On a lovely Monday afternoon in September, I happened to text my good friend Sterling (also known as Sage…story to come) just to check in and see how she was doing. About five texts in she jokingly invited with me to come stay with her in New Orleans for the weekend. And then she casually dropped the “I have a room at the Ritz” card to bribe me to come be her adventure buddy. Knowing I had a flexible schedule and a few airline miles…I was buying a flight for Friday a few hours later.
Note: This season of life has been incredibly unique and perfect for me, but it does not suit everyone. Yes, I do get to work remotely most of the time. Sometimes it gets lonely…but by now I have a pretty good rhythm. My team is full of killer communicators (key!) and I can always hit up fellow friends who work remote whenever I’m at a coffee shop. I do not and will not ever take this flexibility for granted. Plus, the occasional trip to California ain’t too shabby.
Bringing it back to your regularly scheduled programming. On short notice, Sterls & I searched for all the recommendations from friends who have been, friends who happen to have been locals at some point in their lives, and online. Without further ado, here’s what we did on our weekend in Big Easy!
Of course NOLA is known for it’s drinking/party scene, so we HAD to go to ALL the local watering holes.
Carousel Bar: Might be a Top 10 drinking experience for me. Helpful hint – make friends with those who have already been drinking so you can steal their seat at the rotating bar.
Tropical Isle: Home of the famous “Hand Grenade”. A must grab & go on Bourbon.
Seaworthy: While we originally went to this place for dinner, I quickly fell in love with the bartender because he made me one of the best drinks I’ve ever had (and it even had gin in it!!!). Also, Sterling got the “Holy Water”…which is served in a collectible candle holder and is served flaming.
Pat O’Brien’s: The most famous bar on Bourbon and it has something for everyone. You HAVE to get at least one hurricane to cool off on the patio! It also has a dueling piano lounge and a cool main bar.
Bacchanal Wines: Two of my friends from SF told me we had to make the trip out here, and when I heard there was a free weekend wine tasting…I was all about it. If you want to enjoy live music, good wine, and a more peaceful part of NOLA, this will be your jam.
Let’s just say we were never…hungry. But our full stomachs didn’t stop us from trying as many things to eat as the city had to offer us.
Cafe Du Monde: One word – beignets. I will say no more. You just have to go, wait in line, and get the OGs.
Josephine Estelle: Tucked into the Ace Hotel downtown, this italian gem is the perfect dinner spot for a girls night. While I’m a sucker for a #bigbowlofpasta, we LOVED the meatballs and fried green tomatoes.
Commander’s Palace (or Brennan’s): While my favorite fancy meal has always been at Brennan’s of Houston (Turtle Soup/Filet/Bananas Foster @ Houston Restaurant Week for life), you have to check out the jazz brunch at their sister restaurant in NOLA.
Willa Jean: By far the most recommended restaurant from locals…it was the one place we ran out of time to go. However, Sterling went during the work week and said it was amazing. Plus, it looks adorable! Guess I’ll just have to go back someday.
St. Roch Market: If you can’t decide what you want to eat, or you just want to try a variety of freaking good food then look no further. We had the baked crab mac & cheese and ceviche, but I also heard they have the best iced coffee ever.
Bourbon Street: It’s where everybody thinks of when they think about going out at NOLA. It’s something everyone needs to see…but we didn’t love it. But you HAVE to go just to get the famous hand grenades! Plus it was the perfect opportunity for “Sage” and “Leyla” to make an appearance.
Frenchmen’s Street: Just a mile away from Bourbon is where the locals go out to catch the best live jazz the city has to offer! There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and characters to go around (my favorite are the typewriter street poets), but our favorite bars were definitely Maison and Blue Nile!
Jackson Square: The area across the street from Cafe Du Monde has amazing local artists that feature their work every day and the stunning St. Louis Cathedral.
Garden District: After brunch at Commander’s Palace, we strolled around the neighborhood to marvel (and TBH take instas) of the pastel mansions nearby. There’s plenty of walking tours to do, or you can just google the most famous houses like we did.
Magazine Street: A six mile shopping haven that you can spend an afternoon (and then some) exploring.