What I did:
Walked down Bourbon Street-
In my opinion, Bourbon Street is highly overrated. It is dirty and smells bad. My recommendation would be to skip Bourbon Street and walk down Frenchman Street (see below).
Jazz Crawl down Frenchman Street-
Frenchman street is awesome. Due to the various street food vendors it smells amazing. Also, there is awesome music in almost every bar/restaurant on the street. Grammy award winning musicians are known to play at many of the bars of the street.
Visited an above ground cemetery-
At most cemeteries in the United States, bodies are buried in the ground. However, many of the cemeteries in the New Orleans area are above ground in response to the risk of flooding. It is an interesting experience to walk through an above ground cemetery. It felt like I was in a movie or the real life version of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.
I did two free walking tours while in New Orleans. The French Quarter food and history tour went through the origins of popular New Orleans dishes and cooking styles. The New Orleans Ghost tour talked about the supernatural stories in the New Orleans cultural history.
Explored the neighborhoods-
Due to the mix of different cultures such as Spanish, French, and African, the architecture in New Orleans is very interesting. Each house in New Orleans seems to be unique. There are some beautiful mansions (and trees) in the Garden District, and the Tremé neighborhood is real, authentic New Orleans.
Worked out at the Dryades YMCA and St. Charles Ave. Athletic Club-
It is important to stay healthy while traveling. Both the Dryades YMCA and the St. Charles Ave. Athletic Club were solid places to workout. They may not have had a large amount of state of the art equipment, but they both had plenty to get a good workout in.
Where I ate:
I had one of the best meals of my life at Brennan's. It is a super high quality New Orleans institution. I had soft-scrambled eggs with real truffle shavings and more truffle shaved on top paired with some of the best bread I have ever eaten. While the quality of the food was amazing, it was not a cheap meal.
Parkway Poor Boys Bakery and Tavern-
Poor Boys (aka Po' Boys) were invented in New Orleans. The best place to try one is arguably at Parkway. The sandwich, while a bit unhealthy, was inexpensive and very tasty.
Frenchman street is full of amazing live music. Some friends and I decided to stop at 30º/-90º to grab a drink and listen to the music. It is named after the rough latitude/longitude coordinates for the city of New Orleans.
As its website says, Coop's Place is "a Decatur Street staple since 1983" that "is the place to go for a true taste of New Orleans at down home prices." The traditional food was very good and inexpensive. I also liked the laid back, New Orleans vibe.
French Truck Coffee, Krewe du Brew Coffee, and Avenue Cafe-
Each of these coffee spots were good places to grab a coffee or espresso drink. Not spectacular, but good.
Spitfire had the best non-nitrogenated cold brew coffee I have had anywhere. I highly recommend giving it a try.
NOLA Brewing Company and Port Orleans Brewing Company-
Two good breweries both located on Tchoupitoulas Street.
Carmo is one of the best places to get a healthy, good meal in New Orleans. Also, it is not very expensive.
A historic restaurant in a two-hundred year old building, Napoleon House is a great place to try some classic New Orleans dishes.
The Carousel Bar-
Located in the Hotel Monteleone, the Carousel Bar is a classic New Orleans bar that actually slowly spins like a carousel. It was a great place to try some of the famous drinks invented in New Orleans, such as the Vieux Carre.
Willie Mae's Scotch House-
Located in the Tremé area of New Orleans, Willie Mae's is a great place to get soul food. It has received awards for having "America's best fried chicken."
The Sazerac Bar-
The Sazerac is believed by many to be the world's original mixed drink, and it was invented in New Orleans. The Sazerac Bar, located in the Roosevelt Waldorf Astoria Hotel, is a nice, classy place. As its name indicates, it is a great place to get a Sazerac.
The French Market is an outdoor market located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It offers many different options for food, and also sells things such as souvenirs and clothing. I took advantage of the opportunity to have alligator sausage, which was very good.
Cafe du Monde-
Cafe du Monde is a New Orleans staple that serves the classic beignets and coffee. It is very inexpensive, but in my opinion the beignets are not good enough to justify how unhealthy they are.
Peche Seafood Grill-
Peche is a high quality seafood restaurant. However, many of the dishes can be slightly expensive.
The Bulldog Pub-
The Bulldog Pub offers a variety of bottled and tap drinks. It also has a nice outdoor patio area.
The Rumhouse Caribbean Taqueria-
The Rumhouse is a nice place to get good food for good prices.
The Creole Creamery is one of the best ice cream shops I have ever been to. They also offer unique flavors such as an absinthe ice cream. They even offer ice cream flights, offering the chance to taste a variety of different amazing flavors.
Pirates Alley Cafe-
A laid back cafe, and one of the better places to sample absinthe.
Where I stayed:
Auberge has been rated the best hostel in the United States by Hostelworld, and for good reason. It was very clean and had very good facilities. Also, there was a nice mix of cool people there while I was there. It is located halfway between the Garden District and the French Quarter, allowing easy access to the top locations in New Orleans.
How I got around:
New Orleans is a fairly walkable city. Most destinations and restaurants are within walking distance of each other.
While they are not incredibly fast, streetcars are a very nice way to get around New Orleans and get a fresh breeze. For $3 you can purchase a ticket that allows unlimited access for 24 hours.
I enjoy using public transportation when possible. In my opinion, it gives me a better feel of the "real" city. The same $3 pass that allows access to the streetcars also allows access to the bus system.
Uber and Lyft-
Uber and Lyft are also both available in New Orleans and can be fairly cheap when traveling in a group.
My favorite thing:
The food in New Orleans was amazing. The historic cultural mix produces some amazing flavors. Also, the music in New Orleans was great.
My least favorite thing:
Bourbon Street- it stunk, it was messy, it was overpriced, and it didn't have the amazing food, drink, and music found in other parts of New Orleans.
For next time:
Next time in New Orleans I want to try more of the amazing food, drink, and music. I want to check out Bacchanal and Verti Marte.
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