Top things to do in New Orleans for your perfect ITINERARY
exploring the French Quarter
Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore and wander the French Quarter, there is so much to do and see! The beautiful historical buildings make it hard to put your camera down.
Dining in the French Quarter
We decided to have lunch during at New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co. the food here is delicious! I ordered the gourmet hamburger with the garlic herb fries and Eric ordered the rajun’ cajun burger with a side cup of gumbo, and everything was great! We would definitely dine here again.
For dessert you have to pick up some beignets, you can find some of the best beignets in two locations: Cafe Du Monde their beignets are $2.73 for a order of 3 which is a great deal, which is why there is always a huge line! So make sure you get there early, or you can opt for a close second option: Cafe Beignet their fresh handmade beignets are $3.99 per order of 3
Usually when we travel we like to try new foods and go to places we typically don’t go to but when it comes to coffee it’s difficult to find a good place to get a cheap cup of coffee without it being Starbucks, so we decided to try CC's Coffee House and even though they have multiple locations it’s only located in Louisiana. Eric got a tall cup of black coffee for $2.50 and I got a tall cup of hot chocolate for $3.00, along with a slice of chocolate cake for $2.00 and everything was great!
Being CAreful down Bourbon Street
So I just want to share real quick how Eric and I were scammed out of some money while walking down Bourbon Street, now I know you may think we are super dumb for falling for this scam or how we even got into this situation but here goes:
We had just finished a walking tour and we were looking for a restaurant to have dinner at, of course we looked like total tourists looking confused and leaving a tour group, so this man approaches us then starts to wipe Eric’s shoe. Since it had just rained we thought “that’s super odd, but that’s nice of him” we thought it was just a homeless man being nice on the street, but then he started yelling and screaming at us to give him $20, of course we just started to walk away and some how he runs in front of us. At this point his approach was threatening so walked into a ice cream shop while he began calling over two large men. At this point I was pretty sure he was going to stab one of us, he was going on a rant about how he provided a service therefore we have to pay for his shoe cleaning service, now we had figured out this was a scam so we simply said we have no cash, but this man had called over two large men to help him block our exit. You might think we were a bit cowardly to just end up giving this man a $10 bill but it was incredibly scary to be in a situation where there was no way out other than to confront the three men in our way and since the ice cream shop employees were just staring at us and were no help, we threatened to call the police and had to push our way through them to leave. Now for future reference, if you come across a situation like we did, try to walk over to the nearest police officer, there is one located in every street corner. We hadn’t noticed that there was so many officers until what had happened, since it’s not something you really look out for.
Also always keep a eye out for pickpockets, and even more if you are wearing a purse or backpack!
Exploring Royal Street & Beyond
After you take a walk on Bourbon Street make sure to turn into Royal Street to enjoy some live music, local art, and beautiful buildings! On the right side of the street you’ll be able to spot the gorgeous architecture that is Jackson Square!
Once you get to St. Peter Street you’ll find all sorts of voodoo stores, we happened to stumble across Reverend Zombie's House Of Voodoo (which is a second location of Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo just in case you can’t find one or the other, they are sister stores). Here you’ll find readings, voodoo dolls, jewelry/charms, and more! We I personally liked about this store is that it there is more many things here that it really looks like a museum, there is a lot of information about Marie Laveau in towards the back of the store.
If you’re interested in more information over voodoo, just around the corner you can visit the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum. We thought it would be neat to learn more but unfortunately the museum was packed so we decided against it, tickets are $7.00 a person.
Wander through the Garden district
If you are looking for beautiful instagramable locations in New Orleans the Garden District is a must! Take a walk down Coliseum Street, this is where you’ll find beautiful mansions and if you are a American Horror Story fan you’ll walk past the Buckner Mansion just down the street! Another great thing to see in the Garden District is the Lafayette Cemetery No.1 it is much smaller than other cemeteries across New Orleans but it certainly is nice to stop by and take a look around.
Click here for a Free Self Guided Garden District Tour!
Haunted History Tours
You can’t go to New Orleans and not go on a haunted tour! I personally love scary and thrilling experiences real or not so of course I had to sign us up! Since we decided to go on this trip they day after New Years and it was completely spontaneous we didn’t have much time to plan, I basically had to plan our entire trip on our 16 hour drive from Lincoln, NE. Since it was still winter, Eric wasn’t too convinced on going on a 2 hour walking tour (I’m positive it was just him being scaredy cat since he’s not a fan of anything scary!) but after a little convincing we paid the $25 per ticket which is a bit pricey since we were on a budget but it was completely worth it! There are numerous haunted tours you can go to but after a bit of research of reading reviews we decided on Haunted History Tours they have 10 different options and we chose “5 in 1 Ghost & Mystery Tour of the French Quarter” this way we could see a little bit of everything! The pictures shown above are from our tour, we didn’t go inside any buildings since they are private residences. The tour guides go into extreme detail at each location, this tour in general is more historical rather than spooky scary.
If you really enjoy plantations you definitely won’t find any affordable plantation tours, the cheapest I could find was $50/person for the Oak Alley Plantation Tour click here to search/booking more plantation options!
Or click on the map below to see all the plantation in the area!
Free Walking Tours
THE FRENCH QUARTER - visit Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, Bourbon St, The Cabildo, William Faulkner House and more! About 2 hours worth!
GARDEN DISTRICT TOUR - the Garden District is a beautiful area but if you have the time on your trip, take a walking tour to get the most out of it!
HAUNTED TOURS - although we paid $25/ person for the 5 for 1 tour, there is a cheap alternative for exploring the thrilling history in New Orleans for $2.50/person.
VOODOO TOUR - If you are interested in learning more about voodoo and the culture in New Orleans this tour is for you! It’ll take you through Congo Square and covers topics on the history, culture and beliefs regarding voodoo.
All tours are about 2 hours long, and absolutely free! Just remember to tip your tour guide! If you have a group of 6-9 people you have prepay $10/person.
Where to stay
Aloft New Orleans Downtown - 225 Baronne Street
This hotel is in a prime location, right in the heart of New Orleans! There is parking located around the block behind the hotel, we parked in a commercial parking lot and paid every 24 hours roughly $20 which was a great deal compared to the drive in hourly parking garages.
If you take a look at my travel resources you’ll see that my go to hotel booking site is booking.com and by using Booking.com we were able to get this hotel for $75 a night for 3 nights! Everything is walking distance from the hotel, for example: Bourbn Street is only a 15 minute walk!