Taking a trip to the Big Easy?
With a place so rich in culture, tradition and some of the best food & drinks you can imagine, your itinerary will be packed FULL of fun things to do!
Don’t miss these 5 experiences in New Orleans when you go!
Along with being known for its beautiful architecture & sights, the amazing parties and so much culture & history, New Orleans is known for its amazing food scene! From fluffy beignets covered in powdered sugar to savory etouffee filled with Crawfish and Cajun sausage, you won’t run the risk of struggling to find a good meal while here! There are big-name local Chefs like Emeril Lagasse and Aaron Sanchez whose restaurants are a hit among the community and its guests, and even gas stations that pile on mouthwatering piles of Southern dishes that you’d never expect from your local convenience store. Eating light? Vegan or Vegetarian? No stress, NOLA has got you covered too! There are specialty restaurants in the city that cater to vegans and vegetarians, as well as offering lighter meal options. Check out these articles to find Vegan food in NOLA, as well as Vegetarian options. When traveling to New Orleans, be sure to bring a BIG appetite.
Listen to Jazz on Frenchmen’s Street (or shoot, anywhere!)
If you visit New Orleans and don’t hear some jazz, you have truly missed out! As a lover of Jazz music myself, NOLA is always a favorite destination for me because how many places offer so many free shows?! Simply walking the streets of Bourbon or Frenchmen will have you front row and center to some of the most talented performers you have laid your eyes on. This music, originally referred to as “ragtime” or “hot music” has been a part of the rich culture in New Orleans since before the 19th Century. Music and jazz have always reigned supreme in the Creole culture and brought us the music of legendary musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. With the abundance of brass marching bands referred to as Second Line, it’s rare to attend an event in New Orleans without hearing the rhythmic patterns of the Saxophone, Trumpets and numerous instruments that bring so much joy to the streets of the city. You can hear these tunes all over, but please, tip the wonderful performers that you see!
Enjoy a specialty cocktail, daiquiri or their local Abita beer
Let’s not pretend that we didn’t all hear that New Orleans is a party town. Yes, it’s so much more than that, but there’s no harm in visiting to get a lil lit! As New Orleans is only one of seven states that lack strict open container laws, that means you can order a daiquiri and walk right outside and enjoy it without legal issues. You heard it here if you didn’t already know! The law does require it to be in a plastic cup of some sort, so please don’t run outside with your bottle of wine & straw so quickly. But with this loose law, it’s easy to stroll the streets of the city while getting a little buzz. Safely and in moderation, of course. So while you’re visiting, check out a local specialty!
i. the local beer brand, Abita whose Andygator and Amber are phenomenal brews
ii. A fruity daiquiri filled with rum that will have you dancing through the streets of Bourbon from local tourist favorites like Big Easy Daiquiris or local spots that even offer drive-thru daiquiris!
iii. A Hand Grenade – This novelty drink brags being the “strongest drink in New Orleans” and I won’t lie, I don’t remember enough post-Hand Grenade to confirm as 21-year-old Erica didn’t know that they bragged about this. WELP! I can tell you that I remember it being quite tasty and I love the grenade cups! You will see many of these fluorescent cups being sipped on while you tour the city, especially Bourbon Street where you can buy these drinks at Tropical Isle.
iv. Try a local specialty like a Hurricane, Pimm’s Cup or Absinthe!
Celebrate the Mardi Gras tradition (even out of season)
If you haven’t heard of Mardi Gras, where have you been!? Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday” and the New Orleans-based celebration extends back to the 1800’s. Known for the amazing daily parades, the colorful spectacle of hand-sewn costume or the legendary plastic beads and treats that are thrown from the floats simply called “throws”, Mardi Gras is so much more than that to the locals of New Orleans. The Mardi Gras celebration is not exclusive to the city as several other countries celebrate their own version, but the people of Louisiana live the Mardi Gras life on a daily basis. Visiting the city outside of the February-March Mardi Gras season but want to experience a bit of the fun? Visit Mardi Gras World to learn the history, eat some King Cake, and even try on the costumes and check out the floats! Read more about the rich history of Mardi Gras here.
Take in the sights!
New Orleans is FULL of beautiful sights to see beyond the partying and delicious plates of food! Founded in 1718, NOLA has a rich history in this country and the city buildings and landmarks remind all of that on a daily basis. Beyond the neon lights of Bourbon Street lies beautiful homes lining the streets of the Garden District, Cathedrals that sit perched watching over the streets of the city and even their European-style Catholic cemeteries called “Cities of the Dead” draw crowds to view the graves of local New Orleanians like Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, Homer Plessy, Mahalia Jackson, Fats Domino and even living stars like Nicolas Cage and Anne Rice. Taking a walk along the Riverside will give you a prime view of the Mississippi River along with the beautiful Steam Boats that lay in wait for their next outing. You can have a clear view of the Crescent City Connection (formerly known as the Greater New Orleans Bridge) from the beautiful Woldenberg Park with a Po’ Boy and Daiquiri and watch the boats go by.
These are just FIVE of the many amazing things you can do while in New Orleans and believe me, the list goes on!