I am so excited to share the details of my New Orleans trip. If you follow me on instagram, you’ll know that I was in New Orleans last week for four days with my best friend Maddie. Today I am sharing with you a New Orleans travel guide; a “best of” of sorts. This includes what hotels to stay at, where to eat, and some of the best things to do.
The Windsor Court Hotel:
I can’t say enough great things about this hotel!
The Location: This hotel is ideal if you want to be ‘near the action’ without being right in it. Windsor Court is in the French Quarter, but it is a 10-15 minute walk from Bourbon street / the heart of the chaos. This was ideal for us as it was walking distance but quiet at night.
The Rooms: our room at the Windsor Court was one of my favorite traditional hotel rooms ever. The suite we were in had a spacious living room area, 2 queen beds and, most importantly if you are a makeup/hair nerd like Maddie and I, it had one of the most spacious/beautiful/well lit vanity areas I have ever seen!
Amenities: There is a roof top pool that is quite small, but is really pretty. It’s great if you want to lounge around after a long day of sightseeing!
Windsor Court Pool
Suite in The Windsor Court
This was one of the most interesting hotels I have ever stayed at. It is, essentially, a mansion in which the various rooms have been turned into hotel rooms. The suite Maddie and I stayed in was HUGE. It was bigger than my apartment (.. seriously, it was 650 sq. feet). I highly recommend Grenoble House if you are looking for a less traditional hotel. All Grenoble House rooms have in-suite kitchens, so they are perfect if you want the ability to stay in and cook. Grenoble House is ideal for anyone traveling as a family. The staff are so kind, helpful, and really interested in making you feel like you are at home in New Orleans, not like you are a tourist visiting a hotel.
Grenoble House Room
Grenoble House Pool
If you are in New Orleans for a few nights or more, I would suggest spending a couple of nights at each of these two hotels. They are both amazing, but completely different than one other. Staying at both during your trip gives you diversity in your experience and allows you to get the best of both worlds!
The meal I ate here was my favorite meal ever. Big talk, I know. Maddie and I loved every bite of every dish we tried. This is a must-go-to if you are in New Orleans. Oh, and trust me, get the bread pudding souffle for dessert. You won’t regret it!
La Petite Grocery:
This restaurant serves traditional Louisiana fare, and y’all it was SO. GOOD. The chef has been a finalist in the Best Chef: South competition four years in a row. The food was so amazing that I had to add it to this list. It also happens to be in a great area for shopping (…but more on that in Monday’s post 😉 ) The downside to this restaurant- and why I almost didn’t include it – is it had some of the worst customer service I have ever experienced. The waiters alternated between ignoring us and being rude. One of the most shocking things was when I accidentally said the salad with “watermelon root” instead of “watermelon radish” and a waiter walking past – who was not even my waiter – stopped to correct me in the rudest/most disgusted tone. The hostess also told us she would call us a cab and then completely forgot and didn’t apologize. After we had this awful experience, I did some google digging and turns out a lot of people have felt this way. So, my two cents: worth it for the amazing food, but be prepared that the experience itself will be less than perfect.
Cafe Du Monde:
No trip to NOLA is complete without a visit (or two) to Cafe Du Monde. They only serve two things; beignets and coffee. I assumed the beignets would be good, but rather overhyped. Not the case. They were every bit as amazing as the hype! I can’t even describe them except to say they reminded me of a donut crossed with a pop tart crossed with deep fried goodness. This place is absolutely worth the wait (… and yes, you will almost always wait in line). The good news though is that they are open 24 hours a day so if you get a craving at 2am *cough* this may have happened to us once .. or twice… *cough* you can get your beignet fix.
Court of Two Sisters:
This restaurant was good, but definitely did not live up to the hype. The food itself was not great (we went to the brunch) but the atmosphere – live jazz – was definitely nice. I would recommend this place, but only if you have time after fitting in all of the above!
Yes I am indeed enough of a coffee addict that I felt that coffee shops warranted their own category. I tried a LOT of coffee and the three coffee shops below are hands down my top picks for the best coffee in New Orleans.
This was the best coffee I had while in NOLA. The shop is super tiny (and rather eerily quiet) and the coffee is incredible. The drip coffee on it’s own is amazing, but the real showstopper here is “Miss Tracey’s Addiction”. This is made of: espresso, steamed coconut milk, steamed milk, warm honey and a dash of Cayenne pepper. It’s delicious!
Excellent for coffee purists. If you’re staying at the Windsor Court
Hotel this is a three minute walk down the street, so it’s a perfect
start to your day.
Cafe Du Monde:
I included this under restaurants because of the Beignets, but it’s worth noting that they also have some of the best coffee in NOLA. Their coffee is their signature blend of coffee and chickory (I brought a tin home with me). I had never had chickory coffee before and I am hooked! It’s slightly less acidic and bitter than regular coffee. Be warned though: if you are lactose intolerant, vegan, etc., they do only have dairy milk. I drank my coffee black because of this and it was still great! Next time though, I’ll probably bring some almond milk with me to add in.
Cafe du Monde Beignets and Iced Coffee
St. Louis Cathedral:
Regardless of your religion, this cathedral is a must-see as a historic landmark. It is stunning. On a Sunday morning you can relax in the court yard (with your cafe du monde!) and listen to the choir music. As a bonus, this area is surrounded by local street vendors selling various art, and I recommend walking around and checking it out!
St. Louis Cathedral
Oak Alley Plantation: Oak Alley is an old plantation about an hour and a half outside of the French Quarter. A visit here requires, therefore, at least half a day, so I’d recommend this trip only if you have a fair bit of time in NOLA. It’s a stunning property and a great way to learn more about the history of New Orleans and slavery in the south.
The view from the second floor balcony of the Oak Alley House
The French Market is located in the heart of the French Quarter (5 minutes from both Cafe du Monde and St. Louis Cathedral). You can spend ages just wandering through the various food stalls. I highly recommend the vegan crepes!
Crescent City Books:
This bookstore is everything that a book store should be – packed with books, slightly unorganized/misfit like, and full of charm. If you are a reader I definitely recommend you check out this store. There’s a great section with local authors, as well as one with traditional NOLA stories about voodoo, ghosts and all things historically NOLA … As a weird bonus you also get to meet their adorable bookstore cat (who you can then follow on instagram. Yep, that’s right, the cat has an instagram lol)
Crescent City Books
Do this once in your life. (.. but really, once is enough … trust me). It’s like Vegas but somehow louder and grungier. Every bit worth it though to experience it once.
Think of this as Bourbon’s tamer little brother. Frenchmen is still packed with jazz clubs full of delicious drinks, but it’s definitely a more responsible crowd and more about the music.
While there are art markets in the day, I was really surprised to find that the art market scene really takes off at night. It seems as though down every corner you’ll find a tucked away art market (especially on Frenchmen street).
Art Market at Night
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar:
This bar is considered to be one of the oldest liquor-serving-establishments in North America. It was built in the early 1700’s. One of the coolest parts? They still maintain it as having no electricity inside the building. Such a cool ‘historical tavern’ experience!
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar
And that’s it! Stay tuned for Monday’s post with more details on shopping in New Orleans!
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Thank you to the numerous companies who sponsored me in some way for this trip. This includes: The Windsor Court Hotel, Oak Alley Plantation, and the New Orleans CVB. I appreciate their support. While aspects of this post were sponsored, as always, all opinions are my own!