New Orleans was never on my radar to visit. It's not that I had anything against it, rather it wasn't a place I thought of to put on my list of must-sees.
But when a family friend gave us a free week at a condo in Nola and I began to research, I started to get excited. I had mistakenly thought the city was all Bourbon Street, but in reality, that one stretch of road is only a tiny slice of the cultural and historic city.
We stayed just a block outside the French Quarter and put some major mileage in walking -- mainly -- to places to eat. New Orleans is a food city and they have some incredible innovative local places that we tried to hit up in addition to the fried food that the Quarter offered.
I think the reason I like New Orleans so much is because of its local flavor. Whenever I go to a city, I want to eat at local places and shop at local-owned shops; I want to explore where the city residents go -- not just the tourist destinations or chain restaurants. In a city like New Orleans, there are plenty of tourist-y spots, but we were able to dig out some hidden gems as well.
Special thanks to the Nola city guide at Design*Sponge and Joy the Baker.
I'm listing some of our favorite things from this trip:
tourist-y activities: laura plantation // swamp tour // renting bikes to ride to city park // cemetery tours
eat- dinner: la petite grocery (my favorite meal) // cochon // royal house // felix // beignets!
eat- breakfast: merchant // surrey cafe and juice bar
drinks: organic banana in the french market (for fresh fruit daiquiris!) // tonique
nightlife: maison was our favorite for local music (and the rest of frenchmen street)
shop: stg in the french quarter // shops near jackson and magazine street
Now we're trying to consider what American city we should hit up in the next year or two. The husband thinks Austin, I'm leaning Nashville, or we both are considering about an East Coast tour of Boston + New York. Orrrr Italy. I want to go to Italy. ;)