When deciding what to do while visiting New Orleans, there are ample possibilities which is why I recommend choosing what you want the “vibe” of the trip to be and tempering it based on the time of year you’re visiting. If you’re visiting as I did in the middle of summer, plan on doing less than you think you will (because it’s far too hot to walk around all day in the humidity). Don’t be afraid to embrace that slow Southern pace because if you do, you’ll find that you’ll be charmed by all this city has to offer. I also recommend researching the neighborhood you’re staying in, restaurants, and bars, as you’ll want to know beforehand what you want to see/eat/do while in town. There’s so much New Orleans has to offer, but below I’m sharing a few spots and activities that were the highlight of my trip.
Best cup of coffee: The Orange Couch
Luckily for me, this local shop was located right by my hotel and happened to serve up craft coffee. It’s a cute spot with outdoor seating and excellent service.
Best meal: Bywater American Bistro
This was my last meal while in New Orleans, and it did not disappoint. Created by one of the best chefs in the city, the menu champions cajun and creole flavors served up in a chic and cozy art-adorned interior.
Best free activity: Walking the French Quarter
Yes, this area is touristy, but it’s a rite of passage if you’re in New Orleans. Just give yourself ample time to weave through the colorful streets, and pack great walking shoes.
Best museum: New Orleans Museum of Art and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden
As a New Yorker, I’m spoiled with incredible art museums, which can make me a bit jaded when traveling elsewhere. However, NOLA’s largest museum did not disappoint. With famous works and an excellent curation of BIPOC artists, it’s a must-see for art lovers.
Best place to shop: United Apparel Liquidators
Every editor I know who has visited New Orleans at one point or another will tell you that the best place for fashion fanatics to shop is U.A.L., as it’s hidden designer gems at insanely discounted prices. I managed to find stunning Staud sandals and Proenza Schouler loafers for half the retail price, so you know it’s no joke.