All the "Musts" When Planning a Trip to New Orleans, LA
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I just love New Orleans! The history, the culture, the food - all of it! It's such a fun place to visit and they really do have something for everybody! I've been aching to go back and after flipping through some photos from a girls trip we took a couple years ago, I thought I'd share with you my favorite things to do, see, and experience while in the "Big Easy".
However, if you're looking for something with more amenities, I would opt for staying in a hotel on Canal Street. It's close enough to walk to Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, and the Mississippi River without actually staying at those places.
Where to Eat
Eat everything. No really. New Orleans offers some of the most amazing food in the country. And even if you don't like cajun food *how dare you?), you're bound to find something you like! Some of my favorite places include Crescent City Brewhouse (get the seafood cheesecake), Oceana (get the blackened catfish), and Lula Restaurant & Distillery (get a French 75). But really, just do your research before you go. Use a website/app like Yelp and the reviews. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you're starving and don't know where to eat so you walk into the first place you see. We did that when we were there and instantly regretted it. Beignets are another big deal in New Orleans and I'm just going to say it - Cafe du Monde are not my favorite. Actually, my favorite beignets are found at Cafe Beignet. Cafe du Monde cranks a lot of them out in a day, but Cafe Beignet's just taste better to me.
Where to Drink
Stay away from Bourbon Street unless you want a sugar-coma inducing drink. We popped into hotel bars and restaurants to grab our drinks and we paid around the same price and got actual quality cocktails. My favorite was at the Carousel Bar inside Hotel Manteleone. The whole bar area revolves like a carousel! My drink of choice there was the Pim's Cup, but if you're into Bloody Marys, they're supposed to have good ones there too.
What to Do
My absolute favorite thing to is take a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking. I take one every single time I visit New Orleans. Even my friends who aren't big foodies loved it. You can choose to take a hands on class or one where the chef prepares the meal in front of you. I've only ever done the cooking demonstrations and I love them! The chefs are so knowledgeable about the different recipes and tell you about the history behind it, why they make it, and how it came about. It's such a great time and I think the best food in the city can be found right there in that kitchen. Plus, pralines are involved. Good luck eating just one. Make sure you reserve your spot online well in advance!
What to See
I love architecture. The older and more ornate, the better. A must-see is Jackson Square. The beautiful St Louis Cathedral is absolutely stunning and wow is it big! Around the square, there is a lawn where you could have a picnic and on the street in front of the church, there are many street acts, musicians, and other interesting things to watch. If you're there on a weekend, you might get a chance to see a second line. A second line is when a bride and groom, followed by their wedding party and guests, leave the church ceremony and dance their way to the reception. They are so much fun! The hold lace parasols and swing napkins. It's great!
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