Last summer, my sister and I took a sister trip to New Orleans. This was such an amazing trip, and New Orleans is a beautiful place with so much history. I feel like a lot of people associate it only with drinking, so I’m going to highlight all the amazing non-drinking activities we did on our trip.
We stayed at Hotel Mazarin right in the French Quarter. For the summer, it was very reasonably priced (summer is the off-season in NOLA), and we even got a free upgrade when we checked in. The rooms were very nice and spacious, and there was free breakfast every morning where you could sit in the beautiful courtyard. This hotel was within walking distance of everything.
True Crime Tour
This was a must on our list- true crime is something that we find fascinating and we were excited to hear that they had these tours, instead of the typical ghost tour. We booked this through Unique NOLA and had an amazing tour guide, Terese. The stories were both creepy and very interesting- there has been a lot of strange crime in the city over the years, and we got to walk around and see places where crimes have occurred.
If crime isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other tours available through this company- make sure to check them out!
Museum of Death
Like the True Crime tour, this may not be for everyone. However, if you have free time and are interested, this museum is worth checking out. It is small, but has a lot of odd items on display and has a whole section devoted to serial killers.
Be warned: This museum is only for adults and not for the faint of heart.
Mardi Gras World
Mardi Gras World was one of my favorite activities we did in NOLA. At the start of the tour, you watch a quick video on the history of Mardi Gras and get a sample of king’s cake.
After that, you walk through the facilities and see both new floats being built for the upcoming season and old floats used in prior years. I learned so much on this tour, and it was a very fun experience.
To get to Mardi Gras world, you do need to take a car. They have a free shuttle from the French Quarter. We went to the concierge at our hotel and told her we wanted a ride- she was able to coordinate for us immediately.
Cafe Du Monde & Cafe Beignet
When in New Orleans, you need to try the beignets. There were two separate places we went to, and I recommend that you try both to decide for yourself which one is better.
Everyone knows Cafe Du Monde– there was a wait, and it was very crowded. However, the service was quick since they have an efficient system. I got an Iced Cafe Au Lait and an order of beignets. They were delicious!
Later on in the trip, I decided to give Cafe Beignet a try- I believe there are multiple locations in the city. To me, this was overall a more pleasant experience, and the beignets and coffee here were also very good. The atmosphere was quaint, and they had a live guitarist.
For those that don’t know, New Orleans has very unique cemeteries. People here are buried above ground because the water table is very high.
I believe that the only way to access the cemeteries is through booking a tour. There are many different tour groups- I was able to find one on groupon at the time, so be sure to check this out for extra discounts.
The tour guide was informative- he told us a lot about the history of New Orleans and had a lot of information about people buried in these cemeteries. I definitely learned a lot- including that Nicholas Cage has a spot here reserved for him. He already has his pyramid tomb built.
We were able to book a combined Plantation and Swamp Tour for one of the days. We booked this through Louisiana Tour Company. This made it simple since we stayed on one bus, and they drove us to both locations.
The first stop on the tour was the Oak Alley plantation. This was a very eye-opening experience, getting to tour the house and learn more about the people that lived here and then getting to tour the slave quarters and reading what their life was like. It was definitely emotional, but an important part of history to acknowledge and learn about.
The next part of the tour was hopping on a boat and exploring the swamps. While out in the water, we saw many alligators and learned that they eat marshmallows. I even got to hold a small alligator (pictured above).
NOLA has so many great food options. I feel like you honestly couldn’t go wrong with walking into any of the restaurants in the city. I am someone that loves food, so I wanted to try all of the authentic food, including alligator, which was surprisingly delicious.
Below are the places we ate at for dinner & I highly recommend any of them:
- Original Pierre Maspero’s
- Pat O’Brien’s
- Oceana Grill
- The Maison (this is a jazz club, so you can listen to live music while eating)
Thanks for reading my suggestions on what to do in New Orleans- let me know what you think in the comments!