Good food and good music always make for a great time! Our recent trip to the birthplace of Jazz was just that. New Orleans got a jump start in this amazing genre of music because slaves were allowed to play music openly. The African beats were soon mixed with the brass instruments from Europe and Jazz was born. Along with it came delicious mixture of food, architecture, and culture which what makes New Orleans so unique today. We had the chance to spend a few days in this beautiful city and wanted to share some of favorite places with you.
Best Western French Quarter
We stayed at the beautifully renovated Best Western French Quarter located near the upper North Boarder of the French Quarter. It was also right across the street from Armstrong Park, had its own parking lot, and was within walking distance to the center of French Quarter but far enough away so you can get some peace and quiet. In addition to it’s great location, they also serve breakfast every morning. Their impressive courtyard alone made this stay worthwhile!
Salon Restaurant by Sucré
After a day walking around in the sun exploring all of the eclectic things New Orleans has to offer, Salon Restaurant was the perfect place to sit back and relax. They offer a Modern Tea Service Thursday – Sunday from 10am until 4 pm (reservations recommended) but also serve a series of items a la carte. We loved their high ceilings and cool interior to enjoy some down time, have some delicious tea, and cool down from all the excitement of the day.
Some of the Happy Hour oysters in town! Happy Hour is Daily; 3-6 p.m with 75 cent Gulf Oysters. If you’ve never had a Gulf Oyster, they are a larger, meater variety of oyster and are available fried or grilled. The restaurant interior has the feel of an old Franco-German brasserie and the perfect place to enjoy fresh oysters and other gulf seafood items.
located in a traditional French Quarter courtyard, Cafe Amelie was everything lovely and amazing. Make sure to make reservations for this popular spot since there’s always a wait. Cafe Amelie always uses locally sourced products for a fresh and in season taste. Once you sit down order some Shrimp and Grits straight away before even looking at the menu. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
If you’re looking for some tasty Southern food then look no further. Creole House is located on the popular Canal Street and has everything from fried alligator, oysters cooked 5 ways, po-boys, Crawfish Etouffée, and the list goes on! We had a party of 10 and all managed to get something different. We left stuffed to the brim ready to hit the town for some Hurricane Drinks and dancing! They are opened from 7am till 11pm every day so make sure to stop by any time of day.
Café Du Monde
This place is the mother of all bengiets and best of all its open 24 hours. We actually made 4 trips here at all times of the day. The bengiets are delicious and the best we’ve had. If you’re going during the daytime, they do have a takeout window for a quicker option. Our suggestion is to go a bit later at night when things have quieted down. Grab a seat at one of their tables to sit back and properly enjoy a warm, fresh out of the oven bengiet with some Au Lait coffee to either dip or sip.
We visited New Orleans during the beginning of Crawfish season (end of March) and couldn’t get enough of each delicious crawfish morsel. Louisiana is one of the top places in America for crawfish so make sure to find some and eat a bunch! We saw some people selling it out of the backs of their trucks on the street and most restaurants carry a variety of crawfish dishes.
The Jazz Playhouse
If you want some serious jazz in a great setting, make sure to visit The Jazz Playhouse located in the middle of Bourbon Street. This lively, yet luxurious and intimate venue on Bourbon Street inside the Royal Sonesta New Orleans hotel offers unbeatable live music nightly from some of the world’s most legendary musicians. Immerse your senses with a specialty craft or themed cocktail and delicious small plates, while taking in the sounds of New Orleans. We loved that they have a full line of Jazz Inspired craft cocktails inspired by famous jazz artists such as Eartha Kitt, Billie Holiday, and Stevie Wonder.
The Spotted Cat Music Club
We loved this club during our visit to the Frenchmen Street area. They feature live music starting in the afternoon until 2am every day. Numerous movies, commercials, and print media have filmed and written about the “CAT” for its outstanding music and unique ambiance. There is no cover and the bar is cash only.
Free Walking Tour- French Quarter
If you haven’t heard of Free Walking Tours by Foot, the concept is that you get a free tour of your choosing and pay your local tour guide with whatever you think he or she deserves. We loved our French Quarter tour lead by a local who was born and raised in New Orleans. He shared some of his personal favorite spots that only locals would really know to check out and had great information about the history and culture of the area. Don’t worry there’s not too much walking and theres plenty time to take pictures!
Visit Frenchmen Street
Frenchmen Street is on the outskirts of the French Quarter. The area has become quite popular for good music, bars, and art. The Frenchmen Street area started forming in the 1980s. As Bourbon Street started becoming more tourist-focused, Frenchmen started emerging more as a locals spot to party and is geared toward authentic New Orleans musical and gastronomical tastes.
Cajun Encounters Swamp Tour
What’s a visit to the South without a Swamp Tour? Being from the Bay Area, we’ve never seen a swamp (in real life) or alligators up close. We started the day with a pickup from our hotel and were transported to the Honey Island Swamp area where we found our boat waiting. We had opted for the Cajun Encounters VIP Boat tour which had a much smaller boat which made it a more personal and up close experience. We were able to go faster and closer than the bigger boats and got to see alligators, ring tail raccoons, and wild pigs!
Cajun Pride Swamp Tour
We couldn’t get enough of the swamp experience and joined the Cajun Pride Swamp Tour. This tour is located on a private swamp so its very peaceful and the tour guide knew the whole swamp like the back of his hand. He knew where each gator lived and had plenty of stories to tell as we floated down the river. This boat is also kid and baby friendly which makes it perfect for the whole family.
The Whitney Plantation is an amazing place to learn about an important part of American history. The plantation itself has been wonderfully preserved in it’s original layout with many historical memorials added throughout the property. The tour guide took us through each building pointing out interesting information about the lives of slaves on a plantation. There are also many true stories and narratives of past slaves that can be read on memorials and boards throughout the property.