When deciding what to do when visiting New Orleans, there can be many options, which is why I recommend choosing what you want the “vibe” of the trip and depending on the time of year you visit. If you’re visiting like I did in the middle of summer, plan to do more than you think (because it’s too hot to walk all day in the humid weather). Don’t be afraid to embrace that slower pace of the South because if you do, you’ll find that this city will charm you with all it has to offer. I recommend researching your neighborhood, restaurants, and bars, as you want to know in advance what you want to see/eat/do while you’re in town. There is so much to New Orleans, but below I’ll share a few places and activities that were the highlights of my trip.
Best cup of coffee: Orange sofa
Luckily, this local shop was located by my hotel and happened to serve brewed coffee. It’s a beautiful place with outdoor seating and excellent service.
Best food: Bywater American Bistro
This was my last meal in New Orleans, and it did not disappoint. Created by one of the best chefs in town, the menu champions Cajun and Creole flavors served in an elegant and artfully decorated interior.
Best free activity: Walking the French Quarter
Yes, this area is touristy, but if you’re in New Orleans it’s a rite of passage. Allow enough time to weave through the colorful streets and pack good walking shoes.
Best Museum: New Orleans Museum of Art and Besthof Sculpture Garden
As a native New Yorker, I’m spoiled by amazing art museums when I travel elsewhere. However, NOLA’s largest museum did not give up. With a great lineup of famous works and BIPOC artists, it’s a must-see for art lovers.
Best place to shop: United Apparel Liquids
Every editor I know who has visited New Orleans at one time or another will tell you that UAL is the best place to shop for fashion enthusiasts because of its hidden designer gems at incredible discount prices. I was able to find amazing studded sandals and Proenza Schouler loafers for half the retail price, so you know it’s no joke.