This past June was our 6 year wedding anniversary and what better place to spend it in, New Orleans! This vacation was originally planned for our 5 year anniversary, but I was pregnant at the time and not up for traveling. We decided to wait one more year to take the trip.
It was my first time in New Orleans and I was totally blown away by the FOOD! We did not have a bad meal, everything was great. We especially loved the oysters and cocktails. The live music, the people and overall vibes of the entire city is like nothing else. It’s so welcoming and we can’t wait to return. So here’s all my suggestions for 48 hours in New Orleans!
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We wanted to really do it up for our anniversary, so we decided to stay at the Ritz Carlton and it was the NICEST place we have ever stayed. The hotel is absolutely gorgeous and it’s the perfect setting for a couples trip. We did not rent a car and it’s location is great, right in the French Quarter, not too far from Bourbon street, but definitely far enough. haha.
There’s an amazing courtyard in the middle with live jazz music, the food was incredible (best macaroons!) and the service was top notch. Even if you don’t stay, grab a glass of wine and sit in their courtyard. The architecture of the building is beautiful and gives old school New Orleans vibes.
Other hotels we were also looking at were the JW Marriott (there’s a pool!), Hotel Monteleone and the The Roosevelt. They are all in the French Quarter and walking distance from mostly everything mentioned below.
We belong to the Marriott Bonvoy program and have collected Marriott points for a while that helped with the stay. I love their reward program a lot and they just expanded to include so many more hotels. We also use our Chase Sapphire card and if you travel a few times a year, I couldn’t recommend it more!
We ate so many good meals, so here are just few places that stand out:
Brennans– Great for brunch, beautiful courtyard and delicious cocktails. Plus, the entire place is like an Instagram heaven with bright colors and cotton candy desserts. 🙂
Muriel’s Jackson Square– We got this tip from a local that this was one of the best places to grab a cocktail and sit on the balcony overlooking Jackson Square. It’s is supposedly haunted and there is a table set for the spirits to help themselves to dinner. The cocktails were great and the view was even better.
Cafe Amelie– This was probably the best brunch! The building has so much history too. American Princess of Monaco, lived in the accompanying townhouse in the mid-1800s and it still stands today. Sidenote- we also saw the Manning’s (the big football family!) have brunch here!
Carousel Bar- This is located inside Hotel Monteleone and yes, it’s an actual, operating carousel. You can sit at the rotating bar and order cocktails, we loved it. It gets crowded (why I couldn’t grab any photos!), but highly recommend it to grab a drink. The hotel lobby is gorgeous too.
Commanders Palace- We had our big anniversary dinner here. The food is excellent and the entire space is beautiful. Definitely a classic New Orleans establishment. It’s fancy and a suit jacket is required. It has many classic NOLA dishes like turtle soup and breading pudding.
After our dinner, we walked around the Garden District and saw all mansions. Lot’s of cool buildings in this area.
Beignets- We ended up at Cafe Beignet and they were amazing. Cafe de Monde is also a good option, but that line was really crazy and it was HOT!
We made reservations everywhere, including Commander’s Palace way in advance. Some places you can walk right in, but others require one. We just did it through Open Table and modified them as we needed. We found brunch and dinner book quickly.
If you don’t want to do the crazy party Bourbon avenue thing, we spent our first night on Frenchman street. You can hit up the outdoor markets and listen to live music in almost every bar. We loved this area and spent hours just walking around, shopping and drinking up and down the street. We did hit up Bourbon street for a few hours and honestly, best place to people watch!
If you plan to listen to live music anywhere in the French Quarter, there is usually NO COVER, but it’s strongly encouraged to bring cash to tip. Many of these musicians make their living play live music, so an extra few dollars definitely helps them.
After checking into our hotel, we spent a little over an hour at the WWII museum, but you could easily spend much more time there. It gets pretty crowded, so get there early!
One way to get around besides Lyft’s is the trolley. We bought a day pass (they do take credit card too!) and hopped on and off it all day. It is NOT air conditioned, but it’s an easy, cheap way, to get around. You can see a lot of the city.
On the last day before we left before the airport, we did the Cajun Encounters swamp tour which was a really cool experience. If you watch Housewives of Potomac, this is the one they went on! haha. Anyways, we liked this one because it included transportation. It is a few hours, so keep that in mind when planning your trip.
I was worried about some of the treatment of alligators and how their quality of life is with all the tourists around. But to my surprise, the boat captains treat them as their own and part of the ticket sales can go toward preserving the swamp land and their environment. Never did I feel bad for them, in fact, the captains try to feed them protein pellets for a balanced diet, pat them on the head and even at one point, and singing to them. Haha. Also, bring cash to tip the drivers (if you want!).
Contact the New Orleans Board of Tourism and apply for media tickets. Many of the local businesses have partnerships with the board and if you plan on writing about it, it’s a great way to see lots of NOLA.
One thing I did regret not doing was a ghost tour, I did hear those are really cool.
So that’s it! We had such a great time in New Orleans. There is so much more to do and we want to go back in the next two years with the kids. If you have any questions about any of these places, let me know!
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Until next time,