New Orleans Travel Round Up: Here are my recommendations for places to stay, things to do and of course food to eat when traveling to New Orleans!
New Orleans is by far one of my favorite places to visit! It's one of those towns that you can go to again and again and somehow manages to simultaneously feel like home and also that there's so much more yet to discover.
This is my round up of some of my favorite places to stay, food to eat and things to do in the Big Easy. I plan to continue updating the lists as we go back to New Orleans over the years and I hope you find them helpful in planning your NOLA trip!
Where to Stay in New Orleans
The Eliza Jane Hotel
My new favorite place to stay in New Orleans is without question the Eliza Jane Hotel.
It's about a 10-15 minute walk which makes it not only easily accessible to all the action, but surprisingly quiet and peaceful at night.
The hotel itself is gorgeous, beautifully designed with rich, vibrant colors and unique art and furniture. The hotel restaurant was closed when we were there due to COVID but the bar was open and the bartenders definitely know what they're doing.
The hotel has plenty of spaces and enclaves that you can sit and relax and some really fun vintage board games. It also has a beautiful outdoor space with comfortable seating, tables, greenery and a fountain.
Tip: Request the Editor's Suite.
If you can I HIGHLY recommend reserving the editor's sweet or one of the suites that has the upgraded bathroom with the clawfoot tub/shower combo. I took at least 3 baths while were there and the room itself was comfortable, spacious and beautiful.
Other places to stay:
- Royal Sonesta: Choose this hotel if you want to be right on Bourbon Street in the middle of all the action. The rooms are pretty basic but nice and there's a lovely courtyard with a pool. If you can reserve a room with a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street. You may not get much sleep but it will definitely be an experience.
- The Saint Hotel New Orleans: I actually stayed here with some friends for my Bachelorette party and we had a great time. The rooms clean and minimalistic with updated bathrooms and nice views. The rest of the hotel is lush, deep rich colors and a really cool bar scene. It's in the Central Business District so not quite as chaotic (read: exciting) as staying on Bourbon but an easy walk to action and a fun vibe.
New Orleans also has some great AirBnB options so check those out if that is more your style!
Where to eat in New Orleans
Where to begin is the real question! New Orleans is a world renown foodie town and unless you plan on spending a significant amount of time there's really not way to sample all the city has to offer in one trip. But that doesn't mean to you can't try!
Here are some of my top favorite/do not miss restaurants to check out the next time you're in the Big Easy!
Willa Jean is possibly my favorite breakfast/brunch restaurant... EVER. Located in the Central Business District is has a fun retro-chic vibe and some pretty incredible reinterpretations of classic Southern dishes.
Their BBQ Shrimp Toast is divine as is the aptly named Hangover Bowl. For fun, get an order or Griddled Banana Bread and DO NOT skip those famous Cookies and Vanilla Milk. They are so, so worth it. They also make a nearly perfect Bloody Mary if that's what you're into.
Herbsaint is one of those consistently great restaurants that does live up to the hype.
They change their menu pretty frequently but what I recommend is order a bunch of their small plates to share so you can get a taste of everything going on.
Tom and I went here for my 33rd birthday dinner and had basically every small plate on the menu. And y'all, we have no regrets.
While everyone has great things to say about Cochon restaurant, the butcher is where it's at for me.
Everything at Cochon Butcher is made from scratch and they make some of the best charcuterie you can get. I highly recommend getting a large charcuterie of the chef's choice so you can try everything. Make sure you do not skip the head cheese! I know, I was skeptical at first too but I can assure you it's worth it.
To me, this is the classic New Orleans restaurant. Not because they serve traditional food (their menu actually leans towards an Italian/Cajun fusion), but because this was my first introduction to New Orleans restaurant scene and it did not disappoint.
Other restaurants to check out:
- Napoleon House: Go for the Muffalettas and the vibe.
- Desire Oyster Bar: This restaurant is attached to the Royal Sonesta Hotel but don't let it's location fool you! It's got some tasty food.
- Acme Oyster House: There is almost always a line outside of Acme Oyster House so plan to get there before you're hangry. The oysters are great and the oyster shooters will start your night off right.
- Cafe Beignet : In my opinion the best beignets in New Orleans. My favorite Cafe Beignet location is in the back of Musical Legends Park just across the road from Desire Oyster Bar and the Royal Sonesta.
What about Cafe du Monde? I know, I know this is supposedly the quentassential New Orleans beignet breakfast place. And going there is definitely an experience you may not want to miss out on. But here's my personal take. The beignets are better at Cafe Beignet (I know, I said it) and the line at Cafe du Monde is never ending. So no, I don't recommend it. But if you really want to try those classic donuts you can always get them at the airport before you leave.
Where to drink?
- Carousel Bar: The Carousel Bar is actually inside the Hotel Monteleone and holds a special place in NOLA history. It's super fun
- Jean Lafitte's Old Absinthe House: Let's be honest, this bar is a little dirty, a lot loud and for some reason holds a special place in my heart. Right on bourbon street it's a great place to start or end the night.
- Beachbum Barry's Latitude 29: If you like tropical drinks this Tiki bar is fantastic. Great selection of cocktails with some unique and delicious menu items if you get a little peckish.
- Pat O'briens: I'm not going to lie to you I am not particularly a big fan of the famous Pat O'brien's Hurricane BUT I am including it on this list for 2 reasons. 1) My sister adores it and you might too, and 2) It has a great patio. Check it out and stop by Preservation Hall afterwards for some great jazz.
Foodie Tip. Make Reservations.
New Orleans is a city of fabulous food. But, especially in some of the more touristy areas, there are some definite duds.
If the food scene is what you're interested in I highly recommend making a plan beforehand and then making reservations at all the places you don't want to miss. No one wants to wander a city of great food looking for an open table (or at least I don't).
What to do in New Orleans
There is certainly not a shortage of things to do in New Orleans it just depends on what vibe you're going for.
1. For the partier.
Bourbon Street is what you want. There are honestly many places, clubs and bars to get carried away in so if an epic night out is what you want my advice is to wing it and see what happens.
One place we tend to always end up on a night out is the Cat's Meow Karaoke Bar. If you like to drink and sing this might be the place for you.
2. For the music lover.
- Preservation Hall: This venue holds a special place in the heart and history of NOLA and it's right in the middle of all the action. Plus, Pat O'brien's is just next door so you can grab a Hurricane beofre of after if that's your style.
- Music Legends Park: I love this place. And yes, I did buy Steamboat Willie's album on itunes. Check out for a fun evening and be sure to grab a coffee and beignet from Cafe Beignet at the back of the venue.
3. For the chill weekend.
- Stroll around Jackson Square and check out the French Market
- National World War II Museum: I am not lying when I say that this is quite possible one the best museums I have ever been to. And we like museums. If you can fit it in your trip it definitely takes no less than 2-3 hours to go through everything and honestly you would spend a LOT longer there. High recommend it!
- Riverboat Cruise: There are several riverboat cruises to choose from. You can do brunch or sunset or just for fun in the afternoon. I've never actually eaten on the riverboat but I've heard the food isn't always great so make sure to set expectations. Still, it's fun and relaxing to have a couple drinks on the boat and listen to some music while cruising the river.
- Aquarium: New Orleans' aquarium is really good and definitely makes for a chill, fun daytime activity.
- Botanical Gardens: Gorgeous and worth a stroll if the weather is nice!