Two weeks ago I headed down to New Orleans to run a half marathon with my sister and a friend. I was initially hesitant to go down there mostly because I didn’t think I could run a half marathon. I mean 13.1 miles? Come onnn. But I finally decided that #1 it will be a lot of fun to see New Orleans with a good group of gals #2 it would push me to get/stay in good shape – not to mention accomplish something I never thought I would do. It was such a fun trip! If you haven’t been I would suggest doing what I did and head down for the Rock n Roll half or full marathon and spend a few extra days exploring OR convince yourself/a friend to have a girls trip or bachelorette down there.
The city has a lot to offer with its own unique quirky character and I love a city with character. Especially one that I’m not used to. Its a place where everyone feels free to do, eat, and drink whatever you want and just have a great time without judgment. I really do love the charm of southern cities – the houses, the people, the weather…the food.
We covered a lot of ground during the 3 days we were there. Here are my 7 recommendations on what to do there. Obviously my list is subjective given this was my first trip to Nola but we really enjoyed pretty much everything we did so I would stick to this list if you are looking for good food, drinks, music, and shopping.
#1 Get brunch at Elizabeths: This was the first restaurant we went to for brunch and it came highly recommended from friends we knew that had been there. It did not disappoint. It is sort of off the beaten path but is worth the short uber drive from the main part of the city. The dishes have that southern flair I love but in a unique way. They also had some really great specials off the menu. I got a french toast tortilla wrap (yes you heard that right) that was filled with eggs, sausage, and bacon, and drizzled with syrup. Sooo good.
#2 Walk around Jackson Square and wait in line to get beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe de Monde: Jackson Square is a really nice and open area to walk around, people watch, check out the local artists, and catch a free street show. It is also right were the famous Cafe de Monde is located. I still dream about these beignets. So good and worth the wait in line which I’d say is sort of just a part of the experience.
#3 Eat a muffalata: Just do it. We went to a place called Napoleon House for lunch after our race and I ordered a Po Boy but my friend ordered the muffalata and I wish I had ordered it after trying hers. Oh so damn good. You have to try it it. The bread, meat, and olive dressing is so sticking good. The perfect meal to eat after a long race. We also heard that if you go to the Central Grocery & Deli they have amazing muffalatas as well. I think they claim to have the original? If I ever go back to New Orleans, this would be the first thing I’d eat.
#4 Go out on Frenchman’s Street: We pretty much avoided Bourbon Street on our trip. It’s just not my scene – it’s smelly, gross, and just plain sloppytown. If your looking for a lower key hipster-like party atmosphere with great drinks and even better music you must go to Frenchman St! We went on a Sunday during the Super Bowl so it was kind of slower than what Friday probably looked like but we still had a blast. We went to 30/90 which had a great band playing there and we also caught the cutest old people dancing to the tunes. We later went to Three Muses and Spotted Cat for a hot minute. Both great bars with the best music. I wish there was this kind of music in DC. Oh and if you’re in the mood for some late night grub head to Dat Dog for the hot dog of your dreams.
#5 Shop Magazine Street and walk around the Garden District: This part of town we visited was the cutest area we went to. I loved all the southern homes in the Garden District and Magazine St. had the most unique shops. I loved Peony and Hemline for great boutique clothing stores. There was also a cute dessert shop called Sucre where we ate some king cake (so yum). We ate brunch at the cutest place called Atchafalaya which I would also definitely recommend. They have a bloody mary bar with the best fixings!
#6 Splurge on one nice meal at Mr. B’s: We wanted to have at least one nice meal while we were down there so we headed to Mr. B’s in the French Quarter for a finer meal on our last night. It was delicious and would recommend the barbecue shrimp that the restaurant is known for. Delish! We also heard Restaurant August, Commander’s Palace, and Galatoire’s are great nicer restaurant options.
#7 Grab a delicious cocktail and listen to some awesome jazz at 21st Amendment bar in the French Quarter: This was the first bar we went to when we got there and the last bar we went to on our last night. It had a great bar set up with unique cocktails and the best jazz music. I would say this place had the best jazz music out of all the places we went to that weekend. Be sure to have some dollar bills on you when you’re out as most of the performers walk around with tip jars. You really do get to see some really good musicians so its worth tipping them if you can.
I’m certain there was a lot more we could have done, seen, ate, etc so it would be worth a trip back to try new places. I honestly never had a bad meal there nor heard a lousy band play. It was so fun and can’t wait for another trip to a new city. Have a great weekend!!