Next up on my travel blog series, a weekend in New Orleans. This was my first time there, and I absolutely loved it. There is charm, good food and a genuine sense of pride for the city. Yes, there is a lot of drinking that goes on in New Orleans but honestly we stayed away from most of it and had a great time, even with a 16 month old!
What to do
Walk the garden district
We spent an entire morning here walking through the neighborhood, visiting the shops and Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. We took the St. Charles Street cable car over to the Garden District from where we were staying and started our morning walking through Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. There are tours available for the cemetery, but we actually just did a self guided tour we found online. I could spend all day looking at the houses in this neighborhood, they are beautiful. On the way back, the cable car was delayed so we walked back, it was a hike but there were sidewalks the entire way.
Catch a jazz show
We went to Preservation Hall for their first show of the night, 5pm, before dinner and it was awesome. It was perfect for a little guy, only 45 minutes long, and kept his attention the entire time (that being said, he does love music). They play 5 shows a night and it is an all-ages show. It is an intimate space and you can purchase tickets in advance for an additional fee or stand in line the day of the show. We opted to purchase tickets in advance so we had a place to sit (the remaining seats are standing room only) and with a little guy it was perfect and worth that cost. Even without a little one, you can see much better in the seats and it probably makes for a more enjoyable experience given the space is small.
Visit the French Quarter
There is a lot to see here, we took a quick stroll down Bourbon Street (to say we did it) and then spent our time on other streets in the area. We went out to the Mississippi River and enjoyed the view and also spent time in Jackson Square in front of St. Louis Cathedral.
World War II Museum
The World War II Museum was a really interesting place. It is huge and has a lot of interactive exhibits. We went here on Sunday morning while it was raining and could have spent all day here. This is the National World War II Museum and is located in New Orleans because of the fact that the Higgins boats used in the war were manufactured there. President Eisenhower said we couldn't have won the war without the Higgins boats.
Where to eat
This was a lovely breakfast/brunch spot with lots of great options on the menu. There is a take-out bakery counter and a sit down restaurant. I would recommend getting there early as it fills up. One benefit of traveling with a little is they wake up early and getting a seat at breakfast is rarely an issue!
Auction House Market
This food hall is an incubator for small businesses and offers a variety of options. A great spot for lunch with a little one as it is counter service plus there is plenty of room for a little one to get out of the stroller and wiggle for a bit.
Turkey and the Wolf
Rated by Bon Appetit as the best new restaurant of 2017 so as you can imagine this place is crazy busy. It is a sandwich shop and you will probably wait in line but a good lunch option in the Garden District if you plan ahead and get there early.
Cafe du Monde
I'm not sure a trip to New Orleans would be complete without a stop here. There is always a line but it does move quickly. It is cash only and the menu is only beignets and coffee (soft drinks too). And if we are being honest, the coffee was very average.
This warehouse district spot was crazy busy but it was kid friendly and both the food and drinks were good.
This spot right in the middle of the French Quarter was great. We went here after Preservation Hall (it is right round the corner) and it is a cozy spot in a busy part of town. The food and service were great. They do not have high chairs but they were very nice to our little guy and bringing him there was not an issue at all.
Where to stay
We stayed in an Airbnb in the warehouse district which was a great location for us. It was centrally located to walk to the French Quarter and the Garden District but a bit quieter at night. I will say that Airbnb is typically not my thing. I have tried in several cities and the ex-consultant in me just really likes nice, clean hotels. But we went on this trip with my parents and brother and his wife and wanted a space for our little guy to run around a bit. We found a start-up called Sonder that I would highly recommend if you are looking for a more upscale Airbnb. They are only in select cities (10 at the time I am writing this) but they are trying to bridge the gap between luxury hotel and Airbnb and honestly they were exactly as advertised (let's just say I may be their ideal client). It was clean, the beds were comfortable, they provided a pack n play and the place was nicely decorated and provided similar amenities to a hotel.
French Quarter Hotels
Another great option would be any of the hotels in the French Quarter or along Canal Street just outside the French Quarter. You can pretty much find here every hotel chain you can think of.