New Orleans is a great destination for a long weekend getaway, especially if you love food, music, and history. My best friends and I visited New Orleans in mid-August, which is the hottest and rainiest time of the year (hurricanes are a real threat,) but we got good deals on flights and the weather worked out for us. In the spirit of the instant classic movie Girls Trip (2017), we landed in New Orleans ready for another adventure.
For our accommodations, the six of us booked an airbnb in the Marigny district, which is about a mile from the French Quarter. We did get a few recommendations that as young women, we not walk alone in the neighborhood at night, but it felt like any other city neighborhood where people actually live and you might want to use your street smarts.
Uber trips to everywhere we wanted to go were 10 minutes or less, and there was a bar within walking distance that we went to our first night there. Aside from another walk one morning to the closest liquor store, we elected to Uber everywhere.
The airbnb we stayed in was historic, huge, the perfect home base, and we each only paid $175 total for the three nights there! Use my referral link to get $40 off your first booking of $75 or more.
Since my friends and I come from all over the country, we usually end up not being able to save a ton on flights since we are limited by what weekends we can get together, and the price differences between our departure airports. To offset this fact, the first thing we do as a group whenever we land in a new city is to hit up the grocery store and get supplies for the weekend.
As a rule, we always eat breakfasts at our airbnb. Eggs, bacon, english muffins, and american cheese are all you need to whip up breakfast sandwiches for a group. Just add in a couple of champagne bottles and orange juice, and as a group we end up saving a ton of money by enjoying brunch at home while we all get ready.
Aside from brunch supplies, we also stocked up on snacks and seltzer. Once you’re tired of drinking mimosas, La Croix makes an excellent mixer, and when in New Orleans, voodoo chips are a MUST.
Now that you have the inside scoop on how we save some money on these girls trips… it’s time for the fun stuff!
Travelling to New Orleans without visiting Bourbon Street is like visiting Boston and skipping Faneuil Hall. You gotta do it, even if it’s totally one of those things that you would never actually be into as a local.
We ended up visiting Bourbon Street twice during our weekend trip, once during our first day in New Orleans, and once to go out at night.
Our first stop was Tropical Isle for some good old-fashioned neon alcohol in the form of the famous Hand Grenade. A hand grenade is basically equivalent to the sketchy jungle juice that frats serve at house parties, and it 100% made my friend extremely sick the next day. Drink with caution.
The next night, we treated Bourbon Street like we would a bar crawl. We started by getting an Uber to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, which is one of the oldest bars in the entire country. We grabbed purple drinks and enjoyed some time at the Piano Bar, where they played “Sweet Caroline” for us Boston girls.
Our next stop was a random gay bar that had a special on cinnamon toast crunch shots. You only need one of these stops or else your night will snowball and the rest of your trip will be struggle city. New Orleans in summer is a swamp – the last thing you want is to be dealing with a hangover on vacation in 90% humidity.
We spent most of our time on Bourbon Street at two bars – one with karaoke, and one with live country music. First, we headed into Cat’s Meow, Bourbon Street’s most loved karaoke bar. This is a great place to hang out for a bit, catch your breath, and laugh at other people’s expense. Also country bar blah blah
Our last stop before heading home for the night was Crescent City Pizza Works, the perfect place to grab a couple slices to soak up the booze and offset our hangovers the next morning. I devoured a delicious pepperoni slice but unfortunately was too drunk to take any good photos… like I said, last stop of the night. 😉
If you’re a history buff that loves unique cultures, New Orleans has a ton to explore. On our way to the Garden District to explore, we lucked out with an uber driver who pointed out sights like the mansion from American Horror Story, and Nicolas Cage’s former home on Prytania Street.
One free activity I would recommend is visiting Lafayette Cemetery, which is a stone’s throw from Commanders Palace, an absolute New Orleans icon. The Garden District neighborhood was full of beautiful old mansions, and it made for a pleasant walk to The Ruby Slipper Cafe, where we had lunch.
To get our ghost fix, we pulled our most touristy move of the trip and got tickets for a French Quarter Haunted Pub Crawl. I thought that the tour was going to be overpriced and corny, but was pleasantly surprised that our guide went into the historical basis behind each ghost story, and they gave us plenty of time to enjoy a drink at each bar we stopped at.
On our last night out in New Orleans, we went to Frenchman Street and just bar hopped. There was live music and good vibes everywhere we went and we were basically able to just wing it with our plans for the night. I would recommend planning on taking an uber or taxi home at the end of the night since once you get away from Frenchman Street. You’re a tourist, you’re drunk, and as much as you might think you can just walk home, don’t bother.
Eating & drinking
As a foodie, I was obviously most excited to experience New Orleans’ unique culinary scene. Gator meatballs and po boys, anyone?! To be honest, I’m a picky eater and wouldn’t normally go for New Orleans’ classic meals, but with a little liquid courage I was ready to go all in.
My first stop after landing was to grab lunch at Pizza Domenica with my friend while we waited for the whole gang to arrive. The pizzas were great quality, and much more delicious than my trash snapchat photo implies. We ordered the calabrese pizza and a prosciutto pizza. I liked the prosciutto pizza better, but it may have just been a better fit with the rosé we were drinking.
Cafe Du Monde is a can’t miss experience. You might think that the airport version can satisfy your cravings, but beignets aren’t quite as easily replicated as say, Chickie & Pete’s crab fries. Please make sure you take some time to grab beignets and enjoy a leisurely breakfast in nearby Jackson Square.
For our Cajun food fix, we wandered into Chartres House for crawfish bread, fried alligator, fried green potatoes, and po-boy sandwiches. Our food was unlike anything you can get in Boston, although it did end up being one of the more expensive outings on our trip. The atmosphere was very chill which was a nice break for us!
For our last night out on the town, we started out at Bacchanal’s. It’s out of the way but definitely worth a visit just for the atmosphere. The way Bacchanal’s works is they have a wine & cheese shop where you pick out what you want to drink, the cheeses you want to eat, and then pay them a small amount on top of that to turn everything into a delicious cheese board for you!
As if that isn’t fun enough, they also have a huge backyard area with random communal style seating and live music playing. This was a great place to just hang out for a bit & is my #1 recommendation now when people ask me what to do in New Orleans!
What are your favorite places in New Orleans? Let me know!