New Orleans is a city that possesses a mixture of style and mystique like almost no other. Part of this enduring fascination with the city nestled into the Mississippi Delta emanates from its legendary status as the veritable birthplace of jazz. Indeed, the jazz music scene still thrives to this day, and it is not unusual to see local musicians of all creeds and colours traipsing the streets with their instrument looking for a gig.
But music is not the only alluring aspect of New Orleans. On arrival, a traveller may be forgiven for thinking that they have just stepped out of a time machine. The old way of outdoor living of the Deep South is still alive and kicking here – just take a look at the number of folks that like to kick it back in the sultry evening air on the veranda of their wooden homes on a rocking chair as they nurse their Sazerac cocktails.
If you are planning on adding a weekend trip to New Orleans to the itinerary of your upcoming trip to the US, you may need a few pointers if you are really going to get the most out of 48 hours in Louisiana. That is why we have put together this weekend guide – read on to find out more!
Things get off to a late start in New Orleans, so your best bet is to kick the day off with a trip to one of the many lovely coffee shops that are to be found in the French Quarter. When you have had a coffee and powdery beignet (we suggest the world-famous Café du Monde), you are now ideally situated start your tour around the oldest neighbourhood in the city.
Having walked a while in the French Quarter, you will have built up a bit of an appetite. A great place to get some grub is Coop’s Place where you can sample some of the Cajun dishes that are the speciality in the city. When you have eaten your fill, take a stroll down to Jackson Square, the area that is widely held to be the heart and soul of the city.
When you feel the urge to hit the town for a few drinks, take a walk upriver on Royal Street to some of the coolest bars in the whole city. Stop and spend a few dollars on Sazeracs to drink outside sitting and absorbing the atmosphere that is pregnant with possibility for the night. For more action, head to Bourbon Street – it may be full of tourists, but the feeling that surrounds the many hip cocktail bars is enough to warrant a perusal.
Take a trip via St Charles Streetcar up to the up-and-coming Warehouse District to visit the fantastic World War II Museum. Here, you will find fascinating artefacts from the war, including an original Enigma machine as well as photos and memorabilia from the battlegrounds.
Just around the corner, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art showcases some stunning landscape paintings of the Louisiana countryside.
While away the afternoon in the city’s leafy Garden District, only five blocks from St Charles Street. Here, the streets are lined with oak trees and mansions with Romanesque columns that are relics of a bygone age. If you are feeling peckish, stop at the upmarket Commander’s Palace opposite the creepy graveyard to sample delicious Creole cuisine and more well-earned cocktails.
For you last night, head down to Freret Street, one of the most impressively regenerated areas that have emerged since Katrina. The main attraction is the trendy cocktail bar Cure, which led the way for scores of other similar joints that have popped up recently. There are some excellent food options here, including pizzas and hotdogs – you may need to line your stomach for the night ahead!
New Orleans is a city where magic is well and truly in the air. If you only have a short time to take in the sights, the guide presented in this article should ensure that you get the chance to absorb the essence of New Orleans! Enjoy!
Note: If you are travelling to the US as a British citizen, make sure you have sorted out your ESTA visa application before you fly in – you will not be able to do it once you land on US soil. For help with your application, check out this reliable ESTA guide for more info!