Wander List: New Orleans

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Most cities claim to be “one of a kind”, but in the case of New Orleans, there’s simply no denying its inimitable charm and allure. I first visited The Big Easy in the fall of 2013 and instantly fell head over heels for its unique mix of old-world mysticism and veritable grit.

This second trip further sealed my love for New Orleans, making it one of my favorite places I’ve had the pleasure to explore thus far. There’s just something about this city’s unbridled spirit and distinct historical roots that make it truly captivating.

I preface my list of New Orleans favorites by saying that there’s definitely a lot more to this city than touristy French Quarter, although that's certainly worth a visit to get the full experience. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but rather, a small sampling of great spots in different neighborhoods around New Orleans. I hope you enjoy them!

 

[ See & Do ]

 Colorful & charming colors in the Bywater.

Colorful & charming colors in the Bywater.

Garden District- Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride around the amazing tree-covered streets in Coliseum Square and admire all the amazing homes, some of which belong to famous names like Sandra Bullock. (Fun Fact: Her gorgeous house is across from the retirement home in the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”.)

Frenchmen Street- No trip to the Big Easy is ever complete without taking in some amazing live music, and the Faubourg Marigny block is definitely the place to be to get your groove on!

Bourbon Street- Do I really need to get into why this is a can’t-miss stop in New Orleans? Word to the wise: If you have to try a “hurricane”, go to Pat O’ Brien’s and take an anti-hangover pill before you imbibe this syrupy-sweet cocktail. Personally, I think homemade hurricanes are the way to go!

The Bywater- Widely considered as New Orlean’s hipster/hippie hub, there's no shortage of colorful people and buildings to admire here--along with cute cafes and shops.

 James Carville (AKA "The Ragin' Cajun") sighting in the French Quarter!

James Carville (AKA "The Ragin' Cajun") sighting in the French Quarter!

 Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District.

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 The Bywater

The Bywater

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Bayou Air Boat Tour – This isn’t technically in New Orleans, but taking an air boat through the Louisiana bayou is truly an incredible experience. We went with Air Boat Adventures out in Lafitte and would highly recommend them. Our guide was super knowledgeable and funny--- and he delivered it all in his authentic Creole accent that I could listen to all day!

 The Louisiana Bayou along Lake Salvador.

The Louisiana Bayou along Lake Salvador.

 [ Shop ]

Clover Boutique – A cute little store offering women’s fashion clothing & accessories.
2240 Magazine St. (Lower Garden District)

Sincerely Luxe – Young contemporary fashion along with a selection of home design goods.
2240 Magazine St. (Lower Garden District)

Revival Outpost – Great selection of carefully-curated clothing and accessories, both vintage and new.
234 Chartres St. (Central Business District)

 The Bywater

The Bywater

Bargain Center - A thrift shop lover’s dream! You could easily get lost with all the unique treasures in this store.
3200 Dauphine St. (Bywater)

The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk- I’m not a fan of malls, but the food court here is pretty good if you’re in need of a break from walking around in the heat… and it’s right on the Mississippi River.
500 Port of New Orleans Pl (Warehouse District)

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 New Orleans, you have my heart...

New Orleans, you have my heart...

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 Oh, just me admiring all the beautiful colors of New Orleans... ( Top by Madewell, Pants by Joie, Sunglasses by LeSpecs .)

Oh, just me admiring all the beautiful colors of New Orleans... (Top by Madewell, Pants by Joie, Sunglasses by LeSpecs.)

[ Eat & Sip ]

Elizabeth’s - Great breakfast & brunch featuring traditional Southern staples like fried green tomatoes, grits, etc. I had the “Redneck Breakfast” which is basically Eggs Benedict with fried green tomatoes instead of English muffins. Amazing.
601 Gallier St. (Bywater)

Booty’s Street Food - You don’t need a passport to take a global culinary tour through small plates (tapas) in this hip little spot! My favorite part is their “Coffee Tawk” cocktail—a delicious mix of vodka, Benedictine liqueur, Kahlua, Stumptown cold brew coffee & a splash of soy milk!
800 Louisa St. (Bywater)

Snug Harbor – We went here in lieu of Port of Call (their restaurant was getting renovated after flood damage at the time of our second visit) to grab a burger on our first night. The burger is definitely very comparable if not identical to Port of Call’s, which many locals say is the best in town. The live jazz music and modern art on the walls instantly solidified this place as a new favorite for me.
626 Frenchmen St. (Marigny)

 The ramen with Gulf shrimp from Booty's Street Food.

The ramen with Gulf shrimp from Booty's Street Food.

 Booty's Street Food

Booty's Street Food

Parkway Bakery & Tavern – The best po’ boys in N’awlins. Hands down. Great selection and the fried pickles are awesome! President Obama is apparently a big fan.
538 Hagan Ave. (Bayou St. John)

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Killer Po’ Boys- I heard about this place through a friend and their coriander gulf shrimp po’ boy was the best I’d ever had! The bar is really divey and cool, too.
(Inside Erin Rose Bar) 811 Conti St.

Tacaeux Loceaux - Because New Orleans has such a proud restaurant landscape, food trucks are pretty rare. I can honestly say these are some of THE best tacos I’ve tasted anywhere. They set up shop outside Kingpin Bar on Friday nights, and the line forms even before they open the truck window. So. Worth. It.
511 Saint Louis St. (Uptown)

District Donuts & Sliders - I loved this place! The ambiance was cool, the coffee was great, and the donuts….well, the donuts would keep me coming back on a daily basis if I could! My husband fell in love with their savory ham donut sandwich, which I didn’t try because it was a little too funky for my taste...and I don't eat pork. But he was smitten.
2209 Magazine St. (Lower Garden District)

Acme Oyster House - This place is legendary for their fresh oysters, but it was their amazingly authentic jambalaya that really impressed everyone at our table.
Multiple locations.

 District Donuts | Sliders | Brew.

District Donuts | Sliders | Brew.

 Around the French Quarter.

Around the French Quarter.

Bourbon O Bar - Specializing in seasonal and traditional New Orleans cocktails, this classy bar amidst the madness that is Bourbon Street also serves the best Pimm’s Cup I’ve had in the city—maybe even anywhere!
(In the Bourbon Orleans Hotel) 730 Bourbon St.

Buffa's Bar & Restaurant - This local favorite is open 24/7 and is known for their awesome Sunday Jazz Brunch, divey atmosphere and great live music. 
1001 Esplanade Ave. (Marigny)

Café du Monde - No New Orleans list would be complete without mentioning this iconic landmark. There are lots of franchises in and around New Orleans, but only the original location in Jackson Square will do in my book! You can’t beat a relaxing afternoon of people watching while sipping café au lait and savoring some piping hot beignets. Cliché tourist trap? Yes. But you simply can’t skip this one.
800 Decatur St. (French Quarter)