Just like the two-day old leftovers sitting in my fridge right now, this post is kind of overdue and pretty irrelevant at this point – because who cares about Spring Break when it's the summer already? But Atlanta and NOLA were amazing, Spring Break was dope, and I actually kind of miss school.
Almost four months (!!!) ago, Cat and I went to Atlanta and New Orleans for nine days. Cat made awesome vlogs for both cities – I will post about the Atlanta one later on.
*Stay tuned till the end of this post for New Orlean's vlog!*
New Orleans is truly one heck of a city. On every street, corner and hidden alley way, there is a fusion of culture and heritage, with its distinct French and Spanish-creole architecture, fleur-de-lis carvings on fences lining old houses, overflowing beauty of live jazz music, and restaurants that show you the true flavors of the South.
The city can get touristy, but it doesn't impose its tourism on you. Even at the heart of the French Quarter, no one is trying to hardcore sell you anything or judge you as foreigners. You are out of place, but in the most free-spirited way. Every Uber driver is eager to show us his or her version of New Orleans, and our Airbnb host is always keen to give us more suggestions on what to do.
What the city is known for, New Orleans lives up to them. Bourbon Street is indeed vibrant and lit at night, and there seems to be endless bars and live music to explore. Cafe du Monde does serve some of the best beignets I've ever had, and even though the lines are a little crazy, the wait is worth it. Commander's Palace is indeed worth the slurge for a nice jazz brunch, and you will get your money's worth with the haute Creole cuisine that has been leading New Orlean's culinary scene for years. And yes, New Orleans is famous for their jazz and all the live jazz music I've walked past or saw are amazing and beautiful.
Every street performance I ran into is real talent that has so much to offer – from drum percussion to violin EDM to good old classic jazz music, you will never get bored on the streets. Despite it being a fairly touristy city, New Orleans barely has any shopping malls, chains or typical metropolitan architecture. The city keeps its authenticity, and that is one of the biggest reasons why I'm so fond of this place.
- Uber or taking the cab is most likely the best way to get around New Orleans because transportation is very lackluster. The city center itself, however, is very walkable, with almost all famous restaurants and attractions within the French Quarter. If you get a chance, take the streetcar, which is both a tourist attraction and a means to get around albeit being slow and not super reliable.
- Plan your trip according to the weather – there isn't much to do when it's raining outside, apart from museums.
- Pick somewhere close to the heart of the city if you are staying overnight, as you can easily walk to the French Quarter. When its dark, it's not recommended to walk away from the city center.
- Bourbon street is famous, but most, if not all locals would recommend Frenchman Street, and I personally attest to that. Think of Bourbon as the rowdy college frat parties, and Frenchman the classier version with better live music.
- Take walking tours! They are a great way to learn and experience the city. Seriously, you get so much out of them – better views, knowledge, and the tours are free. Of course, tipping is gracefully accepted and you should totally tip.
- Museums: Voodoo Museum, Pharmacy Museum, Backstreet Cultural Museum, the Presbytere
- Streets with music and bars: Bourbon, Frenchman
- Food: Cafe Amelie, Cafe du Monde, Commander's Palace, Felix's, Willie Mae's, The Gumbo Shop
- Neighborhoods: French Quarter, Garden District (walking tours recommended)