Cities of the World · Party Places · USA · Weekend Trip

What to do and what not to do in NOLA

New Orleans nicknamed the “Big Easy,” it’s known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy, singular cuisine reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures. One of the surprising things I noticed in New Orleans was that every restaurant has a full-service bar in it.

Before visiting, I usually do a lot of research about what to do and where to go. Most of the famous place is kind of liked by everyone you have to visit this street, tour this garden, do this city tour; try dessert at this place and whatnot. I always feel there are 2-3 things which I don’t like even though it is on the list of must-visit places. For New Orleans, I am going to start with what I didn’t like and then what I loved. 

Not to do:

  • Ghost Tour: Almost every person told me to do a Ghost Tour in New Orleans so I was really excited for it. We reserved a tour starting at 8:00 PM from Witches Brew Tours. Tour started with giving some background about New Orleans and the narrative of the places and why they are supposed to be scary. 20 Mins into the tour we got so bored that we ditched the tour. I was expecting to hear some scary story or visit placed which I would normally have feared to go but it felt more like an account of the places we were visiting.
  • Cafe Du Monde: If you are thinking of visiting New Orleans you might have heard of Cafe du Monte and their beignets. I was looking forward to the dessert of the place which is open for 24 hours and has a waiting time of 15-20 mins for their beignets. I have to admit that I disliked it. It was like fried dough with sugar sprinkled over it. It was not only me but everyone in our group hated it.

Food and music are what you should come to New Orleans for. I loved the food at almost every place I visited expect Cafe Du Monde. New Orleans adds its own flavour to practically everything. Shrimp Popcorn, Beef nachos, crawfish, po boy are some of the specialities not to miss. Frenchman street is a must-visit place, almost every bar does not matter how small it is, have live music there. We went to a bar which has a standing capacity of 20 people and that also had a band performing. Visit Bourbon Street for one of the most vibrant nightlife in the United States. 

Must-Do:

  • French Quarters: French Quarters is centre to all the action in New Orleans. French Quarter is the city’s historic heart, famous for its nightlife and colourful buildings with cast-iron balconies. There are a lot of hotels and hostels in the area and is the best place to live if you want to explore on foot. We found Ernst Cafe near our hotel which was pretty good, we also tried Attiki Bar and Grill, Galliano restaurant and some more random bars. I loved the food at almost every place we visited. 
  • Bourbon Street: Largely quiet during the day, Bourbon Street comes alive at night. Morning at Bourbon Street feels like any other street but the ambience changes entirely at night. I have not seen such a lively and energetic place in the US. There are bars on both side of the road, drinking is allowed in the streets and all you see is people dancing on the streets. You can see visitors taking a Fishbowl or a drink in their hands and dancing on the road. There is music in every bar every restaurant, it feels the street is designed to party. Buy beads from one of the local stores and throw them on strangers on road from a patio bar or stand on the other side trying to catch a bead. 
  • Jackson Square: Jackson Square is also very famous among tourists. Go to this place in the evening, you can see a lot of people sitting around, a lot of street shows: painters, palm readers, tarot card reader. There is also a very famous cathedral in the square. It’s a nice place to go for a stroll before you go for a drink or even after.
  • Frenchman Street: Frenchman street is a little far from French Quarters. Almost every bar no matter how small it is, have live music there. We went to a bar which has a standing capacity of 20 people and that also had a band performing. While Bourbon Street is a place to grab a drink and roam outside, this is the place where you can do pub crawling. All the pubs will have live music and the ambience is perfect to grab a drink and dance on the tune.

Apart from this we also went to Harrah’s Casino which is good if you want to try your luck. There is also a Voodoo Museum and WW2 Museum for those who are interested in Museums. There is a famous cemetery as well. You can also go for a stroll around the Mississippi River. 

New Orleans is definitely a must-visit if you drink, love music, love food or either one of them. Only after visiting I realized why it is also called as the music capital of the USA.

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