New Orleans is famous for its French and Creole influence, bustling nightlife, and being the birthplace of Jazz! “The Big Easy” is also known for the laid back culture. I recently visited New Orleans for my Bachelorette weekend and I had an absolute blast! These are my highlights of this unique city.
French Quarter | Vieux Carré
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
The French Quarter is the historic center of New Orleans. This neighborhood is home to the infamous Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, and French Market. The French Quarter features beautiful 18th century buildings with wrought-iron balconies.
Jackson Square is a historic park just off of the Mississippi River. A statue of Andrew Jackson stands just in front of the Saint Louis Cathedral. Founded in 1727, this is the oldest active Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States!
There’s a lot of entertainment in this square, between the street performers, artists, and fortune tellers. My friends and I watched street performers right in front of the park, and I swear it was the best show I’ve seen! Afterwards, we encountered a lady carrying little birds on a stick, who somehow convinced us we needed to get our pictures with them!
We stayed in the Garden District during our visit. This neighborhood is a bit more quiet, and boasts some beautiful homes and mansions! The Gardent District is perfect for a nice stroll – if you have the time check out this cool self-guided walking tour through the neighborhood.
Take a Streetcar
We took the streetcar from the Garden District to the French Quarter. It’s super cheap and convenient! There are four lines that all start Downtown. This is actually the world’s oldest continually operating streetcar!
Magazine Street is a shopper’s paradise! This street stretches for six miles and cuts right through the Garden District. Magazine Street features all types of boutiques, antique shops, and art sellers.
Bourbon Street stretches through the middle of the French Quarter. The street dates back to the founding of New Orleans in 1718. Bourbon Street is actually named for the House of Bourbon, a French royal family (and not the alcohol).
The street is vibrant during the day but it is absolutely crazy at night! Bourbon Street is full of bars and clubs. And the best part? You don’t have to finish your drink to start walking to the next spot! You can take it with you! It’s perfect for a bar crawl.
When my Maid of Honor asked me what I absolutely had to do while in New Orleans, I told her two things: eat beignets and go on a swamp tour! She researched options and we went on a tour with Cajun Encounters. Riding through the Honey Island Swamp was an experience in itself. The Spanish moss is so stunning! Our guide was not only hilarious, he was super informative.
My friend was a bit frightened by how close to the water we were in the flat-bottomed boat, but I was thrilled! While we visited in March, alligators aren’t feeding so we didn’t see them swimming in the swamp. However, we still saw several taking naps!
What I was not expecting to see in the Louisiana Bayou was a WILD BOAR! Let alone, two wild boars!! Amusingly enough, the boars swam right up to the boat looking for treats!
My recent trip was brief, but we made the most of it! Next time I visit, I’d love to do a ghost tour and explore some of NOLA’s museums. Keep an eye out for my next post about the must-try foods in New Orleans!