Where to Stay & What to Do in NOLA
Where to Stay & What to Do in NOLA (that’s New Orleans Louisiana for anyone who hasn’t heard this term)
When you and your girlfriends are looking to get out of town for a little fun at any time of year (okay, except hurricane season), NOLA is your perfect destination. Home to some of the best cuisine in the United States, this foodie paradise will deliver on some of the best eats you’ve ever experienced. No need to worry about the extra calories, walking around the vibrant streets of the French quarter will have you and your crew in constant motion. NOLA has a way of making you feel completely transported, which is what you’re really looking for on vacation, right?! There are many resources out there, and we’ve checked all the best travel guides to put together this guide of where to stay and what to do while on a girls weekend in NOLA.
Where to Stay...
(Selected from Conde´ Nast Traveler “19 Best Hotels in New Orleans”)
...if you’re looking for privacy: Audubon Cottages
- These 18th-century Creole cottages are clustered around a swimming pool in a quiet stretch of the French Quarter (if you could imagine such a thing). You're not there to hang out at the hotel (besides the pool, there are no public spaces), you're there for the privacy. These cottages are some of the oldest buildings in New Orleans, and the sense of privacy is unmatched.
...if you’re looking for something classic: The Eliza Jane
- The Eliza Jane, a former print factory, has a certain industrial modesty. But nosing into the lobby, you’re suddenly surrounded by bold, European flair with rustic colors and tiled floors that transport you from the commercial surroundings of the Central Business District. This is an atmospheric, evocative property with a European feel that fits New Orleans—something you don’t see too often. The courtyard, complete with an artsy water feature, is a perfect spot for an evening cocktail.
...if you’re looking for something modern: W New Orleans French Quarter
- One of the few modern hotels in the historic French Quarter, the W stands out while still managing to hide its secrets beyond its forecourt. Out front, windows offer a peek into the sleek lobby, living room–like reception area, and restaurant within. The back patio area is the main draw for this hotel. The lovely pool itself is surrounded by a dozen cabanas—perfect for lazing on a steamy New Orleans summer day away.
...if you’re looking to be in the middle of the action: Royal Sonesta Hotel
- Surrounded by the lurid cacophony of Bourbon Street, the hotel is a bit of an oasis with Art Deco décor, contemporary art, and seriously impressive floral arrangements. Because it's on Bourbon Street, it sees a constant parade of tourists and visitors looking to stay in the heart of the action. If it’s possible, and it’s your kind of thing, get a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street. What you'll see out there is better than anything you'll find on TV. If you’re going to stay on Bourbon, this is the place to be. When you’re fatigued from the day’s adventure, you’ll be grateful you won’t have to walk too far to step into the cool air and relative calm of this historic building.
What to Do
- Explore the French Quarter
One of the best ways to soak up the incredible culture in New Orleans is to explore the French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré. It is the oldest district in the city, and one of the best spots for taking in the cities history and culture.This is the home of the infamous Bourbon Street, but also Royal Street (home to art galleries, upscale shops, and landmark hotels), Chartres Street (lined with preserved colonial-era architecture and cafés), and Jackson Square, where you’ll find live performances, tarot readers, and the iconic St. Louis Cathedral. Sign up for a walking tour, or rest your feet and see the sights by mule-drawn carriage. It may be cliché, but stopping at iconic Café du Monde for a café au lait and beignet has become a rite of passage.
- Book a tour
Visit one of Banksy’s only remaining works in the city on this mural and graffiti art walk. It’s off the beaten path, but here you’ll see the best hidden art in NOLA. Expect to view world-famous artists’ works, learn history from your local guide, and have plenty of reasons to snap ‘gram-worthy photos. (jetsetter.com)
- Visit City Park
City Park is one of the oldest of its kind in the country. This 1,300-acre public park draws millions each year thanks to its storied oak trees and moss canopies, as well as a wide variety of opportunities for outdoor fun. City Park has something for everyone: Botanical Gardens, Big Lake, an antique carousel, sculpture garden where you can watch a Shakespeare performance, New Orleans Museum of Art, a mini-golf course, and the wooded pathways of the Couturie Forest where you’ll feel worlds away from civilization. (jetsetter.com)
While you truly can’t go wrong with any of the fabulous restaurants in New Orleans, if you’d like to bring some of those authentic flavors home, check out our Jambalaya and Sazerac recipe posts!
Photos from Unsplash