New Orleans, also known as the "Big Easy" is one of the coolest cities in the United States. It's a melting pot of culture unlike any other you will find in the country.
The city was founded by the French, ruled by the Spanish for 40 years and purchased by the United States in 1803. They city really started to thrive with the birth of Jazz in the early 1900s. The cultural and architectural influence from each ruler is still felt in the city to this day. Beyond being a cultural hub, the city is also a hot spot for foodies and nightlife enthusiasts.
The city has been through so much with the devastation of hurricane Katrina in 2005. Although it has taken time to rebuild, the city never lost it's heart and soul.
We were smitten with New Orleans the second we stepped off the plane. That's why we are sharing seven experiences to get a feel for this eclectic city.
Live Music at Bacchanal Wines
Bacchanal Wine has three of our favorite things under one roof. Wine, cheese and live music. This spot, located in the Ninth Ward is seriously cool. Enter through the wine shop with hundreds of bottles of wine. Here you can purchase a bottle or buy one to drink at your table. You can also order a charcuterie plate, a Sapphire & Elm go to appetizer!
Exit through the back of the wine shop to get to their outdoor patio where there is live music. If you're lucky, you you can get an outside table. If not, head upstairs where there is plenty of additional seating. Here you can order more wine in addition to beer, cocktails and food.
Explore the Garden District
The French Quarter usually gets the most attention when people think of New Orleans. After all, it is home to Bourbon Street. In contrast, the Garden District is laid back and filled with historical homes. The kind you'd expect to find in the south with iron gates and wrap around porches.
A good portion of the streets are still lined with original cobble stone. Some of New Orleans most famous restaurants, like Commanders Palace is located here. You can walk the tree lined street, and pop into the shops and cafes along Magazine street.
Eat at Commanders Palace
Commander's Palace has been a staple in New Orleans since 1893. It's received numerous awards and accolades over the years including James Beard award for best chef in 2013. It's an experience to eat at Commander's Palace, a restaurant where you are expected to dress to the nines. I think dressing up for dinner is a lost art.
As you wait for your table, you are lead through their open kitchen to grab a drink at the bar and sit in the garden. I've never enjoyed waiting for a table more that I did here. I was almost disappointed when they were ready to seat us.
The menu includes many New Orleans classics like gumbo and turtle soup. My favorite part was the table side bananas foster for desert.
Erin Rose Bar off Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street is probably the image that pops into your head when you think of New Orleans. It's a street lined with historic buildings and beads hanging from the power lines. Some bars never close and you can walk from bar to bar, beverages in hand. There's no shortage of watering holes to choose from but one of our favorites is Erin Rose bar. They are know for their Frozen Irish Coffee and it is a must. The perfect way to beat the New Orleans heat and a much welcomed departure from sugary drinks served in plastic yard glasses.
Eat Oysters at Acme Oyster House
Acme Oyster House has been around since 1910 and has perfected the art of serving oysters. We headed to the location in the French Quarter but they also have a few other locations. They don't take reservations and there is usually a line but it is well worth the wait. I'm not even a fan of oysters and I enjoyed these. The chargrilled oysters are a must. They are grilled in herb butter sauce and covered in a special blend of cheese. Don't worry, if you're not into oysters they also service New Orleans staples like gumbo and red beans and rice.
Listen to Music on Frenchman Street
Frenchman Street is also located in the French Quarter but is a more toned down version of Bourbon Street, focusing on live music. Frenchman Street is where you will find New Orleans locals when they want a night out on the town. You will be able to find an eclectic mix of live music at the Frenchman street bars from Jazz to Reggae.
Get Beignets at Cafe du Monde
Cafe du Monde is a New Orleans staple serving up one thing; beignets. I love a places that focuses on one thing and does it right. A Beignets at Cafe du Monde is square piece of dough that is fried and covered with powdered sugar. It's delicious. You can sit down at a table or get your beignets to go at the walk up counter. Cafe du Monde is cash only and is open 24 hours a day.
Ready to experience New Orleans for yourself? Contact us to start planing your trip.