Get a taste of all that New Orleans has to offer, with @ladyslider…
Though Hawai’i is considered one of our fifty United States, it is so far removed geographically speaking, and therefore incredibly different. I guess, in thinking about it, one could say the same for the other 49. I can travel from one coast to the other, and be transformed into many different worlds in the process. When I had the opportunity to travel south with one of my very good friends, I jumped at the chance. New Orleans? Yes, please. Never having a real southern experience, I was very excited to immerse myself in NOLA’s rich culture and history.
Here are my must-do’s in NOLA:
Stay at the Ace Hotel. The Ace Hotel in the Warehouse District is a great spot to commute to/from the French Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods. If you time it just right (the way we unexpectedly did), you may find yourself a part of White Linen Night, an annual block party held in support of local art galleries and surrounding community. The Ace Hotel bar was a hub for a lot of the event’s white-clad patrons. Be sure to check New Orleans’ events calendar for dates in August! If you stay long enough, you can even participate in Dirty Linen Night, an extension of White Linen Night, at which you wear your dirty clothes the following Saturday. The Ace Hotel also has one of THE most happening pools, a perfect place to escape the heat and grab a drink. Plus, it’s on the rooftop, and has an amazing view! And, for all of you who need your daily coffee fix, they serve Stumptown Coffee on draft in the lobby!!
Try a beignet. Beignets are a popular deep-fried breakfast pastry, influenced by Creole cuisine and New Orleans French history. Everyone — EVERY one — said to hit up Café Du Monde for the best beignet. And although I suggest doing the same, I think Café Beignet is worth a visit, too — usually less crowded and has a cute little courtyard where you can enjoy your order. Why not be adventurous and taste-test them both?
Go to as many seafood restaurants as you can. It was my goal to eat my way through New Orleans and never have a bad meal. (I think I succeeded.) I highly suggest making a reservation at Peche Restaurant, and get everything on the menu. Seriously one of the best seafood restaurants I have ever been to, not to mention the best waitstaff and their good ol’ southern hospitality! Try the Louisiana and Alabama mussels and see if you can tell the difference!
Spend Sunday night at Bacchanal. Beginning with a stroll through the wine shop, pick out your wine and cheese/s, and then head for the courtyard where you can order dinner and enjoy a live band! Bacchanal has a cool history/relationship with the New Orleans community, too! When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005, Bacchanal opened their doors to unemployed chefs and presented weekly pop-ups with different chefs preparing their signature meals.
For a great Cajun culinary vibe, check out Cochon. Want to know from where all of their food originates? Go no further than their website, where you can find a list of all the farms who supply their meat, dairy and produce!
Rent a bike. I find this to be the best way to see the city! There are plenty of bike shops around town and riding a bike always gives you an opportunity to explore. We found cool little shops and restaurants in neighborhoods we would have otherwise never seen on foot (or in a car). Bikes also provide easy access to the French Quarter without the hassle of finding parking or spending all day walking through each of the streets.
Hang out on Bourbon Street. Although it is an incredibly touristy thing to do, it is also very necessary to your New Orleans experience! If you’re into live music, this is the spot you want to be! With so many talented musicians based in New Orleans, it’s a great opportunity to hear authentic blues and jazz. You’re also certain to befriend a few of the characters hanging out on the block, and make a couple of new friends in the process.
There’s also Frenchman St. for a bit more local, authentic feel — pick out your favorite band from any of the bars in that area!
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