FOOD, FUN, & FESTIVALS - NEW ORLEANS TRAVEL GUIDE
Updated: Aug 9
As I wrap up my quarantine time spent in Louisiana, I'm reminded of all the gems this state possesses. From delicious cuisine to an ostentatious festival season, New Orleans is the best place to visit and expand your waist line. I've had many people reach out to me about what attractions they should go to when they visit Louisiana. So next time when asked, instead of sending my well curated list, I’ll be sending this link from now on! There's so much to love about New Orleans, and I want everyone to experience it the way I do. From local spots to touristy yet tasteful favorites here's all the locations in Nola (and surrounding areas) that you should visit! Also, you'll see ** beside the locations that are black-owned. As a matter of fact, support them first. Enjoy.
Let's be real. No matter where you stop to eat in New Orleans, it will all taste good. The people just know how to cook, okay?! But here's a few of my favorite eateries to make navigating the cuisine a bit easier.
Luke - For brunch or dinner this place is delicious. It's also located in the heart of the city, so sightseeing or shopping is perfect afterwards to walk off your meal.
Atchafalaya - The food here is high quality and the dining experience is elevated. A five star menu for a five star chick (that would be me!). My favorite things to order on the menu are the the Blue Crab Raviolo, and the Fried Brussels. The pork chops are good too!
Bearcat Cafe - I love the brunch here. They offer many vegan dishes and they actually taste really good. Order one of their Fresh squeezed juices or a stack of pancakes and you will not be disappointed.
Hot Tin at Jack Rose Bar - Hot Tin is the perfect roof top bar to end the night. With it's indoor and outdoor seating and breathtaking cityscape, the ambiance is unmatched. Make sure to take a photo with the infamous Lil Wayne painting in the lobby before you head to the roof.
Mint Thai - You may not know this about me, but I am a Thai food lover! It’s my favorite type of food next to soul food. I've tried Thai in many cities and I’m very particular about how it’s prepared. Mint Thai is one of the best tasting Thai food experiences I have ever had.
**Neyow’s - Neyow’s serves Cajun cuisine and has a cozy setting. I love the whole menu and the carrot souffle especially is chef's kiss! I don't typically eat gumbo outside of when my mom or grandam cooks it, but Neyow's has decent gumbo if you're itching to try some. (Not my grandma's pot, but still decent!) Their drinks are really good also.
Cafe Du Monde - But you already knew that.
Manchu - Ask anybody in the city, Manchu’s has the best fried chicken. It’s a local spot and it isn't touristy. So don't expect shiny and new. Expect good ass fried chicken. Cool? Cool.
**Snola Snowballs - Before you travel back home, you need to get a snowball. Not shaved ice, not a slushy, not a frozen cup, a snowball. A snowball is the thirst quencher to top off your trip to Louisiana. Do not leave with out having one!
Plum-Street Snowballs - Also has good snowballs!
**Melba’s - This is more of a local spot. You can’t go wrong with anything you order on the menu, it literally all tastes good! The daiquiri's are are good too.
Mais Arepas - This restaurant offers Colombian specialties in an intimate setting. They have great drinks. The corn is perfect and they have a huge variety of arepas to try.
**Dooky Chase Restaurant - I've never been here because it's typically packed. But literally everyone talks about it. I'll try to make it there next time I'm in the city. But it's received multiple awards and it's black owned so tap in!
No matter where you go, the energy of the people in New Orleans is so rich and jubilant that any corner you turn will be a good time. But for more guidance, read further for my favorite places to visit when I tap into the city!
**New Orleans Art Bar - This black-owned bar lounge exudes good vibes even on a rainy day. They have the best oysters I’ve ever eaten in my life. I’ve actually never eaten oysters before coming to this place because I could never get into them. But Nola Art Bar changed my mind. Check the website because their menu changes depending on the day. Outside of the food, the ambiance is adorned with a stunning art gallery and there's an outdoor lounge area.
Coastal Ridge Farm - I have never been here, but it has been on my southern travel list for far too long. I will make it one day. Sunflowers are my favorite flower and it would make my year to be able to prance around in a field of them. Check the website and the Instagram location tag, it’s perfect. This spot isn't located in Louisiana, but the drive is less than an hour away.
**Studio BE - I discovered Studio BE a while back and my jaw dropped when I was actually able to visit in person. The art studio was founded by NOLA native Brandan 'Bmike' Odums. The work speaks for itself. This is one place you MUST visit before leaving the city.
Harrah Casino - Don't Judge me but some of my favorite nights happened at Harrah's Casino...or outside popping fireworks in the parking lot across the street (this was during my “hood rat things with my friends” phase lol). Check out Masquerade inside or just visit the casino for fun.
Carousel Bar & Lounge - The Carousel bar found inside of Hotel Monteleone is such a charming lil spot with live jazz music and great drinks. The bar is on a moving carousel. A CAROUSEL. It's a classy spot so it's a good first location for a full night of fun.
Bourbon Street - Of course you need to make your way to Bourbon street. It’s where your night should end. Grab a hand-grenade or a daiquiri depending on the type of night you're trying to have.
Frenchman Street - This is a more mature version of Bourbon street. Grab a drink at one bat and enjoy the live music at the next. The liquor laws in New Orleans are unmatched. Alcohol is available round-the-clock, 7 days a week. You're allowed to drink in public, but not from a glass or bottle. So anywhere you go will be a good time.
**NOLA City Lights - If you’re with a group this is the perfect way to embrace the beauty of the city. No walking tours. No monotone tour guides. Just you, your people, your playlist and some very comfortable bikes. They also have a team to guide you on the route and a tuck riding behind your crew in case you get tired or need water.
Fulton Alley - A bowling alley and a bar? Sign me up.
Times are unusual right now so who knows when festivals will actually happen again. However, when things do kick back up, if there’s a festival during the time you’re visiting, you definitely want to be there! You’ll find a list of festivals below and the months they typically take place! If it falls during the month you’re visiting, research the festival further for the specific dates.
Mardi Gras - February
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival - April & May
Essence Festival - Always July 4th weekend
Voodoo Music and Arts Festival - October
French Quarter Festival - April
New Orleans Film Festival - October
Oak Street Po-Boy Festival - November
Red Dress Run - August
Buku Music Festival - March
There's so much more. These are just the major ones. Research your interests and they'll probably have a festival for that!
I hope this lil guide I put together will help you to navigate your trip to New Orleans. If you have any questions about places not listed (voodoo, art, kid friendly, etc.) let me know and I can get you extra details.
Enjoy. Tell a friend. And subscribe.