There’s a magnetism New Orleans has that’s unfound anywhere else. Say you’re going to the Crescent City and people pause for the briefest of moments before becoming excited whether they’ve been there or not. Life slows in New Orleans, the unhurried warmth of the people soothes and the entire place seems full of endless possibilities.
Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, the city still bears the scars of the storm, but is as captivating as ever. It’s a place so bursting with food, music and history that it could take a lifetime to truly know. A three-hour flight from New York City is all it takes to start the adventure and whether you’ve fallen for the Crescent City before or are a newbie, there is plenty to inspire.
Walking Tour: Everywhere you go these days there’s a walking tour, some even filled with food and while it may seem a bit elementary, in New Orleans it’s a must do. Take a tour of the Garden District and a cemetery (not at night), and you’ll learn the history of the city and find plenty of Instagram-worthy tree-lined streets in the quiet neighborhood.
Frenchmen Street: Music is the backbone of the city and Frenchmen Street is the center of it all. Head to the area at least one night, stop in Frenchmen Art Market and then wander in and out of the clubs, bars and restaurants stopping in to listen until you find one you want to hang out in.
French Quarter: It goes without saying a visit to New Orleans has to include a visit to the French Quarter. It’s the bustling heart of the city where you can enjoy mouth-watering food, explore historical sites including Jackson Square, home to the oldest continuously operating cathedral in the US and take in or participate in the rowdiness on Bourbon Street. Ghost lovers should go on a haunted walking tour where they’ll learn the legends of the city. Start here and it will help orient yourself, but if you plan on sleeping on your vacation find a hotel close to but outside of the area.
Antoine’s: The restaurant legend celebrates its 175th anniversary this year. The country’s oldest continuously operating restaurant created many of the dishes we call American classics today. Oysters Rockefeller are not from New York. Enjoy a leisurely lunch, be careful of the $.25 martinis and ask your waiter to regale you with the restaurant’s history.
GW Fins: The much newer GW Fins is a seafood lover’s delight. Executive Chef Tenney Flynn oversees a kitchen that sends out adventurous, ever shifting cuisine. Try the lionfish if you dare.
Café Du Monde: Touristy yes, long lines yes, but you can’t visit New Orleans without trying café au lait and beignets and you might as well do it here. Pro Tip: the to-go line is often shorter but if you’ve never been, wait for a table and people watch.
Keep your New Orleans to-do list short. This is an in-the-moment type of place. Walk the streets, take it all in and as corny as it may sound, let the city move you.