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New Orleans city break – 5 things to do
Taking this trip to New Orleans has proven to me once again that if you dream of something (and work towards it) you will achieve it. Visiting Crescent City has always been on my bucket list and I’m thrilled to say it’s now crossed off – or maybe not really. I mean, I would go there again in a heartbeat, I still have a multitude of activities to do and places to see, so if I ever get the chance to re-visit, I will jump at the opportunity. In the meantime, I made a list of a few things me and my travel companions managed to do during our two-and-a-half days trip, that I hope will serve as inspiration for other people who plan on visiting NOLA.
1.Take a Food Tour. The New Orleans Secrets Magazine Street Foodie Tour was definitely the highlight of our trip. It was my first time taking a food tour and what better place for doing this than New Orleans? I was already extremely excited to try out all the local specialties (did anyone say gumbo?) so when my friend came up with the idea of a food tour I thought ‘why not?’. Now a few details about the tour: it was a 3 hour tour that took as around 5 restaurants on Magazine Street, in the Garden District area of New Orleans. We didn’t know much else prior to going on the tour – it’s not called Secret for nothing, eh? – but that was part of the fun. Our tour guide was super fun & knowledgeable and at each stop he shared with us the history of the specific dishes and other info about Cajun & Creole cuisine. The only thing I’m gonna say about this is that I ate the best sandwich I’ve ever had in my life (roasted beef po’boy with a side of crunchy onion rings). For the other dishes & places I’ll let the images speak for themselves and in case you are wondering, yes, it’s difficult to eat this much in a short amount of time so definitely go there on an empty stomach :))
2.Walk around the French Quarter. This one’s a no-brainer, but definitely one of the most enjoyable activities we engaged in during our trip. We stared in awe at all the beautifully-painted houses, thinking it’s not possible to see an even prettier one, but there always was a new one that topped what we’d seen previously.
3. Take a break for coffee and beignets (also works for breakfast, brunch or dinner or all of them). I am entering controversial grounds here, but I have to say this: in my opinion, the beignets at Cafe Beignet were a bit better than the ones at Cafe du Monde 😱 . So this is my advice: you must definitely go to Cafe Du Monde – you can’t visit New Orleans and not go there (TIP: you don’t need to stand in line at the main entrance, just go around the corner to the second entrance and try to spot an empty table), but you must also try the beignets at Cafe Beignet: the texture is denser, with a slightly crunchy exterior. Cafe Beignet has 2 locations in the French Quarter: on Bourbon and Royal Streets respectively. In the morning there’s also a line, but it goes fast.
4.Ride a streetcar. We didn’t ride the one on Charles Street unfortunately – that one takes you through more picturesque areas and it is oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world. However, it still was a fun experience, and super cheap – a day pass is only $3
5. Go on a steamboat cruise on the Mississippi. This experience is definitely up there next to the foodie tour in our top things to do in New Orleans. It was a spur-of-the moment decision, as we booked the Steamboat Natchez Jazz Dinner Cruise at an agency near Jackson Square for the same evening. We chose the option that didn’t include dinner, as this was the same day as the foodie tour so eating was definitely out of the question. The cruise lasted for 2 hours, right when the sun was setting and it was absolutely magical listening to the jazz band started playing in the background. You can also take a look at the engine room (apparently the Natchez is the only true steam-powered boat on the Mississippi today), and buy souvenirs at the gift shop.
For more visual goodness, check our full New Orleans travel vlog below: