Last January, my girl Dana and I traveled to New Orleans for a girl’s trip. We were visiting our friend Margaret who was there on a stop with The Lion King tour. We have some other acquaintances on the tour so often there was a group of us touring the city.
But it wasn’t until the last night that it hit me. We were all sitting around a table late in the night and I realized all 6 of us were some badass lady bosses (and also millennials!).
We were all theater professionals ranging from stage managers to company managers to merchandise managers. Our jobs are all different but we all have one thing in common – we’re bosses. And we have lots of things to say – topics ranged from women in the workforce to marriage, relationships and babies. It was incredible.
So my point is that New Orleans doesn’t have to be all Bourbon Street. Here’s my guide to how a lady boss does New Orleans.
Why Visit New Orleans?
New Orleans is hands down one of my favorite cities. The first time I visited, I arrived at night and the city was ALIVE. The city is in your face – the music, the drinking, the heat and the food. It’s probably one of the best places for people watching. It certainly attracts some interesting people.
Plus, it’s incredible to see how much the city has risen since Hurricane Katrina. Businesses are thriving and it seems like it is THE place for a bachelor party. But trust me, it’s also got incredible architecture, history and OMG the food.
Things to Do
I might knock Bourbon Street, but it is a must-do on your trip. At night, the street is closed to car traffic and is pretty wild. But there are some gems including Fritzel’s Jazz Club for live music and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop which is probably the coolest bar ever.
There are quite a few walking tours available and I’ve never been on a bad one. Free Tours by Foot is one of my favorite companies. They have quite a few different tours and I’ve done the Garden District and St. Louis Cemetery #1 with them. If you want to visit the latter, you HAVE to go on a tour. They’ve had some vandalism so only licensed tour guides and their groups are allowed. It might sound like some work but it’s worth it. You’ll see where Madame Laveau is reportedly buried and where Nicholas Cage plans to rest. A ghost tour is also a good one to do.
New Orleans is also great to see by boat. You can take a boat tour on a steamboat and you’ll get some history as well as good photo ops. The money shot is Jackson Square and they’ll tell you exactly when to snap. If you want to add in a meal, dinner cruises are available.
The French Quarter has tons of boutiques and art galleries for fun shopping. They’re not cheesy gift shops – they’ve actually got some cute stuff. The art galleries are also awesome – I’ve got a few favorites for sure. If you like shoes, check out Shoe Be Do.
This is an incredible museum and a must see if you are interested in history. Tom Hanks is a huge supporter of the museum and narrates the film Beyond All Boundaries which is a must. It’s a good place to start so you get the full history before tackling the rest of the museum. Don’t miss the US Freedom Pavilion where you can see restored warbirds.
The Roosevelt Hotel at Christmas
If you’re in New Orleans in December, you have to check out the lobby of The Roosevelt Hotel. They deck it out in trees and decorations and it seriously feels like walking through a winter wonderland. Stunning.
Where to Eat in New Orleans
It’s pretty hard to go wrong and I’ve barely made a dent in the food scene here but here’s some of my favorites:
- Acme Oyster House – even if you think you don’t like oysters, try the chargrilled oysters. They are INCREDIBLE. They’re fully cooked and have tons of buttery, garlic, cheesy goodness. I crave these and this is the best place I’ve ever had them.
- Sylvain – I discovered this place by accident and I go back every time. Try to sit in the back courtyard. It’s magical at night and incredibly romantic.
- Ruby Slipper – this is my go-to for breakfast. I have never had a bad meal here. Beware – all locations get a bit crazy on the weekends. Download the NoWait app for wait times and jump in line before you go.
- Café Beignet – skip Café du Monde and go to Café Beignet instead. The beignets are better and their coffee is actually palatable (Café du Monde has the worst coffee I’ve ever had). Plus, they have other food. The andouille sausage omelet is awesome.
- Backspace Bar – sit by the fire and have one of the best grilled cheeses ever.
- Commander’s Palace – Located in the Garden District, this is where Emeril Lagasse got his start. But the key is to go at LUNCH on a WEEKDAY only. Why? That’s when you can get the 25 cent martini. Yep. It’s not widely advertised but ask your waiter and they’ll give you a few options. Go for their signature martini which matches the bright blue exterior.
Where to Drink in New Orleans
Where to start?! There are so many places to drink and it’s legal to carry your drink on the street. Skip the awful daiquiri shops and head to these places instead.
- Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop – supposedly the oldest bar in the United States and it has no electricity. Everything is candle lit which adds to the spooky haunted element. Go at night and catch the Carole King look-alike at the piano bar.
- Carousel Bar – one of my favorite bars in the US (you can check out my post here). It’s an actually rotating carousel which takes 15 minutes for a full revolution. Go early (they open at 11) to ensure you grab a seat otherwise you’ll have to be prepared to jump in quick. Trust me, it’s not gimmicky – the cocktails are delicious too. I’ve never had a bad cocktail off the menu but my favorites are the French 007 and and Fleur Des Lis. I’ve never had the food but I’ve heard from other patrons that the gumbo is one of the best in NOLA.
- Latitude 29 – it’s not my favorite tiki bar in terms of décor, but the cocktails are delish.
- SoBou – this bar/restaurant attached to the W Hotel has a unique cocktail menu and wine on tap. Try the Honey Buzz Milk Punch for a boozy breakfast in a glass.
- Marcello’s Restaurant & Wine Bar – Instead of a wine menu, you actually get to pick out your wine like at a store. They’ve got an incredible selection and it’s fun getting to physically choose your bottle. My husband and I split a great Australian wine.
Where to Stay in New Orleans
- Astor Crowne Plaza – it’s right on Canal & Bourbon Streets and very comfortable.
- Q&C Hotelbar – this groovy boutique hotel is a Marriott property. They’ve got a great hotel bar too. Pet friendly.
- Hampton Inn – It may be a Hampton Inn, but it’s actually very nice. They’ve got a huge breakfast area.
Don’t forget to Pin for later!