I get asked at least once a week via DM on Instagram for recommendations on where to stay, where to eat, and what to do in New Orleans. I figured it was time to put my running list that I keep in my notes app on my phone into a full blog post. New Orleans is a gem of a city. Sure, it has plenty of flaws, but overall I love my city and love living here. There’s something indescribably wonderful and magical about the Crescent City. If you haven’t had a chance to visit NOLA, add it to your list (but try not to come during the brutal summer months). And if you’ve been to New Orleans, but have only visited the French Quarter, book another trip. Come back, explore other parts of the city. Bourbon Street is not exemplary of all that New Orleans has to offer.
The Best Time of Year to Visit New Orleans
The title of this section should be rephrased to read, When Not to Visit New Orleans. Do not, I repeat, do not plan a trip to New Orleans in June, July, August, or early September. It’s a million degrees and feels even hotter because of the stifling humidity. Oh, and it rains almost every single day at some point in the afternoon because of said hellish temperatures and suffocating humidity. Even as someone who lives here, I try my best not to be in New Orleans during these dreadful summer months.
Outside of that window, New Orleans is wonderful weather wise! And there’s always something to do! My favorite months in the city are March and April, followed by October and November. Typically, March and April days are beautiful, highs in the 70s, lows in the 60s, and relatively low humidity. We can definitely experience a wildly cold day or two and a much too early heat wave, but for the most part, these months are my favorite weather-wise.
Where to Stay in New Orleans
For hotels near the French Quarter, check out Hotel Fontenot and The Eliza Jane. For a more boutique hotel feel in the Garden District and Uptown areas, check out The Marsh Hotel, The Chloe, The Columns, and Hotel Saint Vincent.
Where to Eat in New Orleans
An extensive quick-hit list of my favorite spots to eat and drink in New Orleans!
- Parkway Bakery & Tavern
- Cochon Butcher
- St. James Cheese Company
- Blue Oak BBQ
- Stein’s Deli
- Cafe Maspero
- Turkey & Wolf
- Crawfish: Bevi Seafood
- La Petite Grocery
- Bywater American Bistro
- Compere Lapin
- Lengua Madre
- Palm & Pine
Beer, Wine, and Cocktails
- The Will & The Way
- Bacchanal Wine
- The Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone
- The Sazerac Bar at Roosevelt Hotel
- Peacock Room
- The Chloe
- The Columns
- French 75 Bar at Antoine’s
- Bar Marilou
- Hot Tin at Pontchartrain Hotel
- Jack Rose at Pontchartrain Hotel
- Rooftop Bar at Virgin Hotel
- Saint Vincent Hotel
- Jewel of the South
- Polo Club Lounge
What to Do in New Orleans
- Visit Cafe du Monde for a beignet
- Book a jazz show at Preservation Hall (a MUST)
- Walk around Jackson Square and the French Quarter
- Walk Bourbon Street during day for chiller vibes. At night, it will be slammed. I don’t recommend hanging around Bourbon Street late into the evening/night.
- Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar is a 1700s era bar at end of Bourbon Street. Worth checking out! Anytime of day/early evening.
- For live music, instead of Bourbon, go to Frenchman Street. Check out d.b.a. bar, it’s one of my favorites!
- Take a ride on the Saint Charles streetcar
- Walk Magazine between Napoleon Street and Louisiana Ave (ish) for snacks, drinks, and shopping
- Brewery hop! Port Orleans, NOLA Brewing, Miel, and Urban South are my favorites!
- Visit the WWII Museum
- Book an airboat swamp tour
- Take note of any festivals happening during your visit! A few of my favorites throughout the year … Mardi Gras (obviously!), Freret Festival, Fete Francaise, Hogs for the Cause, French Quarter Festival, Jazz Fest, Greek Fest, Oktober Fest, PoBoy Fest