A small city with personality to spare, New Orleans is a lively city full of more food, history, music and culture than most cities many times it’s size. There is so much to New Orleans beyond Bourbon Street. Visit New Orleans and spend a few days here wandering the streets of the French Quarter, exploring the garden district, touring old cemeteries and eating rich Creole food and you will feel like you’ve visited another country. With the homogenization of so many cities in the U.S., it is refreshing to visit a place with so much character. Get off the beaten path in New Orleans and you are sure to be rewarded! Here are the things we have done while visiting the Crescent City that I recommend for your next visit.
EATING OFF THE BEATEN PATH IN NEW ORLEANS
I’m convinced you could spend a month eating your way through New Orleans there are so many amazing restaurants. While there are many in the French Quarter, some, like my personal favorite Cochon Butcher, require a trip outside of the regular tourist area. Here are some of my favorite places to eat in New Orleans.
Butcher Shop and Sandwich Shop with THE MOST amazing food. Do not miss this spot! Located just down the street from the WWII Museum.
930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
One of the top steakhouses in the country, housed in an historic century-old building with an atmosphere of Big Easy glamour and hospitality.
1300 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130
Nestled in an 150 year-old courtyard and Carriage House on Royal Street in the French Quarter with a lush and romantic New Orleans courtyard setting. Delicious shrimp and grits and other traditional Louisiana fare.
912 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70116
Commander’s Palace, nestled in the middle of the tree-lined Garden District, has been a New Orleans landmark since 1893. Upscale and delicious, a meal here is truly a must-have southern experience.
1403 Washington Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130
BRUNCH AT ANTOINE’S
A Sunday Brunch steeped in history in the French Quarter. The food is medicore, but the ambiance is truly an experience in an old dining room with a live jazz band playing old favorites. Worth the cost of admission.
713 Saint Louis St, New Orleans, LA 70130
CAFE DU MONDE
You cannot visit New Orleans and not stop at Cafe Du Monde for beignets. Bring cash because that is all they accept. It’s open 24 hours, no frills, covered in powdered sugar (I’m talking the chairs, tables, floors AND the beignets), greasy and wonderful. There are several locations, but make sure you visit the original.
800 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116
OFF THE BEATEN PATH IN NEW ORLEANS : THINGS TO DO
This museum is the #1 tourist destination in NOLA for a reason. The National WWII Museum brings history to life through though provoking exhibits and a collection of artifacts. Walk through history and learn about the most impactful event of the 20th century and explore the American experience in the war that changed the world. The museum is constantly growing and expanding so there is always something new to see.
945 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA 70130
This was probably one of the most fun “tourist” things I have ever done on a vacation. We visited in late winter, so the swamps were much different looking than I’m sure they would be in the spring and summer. I would love to go back and take another tour during that time of year…it was THAT fun. I highly recommend it! Such a fun thing to do in New Orleans for couples. Kids would love it too.
A sobering reminder of the devastation that NOLA experienced in 2009 as a result of Hurricane Katrina. It’s interesting to learn about the city’s history and gain an understanding of the levee system, the flood gates, and the pumping stations and what life is like below sea level when the storms come. This is a longer tour roughly 4 hours, and is a small group with a guide who has been in NOLA since 1974 and knows the city and it’s history like the back of her hand.
If you want to experience New Orleans Jazz like a local you’ll need to get out of the French Quarter and hop in a cab and head to Frenchmen Street. There are several famous clubs there including The Spotted Cat, Three Muses, and Snug Harbor. Pick just about any spot on this street, grab yourself a seat and enjoy the sounds of the city.
Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA
There are several Cemetery Tours to choose from in NOLA. The St. Louis Cemetery Tour and the Lafayette Cemetery tours are both popular spots. It is very interesting to learn about these above ground cemeteries and how the families share the large cement burial spots for centuries. Add to your list if you’re looking for fun date ideas in New Orleans. Please note that in my research, before we visited, I learned that for the most part the cemeteries in NOLA are NOT safe places to walk around by yourself, so please go with a tour guide.
The French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. Most of the historic buildings were constructed either in the late 18th century, during the city’s period of Spanish rule, or were built during the first half of the 19th century. It is the vibrant, historical part of the city, full of shops, restaurants, art fairs, street musicians and beautiful architecture. The nightlife here can get a bit crazy, so visit during the day for a calmer vibe.
THE GARDEN DISTRICT
Stately homes, beautiful antebellum mansions, pristine gardens and southern charm, the Garden District is a lovely neighborhood in New Orleans. It is a popular destination for visitors, and a nice break from the sometimes hectic pace and crowded streets of the French Quarter. Many celebrities have lived and do currently live in this stunning neighborhood.
New Orleans Shopping on Magazine Street
This cute little shop on Magazine was my favorite find on our visit. Beautiful and unique home decor items.
2844 Magazine Street
KIT AND ACE
Men’s and Women’s Apparel
3913 Magazine Street
Fun paper goods and stationery. Beautiful letterpress goods.
5423 Magazine Street
WHERE TO STAY IN NEW ORLEANS
Set within the 1908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building, the gorgeous Ritz Carlton New Orleans hotel highlights traditional Southern ambiance and hospitality. Located on the edge of the French Quarter you are steps away from everything New Orleans has to offer. We enjoyed a beautiful stay here. Don’t miss the live Jazz in the Davenport Lounge and relaxing in the gorgeous courtyard.
921 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70112
Located on the most fashionable corner, St. Louis at Royal, this four diamond luxury hotel offers graceful elegance in the New Orleans French Quarter.
621 St. Louis Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
For more information about the latest and greatest in New Orleans, visit their website.
I hope you get a chance to visit New Orleans soon and have a wonderful time. Don’t forget to get off the beaten path in New Orleans to really experience some of the amazing things this city has to offer.
Have you already been to New Orleans? What are some of your favorite places to eat, things to do and see in this area? Did you have a great stay at a NOLA hotel? I’d love to hear about it so I can check it out on my next visit. Let me know about all of your favorites in NOLA in the comments.
Looking for more fun places to visit? Check out our travel gallery
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