Long Weekend Getaway to NOLA: A Guide
Updated: Jan 26, 2022
I traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana for the first time in November of 2019. The moment I landed in the airport I could immediately sense that I was surrounded by the vibrant culture that is NOLA - full of life and adventure. This can be an overwhelming trip to plan especially if it's a first-time visit. I created a long weekend guide that maps out some must dos for your next trip to ‘The Big Easy.’
Where We Stayed - Ace Hotel
Located in the Warehouse District of New Orleans, the Ace Hotel is the perfect place to stay if you want to be a little removed from the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter, but still only one mile away so you can easily walk or Uber. The Ace Hotel gives you all the character that NOLA has to offer from the live music on site, to the artwork in each room that features local artists. This hotel has a beautiful rooftop bar and swimming pool and another cocktail bar downstairs called SeaWorthy. There is also a coffee shop, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and a restaurant, Josephine Estelle on site that serves Italian cuisine with a southern flare. It was fun to come back to this hotel in the evenings and enjoy the complementary popcorn in the lounge and check out the performances at ‘Three Keys’ where the live music is held on site.
Evening Drinks and Dinner- Bar Marilou
For our first night in NOLA we were anxious to check out a bar and eat after our flight. Bar Marilou, located in the Warehouse District was only a moment’s walk from our hotel and ended up being one of my favorite experiences of the whole trip. When you enter the site, you walk through a garden that is lit from the insta worthy neon 'Bar Marilou' sign. Upon entering, you immediately feel like you’re on vacation. This is a French style bar that is located in a former library. The bar was busy but luckily, we got seated right away and enjoyed the bar burger and deviled eggs alongside a variety of creative cocktails.
Brunch- Brennan’s in French Quarter
For our first day in the Crescent City we enjoyed brunch at Brennan’s. Brennan’s is an iconic New Orleans experience. Because of its popularity its necessary to plan ahead and make reservations. Unfortunately, since we didn’t know we were eating here until the day of we didn’t make reservations in time to sit in the dining room but we were able to snag seats at the bar. Brennan’s Restaurant has been a New Orleans tradition since 1946. The Creole menu borrows influences from French and Spanish ancestry. We ordered eggs benedict with chicory coffee and grapefruit mimosas.
Antique Shop + Walk Around French Quarter
Visit St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square
Visit Bars on Bourbon Street
Look around Marie Laveaus House of Voodoo
Coffee + Snack- Café Du Monde
Café Du Monde is a must when visiting NOLA. I had never had a beignet before but I had heard how iconic this café is, so my expectations were high. Café Du Monde did not disappoint. When visiting Café Du Monde, don’t be intimidated by the long line, it moves quick. The line was out the door when we arrived and we waited for about 10 minutes. Another tip is to bring cash, because they don’t accept card. The portion size is big, you get three beignets in one order. We paired the beignets with their iconic coffee and it was especially delicious to dip the beignets in the coffee.
Drinks- Effervescence Sparkling Wine Bar
After beignets, we decided to walk to Effervescence Champagne Bar. This is a French Quarter bar that offers sparkling wine by the bottle, the glass, or the flight, plus prosecco on tap. You can also pair your drinks with small plates like oysters, pommes fries, and grilled octopus. We ordered two flights of sparkling wine with the pommes fries. It was overall a relaxing experience to sip on sparkling wine in this stylish bar that will get any lover of tasting bubbly excited.
Dinner- Paladar 511
Located on Marigny Street, this restaurant is a stylish, out of the way experience for those who want to escape the French Quarter for a relaxing evening. This restaurant features house made pizzas, pasta, gulf seafood, and seasonal local produce. I enjoyed the atmosphere and it was nice to go to experience a place off the quarter that didn’t feel so touristy-but more like a local NOLA neighborhood restaurant.
Brunch- Muriel’s Jackson Square
Sunday brunch is already a must but Muriel’s in Jackson Square was especially unique to New Orleans because they have Live Jazz brunch every Sunday. Located in the heart of Jackson Square in a 19th century building with old-world elegance, Muriel’s serves up classic Creole fare. I enjoyed sipping mimosas and listening to live jazz so much at Muriel’s I didn’t want to leave.
Garden District Home Tour
Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
New Orleans Jazz Museum
Drinks- Palm & Pine
For Sunday night pre-dinner drinks, we went to Palm & Pine. Featuring a progressive southern vibe mixed with classic and original cocktails, Palm & Pine was the perfect chill place to sit at the bar and enjoy cocktails. I ordered a Moscow Mule and Old Fashioned. The drinks and atmosphere were so fun that next time I visit NOLA I would love to come back here and try the food!
Dinner- Arnaud’s & The French 75 Bar
I must admit that dining at Arnaud’s was one of the activities I looked forward to most on this trip. I absolutely love French 75’s so drinking at one of the top 5 rated bars in the country was exciting. Arnaud’s is a white table cloth experience that you have to make reservations for. We were able to make the reservations one day ahead of time. There is also a dress code of collared shirts for men. The experience of dining at this restaurant was classy from start to finish. We enjoyed delicious creole cuisine in this historic restaurant, since 1918, while listening to live Jazz.
As the trip came to an end we enjoyed one last brunch at Tableau. Since it was a Monday, the restaurant was not crowded and we requested to sit outside on the second story balcony. It was so special to be able to take in Jackson Square on our last day in NOLA. After brunch, we went back to the hotel to enjoy the rooftop bar and pool before flying out.
If you are planning a trip to NOLA, or have always wanted to go, hopefully this list of suggestions helps. I found that spending three nights here was the perfect amount of time to go and take in everything that we wanted to see of 'Americas Most Interesting City.'