1. Visit the French Market
The French Market is located in the French Quarter and features a weekend flea and farmers market. We went here on a whim and discovered a gem. Even if you're not a big flea market lover, you're sure to find something cheap and good. Also you should definitely come here to buy souvenirs.
My mom and I left with an incredible vegan smoothie and some traditional local spices to take back home. If you're coming to NOLA when crawfish is out of season, you'll be very sad to know that you can't find it anywhere except at the French Market. I didn't try any (came on a full stomach) but locals were there and getting down with their crawfish. If you come during crawfish season (Early March- Mid June), you can find them everywhere. I've heard good things from locals about the seafood at Acme Oyster House.
2. Walk everywhere
New Orleans is a city with a lot to discover and the best way to find explore is to walk the city. Driving in popular neighborhoods like the French Quarter is a bust. There's a lot of traffic and you will miss the in's and out's of the city if you're stuck in a car. Plus how are you going to stop and take pictures for Instagram in front of that cute pink house, if you're in an Uber girl? Ya can't! Bring those walking shoes, sis.
3. Ride the streetcar
I know I just told you to prepare to walk in NOLA, but riding the streetcar is part of the experience. For a moment, I felt like I was in Europe. It's a very old element that is uniquely New Orleans and its a great way to slow down if you've been sightseeing all day. Seriously, this city is buzzing with excitement and riding the streetcar is an absolute must.
4. Listen to live music on Frenchmen Street
If you go to New Orleans and visit Bourbon street, you're doing it all wrong. I'm sorry- Bourbon street is iconic in its own right, but its wild and doesn't smell too pleasant either. Frenchmen street is Bourbon's much classier, older cousin. It still has that gritty, carefree AF vibe but its sidewalks are bursting with live jazz, food and good vibes.
We spent the first night bar hopping and vibing to local artists in between sips of Hurricane's. You will never jam out as hard as you will in NOLA. There's a lot of funky jazz, a new wave of jazz music with a modern twist. There are elements of blues and soul mixed into the sound that are sure to make you groove or twerk (aka Bounce in NewOrelans). Both are acceptable here. Check out Vaso for a great live music show.
5. Indulge in street food
If you thought street food was just a NYC thing, think again. I'm not talking about food trucks people. I'm talking local chefs lining the streets with their gumbos and sausage. I think Frenchmen street is my favorite place because it's where I discovered the Kreole Kings and their amazing street food. They were the coolest guys serving up authentic New Orleans cuisine right on the corner of Frenchmen and Esplanade.
So if you're hungry before or after having drinks, stop by and support local, Black chefs. They're hospitality is as good as that damn gumbo! It was filled with seafood and rice. Please don't get me started on the sausage and BBQ sauce that it was topped with. It was so rich and flavorful that I went back two nights in a row.
And don't forget to visit the famous Cafe du Monde for amazing beignets.
6. Frenchmen Art Market
We stumbled upon this little gem of an art market on a late night stroll. It's an amazing combination of handmade jewelry and crafts meets outdoor gallery. It's adorned with string lights and the music will catch your ear as you walk by. You can also have some fun here and leave your own mark on NOLA with some sidewalk chalk art. Overall, it's just a cool place to come when visiting the city. Art and chill vibes, indeed.
New Orleans definitely exceeded my expectations. It lived up to all the hype, humidity and fun! I cannot wait to be back in the city and explore some other neighborhoods and possibly venture out to other parts of Louisiana.