Most people have New Orleans, Louisiana on their bucket list for the biggest celebration during February, Mardi Gras. Others have it for Bourbon Street and crawfish. For me, I just wanted to visit my friends and New Orleans’s food culture. Whatever the reason, New Orleans is a great place to visit for food and fun!
In New Orleans, crawfish is locally grown and has many different ways of preparing and seasoning these crustaceans. The crawfish is always boiled but the seasoning can either be sweeter, spicier, or saltier. Whichever your taste buds desire, you will find a crawfish shop to serve to your choice in flavor.
When the crawfish are in season, the prices are low at roughly $3-5 a pound. If you plan to consume crawfish boil, try to avoid the tourist areas since they will charge twice or three times the price. Since there is an abundance of crawfish eateries in New Orleans, I went on a crawfish tour. The locations I visited are:
- Cajun Seafood
- Dat Cajun seafood
- Cajun Corner
- J’s Bayou Seafood
- Behrman Cajun Seafood
- Big Fisherman Seafood
Cafe Du Monde
There are locations throughout New Orleans for Cafe Du Monde, but the one you need to check out is the original one located on Decatur Street in the French Quarter. It is open 24 hours daily; some go for breakfast and others go after they’ve had a long night. The morning line is ridiculously long, so it’s probably better to go at night.
At Cafe Du Monde, they are famous for their beignets, which are French doughnuts. It is fried on the outside and hollow on the inside. All that is on the menu is beignets and coffee, so it is recommended that you get the Cafe Au Lait and an order of beignets. I personally like the frozen Cafe Au Lait over the hot.
Beignets are so good here. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s so addictive! I liked it so much I went back 5 times during my trip, all at different times of the day.
Tip: Cash only! Ask for hats, they give them out for free like at Krispy Kreme! Also, the water they give you is not for drinking… it’s for cleaning your hands due to the powdered sugar!
Willie Mae’s Scotch House
It is not considered the South unless there is some damn good chicken and luckily for you, America’s Best Fried Chicken is right here at Willie Mae’s. This chicken is well-known and featured on many television shows and articles. The fried chicken is described as piping hot, extremely crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside. Definitely, don’t skip out on sinking your teeth into this greasy, tender goodness!
Acme Oyster House
As stated in their name, Acme is the perfect establishment to get oysters. It wouldn’t be a trip to New Orleans without ordering a dozen oysters to yourself. You can get them either raw or chargrilled. NOLA oysters are bigger and meatier than the ones from the Pacific.
Acme usually has a long line all day so be prepared to wait, but once inside you need to order some of the New Orleans classics such as Jambalaya and Étouffée.
Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar
For Creole favorites, Felix’s is your place to go. Like Acme, it is also another great place to get your oyster fix. You can also get other New Orleans favorites such as Jambalaya, Crawfish Etouffee, Hamburger Steak, Shrimp and Grits, and Po-Boy Sandwiches. Unsure of what to get? There is also a Bayou Platter Sampler where you can try a little of each red beans, Jambalaya, and Etouffee.
For exotic hot dogs such as alligator, crawfish, and duck, Dat Dog has you covered! Pick your sausage and your toppings to fit your flavor palette with a side of “White Trash” fries (“WTF”) and you will leave satisfied. There are several locations sprinkled throughout New Orleans, but the one with fun decorations is the one on Frenchmen Street (go upstairs to the bar).
Eat Ice Cream, Be Happy!
Creole Creamery is the best place to get ice cream in New Orleans. There is a large selection of different flavors. If you are indecisive like me and want a little of everything, there is a mini scoop sampler available where you can get 4 or 6 small scoops of different flavors. There are also sundaes available. Remember to bring cash as this place is cash only!
LOVE Ice Cream? There is a “Tchoupitoulas Challenge” which includes 8 scoops and 8 toppings. If you are able to finish the entire sundae without any help, you get your name on the Hall of Fame!
Driving around New Orleans, I noticed the Smoothie King Center and it made me curious as to what it’s all about. In the West Coast, I love Jamba Juice and was thinking Smoothie King was exactly another version of it. However, unlike Jamba Juice, Smoothie King focuses heavily on the smoothies being healthy or dieting.
Raising Cane’s originated in Louisiana and now there are locations spread throughout the nation. If you are looking for fast food in Louisiana, I would say skip the McDonald’s and get Raising Cane’s or Popeyes.
Other Restaurant Recommendations:
- The Ruby Slipper Cafe
- Mother’s Restaurant
- Galatoire’s Restaurant
- Oceana Grill
- Muriel’s (rumored to be haunted)
- Stanley (for a good brunch)
- Surrey’s Cafe & Juice Bar (located in the Garden District)
- Drago’s Seafood Restaurant
- The Company Burger
- The Rum House (for tacos and drinking)
Things to Do
Downtown New Orleans
Like many cities, downtown is where all the action is in New Orleans. During the daytime, you can visit the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas or see alligators on a Swamp Tour. At night time, head over to The Metropolitan to shake your booty, walk around with frozen daiquiris, bar hop between places like The Carousel Bar, or take a Haunted History Tour to learn about the spirits and history of New Orleans.
Drink Your Way Down Bourbon Street
As you turn the corner and onto Bourbon street, you will get a strong whiff of the things that happen here. There is a mixture of sweat, urine, and dried up alcohol all in one go. Sound pleasant right?
Bourbon street is a lot tamer during the day as most people are looking for food rather than drinks, but you will still find people looking for an early drink. It’s a lot different seeing the street during the day versus the night.
When the sun sets and the party starts, patrons celebrate Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street year round. This means women flashing their melons, tossing beads, and having the time of their lives… wasted!
Frozen daiquiris are a big thing here so remember to stop by Jester Mardi Gras Daiquiris and Tropical Isle to get The Jester and a Hand Grenade, advertised to be the strongest drink in New Orleans.
Besides drinking, there are other adult entertainments available Downtown, such as hustler clubs, lingerie stores, and strip clubs. Everything you are looking for, you might just be able to find them here.
Gamble at Harrah’s
Take a break from the craziness and try your hand with Lady Luck at Harrah’s. While you’re inside Harrah’s, dance your ass off at Club Masquerade.
Tip: Parking around Bourbon Street can be very difficult. Try parking at Harrah’s and gamble your way to free parking.
Explore French Quarter
French Quarter is the most iconic area in New Orleans. There are several places you can explore in the French Quarter. There is a Tiki Bar called Beach Bum Berry’s Latitude 29 where you can get a drink called the Snake versus Mongoose which is shareable between 4 people or of course, delectable beignets at Cafe Du Monde.
Take a walk around and be sure to keep your eyes wide open to admire the architecture and the history behind this area.
There are also live performances during the daytime which gathers crowds of people to see and hear dancing and jazz music.
Looking for souvenirs, antiques, or fresh produce? Farmers Market has a wide array of things both new and used.
The history of New Orleans is embedded and sprinkled throughout the French Quarter wherever you go. One of the statues is the Joan of Arc, Maid of Orleans. It was a gift from the people of France to the Citizens of New Orleans.
Visit Jackson Square and the Mississippi River
For a little quieter side of New Orleans, take a stroll to Jackson Square to see the Andrew Jackson statue and Saint Louis Cathedral. The Mississippi River is also across the street to watch the boats float by (I wouldn’t touch the water if I were you).
When Bourbon Street is too much to handle, head over to Frenchmen Street where the locals hang out and there is less traffic. You can listen to live music all night long alongside drinks and late-night eats. Drinks with a view just began to be a new thing in New Orleans. This sparked the birth of rooftop bars in the area. One of the rooftop bars to visit on Frenchmen Street is at The Frenchmen Hotel.
Learn U.S. History at The National World War II Museum
World War II had so many moving parts, accomplished a number of things, and goes down in history as the one that had the most bloodshed and money spent.
The National WWII Museum does such an excellent job at highlighting every detail that happened at the beginning, throughout the years, and the end of the war. You will learn so much if you take the time to read and understand what the museum has to offer.
There are also displays, quotes, and replicas of things that can show you what the living conditions and objects looked like back in the war times to put things in perspective.
There are also interactive things you can do throughout the museum such as dress up like Rosie the Riveter!
There are bomb shelters outside that you can climb into to see what it was like to be in one of these things designed years ago.
If you are into automobiles, tanks, and planes… there is a whole big area of actual equipment from World War II! You can see everything life-sized and real in front of you.
I am usually not into visiting museums but the National WWII Museum was a lot of fun. It was also fun to explore the gift shop!
Don’t buy the replica hand grenade if you are flying on a plane, it will probably get you into big trouble!
I would definitely recommend this museum to visit but be sure to allocate at least 3 hours to be able to see everything.
Take a Guided Tour at the Oak Alley Plantation
Slavery is part of American History that we, as a country, is not proud of. To stop the repeat of past history, we must educate the future and show how life was like prior. At Oak Alley Plantation, the history of slavery runs deep here. Today, it is a restaurant and an Inn, as well as a tour of the slaves’s conditions and daily life. After you are done with the guided tour of this historic plantation, cool down with a flight of mint julep in the restaurant.