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I will be driving from Georgia to New Orleans in mid-October. Any suggestions on must-do's in NOLA? Would love a reco on where to stay as well (without breaking the bank as I will be staying there for 5 days). I also want to visit the bayou if you have any suggestions or tours I should check out!
You are going to have a great time and as previously mentioned the weather will be great. At the end of October will be Voodoo Music fest, akin to Jazzfest but quite as big. Halloween is as big as Christmas here. If you are trying to save $$ over five days try not to stay at the boutiques in the French Quarter. I would look at Air B&B for places in Bywater or Marigny. You might be able to find a deal The Cotton Mill in the CBD. The CBD has some of the coolest places to eat Cochon was #1 a few years ago and Peche was rate #1 new restaurant nationally! It is easy to go party in the QTR (if that is what you want) from either CBD or Bywater. If you want to stay up town I have stayed at Mandevilla Bed & Breakfast. Uptown there are some great places for music and food. Music wise there is Gasa Gasa and Freret Street PUBLIQ HOUSE. Also Maple Leaf Bar great place for live music. Eating uptown is better than most places in the quarter. For Breakfast I would recommend Refuel Cafe, Satsuma Cafe . Other places to go eat The High Hat Cafe, Wayfare, Patois, Ancora Pizzeria, GG's Dine-O-Rama (breakfast), Parkway Bakery & Tavern (po-boys). If looking for some bayou time you can easily drive out to Lafite Barataria Crown VolJean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, for beignets I recommend Cafe Beignet. I am not a Du Monde fan and it is just too crowded for me.
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Extremely jealous you're headed to New Orleans, it is by far one of my favorite cities in the U.S.
I stayed at The Westin New Orleans Canal Place on my trip. It wasn't too expensive and it is relatively close to The French Quarter. I had no problems walking to the popular destination spots and the French Quarter is about a ten minute walk (hooray for exercise).
A New Orleans go to spot is at Café Du Monde. They are known for their delicious beignets and chicory roast coffee (I brought home 3 tins and continue to order my coffee beans from their site). Don't be intimidated by the line though, they are pretty good about finding a seat for you quickly! I went really early in the morning and didn't have to wait in a line. You know what they say, early bird catches the worm!
I recommend visiting the The National WWII Museum on Magazine St. A very thought provoking and informative museum.
I went on a swamp tour at Honey Island Swamp. The tour guides are so awesome, you can really get your southern experience here. The swamp was beautiful, the way spanish moss hangs from the trees is so pretty. Make sure to be on the look out for those lurking gators and wild boars!
Whether you're into jazz music or not, you must check out the jazz clubs on Frenchmen Street. New Orleans is known for their jazz music and they did not disappoint. A favorite spot I checked out was at Blue Nile
Another cool spot I boogied at was on Bourbon Street at Pat O'Brien's Bar. They have a dueling piano bar which is really fun to listen to. The pianists were so awesome and even sang "Valerie" to me by Amy Winehouse on my birthday!
Hope you have fun on your trip!
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If you are going to New Orleans the main place to stay as a tourist is the French Quarter. Yes there are things to see elsewhere but if this is your first, or even second visit, you will definitely fill up your time there. I have stayed at several places while there but would definitely recommend Bon Maison Guest House or Biscuit Palace. Both had great accommodations and a great price. Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is an awesome place with a great history and ambiance and I think they tout it as the oldest bar in America. For breakfast please please please go to Café du Monde. The coffee is great (it contains chicory) and the beignets are second to non. As well, if you want to know where the muffaletta originated (and is the best in the world), head over to Central Grocery Co.. You have to check out St. Louis Cathedral during the day and the ghost tours at night. Preservation Hall is a wonderful place to hear live music but the line will always be long and the place always crowded so beware. If you want to hear great old music head over to Musical Legends Park. At night there is always a live band and plenty of seating. For a great night of live music, food, and drink, head on over to Frenchmen Street just know that it is quite a distance to walk, however there are peddle cabs that will get you around.
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Just returned from a weekend in Nola and stayed in the perfect VRBO on Royal Street. One block from Bourbon St but quiet at night so you can sleep!
2 must-do restaurants are Domilise's Po-Boy & Bar and Cochon. Don't be deterred that Domilise's is a little ways from the Quarter, take a cab out there and Streetcar back. The Po Boys will change your life.
Cochon is 2 restaurants: I prefer Cochon Butcher, the "Swine" Bar in the back. Inhouse cured meats and craft cocktails. Get there early as there's a line around the block for "lunchtime" and "dinnertime" rush and they don't take res.