I'm going to New Orleans in early-mid July. My sister may come with me but I'm most likely going solo. I have traveled by myself to Ireland and Costa Rica before but never in the States! Any suggestions on where to stay? Things to do? Tricks to beat the heat? How long to stay? I'm thinking of headed down on July 9th. A little background, I'm a 27 year old female. I just finished my first year of medical school and this will be my LAST FREE SUMMER so I want to make it good :)
I have answered this before on my favorite restaurants. As far as places to stay Sheraton New Orleans Hotel or New Orleans Marriott or The Westin New Orleans Canal Place and you will be fine. There are a lot of VBRO and Air B&B options as well. If you can arrive on the 8th you will be in time for the Running of the Nola Bulls. One of the coolest events of the year! Make sure to pack a white shirt and shorts and bring your red sash! You are sure to meet some folks down here at the event. As far as beating the heat...stay hydrated doctor!
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Hey Christa! Why did you choose NOLA? Anything in particular you want to see? What is your budget? I will give some follow up info based on these answers but here is some general info on my favorites:
I would recommend staying in the French Quarter. One of the more affordable hotels in that are would be the The Westin New Orleans Canal Place. It is on the edge of the Quarter on Canal, near the river. It is also across from Harrah's Casino and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, but check all the normal hotel site to see what the best deal would be.
My favorite place for music is the Davenport Lounge inside the The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. It is free to go to and has the feel on an old lounge from the 20's or 30's. They have music every Wed - Sat night. I would also suggest Pat O'Brien's Courtyard Restaurant for a classic NOLA experience with their dueling piano bar. Hotel Monteleone has a bar that is made from an old carousel that actually rotates around the bar.Be sure to walk down Bourbon Street and stop in one of the many famous bars for a classic drink. If you get sick of the sites or smells of Bourbon, simply walk one street over to the much calmer Royal St where you will see many fine art galleries. Head down to Jackson Square for some great people watching. My favorite place to go is the balcony Muriel's Jackson Square which is free to just go sit up on. As you walk up the stairs to the balcony you will see an empty table set with silverware and likely wine. Muriel's is said to be haunted so that is why the empty table is there. If you want to get a feel for what Mardi Gras is like head over to the Mardi Gras World. There you can see people working on the floats and see a history of Mardi Gras as well as taste some king cake. Visit The National World War II Museum if you are all into history; it is fantastic. If you happen to be in NOLA on a Friday night you can also visit Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro and see Ellis Marsalis. I believe the cover is about $20. All of Frenchmen Street has great music.
It's hard to find a bad restaurant in NOLA but here are a few of my favorites:
The Camellia Grill for a great omelette and old diner feel. Yo Mama's Bar and Grill for a fantastic burger in the quarter. My favorite creole french cuisine is K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. If you want a New Orleans brunch I would suggest Brennan's Restaurant, Court of Two Sisters, or Muriel's Jackson Square. As already mentioned, Café du Monde for coffee and beignets. I also love NOLA Restaurant, which is an Emeril restaurant with more affordable options than Emeril's.
Let me know if you have any other questions!
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New Orleans is an interesting and fun place. I love it. For tours, I highly recommend a bike tour. Look into the Confederacy of Cruisers Bike Tours and the Ninth Ward Rebirth Bike Tours. A swamp tour can be fun. The tours will pick you up at your hotel. Besides alligator spotting, the swamp is really beautiful. Pay the extra to go on the smallest airboat. I honestly can't remember what tour operator we used, but I am sure you can find a good one on trip advisor. I have also done haunted tours at night and a voodoo tour during the day...we may have booked them through Marie Laveau's House Of Voodoo. That is a fun place to visit and get a reading done (if you aren't too scared!) A walk through the cemeteries and Louis Armstrong Park is nice. Since you are travelling solo, tours are a great way to meet people.
I love shopping on Royal St. There are a variety of shops selling all sorts of goods (I love the art galleries and antique stores) and usually street performers playing awesome music.
For music, hit Frenchmen Street...especially when you are sick of Bourbon Street (although it is still really fun and there is great people watching). Definitely have a drink at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. It is dark and really cool.
As for the heat...soak it up. Drink lots of water. Buy a sun hat. Take breaks and eat/drink/shop inside.
NOLA is an amazing place...you will have a great time!
P.S. I grew up in Bolingbrook and my parents still live there :)
Hi, Christa, any hotel on Canal St close to Miss. River and Harrah's Casino has nice hotel, Things to do? walk around the French Quarter, and French Market Pl. Trick to beat the heat? Get a Snow Ball and go sit by the river front, or take a river boat ride down the Mississippi river... cooler on the water.!!! have fun!
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