Monday, September 18, 2017

New Orleans Travel Guide

A few weeks ago, I traveled to the Louisiana for my first time! I met a small group of friends in New Orleans, and had a whirlwind weekend in this historic city.
STAY- We booked an Air Bnb in the Garden District, which is outside the touristy and crowded areas of the city. We rented an old french inspired apartment with tall ceilings, fire places, and dramatic crown modeling. We stayed on the famous Magazine street, which is lined with charming stores and always open bars. The Garden District is one of the best preserved neighborhoods when it comes to architecture. Think, Victorian style mansions, opulent columns, rows of crepe myrtle tree and palms. Gothic, French and Greek Renaissance are all influences. Wander this neighborhood and take in these historic buildings. 
EAT & DRINK- I will be honest, the best part of NOLA is eating and drinking. So here's a list of restaurants and bars that I wouldn't miss out.
 Sylvain - Bougie brunch, with French comfort food classics. Order the 'fries and champagne' you won't regret it. I also adored the rustic interiors, and farm tables of this spot. 
Bacchanal Wines- You cannot go to NOLA without making the stop here. This was my favorite meal, and experience of the entire trip. Far away from tourist make a trek (and stand in line) for this spot. Enter a moody wine shop, with a large stock of local selections of drink + cheese. Walk out to their outdoor space, with eclectic tables, string lights and funky jazz music. Order food tapas style, and enjoy your night under the stars. 
Cafe Du Monde- Beignets. Everyone flocks for the beignets. Worth the little wait. Scoop up a table when you need a break and inhale this powder sugar treat. 
Surrey's- This was a local dive breakfast place. Lots of spice and creole influence. We waited forty-five minutes for a table. But it was worth it for the greasy hangover food. 
Imperial Woodpeckers Sno-Balls- I accidentally stumbled upon this place during a walk. 'Sno-Balls' are big in this city. I loved this stand for its syrups that were made in house. Try the grapefruit basil flavor. 
D.BA. Club- This was my favorite bar + music club during our visit. Located in the more authentic neighborhood of Faubourg Marigny. Best live music, and kept me dancing for an hour straight.    
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar- Ok, Bourbon Street really wasn't my vibe- BUT Lafitte's is a must for your visit. Order a grenade purple slushie drink made from grain alcohol. It is the oldest bar in the city, and attracts such a diverse crowd of people. 
Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone- A tourist spot, in the French Quarter but is rich in history. The hotel itself was established in the late 1800's. When you need to escape the messy fun of Bourbon Street, find a spot at the carousel bar, and enjoy a glass of wine. 
DO- Like I said, New Orleans is all about the eating, drinking and partying. BUT- here are some other things to do while in town.
Antique Shopping- Vintage shopping in Los Angeles can be expensive. When in NOLA take advantage of the antique stores. I scored a 1940's black snakeskin purse for $30, verse scouting for a more expensive version at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. Check out the Magazine Street Antique Mall. 
St. Charles Streetcar- I grew up in the Bay Area, so I had witness the tourist trap of the San Francisco cable cars. The St. Charles Streetcar was very different, by the fact, that locals use it as a form of transportation. Enjoy the ride into the city (much cheaper than an Uber). I loved people watching, and seeing the mix of who was taking the car. 
Football- So, I didn't do this while in visiting but football is a big deal here. College football especially was huge- LSU purple painted the city. Catch a game, or at least understand that this is a big part of Southern culture. 
Southern Decadence- I cannot leave out that a part of my experience was Southern Decadence. It is a LGBTIA community event, which takes over the entire city during Labor Day Weekend. It was rad, witnessing so many people embrace their most authentic versions of themselves. From young to old, people were celebrating non-stop, and I loved meeting people individually and hearing what brought them to NOLA for this celebration. 


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