New Orleans Survival Guide
Updated: Sep 13, 2019
I recently took a trip to “NOLA Baby” *in my best New Orleans accent* and I had the most amazing time! We went to celebrate my best friend’s 24th birthday and definitely had lots of adventures. You’ll find some of my most helpful travel tips below, and hopefully you’ll be booking your trip after reading.
I don’t know about y’all but the BEST part of traveling is the food! Being able to explore the city’s entrees and well known dishes becomes a project of it’s own. New Orleans is famous for a few dishes including Crawfish, Oysters, and Beignets.
Creole House Restaurant & Oyster Bar
We didn’t discover this place until our last day unfortunately, but hands down best brunch in the city! It was a white collar environment, with blue collar pricing. I had the Bayou Bowl: 2 eggs over fried crawfish and Cajun potatoes, topped with a crawfish cream sauce and green onions. No other words can describe it besides AMAZING. I also had their Piña Colada Mimosa which definitely kicked my day off to a great start!
Acme Oyster House
I must admit I didn’t go on a hunt for oysters, but came across them at Acme Oyster House. They specialize in multiple dishes including raw, fried, and charbroiled oysters. I had the fried oysters and they didn’t disappoint! Took me back to my grandma's fresh fried oysters for sure. They were seasoned good, and I’m sure I could’ve eaten 100 if I weren’t so full from daiquiris on Bourbon Street. A handful of our Uber drivers said they hated oysters until trying the charbroiled (chargrilled) variety, I recommend trying those out if given the opportunity.
New Orleans is home to crawfish, and this is what many locals and tourist alike search for in the city. My friends were on a hunt for boiled shrimp (even though that’s nearly impossible for a state KNOWN for crawfish) and we came across Cajun Seafood on Claiborne. The have crab legs, shrimp, crawfish and more! What impressed me the most was the pricing: I had one pound of crawfish, a potato, corn, and a sausage for $9! The food was delicious, and everything you could want if craving seafood.
Willie's Chicken Shack
Willie's was the first place we went after leaving the airport. Where else can you get delicious fried chicken and daiquiris to go! Willie's has multiple locations throughout the city and offer the best playlist I've ever heard in a restaurant. I had the fried shrimp combo with fries (not to mention a biscuit that would make you want to slap your Mama). I NEVER finish a meal, but I ate my entire plate in 5 minutes because it was so good! I recommend visiting Willie's for a quick bite to eat, because sometimes life doesn't lend to sitting down at a restaurant.
New Orleans's French heritage also makes them famous for their Beignets: a deep fried dough covered with powdered sugar. We came across Cafe Beignet when looking for a brunch spot to hit before starting our daily adventures. This little shop has various coffee beverages, a pretty good breakfast selection, and of course beignets! I chowed down on potatoes and eggs before trying my very first beignet ever. Another NOLA spot to try is “Cafe du Monde”, famous for their beignets since 1862!
New Orleans is a beautiful city, with a lot of history. Even the modern day hotels are built into the 18th century architecture. Lately, I’ve been on an Airbnb kick, I miss the luxuries of fluffy white hotel beds sometimes, but the Airbnb’s give you the chance to experience the true culture of the city. We chose a home in Tremé, a part of town celebrating the African American and Creole heritage of New Orleans. We Ubered everywhere instead of walking the neighborhood, but we were only a few minutes from the heart of the French Quarter.
Bourbon Street (of course) lends to most of the entertainment in the city. You have an endless amount of bars and live music open all night. New Orleans is also one of the locations where you’re allowed to carry alcohol in the streets as long as it’s not in a glass container, so feel free to take your daiquiri’s with you to explore the city.
We were unable to find any nightclubs similar to our definition of a club (dressed up with heels) during our stay, so we ended up at a “hole-in-the wall” spot known as “The Hangover”, this was interesting nonetheless. Downstairs was karaoke, and upstairs was a mix of New Orleans bounce music. “Cultured” is the way I’ll describe it, for lack of a better word, but we had fun! Definitely a spot to wear sneakers or sandals and comfy clothes.
New Orleans also has a Harrah’s Casino in the heart of the city which is open 24 hours! We played the penny slot machines and enjoyed FREE drinks all night. They also have an amazing pulled pork taco! What more can you ask for.
Audubon Zoo & Aquarium ended up being an amazing experience, $40 allowed us access to both (you can use your tickets on separate days). We rode the Green St. Charles Street car to Audubon Park and had an adventure walking about a mile through the park to the zoo. It was near Loyola and Tulane Universities which was great scenery. The zoo is HUGE, and is even expanding to include a new Lion habitat. The Aquarium was off of Canal Street, and was right on the river for you to enjoy watching the ferry and boats dock.
My first trip to New Orleans was definitely unforgettable, filled with tons of adventures. I recommend everyone visit at least once, I’m sure you’ll leave with a full belly and memories galore. Next time, I want to visit during Mardi Gras, I know it’ll be a sight to see!