New Orleans Travel Guide

September 12, 2017

Several months ago, Colton and I planned a weekend getaway for Labor Day with another couple. As much as we love traveling together, it’s fun to go out of town with other people too. Last year, we visited Chicago with some friends, so maybe we can make visiting fun US cities on Labor Day a new tradition. We chose New Orleans this year because it’s close to Dallas, full of great food, and a place neither one of us have ever been.

About New Orleans

New Orleans is a city in southeast Louisiana along the Mississippi River. It’s known as the birthplace of jazz, and music can be heard on many of the street corners. New Orleans hosts many parades throughout the year, the most famous is Mardi Gras. We happened to unintentionally visit during Southern Decadence, so we got a small taste of the parade life. If you consider yourself a foodie, love French and Spanish creole architecture, and jazz music, New Orleans is the place for you.

Where to stay

We fell in love with the ACE hotel brand in Portland, so we were thrilled to find an Ace in New Orleans. Ace is located in the central business district. It was far enough away from the French Quarter that it was quiet, but close enough to walk. There are plenty of cute shops and restaurants in the area too. Our room came complete with a Smeg, record player, and killer minibar setup.

One of the best things about the ACE hotel New Orleans is the gorgeous rooftop pool. Colton and I spent some time up there to cool off a bit in the humidity.

What to do

New Orleans is a city you can walk around and find things to do. Here are a few of the things I recommend.

Listen to live music

Every where you walk, you can find live music. A few of the hot spots include many of the bars, street corners, and public.

Visit a cemetery

It may sound morbid, but New Orleans has some of the most beautiful cemeteries in the United States. Take a tour, or just walk through by yourself. We checked out the St. Louis Cemetery No. 3.


Hit up magazine street, downtown, or Bywater for some great art galleries, resale shops, boutiques and more. If you like to shop, you will have no shortage of cute places to get your fix.

Walk the neighborhoods

My favorite thing to do in a city is visit all of the unique neighborhoods. New Orleans is full of colorful buildings, homes, and shops. Each neighborhood has a unique feel and style.

French Market

Check out the French Market and pick up some fresh fruits, handmade goodies, and more. Try some of the strawberry lemonade, you won’t regret it.

Ride the street cars

If you have never ridden one before and know where you want to get to, the street cars are a fun way to see the city.

Visit a park

Jackson Square and City Park are two of the many squares and parks you can visit in New Orleans.


When in doubt, eat. New Orleans has everything, and the food is incredible. Thank you for my newest addiction to gumbo.

Where to eat

We ate and drank at a ton of places, and there were still hundreds of more places I wanted to check out. With the recommendations of a couple of foodie friends (shout out to Jason, chef at Sundown at Granada and Delia), Yelp, and our group, we found some great spots.


Cafe Du Monde is one of the most popular stops in New Orleans, and for good reason. They serve warm, powdery beignets and coffee. Grab a plate of these donuts for breakfast or a midday snack at least once during your visit.

Enjoy a live jazz brunch buffet at Court of Two Sisters. For $32, you get a buffet of hot and cold items as well as a variety of desserts. I recommend waiting until around 12:00 when the carving station opens to get your full money’s worth. We missed out on that because we were a little early. However, enjoy the beautiful patio and music while you eat cajun favorites.

Speciality eggs Benedict

Shrimp and grits

Bananas Foster Pain Perdu


We waited an hour and a half for brunch at Ruby Slipper Cafe. Their bloody Mary’s are perfection, and the food was wonderful. I am not sure I would wait the full wait again, but we made the best of it and loved our picks.

Biscuit and sausage gravy

Sausage + Fried egg + Pimento cheese

Just down the street from The Ace Hotel is a cute little breakfast place called Willa Jean. Their biscuits are mouth-watering. You will not regret adding one to your meal, or choosing a biscuit based meal to begin with. Don’t forget about the frosé, y’all.


Josephine Estelle, the restaurant at The Ace hotel is the perfect stop for a great Italian meal. We had a variety of the handmade pastas and finished off several of the desserts.

We stumbled in to The Maison on Frenchman Street our first night because we heard live music. I am glad we did. Their dinner menu is full of New Orleans staples.

Our last night in New Orleans, we stopped for drinks and oysters at Seaworthy, an oyster bar just down from our hotel. Not only is the space gorgeous, but the food and drinks were incredible. They made oyster fans out of our friends that visited, and I craved oysters for days afterwards.


We spent a lot of time at the Ace Hotel, so of course I recommend their lobby bar. They have a good happy hour menu and a cool lobby to hang out in.

Our favorite find throughout the trip was Bacchanal Wine. When you walk in, it looks like a little wine shop, but there is so much more behind the door. Not only do they have a killer patio with live music, they have a cool treehouse with a full bar and air conditioning. Summers are humid, so it is a great hideaway. We spent a ton of time at this Bywater bar.

The Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone is another unique spot to grab a drink. Although we didn’t get to sit at the rotating carousel, we enjoyed ourselves on the comfy couches. The cheese plate and crawfish beignets were crowd pleasers for our group.

Catahoula Hotel is a boutique hotel located between the business district and French Quarter. They have a great indoor and outdoor bar, so stop in for a drink before dinner or a nightcap afterwards.

Check out the famous Napoleon House, a 200 year old landmark in the French Quarter. Read more about this bar’s history here.


Pin for later

Have you been to New Orleans? What are some of your favorite things? Leave me a comment below. 

  • Beth Kondrick September 12, 2017 at 9:19 am

    I went to New Orleans on a school trip years ago. I’d love to return now that I’m an adult – I think I’d appreciate it more! I’ll keep all these things in mind if we go!

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 10:34 am

      It is so much more fun as an adult! There are plenty of things to do and see.

  • Kim September 12, 2017 at 9:59 am

    The only time we have been near there was when we drove through to get to Texas from Florida. I keep saying one of these days we will go and visit and now you just reminded me that I really want to go. So much good food and that outdoor patio looks awesome! Not going to lie, its the graveyards that call me. They are so interesting!

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 11:20 am

      That was my exact story. We drove through on the way to Florida when I was 13. It’s such a fun city and definitely worth it’s own trip!

  • Dani September 12, 2017 at 11:14 am

    I’ve only been to NOLA once, but I definitely want to go back! Your hotel looks so charming, and I love that they had a record player and a SMEG! We found the Maison randomly too, and the music was amazing. I definitely need to check out Bacchanal Wine (drinks in a treehouse? Sign me up!) and the Sunday brunch at Two Sisters. I’d add a trip over to Willie Mae’s Scotch House for mouthwatering fried chicken and a ride on the Steamboat Natchez too!

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 11:45 am

      Willie Mae’s was on our list, but we didn’t get to check it out. Absolutely loved the ACE. Such a cool hotel.

  • Kimberly September 12, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    I have never been to New Orleans and this is on my bucket list. It looks so beautiful and full of life there – always! Now I want that bananas foster…OMG.

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 11:46 am

      Yes! It was such a great city. Vibrant and fun for sure.

  • Shybiker September 12, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Nice travel-post. Nawlins is a fun place with exceptional food, music and sights. You capture the spirit of the city.

    Like you, I also love to visit new cities. This weekend I’m riding my motorcycle up to Portland, Maine.

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Thank you so much! It really is a great city with so much fun. Your motorcycle trip sounded fun!

  • ShootingStarsMag September 12, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    I’d love to go to New Orleans someday! Thanks for sharing this – that hotel sounds amazing.

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      It was a great hotel for sure!

  • jenn September 12, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    i’ve been to new orleans once… traveled from the airport to the port to catch a cruise ship. it’s a city that’s definitely on my travel to do list, and i’ve bumped it up a few notches after watching jon favreau’s chef the other day. if you’ve not seen that, you should. it’s pretty good. anyway, thanks for posting this. i’m glad for the reference.

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      That is such a great movie!! You must go back and spend a little more time there.

  • Zuzana September 13, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Would love to visit one day. The images you made looks really appealing and want me to book the flight straight away.

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Thank you so much, Zuzana. It’s a gorgeous city full of life for sure.

  • Sandra September 13, 2017 at 8:00 am

    This was great. We love New Orleans, and my grandmother lived on St Anne Street near the quarter for years before Katrina. You really captured some great sights and restaurants there. The only one I would add is Pat O’Brien’s Bar. Best. Hurricanes. Ever.

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Thank you! St. Anne has some beautiful homes. I will have to try that the next time we are there.

  • Emily September 13, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Love your photos. New Orleans is one of is on my list of places I want to visit.

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Thank you, Emily! It’s a great city.

  • Jordyn September 13, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I can’t wait to go to New Orleans and just eat my way through the city!

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      That’s the best thing to do while you are there.

  • Melanie September 13, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    NOLA! I have been reading up on as much as I can. It’s been on my bucket list forever and I still haven’t made it happen yet. There are some places on your list I haven’t seen on others yet. A carousel bar?! Carousels are my favorite and anytime I see one I have to ride! This is on my must-do list for sure!! Thanks!

    I currently have a travel link up going on and this post would make a great addition, if you wanted to join in on the fun (!

    Happy Wednesday!

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      Melanie, Thanks for stopping by. Glad you saw some things you haven’t seen before. It’s such a fun city. I hope you get to visit soon.

  • Life of Stones September 13, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Your pictures are gorgeous! You really made me feel like I was back there…we had a very short trip a few years back….would love to go again!

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      Awh. Thank you so much. It’s such a fun city for sure.

  • Nancy September 14, 2017 at 8:20 am

    I was just in New Orleans in mid-August. Loved the architecture and ambiance of the city!

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      The architecture really is the best.

  • Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries September 14, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    I’ve never been to New Orleans, but I’ve heard it’s amazing. Your photos are beautiful! (And as a sidenote, I have to say that green fridge is amazing!)

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      You should visit sometime. Foodie’s dream! Thank you so much. I was obsessed with the fridge too.

  • Holly September 14, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    New Orleans is such a fantastic place and I love the way you’ve captured all the best of it! Makes me want to go back! 🙂

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Thank you! It was easy to photograph, that’s for sure.

  • Stephanie September 14, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    I haven’t been to New Orleans yet, but it’s on my list! These photos are so gorgeous!!

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Thank you, Stephanie!

  • Ingrid Rizzolo September 14, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    When you travel you really do enter into the experience. I like the pictures that tell the story of your rich experiences in New Orleans. In particular I like the photos that showcase the spectacular food to be had there.

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      Thank you, Ingrid. The food was unbelievable.

  • Pooja Sharma September 15, 2017 at 4:29 am

    I love that you just don’t highlight the important monuments but actually dug into the city! That’s what is called exploration and something I love to do too.

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Thank you! It’s my favorite part of it for sure. I like to do more than just the touristy stuff everyone does. 🙂

  • Shibani September 15, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Wow I knew New Orleans is beautiful, but this is exceedingly gorgeous. I love the architecture, the restaurant. literally everything in your post. What a detailed guide you’ve put here, pinning it for my future travel. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Thank you so much! I hope you get to visit soon.

  • Thena September 15, 2017 at 6:56 am

    Great pics. I’ve been once, and it was nice but I think your journey there looked a little better!

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      It helps going with friends!

  • Jenny T September 15, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    New Orleans is our next destination for travel! My husband has been there a long time ago, but I have never been. We love discovering new places and new adventures so I will book our stay at ACE hotel since neither of us have stayed at an ACE hotel before.

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      You will love it, Jenny. They pay attention to details and really know what they are doing as far as design. I will always stay at ACE if there is one in the city we are visiting.

  • Lateefah September 15, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    I would to spend some time with my boyfriend in New Orleans especially at the hotel ACE. Your pictures were beautiful couldn’t help but imagine how great your time was. Thanks for sharing

    • Jessica September 21, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      Of course!! I love sharing some of the highlights to hopefully inspire someone else to try something new. 🙂

  • Margarette Puno September 23, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Your pictures are so great. I havent been in New Orleans and i hope i can visit this place someday. I will put this on my travel list.

  • Sara September 24, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I love Emeril’s Nola restaurant. They have this banana pudding dessert that reminds me of my great grandmother’s desserts. We stayed at a hotel that overlooked the Court of Two Sisters courtyard. The music was so fun!! It always sounds really good, but I have a hard time believing I can eat $32 worth – it’s the experience though! Looks like you all had a great time!

  • Samantha October 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I’ve never been to New Orleans, but I definitely am hoping to go in the near future. This travel guide will definitely help me in planning my trip there… great post!

  • Helena October 14, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Wow, all of this looks incredible. I really want to visit New Orleans some day, it’s probably one of the highest points on my USA bucket list (cause one needs a bucket list for every country lol). The food sounds incredible and I’d love to visit a jazz bar too.

  • Michelle October 15, 2017 at 8:02 am

    We are from the Dallas area also, and find ourselves in New Orleans a couple of times a year. We just love New Orleans! It looks like you had a great trip. Thanks for sharing your experience and tips!

  • Christina S. October 15, 2017 at 9:46 am

    These photos perfectly capture the vibe of NOLA! It’s such a great eating and wondering city. I’ll throw in a recommendation for Couchon – either the restaurant for dinner or the Couchon Butcher for a quick lunch. So many good eats!