An eclectic city home to the greatest jazz, arts festivals and cuisine one can experience, NOLA has something for everyone – sip cocktails on a carousel, float away to the sound of live blues and explore your adventurous side with some of the best fishing in the world.
The Comprehensive Guide to New Orleans
Maison de la Luz is a fully private guest house located just a few blocks from the Vieux Carre. All spaces in the hotel are for hotel guests only, making this eclectic property a quiet respite. All guests are welcome to enjoy the neighborhood perks, including full access to the adjacent Ace Hotel’s amenities, including signing privileges at all of their outlets. Be sure to visit Bar Marilou’s secret guest-only lounge to enjoy the full menu with the privacy included with your Maison de la Luz stay.
The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans is traditional to the core, complete with a resident jazz musician. The large and welcoming hotel still retains soul and charm, which is mostly to do with the people. They shine, they care and they always greet you with a genuine smile. The hotel spa is one of the best in the city, a dark and quiet oasis right off of canal street. You definitely know you’re in New Orleans during the 80 minute full body voodoo ritual massage, as the treatment room exudes a light fragrance of absinthe and cypress. | Book Here >>
The Roosevelt New Orleans has a long and colorful history, stretching back to the early 1900’s, from politics to prohibition. And as such, is widely considered a locals’ favorite. The Sazerac Bar was one of the first to allow women into an historically gentleman-only bar, and this anniversary –Storming the Sazerac– is celebrated annually to this day, as folks from around the city dress in prohibition-era attire and enjoy cocktails. | Book Here >>
- Coquette: a go-to. It’s small, beautiful, friendly, and they do a 5-course blind tasting – which makes it easy, just leave it in their capable hands.
- Herbsaint: you won’t find it on every ‘hot list’, but it’s been around for awhile and consistently has some of the best food in New Orleans. They tend to draws more locals than tourists and never disappoint.
- Domilise’s: isn’t fancy, but it’s an institution. Bonus: they do po-boys better than anyone else in the city.
- Drago’s: calls for checking your diet at the door. Order a dozen or four of their charbroiled oysters. Trust us.
- Saba: for when you tire of heavier cuisine, this modern Israeli menu does the trick. Don’t miss the curried cauliflower hummus. Chef Alon Shaya’s second restaurant in the city.
- Cavan: Like dining in a private home on Magazine Street, the interiors here are really unique. We recommend going for a brunch over dinner so you can enjoy it in the sunlight. Definitely get dessert here!
- Adolfo’s: Walk-in only and cash only, this spot right on Frenchman Street will have you near all the music venues and random street performances. They provide excellent service and loads of fun.
- Bywater American Bistro: This is Nina Compton (of Compere Lapin)’s most recent restaurant located in the Bywater, which is considered to be an up-and-coming neighborhood, so not everyone has discovered it yet! The food is unique and incredible, and the art all over the interior is really interesting as well.
- Pêche Seafood Grill: The interiors here make for a fabulous setting to enjoy some Southern cuisine. The fish sticks (fried catfish!) are sure to be a highlight of any trip and in our opinion, beat out the smothered catfish.
- Josephine Estelle: Italian with a Southern twist right inside Ace Hotel, be prepared to be surprised! The cacio e pepe pasta and the meatball appetizer are excellent.
- Sylvain: We love the dim candlelit vibe this spot offers right by Jackson Square. Their fried oysters are a must! They also have a champagne, caviar, and french fry special that’s a lot of fun.
- Café Amelie: Tucked near the quieter end of Royal Street, they offer one of the best courtyards in the area, it’s so lush and quintessential NOLA. You can dine or drink; reservations are tough to get, but a must.
- Carousel Piano Bar: Located in the Hotel Monteleone, it’s a classic. And yes, the circular bar spins; that is, at a snail’s pace, so you’re good to sip away.
- Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar: For a drink stronger than the hand grenade, order the purple drank (Voodoo Daiquiri). Celebrity sighting not guaranteed, but very likely as this is a local haunt for a certain famous face who lives nearby.
- Bouligny Tavern: This sexy spot along Magazine Street has a masculine urban aesthetic that is quite different in the city to anything else. And, they do a killer fig-infused Old Fashioned.
Two favorite spots for shopping in New Orleans are along Magazine Street in the Garden District- Uptown, and along Royal Street in the French Quarter.
Along Magazine Street, you’ll find plenty of clothing boutiques and home décor shops. Plan to spend the good part of the day down in this area. We usually recommend starting up in the Garden District at Sunday Shop (unique global finds for the home) then hitting spots like Monomin (perfect for the minimalist adult and baby), Marion Cage (simple mod jewelr), Pilot & Powell (highly curated stylish collection of clothing), Julie Neill Designs (chic handcrafted chandeliers and fixtures ), Shaun Smith Home (design firm, as well as furnishings), Villa Vici (modern design-forward home furnishing and décor), and on and on, just pop in and out as something catches your eye, making your way into Uptown.
Along Royal Street, it’s all about the antique shops – furnishings and jewelry – blocks and blocks of them. M.S. Rau Antiques & Keil’s Antiques are sure bets and are more like museums with the quality of inventory. Once you’ve perused Royal Street if you’re still looking for that perfect item, the owners of one of The Soniat House also have an in-house shop of hand-picked 18th, 19th, and 20th century French, English, and Italian pieces aptly called Soniat House Antiques. Everything about it is exceptionally good, particularly since it is lesser known you really feel as though you’re being allowed a glimpse into a successful hotelier’s collection.
Side bar: If you’re in town with young children, The French Library – a shop carrying French books, toys, games – should be a must visit. They often have story time, classes, and other themed events.
- Frenchman Street is where you’ll find the best live blues and jazz dive bars. Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro & d.b.a. are hip and authentic.
- The National WWII Museum in the Central Business District is one of the most outstanding museums in the world – we recommend to devote a half a day or more.
- Audubon Park is a 350-acre greenspace set in the middle of Uptown with jogging paths, playgrounds, an aquarium & insectarium, nature center, and riding stables. It’s worth a visit, particularly as the sun is coming up or going down to catch the rays through the Spanish moss hanging from century old oak trees.
- There’s no other city in the U.S. with its own music, culture, dialect, cuisine, and history like that found in New Orleans. For this reason, we recommend hiring a local historian and expert to learn more about this eclectic city.
- A visit to one of the grand plantation homes outside of the city will give you a glimpse into days gone by and the history that built this city.
- Finally, Louisiana is a sportsman’s/woman’s paradise, and a 2hr drive south out of New Orleans where the marsh meets the Gulf, you’ll find some of the best fishing in the world. Springtime is best for trout – the fall is best for redfish. If you’ve never been fishing for redfish, it doesn’t get more fun or local, true Louisiana. Ask your travel advisor for recommendations in arranging a fishing charter during your next visit.
No matter what you decide to explore during your visit to ‘The Big Easy,’ you’re sure to be enchanted by New Orleans’ enumerable charms. Ping us on social during your trip so we can see the spots you’re checking out!