New Orleans is a crazy town. During my short girls’ getaway visit to the Big Easy I swear we packed in a month worth of parties into one weekend. I knew I was in for a great visit from the moment I was picked up at the Louis Armstrong International Airport by a fancy dancy limo from Limo Livery and my driver warned me never to come to New Orleans with someone who doesn’t like to have fun. Because that is what N’awlins is all about. Fun Times.
Our weekend included the Red Dress Run, Dirty Linen Night and Street Parties throughout the French Quarter. At one point I asked if this was a busy event weekend for the city and was told nope, this is how it is most days.
That’s the moment I fell crazy in love with New Orleans.
A Girls Getaway Guide to Having a Good Time in New Orleans
Here’s my guide to having a good time in New Orleans. To make it easy for you, I’ve divided it up into the four main activities that you’ll most likely be enjoying during your girlfriend getaway in Crescent City: Party, Eat, Sleep, and Things to Do Til Party Time.
1. Party in New Orleans
This is not hard to find or to do. Walk outside your hotel doors and it’s there. Forget about playing indoors in NOLA, the fun happens on the streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter. The most happening street party spots are Bourbon, Royal Street and Jackson Square. If you must head inside to refresh your drink, or yourself, our top picks for where to ‘sit and sip for a spell’ are:
Pat O’Brien’s – order Pat O’Brien’s awesome red Hurricane drink, but I’m warning you, these are tasty and deadly. Another tip – stay out of the fountain.
Molly’s at the Market – a must try is Molly’s frozen Irish Coffee. This drink, with its combo of ice to keep you cool, caffeine to boost your energy level, and enough booze to keep the party going, is perfect for a hot New Orleans’ girls’ night on the town.
Carousel at Hotel Montelone – Sit, sip and spin (literally) in New Orlean’s swanky revolving bar. Savor a Sazerac, the drink originated here, and enjoy the ride as your seat slowly rotates around the bar. YES, you are literally riding a carousel while drinking.
2. Eat in New Orleans
Breakfast – I loved the Jazz buffet breakfast at the Court of Two Sisters. Usually I give buffets a miss, but this place does their food right, it‘s simple, delicious and fresh. Plus they have the best patio in New Orleans. Beautifully covered with a leafy, green canopy of sweet smelling wisteria, it is the place to relax with your best friends, drink a latte, and bite into a tasty omelet, while listening to Louis Armstrong melodies drifting through the air.
Lunch – Owner/chef Vic of Little Vic’s Rosticceria is oh so cute, but that’s not the important thing here girls’. Yes, honest! The important thing is the food, and it is good, but I must admit it doesn’t hurt that the guy responsible for producing some of the best Sicilian street food I’ve tasted looks a little like Ryan Gosling but with darker hair. A menu must is the Arancini fried risotto ball, it’s a-some-a-big savory rice ball stuffed with gooey mozzarella yumminess.
Dinner – Dickie Brennan’s new French Quarter restaurant, Tableau is a winner. With its great location, right off of Jackson Square, fantastic food and impeccable service, it is the place to dine in style in New Orleans. I tried the Gulf Fish Praline, a paneed fillet of fish dusted with praline brown butter, the fish was perfectly done and the pralines brown butter was a well balanced complement to the dish, not too sweet as New Orleans pralines can sometimes be. I’m thinking this will be my go-to meal on my next visit to New Orleans.
Be sure to leave room for dessert because you’ll kick yourself if you don’t try the Hot Chocolate Pot de Crème, a dark chocolate custard infused with cayenne pepper, topped with house made marshmallow fluff and caramelized cocoa bits.
All Time Favorite Snack Place – I have to confess, we went to Café du Monde more than once, and maybe more than twice during our weekend stay. You may have to wait a few minutes for service but it will be well worth it, their beignets are to die for. I fell in love with these delicious warm pillows of sweetness, I’ll even forgive them the not so great coffee.
3. Sleep in New Orleans
Audubon Cottages – We were fortunate enough to have our New Orleans girls’ weekend hosted by the New Orleans Collection of Hotels, which includes many of the top rated hotels in the city. Most of their properties are in the French Quarter; the place to stay in NOLA, and their newly renovated property, the Audubon Cottages, became my oasis of calm, a place where I could get a bit of R&R in the midst of New Orleans revelry. Click here to read ‘A Secret Garden in New Orleans’ story about my stay at the Audubon.
Bourbon Orleans Hotel – Location, location, location. If you want to be in the middle of everything that is New Orleans, this is the hotel for you. No need to ask where the party is when you stay here, it is literally outside the lobby door. Also billed as the most haunted hotel in New Orleans, you may get lucky enough to commune with the ghosts during your stay. That is if they want you to… Room 644 is your best bet for ghostly visitations, where the restless soul of a suicidal nun has been known to wake guests with her screams.
4. Things to Do Til Party Time in New Orleans
Ride a Bike – When I told people I rented a bike in New Orleans in the middle of summer, the most common reaction seemed to be incredulous disbelief. Who would be crazy enough to bike in the blistering heat of New Orleans in August? Well I was, and it was amazing. If you’re looking for adventure, for a journey, nothing will beat a few hours spent meandering through the soul of one of America’s great cities.
Yes, the city gets a bit toasty hot in the summer, but if you pedal slow, and drink lots of water, you’ll be fine. I loved being able to coast along the entire French Quarter and beyond. The bike trip was a perfect antidote to the acres of yummy food and drinks I’d been enjoying during my visit.
PaddleBoat – If you’ve ever had daydreams of paddling down the Mississippi River ala Tom Sawyer then a ride on the Natchez Steamboat is a must. It’s hard to believe but The New Orleans Steamboat Company owns and operates the last authentic Steamboat on the Mighty Mississippi River. This is it, the one and only way you’ll get to experience something that has been a way of life on the Mississippi for centuries.
New Orleans Cocktail Walking Tour – This tour is so New Orleans – it is a delicious mix of history and booze. The guides provide a unique insight on New Orleans bars and the cocktails made famous in the Big Easy.
The cost of drinks are not included in the price of the tour, and after hearing about the fascinating history and taking a brief tour of each stop, we were given the option of ordering a drink at the bar. I may have had one, or two, or three. Did you know that strolling down the street with your Pimms in a plastic glass is perfectly legal here? And perfectly fun.
Shop at the French Market – The Nation’s Oldest Open Air Market
Touristy, crowded, and tons of fun. Yes, you can get stuff cheaper elsewhere but this historic, vibrant market area is a must visit while in New Orleans. Dating back to 1791, the French Market is the nation’s oldest urban market, and is still going strong with shops, restaurants and one of my favorite flea markets, where else can you find top notch music, food and handmade crafts?
This is the place to buy voodoo trinkets, wares by local artists, jewelry, tapestry, souvenirs, New Orleans creole food and much more.
My girlfriend getaway in New Orleans was organized by Travel Girl magazine, and all accommodations were provided courtesy of the New Orleans Hotel Collection.