Traveling to New Orleans for the first time next month. Tips?

posted 3 years ago in Travel
Post # 3
Member
1241 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

@2bMrsG:  The crime is not any worse than any major city. Don’t be stupid and you should be just fine. There are a ton of good resturants and things in the city, and it would be hard to list everything. 

1. Jackson Square – during the day it’s lined with street artists. Plus, you have Cafe Du Monde across the street. Pause and get yourself some cafe au lait and beignets.

2. Leave Burbon before or just after midnight. After that point, it’s a lot of drunk folks and the smell gets bad.

3. Try to find Yo Mama’s if you like burgers. It’s near the intersection of South Peters and Burbon, by the Boondock Saint bar. They have some fantastic burgers.

4. Bring good walking shoes! That’s a must!

There’s really a whole lot to do in the city, and cabs are going to get really expensive, really quick. 🙂 If you can walk the few blocks, walk it. Far easier.

Have fun in our fair city!

Post # 5
Member
518 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Go to Cafe Du Monde!  It is a must.  They have to-die-for beignets (which are like fluffy doughnuts covered in powder sugar — trust me, amazing)!

http://www.cafedumonde.com/! 

Also make sure to eat a po’boy while you’re there.

Have fun!

Post # 6
Member
5222 posts
Bee Keeper

@2bMrsG:  I am from Baton Rouge and it is 100x worse crime wise than New Orleans is right now, you will be fine!

There are a ton of great museums, parks, FOOD and if you’re in town on a Sunday– the Saints games are always fun to watch down on Bourbon. Double yes to a PP’s suggestion of Cafe Du Monde for a beignet, and also Acme Oyster ( even if you don’t like oysters), and my personal favorite of Mothers (http://www.mothersrestaurant.net/)… they have GREAT po boys!

If you’re on Bourbon, there are a ton of just raunchy clubs and bars, but grab a hurricane 🙂 But drink it slow!

 

Post # 7
Member
367 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2015

Oh, Nawlins.  SO fun!

 

13 (Thirteen) is one of my favorite restaurants, casual but delicious.

If you like to drink, remember to get a a plastic cup for walking around.  Long Island Iced Teas are my personal favorite walking beverage.

Royal St.  is filled with beautiful antique shops, super fun just to browse.

Post # 8
Member
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Mr TTR & I are travel nuts (we are semi-retired, so we have the time at this point in our lives)

We did a Pre-Wedding – Wedding – Honeymoon Extravaganza around the Christmas Holidays when we got married (US South – Florida Keys – Caribbean Cruise)… 1 Province, 14 States & 8 Countries in 5 Weeks.

We spent 3 Days & Nights in New Orleans.  Our first trip there ever, and we loved it, we will be returning.

Like yourself, I’d heard all the stories, so I admit I was a bit apprehensive.

In the end I used my good old “everyday street smarts” and was fine.

We stayed in the Garden District… and loved it.  Gorgeous area (big old Southern Mansions).  It was cheaper than staying downtown or in the French Quarter… it was also quieter, cleaner, and the distance wasn’t a factor, cause even with cab-fare it was waaay cheaper than elsewhere.

It is true that in New Orleans a “good area” will border closely onto a not so great one.  We took a City Tour one day, and our Driver was a great chap… and when driving us back to the Hotel, we went thru the neighbourhood adjacent to the Garden District (short-cut) and I don’t know the name.  BUT he pointed out that we shouldn’t venture in this area as a Tourist, and certainly not safe after dark (when the area is alive / wakes up).  He said there was a lot of violence in this area, and it is home to a lot of drug-dealers and the like.

We heeded his info, and as I said, we took cabs most places anyhow

Daytime, I never felt unsafe anywheres (altho we were also told by several people… Hotel Front Desk – Tour Books – our Tour Guide etc) that the old Cemeteries are a favourite place for muggers to corner tourists.  Something to be aware of (we went there on an organized group tour… so no worries)

We never felt unsafe in the French Quarter, Day or Night **.. there were plenty of Police around (visual presence).  And we also walked after dark along Decatur to Frenchman so as to check out the places that “the locals” love for food & music.

** Now mind you, I have a very sparkly ERing… so I made the conscious decision to leave it back in our Hotel Room Safe when we were going to be out after dark.  In my world, where we Travel a lot, I always play it safe, and make a point of not as they say “flashing” any jewellery or large amounts of money… especially so after dark.  It is bad enough that you “look like a tourist” you don’t have to attract any unwanted attention on top of that.

Hope this helps,

PS… Are you flying into N’awlins… or are you driving.  We drove in from the North (I-55) and then left to the Northeast (I-10), and I can say that the geography around the Crescent City is spectacular… nothing like I’ve ever seen before… Lake Pontchartrain must be seen to be believed (got a good long look at it and the Levees on our City Tour)… as well as “the Swamp / Bayou”.  The bridges alone in this city are spectacular… the I-10 Bridge (The Causeway) that crosses Lake Pontchartrain at 23.83 Miles is the longest continuous bridge in the world… and the one to the west (I-55) that crosses thru the Bayou (Manchac Swamp Bridge) at 22.8 Miles is just as impressive … maybe more so because of the views of the Bayou and the life within.

My Best Advice… start reading up on New Orleans and surrounding area…

Wikipedia and a Good Map (I like Google Earth / Google Maps when I am on-line) is a great way to start.  Wikipedia is especially nice cause you can click around.

There is so much to see and do in New Orleans one could EASILY spend a week there (which is WHY we are going back)

After Wikipedia, you should also check out the Tourism Websites for New Orleans & Louisiana

New Orleans Tourism = http://www.neworleansonline.com

Louisiana Tourism = http://www.louisianatravel.com

And don’t forget TripAdvisor… the best way to plan a vacation or getaway IMO

Travel Guide – Reviews (Hotels – Restaurants – Attractions) – Traveller Tips – and of course their Forums where you can ask Questions and get replies from those who know the area best… TA Destination Experts & Locals

TripAdvisor (New Orleans, LA Travel Guide) = http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Tourism-g60864-New_Orleans_Louisiana-Vacations.html

 

Post # 9
Member
8917 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

My brother in law plays in an awesome brass band down there – Brass A Holics.  Check em out, they are SO fun!!!

Post # 10
Member
720 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

I’ve been to NOLA 3 times and it’s one of my favorite cities ever. SO’s brother lives there, so luckily we always have a free place to stay! 2 out of the 3 times we went, we ate at Jacques Imo’s cafe in the Uptown neighborhood. SO GOOD. Try the alligator cheesecake, you won’t be disappointed.

Also, the Bloody Mary’s in New Orleans are unparalleled. I have dreams about those Bloody Mary’s.

If you want to do a bus tour of the city, my SO and I went on one (I am blanking on the name of the company, but they were purple buses) and it was amazing. Our tour guide was a native and showed us a lot of places and areas we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Driving through the 9th Ward that was affected by Katrina was heartbreaking but an absolute must. It really showed me just how resilient and amazing the city is.

My last recommendation is Magazine Street! Cute little shops and great food. A lot less hectic and crowded than the French Quarter, too, so it’s a nice area to go to when you need to get away from the madness for awhile.

Post # 11
Member
1555 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Male sure you get some beignets at cafe du monde!!! Get in line early and order plenty! Have fun! 

Post # 12
Member
1355 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013 - Vine Street Church

There’s no reason to get a cab if you’re staying on Esplanade — it’s not a bad part of town. We walked from the Amtrak station to the house where we were staying in Marigny and it wasn’t shady at all. It may just be that I’m used to walking around bad areas in NYC and LA, but I never feel unsafe in New Orleans, and we try to go every year. The public transit is okay, but if you bike, it’s a VERY bike friendly city, so you might look into renting a bicycle while you’re there.

Post # 13
Member
6279 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

take the trolley, go to the garden district, take a plantation tour, sample all the local cuisine.

a little cheesy but go to the mardi gras museum. if i recall it is across the river from the french quarter.

Post # 14
Member
575 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I go to New Orleans frequently, I was doing dissertation work on the city a while ago.  It’s not bad crime-wise so long as you’re smart and observant.  You’ll be fine to walk, it is a great town to walk, and don’t be afraid to take the street cars to get around, either.  They’re really fun and it’s a great way to see the city.  Royal St, as mentioned, has amazing antiques and little boutiques to check out.  If you like pasteries  I’d try Croissant d’Or on Ursuline St near the old convent — and check out the convent, too, it’s one of the oldest buildings in the Mississippi Valley.  For shopping, Magazine St up in the Garden District is great.  Sucre has the best macarons I’ve ever had, and Mignon Faget is a jewllery store you have to see to believe.  

One of the things my parents did and loved was a culinary tour of the Quarter, where they got to go into the different restaurants, learn about their history, sample some food, and see the exclusive parts not open to the public.  I always recommend cemetery tours, as I think the cemeteries are one of the most special things about the city.  The Louisiana State Museums in town are excellent, and I have a warm place in my heart for the 1850 house on Jackson Square.  The museums in the Presbytere and the Cabildo on Jackson Square are also excellent, especially the Mardi Gras museum.  If you’re into music, Frenchman St up in Marigny is the place to go — that’s where the real jazz is happening.  That’s pretty close to Esplanade, actually.

As far as restaurants go, you pretty nearly can’t go wrong.  The one I always used to hit was Coop’s on Decatur St, right by the river.  It’s a dive, but a tasty dive.  John Besh’s restaurants are excellent, but I’m a fan of his.  Definitely grab a warm muffaletta at Napoleon House down in the Quarter — the history of the place is amazing (built for Napoleon to flee his exile and come live in New Orleans, only he died before the Louisiana delegation could go fetch him over), and it’s well-positioned for quality people watching.  My folks loved their charcuterie plate, too, and I’m a huge fan of their Pimm’s cup, which is a NOLA staple.  Check out menus, ask people for recommendations when you’re down there, people are passionate about food and will tell you where to go and what to check out.  If you like absinthe or vodka, Pravda! on Decatur is a riot, down to the badly spelled Russian grafitti on the walls.  I found Bourbon St over-rated, myself, but I’m not up for rowdy bars.  Avoid it after midnight.  

Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for it to be really warm and very, very humid.  Light layers are a good idea, and I always carry a fan and a water bottle anywhere from April to late October.  Festivals are wicked crowded, so be prepared for that.  Some of the very old, prestigious restaurants have dress codes, so double check on that if you plan on going to Galatoire’s or Arnaud’s.  Consider the merits of getting a city tour if you want to see more of NOLA and feel uncertain about doing it yourself.  But whatever you do, take in some music, eat some amazing food, and enjoy yourselves.

Post # 15
Member
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

@nber0815:  said…

If you want to do a bus tour of the city, my SO and I went on one (I am blanking  on the name of the company, but they were purple buses) and it was amazing. Our  tour guide was a native and showed us a lot of places and areas we wouldn’t have  seen otherwise. Driving through the 9th Ward that was affected by Katrina was  heartbreaking but an absolute must. It really showed me just how resilient and  amazing the city is.

VIP City Tours, these were the same folks that we used.  I agree they were great and very informative.  Picked us up at our Hotel, and after the Tour gave us a bunch of choices on where we might disembark… including back at our Hotel (Garden District), Warehouse District, Downtown / Business, French Quarter etc.

Very professional.  And convenient.

 

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