If you’re thinking of getting away this summer and fall, consider visiting beautiful New Orleans, Louisiana, aka the “Big Easy”.  In a city full of diverse culture, heritage and history, NOLA will not disappoint, no matter what experience you’re looking for.

 

New Orleans boasts a unique melting pot of local flavor perfect for any foodie, craft cocktail lover or party animal. Whether you prefer taking a walk through the French Quarter or partying until dawn on Bourbon Street, you’ll experience the famous spirit of New Orleans that makes her the southern star of the Gulf coast.

 

Where To Stay

 

Loews Hotel

This luxurious hotel sits across from Harrah’s Casino. Rooms are spacious with great views and the staff will pamper you and make your trip a great experience. Dining is available at the Cafe Adelaide, where you can enjoy beignets here for a true experience of the traditional cross between a French pastry and the American doughnut. The Swizzle Stick Bar has a colorful past and superb cocktails. An indoor pool, spa and sauna along with workout room is available to keep you on pace while eating your way through the city.

300 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130 www.loewshotels.com/new-orleans

 

ponchitrain hotel

Ponchatrain Hotel

Newly renovated and only open a few weeks, this is the place to be for rooftop views at The Tin Roof bar. Their high-end restaurant serves locally sourced Creole cuisine. Rooms use a real key to open the doors and are reflective of the golden era of Hollywood.

2031 St Charles St, New Orleans, LA 70130 thepontchartrainhotel.com

 

Ace Hotel

Swanky, orate rooms welcome the visitor and scream comfort. Window seats and French Deco inspiration will take you back to a classic time in this classic city. Check out the pool area and rooftop bar.

600 Carondelet St. New Orleans, LA 70130 www.acehotel.com/neworleans

Where To Eat

Can this be true, tell me can this be real? How can I put into words what I feel?! 🎶

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Cafe Beignet

When in NOLA, you HAVE to have beignets. Indulge in other Cajun specialties and fried seafood. Try their crawfish omelet, complete with grits and warm french bread.

311 Bourbon St and 344 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130 www.cafebeignet.com

 

Trinity

Open only a few months, this is a gorgeous space infused with class and local flair. Boasting an open air kitchen, marble food bar and balcony dining, the food by Chef Micheal Isolani is cutting edge, adventurous and inspired from Louisiana’s natural resources. Highly recommend the Baked ‘Holy Trinity” Oysters: Parmigino-reggiano with lemon zest and the Smoked Oysters: deviled eggs, horseradish and cajun caviar. Follow with the Crawfish & Fontina beignets with tarragon aioli, Crispy Pork Belly and Ricotta Gnudi: muscadine wine, forest mushrooms and parmigiano-reggiano. If you’re still hungry, consider the Seared Scallops with smoked corn puree and roasted mirliton, Braised Pork Shank served with apple compote, roasted garlic and french green lentils.

1117 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116  www.trinityrestaurantneworleans.com

 

first things first

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Mother’s Restaurant

If you’re looking for home-style cooking, head over to local favorite, Mother’s Restaurant for award-winning jambalaya, the Famous Ferdi Special or the original debris-laden roast beef. Go for breakfast and enjoy the chicory coffee or spicy bloody mary.

401 Poydras, New Orleans, LA 70130 www.mothersrestaurant.net

 

 

Joey K’s

Located on Magazine Street, come here for 18-oz frozen schooners & margaritas, authentic Creole pot cooking and fried seafood cuisine. I recommend the Shrimp Remoulade Salad, Trout Tchoupitoulas: lightly floured seasonal fish, topped with shrimp & crabmeat or Eggplant Napoleon: breaded and fried eggplant medallions stacked with fried shrimp, topped with crawfish cream sauce (It was AMAZING!)

3001 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70115 www.joeyksrestaurant.com

Carrollton Market

In the Riverbed neighborhood, go to Carrollton Market for southern fare with a sophisticated yet simple approach to fabulous food. Enjoy Oysters Goodenough: flash-fried oysters, bacon, creamed leeks and sauce Béarnaise, or the crawfish and pork croquettes. Entrees include but not limited to: Pan-seared Amberjack served with crawfish fried rice, stir-fried snow peas and lemongrass-crawfish emulsion; Boneless Beeler’s Pork Chop with stoneground grits, oyster mushrooms and marsala jus; and the Housemade Creole Cream Cheese Cavetelli with speck ham, sautéed Louisiana crabmeat and asparagus. Check out their daily and brunch specials, housemade desserts, in-house made liquors and great $6 cocktail happy hour.

8132 Hampson St, New Orleans, LA 70  www.carrolltonmarket.com

 

 

 

Where To Play

 

Southern Food & Beverage Museum

Southern Food & Beverage Museum

Let this venue guide you through the food, drink and culture through the eyes of the South. Each area is represented by their heritage via displays full of interesting items and information. Take a cooking class, browse the Pantry for handmade gifts and local books or take a tour of the history of the cocktail industry.

1609 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70113  www.natfab.org

 

WWII Museum

The National WWII Museum

Enjoy the collection of artifacts, interactive exhibits and moving personal stories of veterans of World War II. Watch mini films at each of the pavilions focused on a specific experience. Continue your experience after your visit online with your assigned dog tag. Don’t forget to experience the American Sector Restaurant + Bar which features a “Victory Garden to Table” menu and signature handcrafted cocktails and the Jeri Nims Soda Shop where you can enjoy diner decor and throwback treats.

945  Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70 130 www.nationalww2museum.org

 

 

Watermelon cocktail

Cocktail Walking Tour

Put on your comfortable shoes and grab a fan as you take in the coolness that is The Cocktail Walking Tour. Your tour guide will meet and greet you with a frozen Bayou Punch as you head to your first destination. You’ll stop at local bars rich in history and enjoy a specialty cocktail at each location. You may be lucky enough to get the tour of the Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum located upstairs at Arnaud’s (free and open to the public during restaurant hours)

 

Garden District/Cemetery Tours

Take in the architecture splendor of these historical homes full of Southern Charm and walk though the Lafayette Cemetery #1, an aboveground graveyard rich in history. Many other tours are available via walking or on tour bus including a ghost & spirits tour.

Toulouse Street at the Mississippi River www.graylineneworleans.com

 

New Orleans Streetcars

Streetcars

Don’t feel like walking around New Orleans? Jump on one of the three route options. All originate from downtown but will take you to 3 different parts of New Orleans. If you’re there a few days, consider purchasing a “Jazzy Pass” to save you money. Ride from beginning to end and take in the views.  (Tip from the locals -Don’t call them trolleys)

2817 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70119 www.norta.com

 

Best Festivals in New Orleans

Jazz Fest:  New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is one of the biggest music festivals in the United States showcasing some of the most important names in music alongside Louisiana’s favorite artists.

COOLinary New Orleans | August 1-31, 2016 – This is the ultimate celebration of dining in America’s most delicious city. Eat at participating restaurants and savor special prix fixe, three-course lunches and dinners at special sizzling summer prices.

Louisiana Seafood Festival | September 2-4, 2016 – The Louisiana Seafood Festival celebrates our extraordinary local cuisine. Starting with everything fresh from the water, our famous chefscook up shrimp, oysters, crawfish, crab and alligator.

Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival | October 14-16, 2016 – This showcase of Southern barbecue and crafts features two stages of blues and R&B performances from the region.

Treme Creole Gumbo Festival | November 2016 TBD – The Treme Creole Gumbo Festival celebrates the melting-pot culture of New Orleans – with brass bands, New Orleans jazz and a huge selection of the best gumbo in town.

Oak Street Po-Boy Festival | November 2016 TBD – Just don’t call it a “hoagie.” This festival is dedicated to celebrating the authentic spirit of one of New Orleans’ most delicious and famous sandwiches. The festival also includes panel discussions on topics like French bread-baking traditions, three stages with live music, arts and crafts, and a children’s section with games and prizes.

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience | May 2017 – Toast to the finer things in life – pinots, merlots and gumbos – as morethan 75 of New Orleans’ best restaurants pair up with 175 of the world’s finest wineries. Spirits are always high at this annual celebration of New Orleans’ culinary creativity.

Oyster Festival | June 2017 – The Oyster Festival educates about the benefits of the Louisiana Gulf oyster, honors and celebrates the restaurateurs and oyster farmers who have solidified the New Orleans French Quarter and celebrates with live music and, of course, oysters!

San Fermin in Nueva Orleans (Running of the Bulls) | July 2017 – San Fermin in Nueva Orleans (SFNO) is an annual festival in New Orleans featuring an Encierro (bull run), which replicates and pays homage to the world famous Encierro of Pamplona, Spain. However, in our “Running of the Bulls”, the bulls are none other than members of the Big Easy Rollergirls and select participants from other rollerderby leagues across the country!

Tales of the Cocktail | July 2017 – Have a highball, y’all. Sip and sup at this five-day-long mixer in the city that invented the cocktail. Enjoy lectures, book signings, dinner pairings, cooking and mixing demonstrations and more at this annual event.

About The Author

VodkaGirlATX
Contributing Spirits Writer

Sharing cocktail news, recipes, reviews and events with you. Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat & Instagram: @VodkaGirlATX Tune in to #VodkaScopes at http://www.periscope.tv/vodkagirlatx Cheers!

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