Your Travel Guide to NOLA
I don’t know about you, but I love it when friends plan a destination wedding – especially when it’s in a city not yet explored. New Orleans is a place Corey and I have always wanted to visit, so when we received our wedding invite in the mail from Corey’s former teammate and friend, we were thrilled!
We spent a couple of incredible days there, and I wanted to share my top places to see, where to stay, where to eat (and drink) and of course, what to wear.
What To Wear When Travelling:
What you wear on the plane is important – especially if you’re travelling with only a carry on. My advice is to layer up, especially if you’re travelling to a different climate. It was freezing leaving Toronto, so I wore a lightweight coat, and layered a jean jacket underneath (both from All Saints – get them HERE and HERE) – that way I had two coat options if I needed them.
It’s also important to be comfortable, so I opted for my favourite pair of high-waisted leggings from Artizia, and a long top from All Saints that can convert to a dress (two looks for one!). I also always advise to wear runners to the airport – not only for comfort and ease of taking them on and off through security, but also because they’re quite bulky and take up A LOT of room in a carry on. Mine are Aldo, and they fit like a sock so you can easily slip them off and on.
Probably the most important thing though, is a good quality, sturdy carry-on. My favourite brand of hard case rollers is Rimowa. I’ve had mine for years and they are still in great condition. They also have locks built in that are airport approved for the safety of your belongings – I’ve had things stolen in the past so this is a God send.
Where To Stay:
We stayed with a rental travel company called Domio, which is unique in it’s industry, offering the comfort of a home and the confidence of a hotel. Our place offered all the amenities of being in your own home, but with 24/7 concierge service. And because we had never been there, it was great to have someone to offer up their favourite local spots for coffee, to-go breakfast and navigating the city.
What To See:
- Cemeteries – Yes you heard correctly, NOLA’s cemeteries are a sight to see. Because the city sits below sea level, their cemeteries are above ground, in beautiful (and eerie) stone crypts and mausoleums. We went to the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, which is Uptown in the Garden District. I would recommend visiting this one for two reasons: 1. Because it’s in the garden district, you can also walk around the surrounding area, where you can take a realtor tour of the classic New Orleans homes, where the streets are covered in a canopy of trees – it’s honestly next level, and 2. It’s free! Some cemeteries charge a fee to go in – this one doesn’t cost you a thing!
- Bourbon Street – You can’t visit New Orleans without experiencing Bourbon Street; both day and night. Even if you’re not visiting during Mardi Gras, it’s still packed with people, live music and outdoor boozing everywhere you look! A few bars you MUST visit: Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (Built during the 1720s, it’s regarded as the oldest structure to be used as a bar in the United States !) and Pat O’Briens (which has dueling pianos and an amazing outdoor patio space, perfect for their beautiful weather!).
- Magazine Street – If you love art, then you’ll want to make your way to Magazine St. to check out the numerous art galleries that are housed there. Not only will you find art galleries, but cute shops, great restaurants and excellent antique shopping!
- The National WWII Museum – If you’re a history buff, you’ll LOVE this city because it’s full of incredible museums, most notably the WWII museum.
- City Park – Serving as New Orleans’ largest outdoor attraction since 1854, City Park is one of the oldest parks in the country. With its iconic oak trees and picturesque moss canopies, people come from near and far to enjoy the beautiful trails and scenery, as well as the endless amount of vendors, museums and activities within the park itself.
- Jackson Square – Located on Decatur Street, between the Jax Brewery Shopping Mall and the French Market, in front of the St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square earns it name for one of three bronze statues of Andrew Jackson located in the center of the square. It’s a great mix of vendors, artists, musicians and cute places to grab a coffee (or more importantly, beignets at Cafe du Monde – make sure to go to the take out line around back, the lineup to get in to sit is insane!).
Where to Eat (& Drink):
The food in NOLA is incredible, so to be honest, it’s hard to find a spot you won’t like, but here’s where we went (and LOVED).
- Arnaud’s – Celebrating their 100th birthday this year, this is a restaurant not to be missed. Located steps off of Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter, Arnaud’s offers classic Creole Cuisine and exemplary service in a beautifully restored turn of the century dining room. Be sure to order off the French 75 menu (my favourite champagne cocktail), along with their oysters to start and any of their fish as your main. But make sure to save room for the Bananas Foster for dessert – they make it right in front of you at the table, and trust me, it’s an experience you’ll want to have!
- Ralph’s on the Park – this is a great place to visit for brunch. Steps from New Orlean’s City Park, this is a restaurant who’s Chef is from New Orleans and has created delicious dishes that have the nostalgia of this incredible city, but with modern touches to make it feel unexpected. Their cocktails are incredible, and I’d recommend sharing various plates so you can try as much as you can! They also change their menu depending what’s in season, so you know it’s fresh!
- Domenica – This may be an Italian restaurant, but the plates they make are truly unique. We went for lunch, which I’d highly recommend, and shared a bunch of plates, most notably, the roasted cauliflower with whipped feta and sea salt, shaved brussels salad, and the octopus carpaccio. I’m salivating just thinking about it!
- Pulp and Grind – If you appreciate homemade, baked goods and to-die-for coffee, than you HAVE to try this place. Everything is made fresh daily, and their coffee is one of the best brews I’ve ever had. Be sure to order one of the honey biscuits and their daily brioche.
- Carousel Bar & Lounge -The famous Carousel Bar & Lounge in Hotel Monteleone is a MUST DO when visiting New Orleans. It literally revolves just like a real carousel (but don’t worry, it goes MUCH slower!). I would recommend trying a Pimm’s Cup – they’re refreshing and delicious, and a popular cocktail of choice in NOLA!
This post was created in partnership with Domio however all views and opinions are my own.