HELLO FRIENDS! It’s been a minute. But I have a very important post to write. If you follow me on Instagram (& watched all my obnoxious instastories LOL), you know I was in New Orleans recently with one of my best friends, Kara. When I told people I was going to NOLA, everyone freaked out. And that’s putting it lightly. Y’all LOVE New Orleans. I was bombarded with recommendations of places to eat, things to do, cocktails to drink. Honestly, it was kind of overwhelming! But it gave Kara & me a good place to start (and since we couldn’t get to everything, an excuse to go back ;))
So for those of you wondering or planning your own NOLA trip, here’s a brief overview of the things we did/places we ate to help you out. Oh, and I also get why everyone loves NOLA. I’m obsessed with it & I’ll be returning ASAP. Enjoy!
Where we stayed: MOXY New Orleans
BIG shoutout to Kara for finding this hotel. Y’all. This hotel is INCREDIBLE. It’s tag line is “PLAYFUL. FUN. and STYLISH” & it’s all that and more. When we were planning our trip, Kara and I researched a bunch of Airbnb’s & other hotels, but they were pretty expensive and we couldn’t find something in the right price range/central area. The MOXY was in the ideal location (2 blocks from Canal Street, about a 7 minute walk from the French Quarter), plus it’s a Marriott (hello, hotel points). It was edgy, super cool & perfect for 20-something’s. Other highlights: a 24/7 bar (you literally check in at the bar & get a cocktail), beautiful rooms (and cool bathrooms with rainfall showers!), complimentary coffee all morning & snacks in the afternoon, and they sold all my favorite alcoholic beverages (in mini sizes) in the lobby. 10/10 recommend.
Where & What We Ate
Yes, NOLA has a big drinking culture (I can’t get over no open container laws in the street), but it also has amazing food. We definitely ate well while we were there. Our favorites:
- The Governor: To be honest, Kara and I were just wandering around and stumbled upon The Governor for our first brunch. If you can’t get a table, just grab a place at the bar. There are $12 bottomless mimosas (#blessed) & I got eggs Benedict with a crabcake which rocked. Perfect way to start your morning (or nurse your hangover from the night before). Oh and just ask for your mimosa to go at the end of brunch (because that’s a real thing you can do. Crazy.)
- Ruby Slipper Cafe: A LOT of people recommended Ruby Slipper so we had to go. There are a few locations & luckily one was a 3 minute walk from our hotel. The brunch is definitely good–I had the best biscuit of my life there (actually not kidding) & they serve French Truck Coffee (see below). A few notes: the service was just okay–we kind of felt rushed out (sort of understandable because it’s VERY popular & they need to turn over tables quickly). Also, they don’t take reservations. Instead, you have to get on a waitlist through Yelp & they tell you when to show up. Worth the trip though!
- Cafe Amelie: We were kind of scrambling for a brunch place one morning, but I’m kind of happy we were otherwise we would have never stumbled upon Cafe Amelie! Wow, maybe the best brunch of the trip. There’s a BEAUTIFUL courtyard you can eat in (but need a reservation for sure), but the inside restaurant is very nice too. If you’re into sweet brunch, I loooooveeed the bananas foster waffles. And if you’re a savory person, Kara got the sunny-up and cochon de lait (sunny-side up egg in this amazing sauce with spicy sausage over grits) & holy crap, it might tie for the best thing we ate all trip. I really loved this place and would definitely go back.
- Jacques Imos: Just a *, Jacques Imos is outside the main part of the city (it’s more by Tulane) but WELL worth the 15-minute Uber ride. This may have been my & Kara’s favorite meal. The restaurant itself is quirky–the front bar has paintings ALL over the walls & ceiling and then you have to physically walk through the kitchen to get to the back dining room. Kara & I both had shrimp creole and it was AMAZING. It’s authentic southern food so you can get everything from alligator to fried grits. It’s definitely popular so make a reservation!
- Dick & Jenny’s: We went here on a recommendation from Kara’s friend. It was pretty good! I got decent shrimp scampi and we split a lemon-lavender creme brûlée which was delightful. It wasn’t my favorite dinner of the trip & it’s farther outside the city which is something to take into consideration, but overall good service and nice atmosphere.
- Court of Two Sisters: This was another place that a lot of people recommended–for good reason! The atmosphere is lovely (& the courtyard is perfect for instagrams ;)) I got catfish (which was good! But I kind of wished I ordered something else) & Kara got crawfish & shrimp pasta (which I should have gotten!) It’s good if you want to try traditional creole and cajun food.
- Justine (*for dessert): Kara and I walked by Justine probably 6 times & had to find an excuse to eat there. It’s just a cool, edgy French-inspired restaurant. However, it is very expensive so we just went for dessert!! We didn’t have a reservation, so we ended up eating at the communal table facing the open kitchen which ended up being super cool. I got the honey vanilla pot de crème & a glass of sauv blanc. The perfect way to end our trip.
Where We Drank
- Kingfish: This was the first place we went when we arrived to grab cocktails. It’s in the heart of the French Quarter and truly lovely. Kara got a Gardenhead (super springy, light with fresh cucumber) & I got a Lady Lux (a mix of tequila & prosecco & lemon–Kara said if I were a cocktail, I’d be this one LOL). We also spilt the pulled pork nachos which were delicious. I really want to go back here for dinner next time. Highly recommend.
- Backspace: We kept passing by this bar as we walked around, so we decided to stop in for drinks before dinner one night. It’s a literary themed bar, where the cocktails & decor are poetry inspired. A must for book lovers who like to drink.
- Landry’s Seafood: It’s right on Jackson Square with a rooftop bar facing the water. Perfect for happy hour. We both got peach & mint mules which were to die for & something I’m going to try recreate this summer. Stay tuned.
- Pat O’Brien’s: Another place a lot of people told us to go to & it’s obvious why. It’s a dueling piano bar. That used to be an old mansion. Each room/area has a little bit of a different vibe (ex: one room had the pianos but then there’s a back outdoor patio with a DJ) & it was SO fun. Great place to start off your night.
- Bourbon Street: We couldn’t go to NOLA without going to the infamous Bourbon Street. Trust me, it’s like whatever everyone tells you, multiplied by 10. Just be mentally prepared haha There are a TON of bars to choose from (obviously) so you could wander and see what appeals to you, but Kara and I liked Boots Scoot & Rodeo (a country bar!) and The Swamp (next door–second floor is way less crowded and so fun!) It’s definitely an experience, but NOLA wouldn’t be NOLA without it.
(There’s obviously a coffee section here, please.)
- French Truck Coffee: Ugh I LOVE French Truck. It’s adorable and I had one of the best lattes of my life. It’s bright and fun & the perfect place for an afternoon pick-me-up.
- Petite Amelie: This is the extension of Cafe Amelie (right next door) and features coffee & quick bites. The atmosphere was quaint but it’s kind of expensive. If you can’t get a reservation at Cafe Amelie but want to try their food, it’s a good option!
What We Saw & Did
- Cafe Du Monde: OBVIOUSLY we had to get beignets! There’s a big debate on if Cafe Du Monde or Cafe Beignet is better, but we decided on Cafe Du Monde ultimately. Be prepared to wait in line, but it does go quickly. Also it’s cash only so keep that in mind! But beignets are amazing. Pair it with a cafe du lait & it’s the perfect afternoon snack. It’s a touristy thing to do in NOLA but you can’t go without getting beignets right??
- Church of Yoga: HUGE shoutout to my friend Maria for telling me about this place. If you’re a yogi wanting an amazing practice while you’re out of town, I cannot recommend Church of Yoga enough. The staff & teachers are SO nice and welcoming, plus the space is awesome. It’s $10 per class & mats are free to use. It was nothing short of a spiritual experience.
- Cemetery Tour: This was actually so fun! We booked it through French Quarter Phantom Tours (which have a bunch of tours from cemetery & ghosts/vampires to voodoo & jazz) and it was great. Our tour guide was so funny & informative. It was a great way to learn about the history of NOLA & see the honestly beautiful cemeteries it’s known for. All the tours are also super affordable ($17 when you book online) and you meet at a bar for 2-for-1 Hurricanes (which taste like frat parties & college).
- Jackson Square: We walked around Jackson Square one afternoon and it’s lovely. It’s right along the river & the famous St. Louis Cathedral is front and center. There are a bunch of cute little shops along the perimeter & local artists display their art along the fences surrounding the park area. There’s also a Cafe Du Monde location (the one we went to) right there! Super cute.
- Take a street car to the Garden District: We wanted to check out the Garden District (aka beautiful houses with beautiful gardens) so we took the street car down that way! I love the street cars, I think they’re adorable. It’s $1.25 (exact change!) aka a super affordable way to get around. Exploring the Garden District is definitely a chiller activity, but may be what you need after a night on Bourbon Street ;)
- The Spotted Cat Music Club: THIS WAS MY MOST FAVORITE THING EVER. Located on Frenchman Street (Bourbon’s Street slightly tamer cousin), The Spotted Cat is a hole in the wall jazz club with THE BEST jazz band I’ve ever heard. It’s cash only ($5 cover) & it was wall to wall people jamming to jazz. Incredible. I can’t wait to go back. I wish I knew how to play jazz.
- Shopping on Royal Street: We had some down time, so we strolled along Royal Street. It has a bunch of cute shops & art galleries–nice way to spend an afternoon and get some souvenirs!
NOLA is a place with little to no rules & every day feels like Saturday night. I get why everyone loves it–it definitely stole a piece of my heart. Have you been to NOLA? Any more recommendations for me when I go back? Leave me a comment! &.