New Orleans Weekend Guide

New Orleans( Nola, Nawlins, Crescent City) is one of the United States’ most renowned cities, which is known for its unique culture centering around jazz music, multiculturalism and exciting annual festivals and celebrations. The city prides itself on its thriving diversity and is known as one of the United States’ biggest cultural melting pots. Here are some tips on how to get around, where to stay and things to do in New Orleans!

Getting Around

If you’re looking to stay within the city limits, it is unnecessary to rent a vehicle. You should be able to access anywhere in the city easily using either public transport, taxis, Uber or your own two feet.

Taxis are plentiful in touristic areas(mostly the French Quarter), with prices ranging from $15-$25. You can also easily phone a taxi in advance.

-Uber is also a common form of transport, expect to pay slightly less than a taxi. As of Oct 2017 there is no Uber pool. 🙁 Expect to pay about $27-32 for one way Uber from the airport. New to Uber? Click to get $5 of each of your first 4 rides.

-New Orleans is an extremely flat city, making it very walkable. It’s also an amazing way to experience every inch of the city.

-Public transport is an affordable option. The city has a well-connected bus system, with fares being $1.25, plus 25 cents for transfers.

-Streetcars are another form of public transport, and give visitors not only an iconic experience but also an affordable one, at $1.25 per ride.

-If you are planning on using a lot of public transport during your stay, look into JazzyPass, which offers 1, 3, 5 and 31 day passes, with some offering integration between bus, streetcar and ferry.

 

Where To Stay

Aloft New Orleans Downtown 

225 Baronne Street Ranked #33/166 Hotels on TripAdvisor

I stayed here recently and enjoyed my stay! The hotel has a cool lounge, live music on Friday. It is pet-friendly (top floor is pet free). SPG redemption of points starts at 10k a night. If not using points, first check for corporate discounts known as JET discount codes.


Loews New Orleans

300 Poydras St, Ranked 17/166 in New Orleans on Trip Advisor

Click to view current specials.

Harrah’s New Orleans

228 Poydras Street Ranked 11/166 Hotels in New Orleans on TripAdvisor

Includes a casino. Click for current specials.

Interested in an alternative option? Check out Airbnb. Click to read how to get $40 off and a first timers guide to Airbnb. 

What To Do

 

The French Quarter

One of the most popular areas to visit in the city, and is the oldest section. Most of the historical architecture located here was built during the late 18th and early 19th century, giving it a unique architectural feel compared to many other American cities. Today the area is filled with renowned restaurants, nightlife, and jazz culture. You can easily spend a whole day wandering the streets, including the famous Bourbon Street, spending as much money as you want, as you can find both cheap and expensive activities and restaurants in the area. 

You can’t mention New Orleans without mentioning Bourbon street. At night crowds roam the street to bar hop, throw or catch beads, see tons of street acts where people perform for money. Bourbon street is where you get your infamous fish bowl or grenade drinks. As of October 2017, the street is an eyesore and not easy to navigate due to construction, which is scheduled to last well into 2018.

Pre-Construction, Photo by Akurana on Flickr

Another popular point in the French Quarter is Jackson Square.

This link will take you to a map of the French Quarter.

The National WW2 Museum 945 Magazine St

Focuses on how the United States contributed to the allied effort in the victory of WW2. This museum is the perfect visit for history buffs, and costs $27 to visit for adults and $17.50 for students. If you are a veteran or active military member there are also a variety of discounts available.

Frenchmen Street

A less touristy version of Bourbon Street, with a large focus on musical culture, featuring styles ranging from blues to jazz. The street has the greatest concentration of musical venues and clubs outside of the French Quarter, and is a great place to visit if you are looking to escape the swarms of tourists located in the French Quarter, while still experiencing New Orleans. You can spend as much or as little money in this area as you like. This link will take you to a map of Frenchmen Street

The Garden District

An upscale neighborhood in the city featuring one of the largest collections of colonial style mansions in the United States. It features a blast from the past into the previous wealth and prosperity of the city. You can easily spend time in this area just by walking around, you don’t have to spend any money at all, although there are a plethora of tours available. This link will take you to a map of the Garden District.




 

Noteworthy Annual events

Mardis Gras 

A two-week festival that usually takes place in February. Known for its rowdy atmosphere, New Orleans Mardis Gras is unlike any other event. With constant parades, costumes, parties and music, this festival is a once in a lifetime experience, giving a unique cultural insight into the city.

The French Quarter Festival

Takes place in the cities oldest area and is known as America’s largest free music festival. With events for all ages and types of people, this is another annual event not to miss.

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Usually takes place in late April, and features some of the world’s most premier jazz and soul performers such as Stevie Wonder, as well as other acts that aren’t necessarily jazz such as Pearl Jam. There is usually over 100 artists scheduled for the festival over a span of two weeks. This event is ideal for any music lover!

Essence Festival

Essence Festival is one of the top R&B music festivals of the summer for African American travelers. It is held in annually in New Orleans towards the end of June and/or Early July. Click to read more of what to expect during Essence Fest.

Nightlife

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar 941 Bourbon St

One of the oldest buildings used as a bar in the United States, and gives visitors a glimpse not only into the city’s history while they enjoy an exciting atmosphere. 

The Spotted Cat 623 Frenchmen St

A classic stop for jazz music lovers and is renowned worldwide. 

Pat O’Brien’s 718 St Peter St

Where both locals and visitors go to admire piano music. The establishment is thought to be the first dueling piano bar ever established.

Masquerade 228 Poydras Street, Inside Harrah’s Casino

If you’ve seen the movie Girls Trip and the scene where they go to the club is inside of this club. Although it wasn’t as packed as the movie, we got in free and also if you use their hashtag and post a picture on social media, they will feature it on the screens. The DJ played a mix of new and old school Hip Hop on a Saturday night. It is located in the back of the Casino.

Where To Eat

 The Parkway Bakery and Tavern ($) 538 Hagan Ave

Showcases traditional food of New Orleans, and is known for its “surf and turf” style! Make sure to try some po boys! 

The Orleans Grapevine Wine Bar and Bistro ($$-$$) 720 Orleans St

Known for its beautiful courtyard setting. Try the gumbo, or attend the bacon happy hour! 

 Court of Two Sisters ($$-$$$) 613 Royal St.

A staple daily Jazz Brunch Buffet in the French Quarter. Reservations sugggested! Be sure to check out the brunch menu prior to.

Cafe Du Monde 800 Decatur St, In Front of Jackson Square

 

The Upperline Restaurant ($$$$) 1413 Upperline St

Has a menu filled with southern classics, and is known for its reserved atmosphere, which can help you escape the thrill of the city for a while. 

These are a few highlights to help you plan a quick weekend in Nola! Have you been? Comment with your favorite stops below!

A few highlights of things to do in New Orleans!

 

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Kim H.

Kim H. is the creator and chief editor for Work Hard Travel Well. Born and raised in College Park, Ga. She is a true “FILA” :) and UGA Alumna. Go Dawgs!