Visited: December 2017
Last December, I visited New Orleans to celebrate the end of the year and would recommend for its festivities and the food. We also found out that New Orleans was turning 300 in 2018 and is listed #1 on New York Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2018. (More reasons to go!) Here is a roundup of the food you have to try and places to see in New Orleans.
Food to try in New Orleans
There are so many restaurants in this city that you can’t go wrong with any restaurants that you go to and everyone has their own favorite go-to place. Here are the places that I went to:
1. Beignets at Cafe du Monde
We grabbed breakfast at Cafe du Monde where we had the famous beignets. There is a line that people wait at but you can try to grab a table to sit at if you see people leaving instead. There is also a separate take-out line if the line is too long.
They are basically sandwiches but are usually made with meat like beef or seafood like shrimp. I had a really good poboy at Killer PoBoys, which was located in the back of the Erin Rose bar. If you are looking for a drink and good food, you can stop by here for both.
3. Muffaletta from Central Grocery
You have to visit Central Grocery to get the original muffaletta. It is a sandwich that originated from the Italian immigrants. It consists of ham, salami, Provolone, olives, and other veggies.
We stopped by The Gumbo Shop for dinner around 6 pm and there was already a line formed! Gumbo is a popular stew and is a mixture of meat and vegetables. It tastes better than it looks here!
5. Donuts at District Sliders Brew
They have a rotating menu of donuts that are freshly made. We stopped by for breakfast and I got the Croque Madame. It is very good and filling breakfast.
Recommended by a coworker, we went to Ruby Slipper Cafe for brunch. As indecisive as I am, the Peacemaker option allowed me to mix and match two different types of Eggs Benedict.
I tried the chargrilled oysters at Drago’s Seafood restaurant as recommended by a local and raw oysters at a different restaurant.
After getting beignets from Cafe du Monde, we went next door to Aunt Sally’s to sample their pralines. Pralines are candy that is made out of sugar and nuts. Aunt Sally’s had different flavors and sizes of packaging to buy for yourself and/or for friends.
Things to do in New Orleans
1.Take a free walking tour of New Orleans. They are led by locals and share fun facts and the history of the city. Remember to bring cash to tip them! We went on the French Quarter, Garden District/Lafayette Cemetery and Ghost Tour. The French Quarter tour covers the historic streets and buildings. The Garden District/Lafayette Cemetery tour starts out at the Lafayette Cemetery where they give you a brief overview of cemetery and point out famous family plots (it is not as scary as it may seem). Then you walk towards the mansions in the Garden District and learn about the different people that own houses there.
2. Ride on the streetcar. It is a scenic mode of transportation and you can take it to a few different districts of New Orleans depending on the line. It costs $1.25 one way and you must have exact change when you board.
3. Visit Audobon Park. We took the St. Charles streetcar there and passed along the Garden District houses, the universities, and restaurants and bars. It is a giant park for people to explore. It even has a golf course!
4. Visit New Orleans Museum of Art (and the sculpture park outside) by using the Canal Street Streetcar to City Park/Museum. We arrived near closing for the museum and decided to go to the sculpture park instead. It is much bigger than expected and would highly recommend visiting.
During the holidays, Celebration in the Oaks is held in City Park. It is a giant amusement park set up in the park that is open in the evening. There are lots of light displays throughout the area.
5. Get tickets for the Preservation Hall. There is no photos or videos inside so you have to go there yourself to see how amazing the jazz musicians are. You can buy tickets online or try to wait on line for a general admissions ticket. (People usually line up early in advance of the next show).
6. Visit the French Market where you can get food and souvenirs.
7. Walk down the famous Bourbon street. It is the only location where you can drink openly outside.