Travel Guide: New Orleans

Ah, NOLA. Let’s rewind three weeks ago: My boyfriend surprised me with a getaway for my birthday. Our destination? New Orleans. Neither one of us had been to the “Big Easy” before, so it was exciting and special to explore a new city together. Upon arrival, I was smitten. New Orleans is truly magical. Unlike any other city, with a rich history and deeply-rooted culture all its own. I couldn’t help but feel inspired by the city’s French and Spanish influences, seemingly endless occasions to enjoy music, southern cuisine, charming streets, vibrant architecture, and incredibly warm hospitality. It’s safe to say: New Orleans quickly became one of my favorite places I’ve visited. I’m happy to share more of the trip with you, along with some personal recommendations.
Cochon Butcher Outstanding sandwiches and local brews in the Warehouse District.
Brennan’s My personal favorite! Don’t miss the beautiful courtyard.
Empire Bar A fabulous bar at Broussard’s, where we enjoyed a bottle of cabernet.
Sylvain Dine here for inviting, sexy ambiance — and a dangerously good chicken sandwich.
Napoleon House A historical fixture, known for its Pimm’s Cup and muffuletta.
Commander’s Palace In the heart of the Garden District, celebrated for its jazz brunch.
Sucré Perfect stop for coffee and a sweet treat while browsing Magazine Street.
Big Fisherman Fresh crawfish, anyone? Where we filled our southern seafood fix.
Cafe du Monde You can’t visit New Orleans and miss these world-famous beignets.
Longue Vue A short drive from the French Quarter, I swooned over this historic home and garden.
Garden District Accessible by streetcar, a beautiful neighborhood with lots of charm and stately homes.
Lafayette Cemetery Historic cemetery located in the Garden District, near Commander’s Palace.
Magazine Street A change of pace from Bourbon Street, filled with boutiques and restaurants.
Jackson Square Stroll by to catch a glimpse of local artists, musicians, and St. Louis Cathedral.
Metairie Cemetery Largest collection of elaborate marble tombs and statues in the city.
• Listen to as much music as possible. I have a big heart for jazz and couldn’t get enough. We heard great performers at Fritzel’sPreservation HallSnug Harbor and more.
• Explore the French Quarter to get your bearings and a feel for the city. Walk along Royal Street and discover a variety of galleries, courtyards, restaurants and shops. As some of you caught on Snapchat, I loved stopping in this French Antique Shop.
• For an escape from the Quarter, visit the Frenchmen Art Market. Browse lots of unique handmade goods and chat with local artists. Kevin returned home with a nice new leather wallet.
• Venture to surrounding neighborhoods. We loved spending time in Uptown around Tulane and Audubon Park, along with Bywater and Lake Pontchartrain.

International House Located near the French Quarter, our hotel was centrally-based within walking distance to many points of interest. The hotel itself was fantastic. Our room was filled with beautiful oversized windows, high ceilings, plush bedding, and a carrara desk and tables — which we used less for work, but adorned with wine and liquor as our personal bar. (As they say, laissez bon temps rouler!) Each morning, we enjoyed complimentary coffee, fresh fruit, and the Wall Street Journal. I would happily stay with International House again for future visits to New Orleans.

Coming from a Chicago winter, the mild air of New Orleans (even in January) felt amazing. Each day’s weather was a little varied, but we enjoyed a comfortable climate between 50-70° F. I packed a stadium cloth coat, this navy and white striped dress, my trusty leather tote, a pair white jeans and colored denim, lots of light sweaters, these sunnies and printed flats.

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