By Dalton Primeaux
*Originally published on PuckerMob.com.
It’s the perfect time of year to plan a getaway. The semester is wrapping up, and most companies are preparing for holiday breaks. So, take advantage of your free time with a mini-vacation.
One of the best cities for a weekend getaway is none other than the Big Easy herself, New Orleans. I know you may be thinking it’s not Mardi Gras. But, the truth is New Orleans is a fantastic travel destination anytime of year. It’s one of the best places to go when you are traveling on a budget or a time crunch, because there are plenty of affordable activities to do and the casual atmosphere of the city never makes you feel rushed.
So, let me share with you a guide to the perfect 48-hour New Orleans getaway. Be sure to bring a huge appetite, and kiss you liver goodbye.
FRIDAY (Afternoon): One of the best ways to start a New Orleans vacation is by checking into a bed and breakfast in the city. This is the perfect way to experience true southern hospitality and set a wonderful tone for your weekend. The Degas House, once home to French impressionist painter Edgar Degas, not only offers must-see tours for all you art fans out there, but is also one of the best B&B’s in the city. Once you are settled into your gorgeous suite full of history and elegance, have an afternoon stroll through New Orleans’s City Park, which is only a few steps away.
City Park is one of the oldest urban parks in the country, filled with gorgeous ponds and gigantic Southern Live Oaks draped in Spanish Moss. Make sure not to miss the Botanical Garden, Besthoff Sculpture Garden, and Carousel Garden’s Amusement Park.
FRIDAY (Evening): With your first evening in New Orleans approaching, the party is about to start in the French Quarter and you want to get down there. What better time to experience the iconic streetcar. Take the Canal streetcar through Mid City to the CBD. To start the evening off right, walk down the infamous Bourbon Street to a New Orleans classic, Pat O’Briens for your very first Hurricane. That should be enough liquid courage to jump on stage at the World’s Famous Cat’s Meow karaoke bar. But, don’t get to too crazy with the drinks there or this next stop will differently push you over the edge. Just a hop and a skip from Bourbon Street is Pirate’s Alley Café and Absinthe House, right next to Saint Louis Cathedral. The presentation of the Absinthe as its being prepared is reason enough to visit.
After that cocktail tour through the city, it’s probably best to take a break from the drinks and sop up some of that liquor in your belly. Try resident favorite Adolfo’s in the Marigny, an Italian restaurant with Cajun-creole flare.
FRIDAY (Late Night): One of the best places for late night bar hopping in New Orleans is Frenchmen Street, filled with some of the best jazz bars and music venues like Maison; and the Marigny neighborhood crawling with dive bars and local-approved quirky spaces, like the two-level tapas bar, Mimi’s. Once you spend some time in this neighborhood you will never want to leave, and most likely won’t until late night turns to early morning.
So, as you walk through the French Quarter to the streetcar, take the time to visit the legendary, 24-hour Café Du Monde for the best sober-up food: beignets and really fucking strong coffee.
SATURDAY (Morning): After you sleep off your first New Orleans hangover, start the morning off with a walk through the French Market and breakfast at The Grill on Chartres Street, a diner with amazing omelets and an unforgettable atmosphere.
SATURDAY (Mid Day): This is the perfect time for a tour of Mardi Gras World to view the decadent, beautiful parade floats up close. It’s a must see! These floats are truly breathtaking works of art. After, jump on a Saint Charles streetcar and head down to the Garden District for an amazingly delicious lunch, or late brunch at Achafalaya Café. Their whole menu is fantastic, but I highly recommend the fried green tomatoes, and shrimp and grits. Their signature cocktails can’t be missed either, especially the spicy ginger margarita and duck fat sazerac.
SATURDAY (Afternoon): Let’s roll right into the afternoon of day two on your Big Easy adventure. After lunch, take a stroll down Magazine Street where you can shop ‘til you drop. With tons of vintage stores, fashion boutiques, and antique shops, no shopping fan can miss an afternoon on Magazine Street.
SATURDAY (Evening): As the sun begins to set, walk over to Tipitina’s on Napoleon Ave. for some live music and chilled cocktails in an intimate setting. After, you can have a modern, elevated Creole dinner at Upperline Restaurant. It is certainly a fine dinning experience. I recommend the Taste of New Orleans Dinner, where seven favorite dishes are served in three courses.
SATURDAY (Late Night): Not far from Upperline, where you just had your mind blown by delicious Creole cooking, is The Columns Hotel. Inside The Columns you will find another resident favorite, The Victorian Lounge, filled with romantic finishes, a Mahogany bar, and a sophisticated, elegant atmosphere. The Columns is a great place in the Garden District to order a sazerac.
After The Columns, pop on over to The Delachaise wine bar, located on St. Charles Ave. This is one of the most popular bars in New Orleans at the moment, and one of the best places for wine by the glass.
If you’re feeling up for the trek, or willing to take a short cab ride, head a few blocks up to Cure on Feret Street. Cure is one of the coolest bars in the neighborhood and serves marvelous signature cocktails. It is certainly considered one of the city’s most polished and stylish of the bars.
SUNDAY (Morning): The weekend came and went. You wake up to your last day in New Orleans. I know it’s sad and you feel like crying, but don’t. Instead celebrate all the fun you’ve had so far… with brunch! You absolutely cannot leave New Orleans with out experiencing jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace. The music and the food are to die for. If a meal were ever deemed “fabulous” it would be this one.
SUNDAY (Afternoon): As your weekend getaway comes to a close, take a little time to experience one last New Orleans moment. Take a cruise on the Steamboat Natchez. It’s a classic attraction and staple to the city. It’s the perfect ending note, full of southern hospitality, great music, and a spectacular view of the city from the Mississippi River. It gives you a chance to relax, reflect and figure out what exactly happened the night before because you don’t quite remember. And then, make your way back to your B&B to pack and wave goodbye to one of the greatest cities on the planet.
This may only be a starter kit to New Orleans and this is certainly not the most touristy vacation guide, but you will have fun and leave loving the city and the memories you’ve made… well, possibly a little hung over too.