America’s most unique city, unarguably, is New Orleans, Louisiana. Steeped in history, lore and culture, the Crescent City is not just a travel destination for thirsty adults, it is a city that caters to people who Faulkner might call, “vagabonds & tramps.” People, that is, like me.
Whether you’re a foodie, a music-lover, or into the occult, New Orleans has everything. So when it comes to where to spend your money and time, everyone has opinions. Including us. Beyond Bourbon, no first-timer’s visit would be complete without experiencing popular NOLA must-dos like riding the St. Charles streetcar, stopping by Arnaud’s for a signature French 75, paying homage to voodoo queen Marie Laveau at Cemetery 1, and witnessing living jazz legends play at Preservation Hall.
Here are some of our other favorite things to eat, shop, and see in New Orleans:
Sucre. This perfect little gem of a bakery on Magazine produces beautiful treats. Their King Cake is gorgeous – ombréd in metallic paints – and during Mardi Gras season, they ship around the country!
La Petite Grocery. The menu at La Petite, led by James Beard award-winner and Top Chef alum, Justin Devillier, is no joke. Regularly, I dream of their ricotta gnocchi. Dine formally or sit at the bar, but stop in for a bite. Magazine St.
MoPho. New Orleans’ West Bank is home a very active Vietnamese community, so if you can visit the area’s authentic venues, do. If in town, MoPho means business. Located near City Park, the space, the service, and the menu are diner-friendly and delicious. Assemble-your-own-pho topped with crispy shallots. Light-as-air fried oysters. MoPho’s Michael Gulotta was awarded Food & Wine’s 2016 Best New Chef, and deservedly so.
The Erin Rose. We love a gritty bar, so a gritty Irish bar in New Orleans? Sold. This Conti street watering hole is in the Quarter, but thankfully doesn’t feel like it. The drinks are strong, the music loud. The Erin Rose is open 21 hours a day, and they serve Killer Po’boys out the back.
Krewe du Optic. As seen on Beyoncé, y’all! This local superstar makes shades in cool, contemporary styles. Shop Krewe’s sunroom on Royal and fall in love with the brand.
Gallery Orange. New Orleans has many art galleries, but Gallery Orange is my favorite. Showing works by Gigi Mills and Louis St. Louis, this contemporary gallery is always hanging new artists. You’re sure to fall in love with a unique piece. Royal Street.
Louisiana State Museum at The Presbytère. Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond is a must-see. Upon entering, visitors are faced with Fats Domino’s destroyed piano, displayed as it was discovered post-storm in his Lower Ninth Ward home. This deeply moving exhibit recalls the experience of Hurricane Katrina through the affecting words of survivors. Powerful, educational, and interactive. Jackson Square.
Frenchman Street. Home to a favorite bar & music venue, Three Muses, Frenchman Street in the Marginy is known for hosting live music every night of the week! Tunes from legendary haunts like Snug Harbor and The Spotted Cat waft onto the street as you hop, go-cup in hand, from venue to venue. While seemingly within walking distance of the Quarter, it’s probably best to take a cab.
(Photo – édgérie: ‘Shotgun house,’ French Quarter.)