This post was most recently updated on November 22nd, 2017
New Orleans. NOLA. Crescent City. The Big Easy.
Call it what you will, but anyone who has actually visited New Orleans will call it something else, too: absolutely and undeniably awesome. When it comes to its rambunctious locals, unparalleled foodie scene, interesting convergence of cultures, 300-year-old history, and its questionable drinking habits, there is just no place like New Orleans.
In March, I visited New Orleans and explored the city for an entire week, all by myself.
With the Hyatt Centric French Quarter* as my home base, I discovered New Orleans slowly, allowing myself to find the best places to eat and the most exciting things to do. So now, I can tell you that three days in New Orleans will be the perfect amount of time to experience the best of what the city has to offer. *This post contains affiliate links.
Here’s how you should spend three days in New Orleans!
First things first. Where should you stay while in New Orleans?
Hands down, the Hyatt Centric French Quarter is the best place to stay in New Orleans. This hotel is smack in the middle of the French Quarter, near all of the best bars, restaurants, antique shops, and more. The Hyatt‘s rooms are spacious and beautiful, the service is friendly and efficient, and the property even has a pool!
Start off your first of three days in New Orleans bright and early at the Ruby Slipper Cafe in the French Quarter. If there’s one thing you must experience in New Orleans, it would be the city’s legendary cuisine. Believe me, the Ruby Slipper Cafe will be the perfect introduction to down-home Southern cookin’.
Try: Bananas Foster Pain Perdu, Chicken St. Charles, Eggs Cochon, BBQ Shrimp and Grits
The oldest and most iconic district in New Orleans is undoubtedly the French Quarter. The French Quarter’s Bourbon Street is alive around the clock with bustling bars and clubs, but that’s certainly not all the area has to offer.
Wander the French Quarter and appreciate its old buildings, adorned with beautiful wrought iron balconies and bright flowers. Stop to watch electrifying jazz performances. Poke your head into a few shops. Watch and interact with the eclectic mix of people that the French Quarter attracts.
And remember, if you want to stay in the French Quarter (which you should, since it’s the best and safest neighborhood), the Hyatt Centric French Quarter is the place to stay!
Cafe Amelie might just be the best restaurant in all of New Orleans. Reserve a table here in advance and get ready to have the lunch of a lifetime. Cafe Amelie’s quaint courtyard will be the perfect place to relax and have a memorable meal in the French Quarter. Fellow foodie friends, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Try: Cajun Poutine, Charred Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Chicken Breast, Amelie Muffuletta, Amelie Bread Pudding
Next, stroll through one of the most beautiful and historic parks in New Orleans. Jackson Square is always full of street artists, jazz performers, tourists, and locals alike; needless to say, this is one of the city’s most popular squares.
New Orleans City and Cemetery Tour
Embark on a tour of New Orleans and St. Louis Cemetery with Cajun Encounters, departing around 3:30 p.m. This tour will take you through the history of New Orleans and show you the city from a local’s perspective. Highlights of the tour include the French Quarter, St. Louis Cemetery, the Garden District, and the Warehouse/Arts District.
Remember: If you want to visit a New Orleans cemetery, you should book a tour. Roaming these parts of town without a large group can be very dangerous.
Dinner and the French Market
After your tour, visit the French Market. This market’s history dates back three centuries, and today, it spans six blocks with a flea market, cafes and restaurants, a farmers’ market, eateries, shops, and more. Explore the market, do a bit of shopping, and choose your favorite New Orleanian eatery for dinner.
Café Du Monde
While in New Orleans, you must stop for beignets and coffee at Café Du Monde, a world-famous New Orleanian institution. A part of the French Market, a night visit to Café du Monde will reward you with a much shorter wait, and the perfect dessert to end your first of three days in New Orleans.
Wake up early and head over to Surrey’s Café and Juice Bar (located on Magazine Street) for a delicious breakfast. Popular among tourists and locals, this place will not disappoint.
Try: Shrimp and Grits, Bananas Foster French Toast, Crab Meat Omelette, Banana Pancake
After breakfast at Surrey’s, walk a few blocks over to The National WWII Museum to learn a bit more about WWII history and NOLA’s ties to the war. The museum opens at 9:00 a.m., so make your way there after breakfast and stay a for few hours. Don’t miss the museum’s hourly screening of Beyond All Boundaries, an amazing 4D experience of WWII, narrated by Tom Hanks.
Lunch and Shopping on Magazine Street
After you’ve finished up at the WWII Museum, step back out onto Magazine Street and pop into some of the city’s most unique boutiques and art galleries. When your stomach starts to grumble, choose one of Magazine Street’s many restaurants and have a quick bite.
Next up, embark on a Swamp Tour with Cajun Encounters. The last tour departs at 3:30 p.m. and will serve as a relaxing afternoon activity. Meet local fisherman, search for swamp-dwellers such as alligators, deer, and hogs, and enjoy a peaceful drift through Louisiana’s swampland.
You can book your Swamp Tour here.
When the sun goes down, Frenchmen Street comes alive. Grab a drink and take to the streets to watch some of the best jazz performances in all of New Orleans. The music emanating from Frenchmen is infectious; listen, dance, and drink along to the music all night!
Elizabeth’s Restaurant is the place to be at breakfast time. For some more good ol’ Southern cooking, Elizabeth’s is a must. Arrive early to beat the crowds!
Try: Praline Bacon, Country Breakfast, Redneck Eggs, Smoked Salmon Grilled Cheese
Next, a bit more time in the French Quarter is in order! Head back to Royal Street and spend a few hours meandering through some of the city’s best antique shops and art galleries.
Nutty and sugary treats called pralines are another New Orleans favorite that you must try! Just off of Royal Street, Leah’s Pralines is the perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth. Buy some sweet treats for yourself and make sure to bring some home for your family and friends.
Try: Bacon Pecan Brittle, Chocolate Pralines, Creole Fudge
The Historic New Orleans Collection
Next, visit The Historic New Orleans Collection to learn a bit more about the history and culture of New Orleans. This museum is one of the best in the city and shouldn’t be missed by history buffs or curious travelers!
Finish off your three days in New Orleans with a bang! If you have a bit of room left in your budget, make sure to stop by Mr. B’s Bistro for a Creole fine-dining experience. This place might empty your wallet, but I promise it will be yummy!
Try: Mr. B’s Crabcake, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Grits, Truffle Butter Filet Mignon, Chocolate Molten Cupcake
There aren’t many streets as romanticized as Bourbon Street. But will it live up to its name? That’s for you to judge. On any given night on Bourbon Street, you’ll find tons of drunk people clad in interesting costumes (or not much at all), tons of alcohol, and loud music. Join in on the madness or simply enjoy watching it all unfold.
- Where to Stay in New Orleans
- Solo Female Travel in New Orleans
- Where to Eat in New Orleans
- New Orleans Swamp Tour
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Over to you! Have you visited New Orleans before? What are your favorite things to do, see, and eat in the city?
*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, we will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. These are all products we highly recommend. Thank you for supporting Travel Alphas!We experienced the Hyatt Centric French Quarter and Cajun Encounters as guests, however all opinions are our own!