Spending an entire week in an AirBnb with 18 people in the city with the best food I've ever had was the best vacation of my summer so far.Sure, New Orleans is a party city, but it's also a great place for me to escape the city vibes that I love about living in New York.
Accompanied by southern hospitality and 95 degree Louisiana heat, I made it my journey to clear my mind and enjoy the city from a tourist perspective, and as a local would.
Sure, Bourbon Street is always a good time, and Cafe du Monde is a must have, but I wanted to make sure I stopped by the recommended spots from people who actually live in New Orleans...
So I made a list of 8 spots that I recommend when visiting Nola:
1. Port of Call - A crowded, low-key gem considered to have the best burgers in New Orleans. They literally only have burgers, steak, and potatoes on their menu, along with some great drinks.
2. Lil Dizzy's Cafe - A family owned creole-soul restaurant that is always crowded, but closes at 2pm each day. Enjoy the $15 buffet with fried chicken, mac and cheese, veggies, red beans, gumbo, and banana bread with a nice southern iced tea.
3. Cajun's Seafood -
Step into the 9th ward for some fresh cajun seafood and a true NOLA experience if you beat the line. Enjoy fresh crawfish, poboys, crab legs, and boudin at affordable prices.
4. Manchu - A corner store, deli, and liquor store all in one that sells the best chicken and shrimps (Yes, they put the word 'shrimps' on their menu). It was sketchy walking in, but the food was worth every second of standing in the crowded line.
5. Bourbon Street - Live music, crowded restaurants, so many bars with hand grenades... this street is always a go to when you want to get out and enjoy a night on the town. From street performances, happy hour drink specials, and people dancing for beaded necklaces, Bourbon St. captures music, architecture, and a great crowd at all times.
6. French Market - A historical landmark on the bank of the Mississippi River, you
can shop from local vendors, visit small restaurants, or enjoy live music. Cafe du Monde has a location here, so be sure to try a beignet and a frozen coffee. Also, did you know that coffee first came to North America by way of New Orleans.
Sure, hotels are fancy and accommodating, but the homes in New Orleans have a classical, double-gallery townhouse feel. I stayed in Treme, at an AirBnb that was large enough for 25 people to sleep comfortably. It was the same house that Serena Williams and her bridesmaids stayed in the week of her wedding. Here is a link to my video.
7. New Orleans Courtyard Hotel - Sure, it's not a 5 Star hotel, but the experience of staying here was so amazing that I felt right at home. Spending most of the day in the pool, the staff at this hideaway hotel were so welcoming. They were friendly enough to even take our bags to our room, since we were in the pool before it was time to check-in.
8. Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar - the oldest bar in America, or something like that. It is known as the oldest structure in America to be used as a bar. You can literally see the exposed electrical wires running along the ceiling, but the bar resorts to using candles to illuminate the room.
As I boarded my flight back to New York, I made the decision to visit New Orleans once again before the year is over. It is definitely a beautiful city with something to do at all times of the day, but you will for sure want to spend more than a weekend there. Also, pack your walking shoes and prepare to stay hydrated.
Stay tuned to see the next city that I'm off to!