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Discover the Magic of New Orleans: A Guide to the Best Things to Do

New Orleans has been on my bucket list for SO LONG. My boyfriend and I finally took a trip here the weekend after Mardi Gras in February. We fell in love with this city. It has character, charm, history, music, spectacular food and it knows how to party! It's a city that pulsates with vibrant culture and rich history. From the soulful sounds of jazz echoing through the French Quarter to the tantalizing flavors of Creole and Cajun cuisine, this city offers an experience like no other.

Check out where we stayed, what we ate and everything we did in four days in New Orleans. Honestly, we didn’t spend a lot of time on Bourbon Street at all. We walked down it just once during the day and that is all we needed.


I recommend staying in the French Quarter in the heart of town. This is where we stayed and we were walking distance to everything. You can walk out your door and grab a coffee and beignet or pop on to a Streetcar. We stayed at the Voco St. James Hotel. Located in the heart of New Orleans, the voco St. James Hotel combines historic charm with modern amenities. The hotel is housed in a building dating back to the 19th century, offering a unique blend of old-world elegance and contemporary comfort.

If you would prefer to stay out of the hustle and bustle of the city then try The Warehouse District. It is only a few minutes away and less noisy. Honestly, our hotel was very quiet and we didn’t have any problem getting sleep. The Warehouse District is famous for its cool cafes and amazing restaurants.


  • Take a Swamp Tour

For a taste of Louisiana’s natural beauty, embark on a swamp tour. Glide through the bayous and swamps on a guided boat tour where you’ll have the chance to see alligators, herons, and other wildlife up close. We went in winter, so there was less than normal, but we still saw smaller sized alligators. We toured with Honey Island Swamp Tours. They picked us up from our hotel and back to it after the tour. It was great because the swamps are about 45 mins away.

  • Explore the French Quarter

No visit to New Orleans is complete without a stroll through the French Quarter. This historic neighborhood is the heart of the city, known for its lively atmosphere, stunning architecture, and vibrant nightlife. You can visit Bourbon Street, and then Royal Street for its antique shops and art galleries. They are all walkable. I enjoyed checking out all the cool antique and trendy shops on Royal Street.

Passing through the grounds don't miss the St. Louis Cathedral and the statue of Andrew Jackson on horseback in Jackson Square. The St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest Catholic cathedral in the USA, dating back to 1727.

  • Frenchman Street

End the night on Frenchman Street with some jazz and late night food. You can pop into almost any bar, but even the streets are filled with music! We went to a few spots and our favorite that came highly recommended from the locals was Spotted Cat. Remember, you can legally drink on the streets in New Orleans.

Don’t forget to check out Preservation Hall for an authentic jazz experience. Preservation Hall has jazz music every night and is BYOB. While you can get tickets at the door, it’s often a long line and they can end up selling out rather quickly. You can book online ahead of time to save the hassle.

  • Take the St. Charles Streetcar

The St. Charles Streetcar line in New Orleans is a historic and scenic route that offers a glimpse into the city's rich cultural heritage. Here are some highlights to see along the way:

1. French Quarter and Canal Street

  • Canal Street: The starting point of the St. Charles Streetcar, this bustling avenue is filled with shops, restaurants, and historic buildings.

2. Lee Circle

  • Lee Circle: Previously home to a statue of Robert E. Lee, this area is a significant historical and cultural landmark.

3. Lafayette Square

  • Gallier Hall: An elegant Greek Revival building that now serves as a center for events and celebrations.

4. The Garden District

  • Mansions and Historic Homes: This area is known for its well-preserved 19th-century mansions, offering a stunning view of Southern architecture.

  • Commander’s Palace: A famous restaurant known for its Creole cuisine, located near Washington Avenue.

5. Audubon Park and Zoo

  • Audubon Park: A beautiful urban park with ancient oak trees, lagoons, and walking paths.

  • Audubon Zoo: One of the top zoos in the country, featuring a variety of animals and exhibits.

6. Universities

  • Loyola University: A picturesque campus with impressive architecture.

  • Tulane University: Another historic university with a beautiful campus right next to Audubon Park.

7. Carrollton and Riverbend

  • Carrollton: The streetcar makes a turn onto Carrollton Avenue, leading you through a charming neighborhood filled with local shops and restaurants.

  • Riverbend: This area at the end of the line is known for its

  • Walk through Marigny & Bywater + Garden District

Marigny and Bywater are funky residential neighborhoods with the famous colorful Creole cottages. I recommend visiting here during the day and only if you have time. I wanted to see and take photos with all the bright colored homes, but you don't need to spend too much time here.

You can also escape the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter with a visit to the Garden District. This area is known for its beautiful mansions, tree-lined streets, and lush gardens. Take a self-guided walking tour to admire the stunning architecture and visit the historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.

  •  Browse the French Market

This historic flea market has been around since 1791, offering a one-stop shop for the best New Orleans souvenirs.


Cafe DuMonde – this is a New Orleans must! Stroll through Jackson Square and eat hot and fresh beignets as jazz music plays. Don't forget to grab a Cafe au Lait while you're at it.

Carousel Bar - We only popped in for a minute and snapped a photo, because it was way too packed. It was cool to see, but overrated to sit at the bar for a drink, even though it does slowly move around in a circle.

Brennan's - An iconic pink building boasts some of the best cocktails and breakfast in the city. The dining room is a maze of colors and patterns and the perfect place to escape the rush of the crowds. Try the Banana's Foster. Also try Red Fish Grill for seafood gumbo and Boudain balls.

Commander's Palace - Established in 1893, Commander's Palace is a historic institution in the New Orleans dining scene. Its long-standing presence and evolution over the years have made it a culinary landmark. The restaurant is famous for its innovative Creole cuisine and for its elegant and vibrant atmosphere. The Victorian-style building, complete with its turquoise and white exterior, exudes Southern charm..

Watch this Tiktok to see a full review of our dinner. They also have a very popular Jazz Brunch.

*Make sure you get a reservation far in advance!

Cafe Beignet - a charming cafe known for it's Instagram worthy exterior and delicious beignets. There are several locations in New Orleans, including spots on Bourbon Street, Royal Street, and Decatur Street. We got coffee and their signature beignet. There was always a line and we got to go at a random time it wasn't too busy. Beignets are french-style doughnuts that are deep-fried and generously dusted with powdered sugar, offering a sweet and indulgent treat.

The Ruby Slipper- we loved this spot for brunch. Everything on the menu looked so good and it was just a few blocks from our hotel. In fact, any time we passed by here there was a line out the door no matter what day or time it was. The loaded tots were amazing and I tried my first shrimp and grits here. Highly recommend.

Two Chicks Cafe - another cute quick spot for breakfast/brunch.I loved the french toast and the prices were very reasonable.

Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar - this was a recommendation from one of my fellow blogger friends who lives in New Orleans and was one of our favorites. We tried our first grilled oysters and yum!!

The Foundation Room - we stumbled upon this perfect little hidden gem in Nola. The Foundation Room is noted for its stunning interior design that evokes an old New Orleans jazz vibe. The space features private dining rooms, cozy seating areas, and a lounge that frequently hosts live music and DJs, enhancing the overall experience. It was a very romantic spot for our date night.

Check out my TikTok recap here.

Napoleon House - The building that houses Napoleon House dates back to the early 19th century and was originally built in 1797. It was intended to serve as a residence for Napoleon Bonaparte in case he was exiled to the United States, although he never actually lived there. The building has since become a landmark in the French Quarter. The atmosphere at Napoleon House is cozy and nostalgic, with classical music playing in the background and a relaxed, old-world charm.

Funny story! Any time I travel, I write out a schedule and then I make a list of restaurants that I researched previously to try. It was our last day and we planned on just walking around and finding a place. I took out my list and was like Oh! I wanted to try this was .1 miles away from us! It was definitely meant to be.


You can shop all my outfits that I wore on the trip on my LTK HERE. We went in February and it was unusually very cold. The first day I was actually not even warm enough with my jacket. I didn't know it could drop to 50 degrees there.


New Orleans is a city that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, a music lover, or an adventurer, the Crescent City has something to offer. Plan your visit and get ready to immerse yourself in the magic of New Orleans.


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