Happy Monday friends! I'm still trying to recover from the whirlwind of a weekend in New Orleans and need a couple extra cups of coffee this morning, but that just means it was a great weekend, right?
We left for New Orleans on Thursday, which honestly should be nicknamed the city that never sleeps because Bourbon Street doesn't shut down until at least 5:00 AM...I know this because we were up for our flight yesterday and people were still stumbling home! I honestly didn't know what to expect from New Orleans - perhaps a little southern charm mixed with some excitement, but what I got was a lot more. Our hotel was right on Bourbon Street, so you can imagine my concern when I realized that we could hear everything outside. Gary and I hightailed it to the nearest CVS and found silicone earplugs - best $5 I ever spent!! These things fit into your ear and you can't hear a thing - seriously if you have a hard time sleeping because of noise or anything like that try these- I wont be traveling without them again and think that every single hotel needs these in their lobby!
Now that I've hit my tangent for the day here's how we saw New Orleans in a day in a half and still had time to make it to a Gator game in Baton Rouge! You'll notice a few tips spread throughout this post - these were things we did that made the trip worthwhile and we didn't feel like our time was wasted!
Our first half day was spent getting acclimated to the city and wandering Bourbon street- if you saw my snaps from this weekend you might have heard my serious concern for the goings on at 3 in the afternoon! We had apps and drinks at Domenica Restaurant in the Roosevelt Hotel on Thursday and I've forgotten what a treat it is to actually have happy hours!
After a quick meet up with Amanda and her hubby along with some of their friends and family we headed out to explore the city!
Tip: Go to Jackson Square at night and really see the views from the hill across the street! The sunset was gorgeous and unlike anything I had seen - actually all the sunsets in Louisiana this weekend rank as the best I've ever seen!
After some quick pictures we made our way to Cafe Du Monde - it might not be advertised as 24 hours, but this place is open ALL the time! So we skipped the lines and knew our chance at deliciousness was going to come at night. I had been talking up beignets the entire week to Gary and he totally loved them too!
sorry the picture is grainy - I stole it from my own snap chat because I couldn't wait to dig in!
Tip: If you want to skip the lines and not have to worry about wasting any time, try to go at night to Cafe Du Monde. You'll get a table and enjoy your beignets without having to rush through the experience and its also cash only!
We totally did Thursday night backwards and it was amazing! After dessert we made our way to the Carousel Bar located inside the Hotel Monteleone. I'd heard really fun things about this bar and the carousel actually moves - they say it takes about 15 minutes for a full rotation, but sadly we weren't able to find a spot so we sat at the other bar and had the best service! Highly recommend a visit here!
I was excited for dinner on night one more than anything because I managed to get a reservation at GW Fins. Its one of the more famous restaurants in New Orleans and for good reason. I kid you not, this was hands down top 3 meals I've ever had!!
We started with the lobster dumplings which melted in your mouth they were so good and then split the dish they are most known for - the scalibut. That would be scallops baked on top of halibut. The service was superb and we both couldn't stop raving about how good the food was!
Friday was the only full day we had in New Orleans and we made the most of it. Before we left I made reservations for two tours - both of which would hit the highlights of everything that we wanted to see and everything that was recommended to us! After some research I booked Free Tours By Foot - which allows you to pay what you think the tour is worth - both tours were incredible and well worth the price we ended up paying. Tip: You get a lot of bang for your buck with these tours and it feels good paying the tour guides what they deserve instead of what the company charges. They pretty much do ever tour you can think of!
We started our morning with a tour of the French Quarter. Our tour guide Elizabeth was incredibly knowledgeable about her city and it was fun getting to learn the history behind the gorgeous city! I fell in love with the architecture of New Orleans- everywhere you turned there was another beautiful building to snap a photo of! Since the area is rather small that we toured - I did find the 20 minutes we spent in the park to be overkill and honestly part of the tour could have been condensed, but aside from that it was great!
The Garden District was such an amazing tour. Gary and I were both so impressed with our tour guide Kat's knowledge - probably because she lives in the area and is really proud of the beautiful district. Before booking the tour I looked at what would be covered and funny enough I had been wanting to visit the Lafayette Cemetery since seeing it in Double Jeopardy (carousel bar also appears in the movie). I felt a little weird taking pictures of these graves and headstones, but they are truly works of art that have been with families for generations.
We walked about a mile in total around the Garden district and I was so surprised to hear how many celebrities actually lived in the city - John Goodman, Sandra Bullock and the newest neighbors in town Beyonce and Jay Z! If you take any tour in New Orleans, I highly suggest this one - it was a great 2 hours and for those that love Charleston will remind you a lot of that city as well!
Since the fun way to get from upper New Orleans to the Garden District is the street car we took it both ways and they have it in the same condition as they did back in the 1920s! That means no AC and really loud breaks! It's only $3 to get an all day ticket andH. Tip: Have exact change - they don't take cards or give change!
We met up with the crew again for happy hour at Lüke in the Hilton Hotel. We opted for crab legs instead of oysters, but sometimes I think they are more work than they are worth...but its seafood and I love seafood!
On the way back to the hotel we saw not one but two second lines!
Another well known restaurant is the Red Fish Grill - which is where we ended up going to on Friday night! Tip: Having the open table app on your phone makes making reservation so easy on the go. Someone on our tour mentioned how delicious their dinner was at Red Fish the night before and I popped open the app to see if they had any tables available and we were in!
We had alligator bites - my first time eating alligator and the way they make it was incredible! It tasted more like a meatball than anything else and it was sensory overload because of the sweet and salty spread they had! We also went with their Red Fish that their known for and it was flaky and perfectly cooked - a reason its their top ordered item!
Even if you aren't a big partier there is plenty for you to do in New Orleans - especially if you're a seafood lover- the food is so fresh and the quality of service you get at the restaurants is wonderful!
Since the Gators were playing in Baton Rouge we rented a car and made our way out of the city. It was a quick hour to the campus and before we knew it we were ready to tailgate.
Amanda and Mark had met some LSU fans two years ago and they invited them back for this tailgate this year. They were so nice an inviting and let's be honest we're all friends until the game starts right?!
Our seats were in the heart of Tiger land...yikes! Guess they call it Death Valley for a reason! Sadly the game didn't turn out in our favor, but the sunset earlier in the evening almost made up for the loss. It was a nail biter and I think we both lost our voices - it was well worth the trip to see the boys play their hearts out - such a great game!!
Even the pup is a fan!
New Orleans was always on my list of cities to visit and I'm so glad to cross this one off! Its wild and crazy, but even if you're not into that there is something for you to try! I wish we had more time to taste some more foods, but for really only having one day in the city we managed packed it all in! I've heard from so many people how much they love NOLA and I see the appeal! The people are friendly and the city is beautiful!
If you made it through all of that - thank you! I'm still a bit delirious from the weekend of late nights so excuse me while I find a bucket of coffee!
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