Whether it’s food, art, or music you love, there seems to be a festival, parties and celebrations almost every weekend in New Orleans. Charmed by the city’s fun atmosphere, incredible history and yummy food, me and a few of my girl friends planned a weekend trip to New Orleans. Since it was only 500 mile from Dallas, we decided to do a road trip to NOLA. There is plenty to see, do and of course eat in New Orleans, here is a quick guide to plan an epic girls getaway weekend in NOLA!
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Visit French Quarter and the Jackson Square
The French Quarter is the most popular area in New Orleans among tourists, and for good reason. You can easily wander around while taking in the unique architecture, incredible and historic sights of the French Quarter. Jackson Square is the French Quarter’s main plaza. While the square and the surrounding buildings date back to the 1700s, today the area remains as lively as ever. You will see street performers and artists and the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral is an landmark you can’t miss.
Where to party in New Orleans
A girl’s trip to NOLA wouldn’t be complete without a night out on the town… New Orleans nightlife is world-famous. Start your night off by heading to Bourbon Street, a wild and fun street lined with bars and filled with tourists looking to experience some New Orleans nightlife. You will see many visitors enjoy simply hanging out on Bourbon street, you can even take to go cups as there are no laws against open containers in NOLA. For live music and dancing, head over to Frenchmen Street.
Where to eat in New Orleans
Start with breakfast at Cafe Du Monde – its hard to miss the bright green striped canopy. The cafe just serves beignets, coffee, and drinks, but it is worth enduring the long lines and extra calories – the beignets are sweet and coffee chocolate-y. From amazing seafood to classic dishes like gumbo, it is hard to go wrong when eating in New Orleans. We even found a veggie po’Boy (with a twist on the New Orleans classic) at a vegan place. We splurged on a fancy dinner at one of New Orleans’ best restaurants – Antoine’s, a 175-year-old restaurant famous for its French-Creole fine dining. Don’t forget to have a mint julep or two at the Carousel bar, which actually rotates when you sit down. It is it located at the Hotel Monteleone, a historic French Quarter hotel, get there early since it gets pretty crowded.
Fun Activities in NOLA
On our first day we decided to do the Segway tour. After some initial instructions on how to balance and ride the Segway, our guides at Segway tours escorted us around the French Quarter and beyond as they pointed out New Orleans history, music, architecture, and of course…food! Our New Orleans Day SegwayTour was the best way to get oriented with the city before we set out to explore on our own. Please excuse the quality of the pictures here, they were captured with a iPhone while on the Segway 🙂 Some of our stops were .. The French Quarter, Mississippi River, The Treme Neighborhood, Louis Armstrong Park, Congo Square, Jackson Square, Bourbon Street and
The Old U.S. Mint.
As beautiful as New Orleans is, the city has quite a haunted history. To learn all about the creepy tales and haunted homes of NOLA, you will want to join a Ghost Tour of New Orleans. You will learn about real ghost stories at haunted locations throughout the French Quarter which have been verified by historical research done at each property – this is not about theatrics. It is a historically accurate tour.
Just a short drive from New Orleans, you can visit Honey Island Swamp, a wildlife preserve that is one of the last protected wetlands in Louisiana. During this 2-hour boat tour, you will visit a Cajun village only accessible by boat and also learn about the animals and plants in the lush swamps.
Other Girl’s Getaway Ideas
For history buffs, take a tour of the French Quarter, visit a historic home, or check out the National World War II Museum. Art lovers will enjoy the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum, and the Contemporary Arts Center. Take a walking tour of the Garden District which is located a little less than 3 miles southwest of the French Quarter for a peek at some of the city’s most beautiful homes. This historic residential neighborhood is laden with trees, ivy, and beautiful gardens. Even if you’re not in town for the actual festival, you can go behind the scenes of one of America’s most renowned celebrations. Mardi Gras World offers a close-up look at some of the flamboyant floats and costumes used during New Orleans’ famous party. This is more of a warehouse than a museum – where current floats are in the process of being completed and old floats are stored.
A day trip to Oak Alley Plantation
Just outside of New Orleans lies the beautiful Oak Alley Plantation, originally built in 1839 and known for the 29 oak trees that welcome visitors to the home. You can tour the plantation, named after a double row of live oaks planted nearly 300 years and watch guides in period costume bring to life the history of Oak Alley Plantation.
Where to stay in
While there are plenty of quirky hotels in and around New Orleans, we opted for the familiarity and comfort of the Ritz Carlton that sits on the edge of French Quarters. We loved our stay at the luxurious features decor reflective of antebellum mansions and modern amenities. We loved starting our days with breakfast in the courtyard, walking over to the French Quarters or taking the trams to other parts of the city. See review of other hotel options for a fun New Orleans weekend.