Destination: New Orleans

Welcome back to the blog! I was pretty quiet on here throughout February and March, but we are back in the swing of things now. Honestly, I’m very excited about the content coming up this month. One of the things I have for you this month is a new travel post! Now, I’m not a travel blogger by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love a good mini-vacation. After traveling to Albuquerque in October last year, I was dying to see a little more of the country. I started looking at my list of places to go and cross-checking flights. New Orleans popped up on my list and flights were pretty reasonable. So in mid-November, we took advantage of a timeshare that we had access to and booked a long weekend in NOLA. Read on to find out all the food, fun, and general chaos we managed to cram into our Destination: New Orleans adventure.

destination: new orleans

When looking for a place to stay in New Orleans, there are almost as many options as to where to eat! From the picturesque boutique hotels with their floral-draped balconies to the high-end stays lining Canal street, you’re guaranteed to find a room to fit your tastes and your budget. We lucked out and snagged a stay at the beautiful Club Wyndham La Belle Maison hotel off Magazine Street. Located roughly one and a half blocks off of Canal, this hotel was in a perfect spot for us. Not too close to all the noise and bustle of the busier streets, but not so far away that we were dumping money into Ubers.

Club Wyndham is a membership-only type of hotel, so that is one strike against it. If you are looking into timesharing though, I highly suggest Club Wyndham. They have tons of properties located anywhere you can imagine traveling. The staff was top-notch, handling everything from what to do with our bags to transport back to the airport. Our rooms were spacious, comfortable, and super clean.

Tips for picking your sleep spot:

Noise level. There is a parade nearly every day in Nola. Some streets, like Bourbon Street, are going to have not only parade noise but the noise from bars and partiers as well. Canal Street hotels will offer a little more in the way of sound buffering, but you will be staying right off of the main drag, so keep that in mind.
Walkability. Nearly every street in Nola is one way. This means you can possibly walk somewhere faster than driving. And Uber’s were kind of pricey! So unless you absolutely don’t want to walk, make sure to take into account your hotel’s location in comparison to the places you want to see.

You’d be hard-pressed to be bored in New Orleans! It’s easy to occupy the space between meals with activities. First up, take a stroll down Bourbon Street. Stop at any of the bars and grab a frozen drink (the hand grenades are pretty good!) and wander to your heart’s content. Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo is on Bourbon Street, so make a note to stop there.

Stroll down to Jackson Square and take in the local artists displaying their work. Take a moment to bask in the beauty of the St. Louis Cathedral (munching on beignets of course!). Hop on the St. Charles Streetcar and hitch a ride to the National World War II museum. Or just stay for the whole loop and admire the houses in the Garden District. Don’t forget to check out the Mardi Gras World float shop! Go during the week to watch them build next year’s parade floats.

Of course, don’t forget to take a ghost tour and learn about some local legends. Want to get up close to some alligators? Book an airboat tour of the swamp. Also, don’t forget to hit up the free tour and tastings at the Sazerac House distillery. Fancy some A/C? Check out the Audubon of America Aquarium to stroll with the fishes.

Places to drop some dollars:

The St. Charles Streetcar. A twenty-four-hour pass is $6/person making this one of the cheapest ways to travel. The green cars loop around the Garden District and the red cars traverse Canal Street.
Roux Royal & Southern Paws. If you’re a fur mom and/or a foodie, these two shops are a must-stop on your list. I brought my puppas back some bandanas and I grab a few cute kitchen accessories. A plus, they are right next door to each other.
Earth Odessy. Not quite a voodoo shop, but the place to go if you’re looking for some mystical trinkets to take back home.
AVOID! Most of the t-shirt and trinket shops off of Bourbon Street and in the French Market are mass-produced products. Stick to the smaller shops or artists along Jackson Square to help keep your money local.

Ok, I was a complete shit blogger here and did not take pictures of ANY of the deliciousness I consumed. Sorry, not sorry! I was far too busy stuffing my face to even think about snapping a photo. I probably could have spent another week in Nola and still not have gotten to all the amazing places we saw. Between the fresh gulf shrimp, spicy crawfish, fluffy beignets, and of course, the drinks, I’m shocked I could even walk onto the plane to come home!

Get your grub on:

Coterie. This place was so amazing we ate here three times! If you go, make sure to ask for Frank if he is available, as he provided the kind of service you can only dream of. I recommend the shrimp etouffee, the cajun egg rolls, and for breakfast (oh yes, they serve that too!) the crabcake benedict. If you’re feeling thirsty, the Alligator Bite is all you need.
Ruby Slipper Cafe. The Ruby Slipper Cafe is a breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot that is only open until 2 p.m. each day. Get there early for breakfast, because if you wait until 8:30 a.m. you’ll be standing in a line! The pancakes and french toast are perfect for your sweet tooth!
Cafe Du Monde. Do I really need to say more? Of course, you’re going to get the beignets, but try pairing them with the frozen cafe au lait.
The French Market Restuarant. If you’re craving a good old-fashioned shrimp and crawfish boil, this is the spot. Get a boat of crawfish for a truly Nola experience. Just make sure your hurricane is nearby because these crustaceans pack quite the spicy punch!

Destination: New Orleans

For our first trip to New Orleans, I think we managed pretty well. Of course, we are going to have to come back! A few more packing tips for you. Invest in shoe covers or bring plastic bags for your shoes. I hate to say it, but as much as I loved visiting Nola, the streets, especially Bourbon, are pretty gross. So make sure to protect your clothes and the inside of your suitcase. Another item to remember is sunscreen. I went home with a pretty sweet forehead burn because I neglected to apply sunscreen before packing my luggage back up. And then we proceeded to walk around in the bright sun for several hours. Whoops! I also want to note that there is a large homeless population there, but not to let that deter you from visiting. I never once felt unsafe, and they largely don’t interact with you.

So that’s my take on Destination: New Orleans! I hope you found some of this information helpful, and if you have any questions about anything don’t hesitate to reach out! Let me know if I missed any hot spots in the comments below. As always, make sure to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And don’t forget to sign up below to get the latest post delivered straight to your inbox as soon as they hit the blog!

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