As some of you who follow us on IG know, Trey and I visited NOLA earlier this month. For us it was an early two year anniversary trip (our anniversary is June 8th). But we went early because we wanted to walk (and bike!) around New Orleans without having to worry about the heat. So early May seemed like the perfect time.
We absolutely LOVED New Orleans! We’ve been talking about it ever since. We got lots of recommendations before we went, so we thought we’d share all the places we went to and enjoyed in case any of you plan to take a trip there soon.
You’ll note that most of the places I’ll be sharing are either in the French Quarter or very nearby. We decided we’d have more fun if we skipped the rental car and just walked, biked, and occasionally took an Uber or cab. So this meant we stayed mostly around the area we were lodging. NOLA is a big city, so there are certainly many more places to visit and stay at outside the French Quarter. But if you’re looking to centralize your visit like we did, then you’ll really benefit from this list.
I’ll start with our very favorite spot, which we actually visited twice during our short stay (it’s that good!), Cane & Table. The atmosphere is very cool and unique. Plus they have great small plate options and an awesome cocktail + rum selection. We’re really into tiki drinks and rum at the moment, so this was perfect. If you go early, ask to be seated in the patio area because it’s SO pretty. Unfortunately we were there too late both times we went.
We also really loved Cochon. This is very meat-focused (pork—as you might have guessed from the name), but everything we had was just delicious and the atmosphere is very good too (lots of pretty wood inside). If you plan to go, call ahead and make a reservation because it gets busy!
One evening we had dinner and drinks at Latitude 29, and it was awesome! Their interior and menu are super tiki-themed. So if you like that kind of fare and cocktails, you’ll love this place.
A couple other late night spots we liked (but that I didn’t get photos of) were Yuki and Horn’s. Yuki is a great second or third stop for the night as it’s kind of a dive, but it’s a great sake bar with amazing veggie dumplings. We loved it. Horn’s is a great spot for dinner or a second spot for a drink and dessert. It’s a quiet little corner cafe tucked away in a neighborhood. We had a chocolate pot de creme with salted caramel that was amazing!
For breakfast one morning we hit up Cafe Du Monde. They are one of the most famous establishments for beignets and chicory coffee, and if you’ve never been to NOLA, it is a must. If you can, go during the week day or at a weird hour because they get really busy. Also, bring cash because it’s cash only.
On our bike tour (more on that in a minute), one spot we went to was Elizabeth’s. This is a great spot for breakfast/brunch. They are famous for their praline bacon. I had decided before we went to NOLA that I was going to ease up on my mostly vegetarian lifestyle for the trip since I wanted to try all the good food that came my way. And I must say, the praline bacon was AMAZING. But they have lots of other options too if you don’t eat pork. Elizabeth’s is inside an old house and decorated with lots of art from Dr. Bob (a local artist), which makes it feel really quaint and authentic to the area.
We also had brunch at The Ruby Slipper, which is inside an old bank building (or at least one of the locations is). Yum!
Probably my favorite breakfast was at Surrey’s Cafe and Juice Bar. Fresh juice and coffee? Yes, please! And their food was delicious as well. If you go on the weekend, expect a little bit of a wait (we waited 40 minutes on a Saturday at 9:30am), but that’s how you know it’s a favorite spot. 🙂
If you are new to New Orleans or find that you only have a limited amount of time and you’re worried you won’t get to try enough authentic foods, say no more! I was worried about this too. So Trey and I booked a culinary bike tour with Confederacy of Cruisers. Basically you get to bike around NOLA (which is a treat in itself) with a knowledgeable guide who takes you to four different spots to enjoy a small, family style meal with everyone else on the tour. I am SO glad we did this because it was so fun and also so delicious. I also felt like I learned a little bit about NOLA from our guide, Victor, who was from there and had been a part of the food scene there his entire adult life.
They offer a number of different bike tours. I highly recommend checking them out.
I actually didn’t end up having as many treats as I thought I would on our trip. But I did very much enjoy Meltdown popsicles, which was the last stop on our bike tour. These were totally refreshing, inventive flavors, whole ingredients and most of them were vegan. This may have been one of the healthier things I ate while in NOLA. Ha!
There are plenty of great hotel and home away spots throughout the city, but in case you’re curious, we stayed at the Lamothe house. This spot felt unique because it is comprised of an older building separated from a carriage house by an enclosed courtyard with a pool/hot tub. Our room was simple and cute and located in the carriage house. We wanted a hotel with some character and an outdoor pool that was centrally located to everything we wanted to do so we could easily walk most places. This one totally fit the bill and was pretty affordable too.
And yes, of course we spent one night walking and drinking on Bourbon Street. If you’ve never been, then I would say that it’s certainly something you should experience at least once—it’s like a giant party! We were looking for a more laid back, just-us trip for our anniversary, and I think the Bourbon Street atmosphere might lend itself more to a larger group of friends (especially a bachelorette party or something festive like that!). But, it’s quite fun and exactly what you might expect.
Things we didn’t have time for but wish we had:
The Rum House—We love rum, so of course this was on our list, but we just didn’t have time. I hear their tacos are amazing, and based on their website, it looks really cute too. Next time!
District Donuts—I heard from multiple people that these are so good. I was bummed we didn’t have time as I am a donut fanatic.
Sucre—I have had macarons from here before (mail ordered), and they were easily the best I’ve ever had in the USA.
If you live or used to live in New Orleans and you want to recommend some things we missed, PLEASE do! We’d love to hear more about this beautiful city. Thanks so much for letting me share some of our favorite spots from our trip to NOLA this year! xo. Emma
Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Emma Chapman and Trey George. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
I loved my visit to NOLA!
NOLA is so different from the rest of the US, you have to visit to believe it! Friendliest people, endless jazz and the most relaxed atmosphere! Thank you for this post!
This is such a helpful an informative post! We have always wanted to visit New Orleans, and now I am even more inspired to do so. Thank you for publishing this!
Amritsari Chole Kulche
Thanks for including Lamothe Hotel in your post. When i first moved to New Orleans couple months back, I stayed at Lamothe Hotel for a week. It was a great experience. Old architecture, multiple small buildings, friendly staffs and 2 minutes walk to Jazz hub – the frenchmen street.
Such a nice post on beautiful city of New Orleans. New Orleans is the only heaven for food, jazz, and diverse culture.
Spirit Wine in the Garden District is a great little wine shop!
Yay!! I always love when people come visit here and have a great time! It sounds like you did some great things. Definitely check out Rum House next time. Its one of my favorites!
I live in New Orleans and whenever friends and family visit I book them on one of Jonathan Weiss VIP tours. No cheesy French Quarter tour, it’s a whole experience where you get to hear stories no one else knows and get access to secret places and just hang out. There is always something new and cool to do in New Orleans.
The Ursulines Convent is a huge must, even if you’re not Catholic or even if you’re an atheist. It’s the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley (completed in the early 1750s), and the inside is stunningly gorgeous (there is even an authentic tiara on display). The convent and the wonderful women associated with it also played a very big role in shaping early New Orleans into the social culture it has now, and it’s worth learning about if you have an interest in the history here. As a hint: it played a big role in what is known as Charity Hospital – America’s second oldest hospital system (which missed being the oldest by a month).
Once you start unraveling the strings around the history in one part of the city, you’ll feel compelled to learn about what came from that, which would have another wing of history attached to it. It’s truly the nations most fascinating city, I’d argue it has the richest history of any city in the new world.
i am one of the front desk agents at lamothe house:) we are so glad you enjoyed your stay with us! we hope to have you back soon!
New Orleans is fantastic at Christmas time! You have to visit the Roosevelt Hotel. The decorations are beautiful
I live very close to New Orleans – I was actually born in NOLA – but the French Quarter always makes me feel like a tourist no matter how many times we go!
Hope you enjoyed our Southern hospitality and culture!
Being a Nola local, I loved your post! Next time you’re here, visit the garden/uptown area. Gorgeous. And you better hit up District Donuts! I live in the LGD and go here at least once a week. Also, right next to Cochon is Cochon Butcher which is casual but so good. Be sure to hop on the st Charles streetcar for some sight-seeing and keep your noses out to catch a whiff of the night blooming jasmine and magnolias!
Just seeing this post and insanely excited to see it. I have been following A Beautiful Mess for 2+ years and to see that they traveled to my home and current city, New Orleans, is a delight! It’s so interesting to see where you guys went and what you enjoyed and documented. Great choice on the Rum House and Elizabeth’s. Only thing I am bummed on is not running into you all!
But please, by all means, return to the NOLA and trust me, you’ll have so much more to explore!!
<3 Marcella Hogan
New Orleans, LA
wonderful impressions! I know that I need to go there some day.
New Orleans is on my bucket list! I’m thinking of attending the AIGA conference this year and making it a vacation. Definitely bookmarking this for when I visit.
I love this post! It takes me back to our time in NOLA. It was one of my favourite places during our trip to the U.S. last year (I am Down Under!). Such nice people, and the best French toast and fried chicken. Also one of the worst hangovers I’ve had! The locals are happy to lead you astray even away from Bourbon Street.
I can’t believe you didn’t have a muffaletta! Masparrows has a great one. They are huge so I’d get only 1/4 of one.
Next time you’re in NOLA make time for dinner at MoPho (http://mophonola.com/). It’s close to City Park. They have the best pho! Try it with flank steak, chicken thighs, grilled greens, and mushrooms. You won’t be disappointed! The flank steak is served rare and sliced super thin so it cooks in the broth.
Since y’all like rum so much you should also try to do a tour of the rum distilleries and sample some different types of rum. The rum with ginger was different and not something I’d normally drink, but that’s what vacation is all about right?
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
I am pinning this. I’m dying to go!