New Orleans has always been one of the top ten most visited destinations in America. If you’ve visited New Orleans, you may have observed that many of the things there are noticeably different from other American cities. New Orleans is famous for a lot of things, namely Creole cuisine, blended French, Spanish and Creole architecture, New Orleans jazz, and of course, Mardi Gras.
Whether you’re going for three days or three weeks, New Orleans won’t disappoint if you plan your trip well. Trippy user Adam knew this. He sought travel tips from Trippy’s travel community and posted a question:
I am headed to New Orleans this weekend. What must I do?
I’m going for three days and wrapping the trip up at the MNF Saints game. I want to see the whole town, not just Bourbon Street.
Here’s how you can spend 3 days in New Orleans:
In the morning, join Royal Carriages for an hour ride on a horse-drawn carriage through the French Quarter and a stop at St. Louis No. 1 Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in New Orleans. This fun-filled guided tour provides an interesting perspective to New Orleans’s 300-year-old history. You’ll learn a lot about the different architecture in the French Quarter.
Royal Carriages has been providing the same tour for over 75 years. Trippy user, RosalieAnn recalled her recent carriage ride and also one when she was 12:
I went to NOLA when I was 12, and my sister was 10 (in 1950). My father was attending a conference. Things have changed a bit since then, of course. I remember taking a carriage ride and going to Antoine’s and the Three Sister’s restaurants. More recently, when I went, I found that NOLA has a nice zoo and an aquarium. We also rode the trolleys all around town. There is a great WWII museum. And we took the paddlewheel steamer down to Chalmette where the ranger gives a great talk about the Battle of New Orleans (he doesn’t sing the song, but there’s a good song to go with it). We were there in December, so there were concerts in the cathedral. We went to the markets and saw Joanie on a Pony and ate beignets.
Following RosalieAnn’s itinerary, after the hour ride on the carriage, you may want to proceed to the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen ticket counter at Spanish Plaza, located at 1 Poydras St to buy your tickets for the afternoon Creole Queen Historic Cruise. There are two sailing times, the morning cruise is at 9:30 am, and the afternoon cruise is at 1:30 pm.
Creole Queen Historic Cruise is a two and a half hour cruise down Mississippi River where you’ll get a narrated tour with a licensed historian. It includes an hour guided tour at Chalmette Battlefield. The journey provides an opportunity for you to relax, enjoy a meal or just a drink and enjoy the views of the city.
Ride the streetcars or trolleys, as suggested by RosalieAnn. The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has four streetcar lines. Saint Charles Streetcar Line, Canal Street Line, Riverfront Line, and the Rampart Line.
Saint Charles Streetcar Line is the line that attracts the most tourists. It’s the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world, and the vintage cars by Perley A. Thomas Company still run from Carondelet at Canal Street in the Central Business District through the oldest and most majestic section of Uptown New Orleans, around the Riverbend to Carrollton at Claiborne Avenue, according to NewOrleans.com.
You can get tickets on board at $1.25 per person, and you must have the exact change. Get ready to explore more by checking out the routes, maps, and schedules of the New Orleans streetcars.
Trippy user Michael reminded travelers:
Take the streetcar down St. Charles Streetcar Line and check out the old mansions. You can ride in both directions. Fare payable in cash.
If you’re wondering where to eat, here are three suggestions:
Adaixa liked it. She wrote:
My favorite restaurant in New Orleans, right now, is Cochon Restaurant. I recommend the oysters, the rabbit, and the pork daube. They have their smoker; you can see the kitchen action; the ambient is great. Good looking place. Delicious!
Trippy user Scott from Fort Worth said rabbit and dumplings at Cochon are a must in the list of foods to eat.
Commander’s Palace Restaurant
Margaret and Regan suggested Commander’s Palace.
Commander’s Palace in the Garden District – go for lunch on a weekday. Good 25 cent martinis! It’s a very nice restaurant – don’t go in shorts, and flip flops.
Commander’s Palace Restaurant can be fun for the 25 cent martinis at lunch.
Yes, you read it right. The Commander’s Palace Restaurant, established in 1880, still offers 25 cents martinis today. Each per person is limited to three martinis, and you must have an entree. Get martinis with names like Commander’s, Ray Melon, Cosmopolitan, and Classic.
Muriel’s Jackson Square
There are hundreds of restaurants in and around the French Quarter, you really can’t go wrong on most any. My favorite is Muriel’s Jackson Square on Jackson Square, the food and service are top-notch, if you venture upstairs there is a large balcony overlooking the square, and in the back upstairs there are some very unusual rooms worth a walkthrough. Muriel’s has a great little bar with classic and specialty cocktails as well as a full menu of authentic New Orleans creole cuisine. Enjoy our little city!!!
On your second day, join a half-day or full-day kayak swamp tour. Claudia recommended the following:
New Orleans Kayak Swamp Tours, a tour company in New Orleans offers 3 types of kayaking tours:
1. Manchac Swamp Kayak tour – a 2-2 1/2 hour tour
2. Honey Island Kayak Swamp tours – a 2-hour tour
3. New Orleans Plantation Tour & Swamp kayak – an 8-hour tour Get the details on their website.
A fun tour to check out is the Swamp Landscape Photo Workshop by Wild Louisiana Tour. It’s a kayaking tour guided by an experienced nature photographer.
Regan also recommended taking the kayak swamp tours. She prefers the eco-friendly type of trips. She said:
We used Wild Louisiana because we wanted to avoid some of the environmentally irresponsible tours that feed to crocs and we wanted a naturalist to lead the tour. We did the Manchac tour, and it was awesome.
In the evening, head over to Frenchman Street for authentic New Orleans music. Trippy users Debbie and Harold loved it:
I went to Frenchmen Street afterward to listen to some jazz because that’s where you do it. The Spotted Cat Music Club is one of the most legit ones there.
There’s a great music venue there called The Spotted Cat Music Club; it’s is my favorite bar. It has great music, but it can get very cramped.
NewOrleans.com also recommended the following places if you want to experience New Orleans jazz clubs:
- Preservation Hall
- Palm Court Jazz Club
- Polo Club Lounge (Windsor Court Hotel)
- The Davenport Lounge (Ritz Carlton Hotel)
- Chicken Wah Wah
- 21st Amendment Jazz Club at Louisiane
- Fritzel’s Jazz Club
- Blue Nile
- The Parish House (House of Blues)
- The New Orleans Jazz Market
- Prime Example Jazz Club
- Balcony Music Club
- Sidney’s Saloon
- Bourbon ‘O’
Start your third day at Stanley in Jackson Square, one of the best breakfast places in New Orleans. You’ll find all sorts of eggs benedict. Check out this list:
- Crab cakes and soft shell crab benedict
- Crab cakes benedict
- Eggs benedict poor boy
If you haven’t been to Cafe du Monde French Market, the original location, we suggest a quick stop there for coffee and beignets, before joining one of these tours to see more of New Orleans:
1. Whitney and Joseph Plantation Tour with Tours by Isabelle. This full-day tour, starting at 11:30 am will take off the beaten track to St Joseph Plantation, a Creole-style, sugar cane plantation since 1877 that is still operating today. The tour also takes you to visit an ancestral home, original slave cabins, freedmen’s church, a 1790s house, and more.
2. Go on a cocktail and food history tour, a four-hour tour with Doctor Gumbo. You must be 21 to join this tour. It starts at 2 pm daily. You’ll visit six locations, get four full-size cocktails, and sample up to eight dishes, including gumbo, curried pork skins, alligator boudin, and snacks.
3. Go on an airboat adventure with Airboat Adventures. See Louisiana’s bayous and swamps, get close to wildlife, alligators, and the different types of birds in Louisiana. This tour is one hour and 45 minutes long.