Creole comfort food. Raucous parades. Strong cocktails. These are just a few reasons New Orleans is called the Big Easy. This town knows how to celebrate better than any other. But there’s much more than fine food and drinks to discover in this city that fuses the best of French, Spanish, and American cultures.
You can listen to live jazz on Frenchmen Street, explore the French Quarter’s voodoo shops, and discover the riverfront’s vibrant French Market. Or take a streetcar down beautiful St. Charles Avenue to see the mansions, majestic oaks, Audubon Park, and the quaint streets that make up the Garden District. No matter what makes the ideal vacation for you, we’ve got a must-do list of ways to spend a long weekend in America’s most original and eclectic city.
The perfect spot to rest your feet and escape the Southern heat, Jackson Square is an oak-shaded oasis in the middle of the French Quarter. Browse the art pieces hanging on the square’s iron fence, have your fortune read or your caricature drawn, and watch live performers in this open-air artist’s colony.
Insider Intel: Treat yourself to beignets and a frozen cafe au lait from the nearby Cafe du Monde, but enjoy them in the square instead of at the tourist-packed cafe. While you’re in the square, check out the Presbytere Museum’s rotating exhibits on Louisiana history.
Red Truck Gallery & Gallery Orange
Nola has tons of local artists who work in a wide variety of artistic styles. Red Truck Gallery prides itself on its warm, no-frills, bohemian atmosphere and showcases contemporary, pop surrealist, and Americana art. And there’s more than framed paintings—the gallery offers a diversity of styles and media.
Gallery Orange is a more traditional, white-walled space showing local and national artists. Its name is a nod to its British-Dutch ownership, the Royal House of Orange. Both galleries are on Royal Street, so you can hit one right after the other.
Insider Intel: After you’ve filled your soul with art, walk a few blocks to the Red Truck Clubhouse art bar, owned by Red Truck Gallery, for pizza and drinks.
Hot Tin at the Pontchartrain Hotel
This intimate rooftop bar’s name is a nod to the work of playwright Tennessee Williams, who lived at the Pontchartrain Hotel when he was writing A Streetcar Named Desire. Grab a bright cocktail or some bubbles in this penthouse suite turned bar with spectacular 1940s decor.
Insider Intel: Try the bar’s signature Sazerac as you check out the terrace and take in stunning views of the city that overlooks the Mississippi river.
French Truck Coffee
Grab your morning pick-me-up at French Truck Coffee, a quaint, welcoming storefront in the scenic Lower Garden District. From his humble beginnings roasting beans in his laundry room, French Truck’s owner now prides himself on working with farmers to ensure that the coffee is responsibly sourced and produced.
Insider Intel: Cool down with a customer favorite, the Nola Iced. It’s made from French Truck’s dark roast with chicory cold brew, then shaken over ice with milk and simple syrup for a sweet, energizing treat.
Nestled in the city’s central business district on Magazine Street, Couvant prepares classic French dishes with seasonal ingredients. Try the English peas “a la Francaise” with a sunnyside duck egg, bacon, mint, and tarragon—or the delectable Moules Frites prepared three different ways.
Insider Intel: Whet your appetite with Couvant’s signature cocktails: Absinthe Frappe New Orleans (absinthe, creme de menthe, lemon, and lait sucre), or the Brittany (Bolden Vodka, poire eau de vie, dry vermouth, and a champagne shrub).
In 1905, Jean Galatoire brought recipes and traditions from his small French village of Pardies to Bourbon Street. With its whirring fans, tiled floors, and traditional green fleur de lis wallpaper, Galatoire’s is always packed with tourists and locals alike. We recommend the Chicken Clemenceau—a classic French poultry dish with peas, mushrooms, potatoes, and lots of butter and garlic—to offset all the shellfish you’ll sample at the city’s numerous eateries.
Insider Intel: Jackets are required for men, but there’s a closet of them to pick from if you came unprepared. We recommend bringing our Travel Blazer, which resists wrinkles and moisture so you won’t have to worry about sudden downpours.
UNTUCKit Magazine St.
Take a stroll down Magazine Street to sample some of the Crescent City’s best food, drinks, and shopping. If you’re looking for sharp, casual styles, stop by the UNTUCKit store in a charming, traditional New Orleans home. Shop the linen button-downs and short-sleeve prints to look and feel cool in the city’s humidity.
Insider Intel: Not sure where to start? Don’t be afraid to ask one of the friendly, attentive store associates for help. Be sure to explore this store’s large women’s selection of chic shirtdresses, polished no-iron shirts, and more.
Aidan Gill for Men
Aidan Gill’s barbershop has been a Magazine Street institution for more than 40 years. Shiny red-and-blue barber poles, vintage chairs, and antique towel heaters all lend a retro charm, and the no-cellphone rule is ironclad. It’s no wonder businessmen and celebrities flock to this place.
Aidan Gill has been featured in Playboy, GQ, and Town and Country for its excellent cuts and experienced stylists, and Inc. magazine has called Gill “King of the barbershop resurgence.” So why not treat yourself to an old-school spruce-up?
Insider Intel: The high-and-tight is the shop’s most requested style. Once your haircut and shave are over, indulge in a complimentary glass of Irish whiskey.