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2 Days in New Orleans Itinerary: Spend the Perfect Weekend in New Orleans!

How does one spend the perfect 2 days in New Orleans? Here is the ultimate guide to what to do, see, and eat during a weekend in New Orleans!

Is there any city that’s quite like New Orleans? From the historical charm of the French Quarter, to the debauchery of Bourbon Street (which is similar to Nashville‘s Honky Tonk Highway), the live music on every street corner, and the fusion of French, Spanish, and Afro-Carribbean cultures – there’s nothing quite like the Big Bayou.

This was a city that had been a city that was on my bucket list forever, and I was so excited to find a cheap flight there and finally spend a weekend in New Orleans. I’ve also been lucky enough to go back for a wedding (FYI – weddings in NOLA are on another level, y’all. It was epic).

And after tons of research on the best to do, see, eat, and drink, I came up with an epic 2 day New Orleans itinerary. And let me tell you – after experiencing the best of the city, it made me fall in love. It’s hard not to, with the amazing food, the beautiful architecture, the people, and the charm.

New Orleans may have been devastated when Hurricane Katrina hit, but it has come back stronger than ever before. There is an unwavering spirit about this city and its residents that can’t be found anywhere else. In the years that have followed, New Orleans has also reinvented itself into a hip city known for its vibrant culture, and an up-and-coming culinary scene. 

The people here are also some of the friendliest you will ever meet, and you will experience Southern hospitality wherever you go.

The city takes the official Mardi Gras slogan, laissez les bon temps rouler, or “let the good times roll” seriously. This is a city all about having a good time, whether its breaking into spontaneous dance party as a brass band parades down the street, walking down the street with a daquiri in hand (yes, open cups of alcohol are allowed at all hours), or indulging in those famous beignets (oh my god, those beignets are something dreams are made of).

Ready to have a good time? Keep on reading for the perfect New Orleans 2 day itinerary!

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Quick Tips for Your Weekend in New Orleans

  • FYI, it’s “New OAR-linz: Not “New Or-LEENZ,” or dear god, “N’awlins,” Just don’t.
  • Avoid renting a car: It’s madness trying to find parking in the French Quarter, so I’d avoid having a car. Uber and Lyft are relatively easy to use in the city, and you can also take the street car to get in the main points of interest on this itinerary.
  • February-May is the most popular time to visit: Between perfect spring temperatures and celebrations such as Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, this is the most popular time to visit the city. While it’s a fun time to be in the city, do note that accommodation prices tend to be higher.
  • Check the dress code: Some of the dining establishments in the city (especially the ones in the Garden District, i.e. Commander’s Palace) has a dress code. Call ahead to check, and pack a dressy outfit just in case.
  • If you want to experience a bit of Mardi Gras without the craziness of actually visiting for Mardi Gras – Consider visiting sometime in the month leading up to the main festivities. My first time in New Orleans, I ended up there a week before Mardi Gras and was pleasantly surprised to see that the city was decked out, there were parades, and there were people celebrating. It was a nice way to experience some of the celebrations without all the madness.
  • Check out the street performers + brass parades: I think this is one of the most fun things about New Orleans! I’d be walking down the street, a brass band will come by with a parade, and everyone would just break out into a dance party. The street performers are super awesome as well!

The Perfect 2 Days in New Orleans Itinerary

New Orleans Itinerary Day 1 (French Quarter, Riverfront, Bourbon Street)

Beignets for Breakfast

I mean…if you go to New Orleans and don’t have a beignet, did you even go to New Orleans? The doughy, powdered sugar-covered pastry is perhaps *the* most iconic food in the city. The perfect way to start off your 2 day New Orleans itinerary with one (or three!) of these tasty treats!

One bite of the doughy goodness, covered in no less than 1 inch of powdered sugar, and it’s easy to see what the hype is all about. On that note – don’t wear black because you’ll get powdered sugar all over your outfit (ask me how I know)!

The two most famous places to get beignets in New Orleans are Cafe du Monde and Cafe Beignet. I’ve tried both spots, and I recommend trying both if you can because I liked different things about each of them. 

If you want somewhere to sit and relax, I’d go to Cafe Beignet as it’s got a better ambiance. It’s a super cute storefront with tile details, plenty of seating and an outdoor patio. It’s  more like a sit-down cafe, whereas Cafe du Monde is  more like a quick-service outpost.

However, if I had to choose just one I’d go with Cafe du Monde. Yes, it’s much more touristy and busier, but I thought their beignets were slightly better. They have a fluffier, almost pillow-like texture. I also loved their cafe au lait, which makes the perfect accompaniment to the beignets.

Yes, it usually has a line out the door, and for good reason. If you don’t feel like waiting in line, I recommend heading to the takeout window, which has a significantly shorter line. Then take your beignets to Jackson Square, which is right across the street. 

Another tip is to come later at night, since the main location on Decatur Street is open 24 hours a day. Since I went here 4 times in my 2 days in New Orleans, one of my visits was for a late night snack and I found the line to be significantly shorter after 9 pm. It’s a tasty snack after some drinks on Bourbon Street. 😉

Wander through the French Quarter

The French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in the city, and dates back to the 1700s when New Orleans was a French colony. 

Quick history crash course in case you aren’t familiar – the city came under Spanish rule in 1762 under the Treaty of Fontainebleau. In 1800, it  went back to being ruled by the French under the Treaty of Ildefonso. Then, in 1803 it was sold to the United States by Napoleon, along with the rest of what would become Louisiana in what became known as the Louisiana Purchase.

Wandering through its streets is like being transported back into a different era in time, and almost as if you are in another country (it kinda reminded me of Quebec City in a way). It’s got colonial style houses and  French street names, which are spelled out with tiles on the sidewalks.

Today, the French Quarter is home to many hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops, along with historical attractions and museums. Expect to spend at least half a day exploring the French Quarter and all that it has to offer.

Here are some of the things you can do in the French Quarter:

  • Jackson Square + St. Louis Cathedral: Originally known as Place D’Armes during the French colonial times, this is the main square of the French Quarter and home to the St. Louis Cathedral, which is one of the city’s most iconic buildings. The church is also the oldest Catholic cathedral in North America, and you can check out the inside during non-mass times. It’s a great spot to sit, rest your feet, and people watch. Check out the street performers at all times and street vendors that line the perimeter, selling some beautiful artwork and local handicrafts.
  • Take a walking tour: This is the best way to learn about the history of New Orleans and the French Quarter, while seeing all the main sights and hearing the unique stories behind them. It’s a fantastic way to orient yourself in the city and to learn more about it as you begin your explorations.
  • Wander through the streets: Honestly, my favorite thing to do in the French Quarter was just to wander through the streets and take 328472947 photos of the colorful buildings. There are endless photo ops here! If you want a photographer to take some amazing shots for you, I recommend doing this photo shoot and walking tour.
  • Take a food tour: One of the things that New Orleans is known for is its food, and there’s plenty of yummy eats in the French Quarter. I always love taking food tours, as it allows you to sample some of the best local spots in the area! This French Quarter food tour includes 9 tastings, including some of the most iconic NOLA foods such as gumbo, po’boys, pralines, and more. If you’re into cocktails, there’s also a combo cocktail and food history tour as well!
  • Royal Street: This is one of the most famous streets in the French Quarter. It  is lined with art galleries, boutiques, and antique shopping which are fun to pop into and check out! It’s also one of the most picturesque streets in the neighborhood, with its beautiful wrought iron balconies.
  • Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone: Grab a cocktail at this popular bar, and try to sit at the bar for the most unique experience. It’s a fantastic opportunity to try one of the cocktails unique to New Orleans, like a Sazerac. Yes, it’s a carousel, and yes, it moves. It is kind of a strange experience since it moves and you can see the bar go by, but it is definitely fun! It tends to get crowded and the spots at the carousel tend to fill up quickly, so try to get there when it opens at 11. Otherwise, you can always grab a spot at one of the tables in the lounge, and wait until some spots on the bar free up.
  • French Market: This open-air market was originally a Native American trading post and dates back to 1791. Today, it spans five blocks and is a fantastic place to go to find some souvenirs, as there are tons of vendors selling specialty handicrafts, local artwork, and more.

Head to Tremé for lunch

Neighboring the French Quarter is Tremé, the city’s oldest African American neighborhood. This is where free people of color were allowed to settle and buy property back in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It’s got a rich history, and is one of the most culturally significant neighborhoods in the city. There are also some super vibrant houses here!

It’s also known for its food, where you’ll find some of the best authentic local cuisine. There are two famous restaurants here, which both make an excellent option for a delicious lunch!

The first is Willie Mae’s Scotch House, which serves up some world-famous friend chicken. You’ll likely find a giant line out the door, but one bite of that fried chicken and it’s easy to see why – it was the best fried chicken that I’ve ever had in my life. 

Apparently, the James Beard Foundation and the Food Network agree with me. It’s juicy, tender, and its batter is spiced to perfection – really finger lickin’ good. Be sure to also order a side of the butter beans, which comes smothered in a tasty gravy with a little bit of rice. It’s the perfect accompaniment to that perfect chicken! They’re closed on Sundays so plan accordingly. (Note: Sadly, there was a fire here and they are closed until further notice, but hope to reopen soon)

The other famous restaurant here is Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, helmed by legendary Creole chef Leah Chase, who inspired Princess Tiana in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. The establishment has a rich history dating back to the 1940s. It has been a meeting place for music, culture, and civil rights over the years.

You’ll enjoy delicious, James Beard Award-winning Creole cuisine in a beautiful, art-filled space. Some of the notable dishes include gumbo, shrimp creole, and oyster po’boys.

While you can technically walk to Tremé, I’d recommend taking an Uber/Lyft or the bus here. Also, do note that while Tremé is known to be safe during the day, it is an area you want to avoid late at night.

Explore the Mississippi River Waterfront

After lunch, walk off all that delicious food with a nice stroll down the Mississippi River waterfront. You can check out the views of the water, and watch the boats go by.

The riverfront is also where you’ll find the Steamboat Natchez, the last authentic steamboat on the Mississippi River. There are several other replica steamboats in operation, but the Steamboat Natchez is the only authentic vessel.

For a relaxing afternoon activity, I suggest taking a 2 hour sightseeing cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez. I enjoyed the interesting insight into the history of New Orleans, the surrounding towns, and the state of Louisiana. I also found it a nice way to rest my feet and relax for a bit (which was welcome because I had an exciting evening and second day ahead!).

There’s also a nightly jazz cruise, and if your 2 day trip to New Orleans happens to fall on a Sunday, there’s a jazz brunch cruise as well.

Enjoy a delicious dinner

And now – time for dinner! There are so many amazing restaurants that I simply could not narrow it down. Instead, I’m going to give you three delicious options so you can choose the option that you’re in the mood for

  • Drago’s: Drago’s is nestled inside the Hilton on the waterfront. You’re coming here for the chargrilled oysters here. This was a recommendation from a friend who had been convincing me to come out to New Orleans for a long time by talking about how amazing they were and she wasn’t kidding. The oysters come dripping with a garlic butter sauce, and are definitely the star here. They also come with a generous helping of French bread, so you can soak up that sauce long after the oysters are gone. Even if you’re convinced you don’t like oysters, give these a try as they are far different than eating raw oysters.
  • The Gumbo Shop: Gumbo is such a staple of Cajun cuisine, so of course you’re going to have to try some while you are in New Orleans. Conveniently located in the middle of the French Quarter, the Gumbo Shop evokes a bit of a traditional New Orleans feel, and serves up this hearty dish along with many other Cajun classics. It *is* called the Gumbo Shop, so the gumbo better be good, and it is solid. They also have a veggie option, so it is a good choice for the vegetarians out there.
  • Tableau: This is a nicer option located in the French Quarter. Ask to be seated on the patio, which overlooks Jackson Square. Tableau serves classic French-Creole cuisine with a modern approach, with specialties such as blue crab crepes, seafood bouillabaisse, and more. At the very least, stop by for drinks, which is what we did – they have a happy hour from 3-6pm!

Partake in the Debauchery of Bourbon Street

To be honest, I kinda hated Bourbon Street. But it’s just one of those things that you have to experience on your 2 days in New Orleans, because it’s such an iconic part of the city. You can’t go to New Orleans and *not* go to Bourbon Street (even if you don’t last very long lol).

Bourbon Street is what Hollywood Boulevard is to Los Angeles. You don’t want to spend a whole lotta time here – but you gotta check it out just once. 

It’s also known as the Las Vegas of the South, and it’s easy to see the comparison – it’s got some boisterous crowds, lively bars, and open container laws. But at the same time, it’s a bit different and is an experience unique to New Orleans.

The two drinks of choice here are the Hurricane and a Hand Grenade. I was surprised to find that I liked the Hand Grenade, which is a frozen melon-flavored drink that is served in a container that looks like a grenade (hence the name). The place to get it is at Tropical Isle.

I kinda hated the Hurricane, although I just ordered one at a random bar. It’s a sweet, fruity, boozy drink and I just didn’t like the flavor at all. I was later told that the *only* place to get one is at Pat O’Brien’s, so maybe I just have to go back and try one there (do I really have to though?!).

New Orleans Itinerary Day 2 (Cemeteries + Garden District)

Breakfast at Willa Jean’s

Start off your day with a yummy breakfast at Willa Jean. Located in the Warehouse District and helmed by acclaimed New Orleans Chef Kelly Fields, it is a known as one of the top spots for a tasty breakfast or brunch. 

The decor is hip but elegant, and the food is amazing! Willa Jean serves up Southern comfort food with a modern twist, made using fresh, local ingredients. 

The biscuits are a must here, as is the hangover bowl – braised short ribs, caramelized onions, and a poached egg over grits. Fields is a pastry chef, so you must check out the pastries as well. Apparently, the cookies here are to die for, but I totally missed out on them this time – oh well, that’s just a reason to go back.

Visit the cemeteries of New Orleans

One of the most interesting things about New Orleans is its cemeteries. This is because the city is built on a swamp below sea level. Therefore, the dead are housed in grand mausoleums instead of buried in the ground. 

The cemeteries in the city are unique, and you will never see anything like it. The mausoleums are beautiful, with ornate details on them. I never thought I would find myself enjoying a visit to a cemetery, but I really found it to be one of the most interesting activities on my New Orleans 2 day itinerary. 

There are a number of famous cemeteries throughout the city, but perhaps the most famous is St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. It is also the oldest in the city. The only way to visit is via a guided tour with a licensed guide, on which you’ll learn fascinating stories about the cemetery’s inhabitants, as well as the history of New Orleans. 

Some of the most notable who are buried here are Marie Laveau, aka the voodoo queen, and Nicholas Cage – okay, so he’s not dead yet, he already purchased a spot here to be buried in. 

Another well-known cemetery is the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, which is located in the heart of the Garden District (the next stop on this New Orleans weekend itinerary). This one is known as “the movie cemetery,” since many popular movies and TV shows have been filmed here. 

You can explore the cemetery grounds on your own, or you can take a free tour, which is what I did. The guides are readily available right outside the premises, and work on tips. The tour is 20 minutes, and gives you a great insight into some history, the burial process, and notable people who are buried there. I found it to be so interesting – it’s definitely worth it, even if you’re limited on time. 

Note: The cemeteries usually close at 3pm, and close at 1pm during the entire Mardi Gras season, so plan accordingly.

Ride a historic streetcar

Depending on whether or not you visited St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, this might happen first. The historic streetcars of New Orleans are one of the most iconic symbols of the city. It’s also the best way to get around to its top attractions.

To get to the Garden District from the French Quarter, hop on the St. Charles Streetcar at Canal & Carondelet Streets, and get off at St. Charles & Third Streets. The trip takes about 25 minutes, and you’ll see some pretty scenery along the way.

The trip takes about 25 minutes, and costs $1.25 each way. You can also get an unlimited all-day Jazzy Pass for $3, which is a fantastic deal if you plan to use a lot of public transportation throughout the day.

Lunch at Commander’s Palace

Commander’s Palace is one of the most famous restaurants of New Orleans. Located in the ritzy Garden District, it’s also known as one of the city’s finest dining establishments. As such, there’s a dress code so be prepared!

Housed in a charming pastel blue building (which is super Instagrammable), Commander’s Palace dates back to 1893 and is a New Orleans landmark. 

You’ll dine on some of the finest Creole and Louisiana cuisine. Whatever you do, be sure you order the Turtle Soup here, which is one of their specialties!

They are also known for their 25 cent martini lunch on Thursdays and Fridays, at which you can order up to 3 martinis for just a quarter apiece with the purchase of an entree. Dress to impress, and enjoy the experience!

Tour the mansions of the Garden District

The Garden District is  home to some of the city’s wealthiest and most famous residents. While the French Quarter was settled by the Creoles during the French and Spanish Rule, thousands of Americans moved to the Garden District after the Louisiana Purchase. 

The tree-lined streets here are lined with grand Victorian mansions that will make you ooh and aah. Instead of just aimlessly wandering the neighborhood, I suggest taking a tour so that you know exactly what you are looking at and learn more about the houses and their inhabitants. There’s also a Garden District walking tour that includes a tour of the Lafayette Cemetery No.1

Even if you’re limited on time and/or on a budget, at least take a self-guided tour. You can do it in as little as 45 minutes, or do a more in-depth version that takes up to 2 hours.

Some of the notable people who have once called the neighborhood home over the years include Sandra Bullock, John Goodman, Trent Reznor, Nicholas Cage, New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees, Anne Rice, and Archie Manning (father of NFL stars Peyton and Eli Manning).

One of the most famous houses in the Garden District is the Buckner Mansion, which was the Coven house in American Horror Story. It is also said to have served as inspiration for Disney’s Haunted Mansion, and was also used as a filming location for the movie.

Stroll down Magazine Street

Magazine Street stretches all the way from downtown to Uptown and passes through the Garden District along the way, making it a perfect place for a stroll after touring through the neighborhood. 

The street is lined with an abundance of restaurants, bars, cafes, galleries and boutiques, making it the ideal stop for a bite to eat, a beverage, and some shopping. The houses and storefronts are so cute and decorated to perfection, so it is a great street for some wandering and browsing.

One must-visit stop in the neighborhood is Sucre, a cute “sweet boutique.” You can find a selection of pastries, cakes, artisanal chocolates, and gelato at Sucre, but I came for the macarons. You can find some unique macaron flavors, like Bananas Foster and jasmine tea, as well as seasonal specialties, such as King Cake for Mardi Gras – yum!

Dinner at Shaya

It’s time for dinner, and tonight you’re going to be enjoying some delicious Israeli food at Shaya. I know, I know – I’m telling you to eat Israeli food in a city full of scrumptious Southern food. But hear me out for a sec!

Shaya was originally recommended by my friend Laura, who said she still had dreams about it, and then I saw it featured on the Netflix show Somebody Feed Phil. Every single local who we talked to got super excited for us when we told them we were going to Shaya. Shaya definitely lived up to all the expectations – it is truly something special, and one of the best meals I’ve had in my life.

Shaya serves up traditional Israeli cuisine with a Southern flair – like a lamb ragu hummus, which was the best part of the meal. This is served up with a helping of pita bread, baked in the wood fire oven in the back, and unlike any pita bread you’ve had (and yes, we kept it coming all night). You will also definitely order the Salatim, which are little platters of dipping sauces and salads, such as the lutenisa, which is a puree of roasted pepper, tomato, eggplant and garlic goodness (that you can also dip your pita bread in). The wine list also perfectly complements the menu.

Listen to live jazz on Frenchmen Street

To end your two days in New Orleans head over to Frenchmen Street to enjoy some live jazz!

New Orleans is known as the birthplace of jazz, so that makes it the perfect city to go out and listen to live jazz. It would be criminal not to experience it on a trip to the Big Easy. 

I know Bourbon Street is known for the nightlife center of the city, but it’s also hella touristy and kinda raucous. Tonight, you’ll discover a different side of the New Orleans nightlife on Frenchmen Street.

Frenchmen Street was once a hidden gem for locals, but these days it’s become recognized as one of the best places to find live music in the city.  Particularly, it’s known for jazz clubs that play live music every night of the week. There are even street performers playing jazz on almost every street corner here. 

We ended up at the Spotted Cat Music Club, which was recommended to us by several people. The jazz band that was playing that night was pretty amazing! I’ve never been a huge fan of jazz but it was such a vibrant and soulful performance that it was hard not to be impressed by it.

Keep in mind that the Spotted Cat is cash only, so have some cash on hand (there is also an ATM inside). There’s also a $5-10 cover to get in, and a one drink minimum.

Late night snack at Dat Dog

Dat Dog has locations throughout the city, but the one on Frenchmen Street is perfect for a late-night snack after enjoying some live jazz at one of the nearby bars. 

Your sausage options include classics such as Bratwurst and Kielbasa, to anything from alligator, crawfish, and duck. Choose your toppings from an extensive menu – they pile them on top. There’s also a bar in here, and the vibe is fun!

Other Things to Do in New Orleans

These are some of the activities that were recommended to me, but that I did not get to do this time around – that just means I will have to make a return visit, right

Explore the green spaces – New Orleans is home to some beautiful parks and green spaces. Two of the most well-known are Audubon Park, which also has a notable zoo, and City Park, which is one of the oldest urban parks in the United States. Both are easily accessible from the downtown area via streetcar.

Swamp tour – Louisiana is mostly flat (the highest point in the state is Driskill “Mountain” which climbs to a whopping 532 feet), so most of the state, especially the coastal areas of New Orleans, are home to an abundance of wetlands. You can tour the swamps of the wetlands via airboat, see the unique wildlife, and learn more about the ecosystems in the area. The tours usually take place about 40 minutes outside the city, and pickup and drop-off is available from many downtown and French Quarter hotels.

Plantation tour – Plantation life is very much a significant part of the history of the New Orleans area. One of the most well known is the Oak Alley Plantation, which is known for its gorgeous tunnels of oak trees. 

However, it is important to learn the dark history behind the glamorous facades of the plantations. For this, head over to the Whitney Plantation, which focuses on the lives of the slaves who lived on these plantations. While it’s hard to hear, you’ll learn important lessons so that this does not happen again. 

You can book a tour to the Whitney Plantation that also includes transportation from the city.

Where to Stay in New Orleans

There are numerous accommodation options in New Orleans, including many chain and boutique hotels, Airbnbs, and hostels. 

Some recommended areas to stay, depending on what you’re looking for:

Downtown/French Quarter

Staying here puts you in the middle of the action and is a convenient starting point for getting around to all the main tourist attractions. However, because you’re in the middle of all the action, it can be super busy and noisy, especially if you’re staying close to Bourbon Street.

  • The Celestine: I stayed here when it was the Hotel Maison de Ville, a historic hotel which dates back to the 1700s. Since then it has gone through a handful of ownership changes and recently reopened as the Celestine, which is getting a lot of positive buzz as one of the new, exciting boutique hotels in the city.

    Having seen the photos and read the reviews, I can see that they’ve stayed true to their historic roots, while also adding a modern flair. The rooms are beautiful, with antique paintings and decorations from before, while updating with modern furnishings. There are also balconies overlooking the French Quarter, and there’s a lovely courtyard perfect for relaxing in after a busy day.

    The hotel is the second oldest free-standing building in the neighborhood, and is within walking distance to many attractions and popular restaurants and bars. One caveat is that it’s located right next to Bourbon Street, so you can hear some of the noise. However, you definitely cannot beat the location and it was a convenient starting point for all our New Orleans adventures.
  • Hotel Monteleone: This is one of the iconic hotels in the area, full of history and home to the famous Carousel Bar (which you should visit regardless of whether you stay here). Its location puts you in close proximity to iconic sights such as Bourbon Street, without actually being on Bourbon Street.

The Arts/Warehouse District

This is also a good option, and it is known as an upcoming, trendy neighborhood. You’ll also be situated relatively close to the French Quarter, without all the hustle and bustle.

  • Ace Hotel: I’ve always loved staying at the Ace for its hipster chic vibe, and the one in New Orleans is no different. The property is beautiful as it is hip, with gorgeous Art Deco details throughout. There’s a stunning bar (that looks straight out of a Wes Anderson movie), a rooftop pool, live music, and more. Its location in the Arts/Warehouse District means that you’re only a hop and skip away from the French Quarter.

Garden District

If you want to stay in a quieter area that’s also beautiful, the Garden District is a good option. From here, you can easily get around via streetcar.

  • Hotel Tonnelle: This newly renovated property features elegant, vibrant decor that fuses contemporary comfort with the timeless charm of the Garden District. It’s conveniently located along St. Charles Street, so you’ll have easy access to the streetcar, and is also located just minutes from Magazine Street.     

Things to Know Before Visiting New Orleans

When to Visit New Orleans

The most popular time to go to New Orleans is in the spring, when the weather is the most pleasant. The city also comes alive during its Mardi Gras (February) and Jazz Fest (April) celebrations during these months, which makes it an exciting time to visit. However, keep in mind that it can be a crowded and expensive time to be in town.

June through August are known as being hot, humid, and miserable in New Orleans – they call it “double 100” for 100 degree temps and almost 100% humidity – and you may also encounter a hurricane sometime from August through November. However, the city is generally less expensive and less crowded during those months. 

Fall months are also an ideal time to spend a weekend in New Orleans, as the temperatures start coming a bit after the super hot summer months. I visited in September and it was still a bit hot, but temperatures start coming down in October and November. New Orleans is also known for its Halloween festivities, which can make it a super fun time to visit.

Winters are relatively mild, with highs in the 60s, and can be a good time to go.

Getting to New Orleans

The city’s main airport is Louis Armstrong International Airport, which is a relatively small airport but offers connections to many domestic and international destinations. It is located about a 30 minute drive out of the city center. From there, you have a few options for getting into town.

The official taxi fare from the airport to the French Quarter is $36 for 2 people (or $15 per person for more than 2 people). You can also take an Uber or Lyft, but it usually costs around $40. 

If you’re on a budget, another option is to take a city bus into town, which is super cheap ($2), but it is not the most efficient way to get into town.

Getting Around in New Orleans

Many of the main attractions in the downtown and French Quarter are easily walkable to each other. From downtown to points of interest in the Garden District and Uptown (like the Lafayette Cemetery, Magazine Street, and Audubon Park/Zoo), you can take the historic streetcars, which are an attraction worth checking out themselves. (FYI, it’s a streetcar, not a trolley)

A one-way fare is $1.25, but you can get a 1 or 3 day “Jazzy Pass” ($3 and $8, respectively) for unlimited rides, which is what we did. You can purchase these on the Le Pass app on your smartphone, or at any one of the Walgreens around town. The pass also works on the city buses.

Otherwise, I found Uber and Lyft an easy and convenient way to get around.

What to Pack for New Orleans

  • Comfy shoes: You’ll likely be doing a LOT of walking during your 2 days in Seville, so pack some comfy shoes! Also note that there’s cobblestone streets, so leave the heels at home. I LOVE my Allbirds sneakers (like walking on clouds!) and flats (so cute AND comfy – also serve as dressy shoes), as well as these Crocs sandals which are comfy and super stylish, I swear!
  • Power bank: You’ll likely drain your photo battery as you snap 3489027840 photos of the city (it’s that gorgeous!) so be sure to keep all of your devices charged.
  • Water bottle: It can get hot and humid in New Orleans, so stay hydrated!
  • Bug Spray: New Orleans can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, especially if you’re visiting during the warmer months.
  • Liquid IV: My favorite way to prevent hangovers! Keep these around for that night of partying on Bourbon Street 😉

Have you ever been to New Orleans? What would you do with 2 days in New Orleans?

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