postcard-worthy. Plus, there are countless options to gorge on local delicacies, get drinks and entertain yourself with live jazz music.
Riding a streetcar in New Orleans is a mandatory item you should include in your New Orleans itinerary as there are not many places where you get a chance to do that. New Orleans’ streetcars can take you from the French Quarter to the Garden District and all the way to City Park.
Get off at City Park which is sprawled across 1,300 verdant acres and plays host to several human-made and natural attractions. Founded in the year 1854, there are plenty of things you can do here from visiting the New Orleans Art Museum to playing a round of golf or riding the 1906 carousel.
On your last day, we highly recommend taking a tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, the oldest cemetery in the city. It has the tombs of the voodoo queen, Marie Laveau and Homer Plessy from the famed civil rights case Plessy vs Ferguson. The ground in New Orleans is quite often saturated with water, and so the dead are not buried but kept in mausoleums used to house coffins creating oddly beautiful ‘cities of the dead’.
Next, make your way to the New Orleans Jazz Museum to make things light and witness the largest of jazz artefacts in the world. From musician interviews to concert tapings and live concerts to museum’s extensive collections, there are many things to explore here.
Lastly, before you have to catch a flight back home head to the French Market. This is the best location to shop for edible souvenirs such as beignet mix, spices, hot sauce and more. Plus, there are adorable handiwork items made by local artists and craftspeople that you can make as gifts for people back home.
WHERE TO EAT:
A permanent fixture of the French Quarter since the year 1862, Café du Monde is where you can find the world’s best pairing of coffee and doughnuts. You cannot afford to miss binging on beignets and café au lait, the café’s signature chicory coffee. Just writing about it is making us want to pack our bags and leave for New Orleans again!
This is by far the best place we have ever visited for some lip-smacking Chargrilled Oysters.The cheese melted on top of each oyster puts you into a food coma with the very first bite, and you don’t know how to stop eating. Try to reach there early as you could find a long waiting queue of hungry foodies waiting to get in.
Alligator can be one of those food items that give you bragging rights for life. The fun just doubles when the dish truly turns out to be a culinary delight. At Cochon, we absolutely loved the reptilian meat tossed in a lively chilli-garlic aioli. We definitely can’t wait to go back and devour it again.
WHERE TO STAY:
Hotel Monteleone is located at the prime area on Royal Street and Iberville Street. It features in the favourites of many tourists because of its proximity to the French Quarter. It’s also well-known for its Carousel Bar, the only revolving bar in New Orleans which is worth a visit.
Looking for a spacious retreat away from the chaos of the main city? Look no further. The English and French Inspired upscale Windsor Court Hotel almost transports you to another country with its charm. View from the windows look out to the stunning Mississippi River and make your stay even more memorable.
- Airbnb in the Garden District
While the French Quarter is the most iconic part of New Orleans, it is also the most expensive and noisiest. For those on a shoe-string budget and looking for a quieter neighbourhood, the Garden District is a perfect choice. It is home to not only grand Southern-style mansions but trendy bars, shops and restaurants as well, making it the perfect location to settle down.
- Gumbo is one of Louisiana’s traditional and local dishes. It is a thick soup with onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, okra, shrimp, chicken meat and sausages, seasoned with Creole spice. Served with rice. A very peculiar taste, I can’t say that we were delighted, but it’s worth a try.
- Po-boy – these sandwiches are sold in every cafe and on every corner. Initially, these sandwiches were a poor people lunch, the name Po-boy is short for POOR BOY. They can be with meat, chicken or seafood, but what is required is French bread, baked in local bakeries. The most popular places to try this sandwich are Parkway Bakery and Domilise’s Po-boys & Bar.
- Jambalaya this dish was an attempt by the Spanish immigrants to recreate their favourite paella using local ingredients. Not my
favorite, but worth a try.
WHERE TO SHOP:
- Magazine Street
With art galleries, spas, high-end boutiques, costume shops and clothing stores all cohabitating at one place, Magazine Street is every shopper’s mecca. It is also dotted with excellent places to relax and refuel from chic restaurants and lively bars to casual bites and gourmet hot dog places.
- French Quarter
Be it to visit popular stores such as H&M and Sephora or to explore fancy art galleries on Royal Street; there is so much to do at this iconic part of New Orleans. Playing host to thousands of shops and boutiques, you can buy cute souvenirs at the New Orleans-themed gift shop like Fleurty Girl and Forever New Orleans.
- The Shops at Canal Place
Lined with world-class retailers, Canal Place is one of the top shopping destinations of tourists and locals alike. From beauty brands and boutique clothing stores to home goods and much more you will find it too hard not to splurge here. When you are done browsing, you can indulge in an upscale movie experience at the Theatres at Canal Place.
Here are some useful tips that can help you plan your trip well:
- The best time to visit New Orleans is from December to May. While December and January are mostly quiet and less expensive, February is by far the most popular (and busiest) month to visit the city as Mardi Gras is celebrated then.
- If you plan to visit the city during the monsoons, come prepared with rain ponchos and huge umbrellas as you are definitely going to need it given the city’s love for heavy downpours.
- If there are any swamp activities in your itinerary, don’t forget to throw in a bug spray in your medical kit as the mosquitoes here can be nasty.
- As is with any other city, guard your valuables when visiting a bar or highly touristy areas in the night. Avoid carrying too much cash and all your cards with you at all times.
- Consider getting Jazzy Passes for multiple-day transportation for all your days of stay for a more economical commuter.
We hope you have a splendid vacation in New Orleans. Do share your experiences with us!