Imagine yourself walking the streets of New Orleans with a PoBoy in one hand 🍤, a cocktail in the other, while Jazz music is playing nearby. If that sounds ideal to you, then it’s time to plan your New Orleans weekend trip!
New Orleans otherwise known as “The Big Easy” draws people in and captivates them. There is no city in the world that is quite like it. With a storied past, charming streets, delectable food, and parties that cannot be beat. It’s truly one of a kind. By the end of this guide, you’ll be ready to plan the best trip.
I’ve visited NOLA twice and I still feel like I’ve just scraped the surface of this amazing town. This itinerary is perfect for the traveler that only has a quick weekend to take in the highlights. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s go on a journey to the Big Easy!
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Table of Contents
New Orleans Weekend Itinerary
New Orleans Map featuring various restaurants and sights
Day 1: Dinner & Frenchmen Street
If there’s one place that you should add to your NOLA restaurant bucket list it’s Jacques Imo’s. This restaurant serves creole dishes that are delectable. But, the dish that they’re known for is the Alligator Cheesecake. You might hear that and be like what?! I would never eat that. But this decadent dish is fluffy, cheesy and has all the right flavors. It’s nothing like the cheesecake 🍰 you’re used to and you need to try it!
Besides the alligator cheesecake, there are plenty of dishes to choose from with fantastic sides. I tried the Rabbit pasta, which came with two sides. You can’t go wrong because there isn’t a bad thing on the menu. Although this restaurant is popular, we were able to fit in a group of 16. Luckily, you can make reservations here, but you’ll need to get on the phone 📞 and call to do so.
You can’t waste a night in New Orleans, so get up and get ready to hit the town. Frenchmen Street is one of the best areas to listen to live music 🎶 and get the NOLA vibe. Some of the best bars on the street include the Spotted Cat and Blue Nile. On popular nights with good musicians they may charge a cover 💵. However, if you get there early enough you can skip the cover and scope out a good spot to enjoy the music.
Top at the Frenchmen Art Bazaar either before or after your visit to the bars. This market has many different stalls to check out. There are local jewelry makers, artists, photographers, and even vintage clothing sellers. It’s really fun to walk around and enjoy even if you don’t end up buying anything to take home.
Day 2: Tours & French Quarter
Start your first full day off by going on a swamp tour to see alligators 🐊 and learn about the NOLA bayous. You can book a swamp tour with Cajun Encounters which are some of the best in the area. These tours are located 40 minutes outside of town, but they do offer shuttle services if you don’t have a car.
The tour itself is two hours and they knowledgeable guides will take you for a cruise down the swampy river. Along the way they’ll teach you about NOLA history, the animals in the swamp, and show you beautiful areas. You’ll even get a chance to see the area that inspired the animations in Disney’s Tiana 🐸. We went on a cold day, so we were unable to see any alligators, but we loved watching raccoons swim around the swamp. This is a highlight of any weekend trip to NOLA!
Lunch at Willie Mae’s
You’ll probably be hungry once you’ve completed your swamp tour. Drive back to town or take the shuttle back to your hotel and head to the Tremaine area of NOLA. Once you’re there you can wait in line for the famous Willie Mae’s fried chicken 🍗! On weekends, the line can get long, but trust me it’s worth the wait!
Sit down to a meal of fried chicken, classic Southern sides, and a refreshing sweet tea 🥤. You can choose from white or dark meat, chicken sandwiches, or chicken tenders. I ordered the three piece meal with mashed potatoes (they were out of mac and cheese). Honestly, I was worried that there would be too much food, but I quickly gobbled up my entire plate. It was the perfect southern comfort meal and I would definitely go back.
French Quarter, Ghost Tour & Bourbon Street
Now that you’re full, it’s time to walk around the city and explore! Every New Orleans Weekend trip must include a lot of time exploring the French Quarter 🇫🇷. This neighborhood was founded in the early 1700s and is the oldest neighborhood in the entire city. Many of the buildings are still intact even after Hurricane Katrina hit.
Spend a few hours walking around stopping into local shops to try pralines or get souvenirs. Don’t forget to grab a drink at one of the bars, since NOLA does not have open container laws. Visit Jackson Square to see street performers and finally wait in line at Cafe du Monde to get your hands on the fluffy pastries covered in powdered sugar. You may have to even get seconds!
Things to Do in French Quarter:
- Get a drink at Carousel Bar
- Visit the Museum of Death
- Grab Beignets at Cafe du Monde or Cafe Beignet
- Eat a Muffuletta at the Central Grocery
- Dine on Po Boys at Killer PoBoys
- See the St Louis Cathedral
New Orleans is one of the most haunted cities in the US, so there are plenty of ghosts roaming the streets! Taking a ghost tour 👻 or a voodoo tour around town is a fun way to learn some great spooky history. You can even bring drinks to most of the tours, because you’ll be walking. It’s a great way to spend a few hours and be entertained.
Bourbon Street is the nightlife and party central. No matter what time of year you go to visit NOLA there is always a party happening on Bourbon Street 🍻. This street is lined with tons of bars and clubs to visit. Even if you don’t want to go into the bars, you can simply walk the streets to see the scene. It’s always entertaining and if you’re a fan of people watching then you’ll have a blast.
Day 3: Brunch & NOLA City Park
It’s your last day of your trip, so start it out with a wonderful brunch. Visit the Court of Two Sisters brunch for a wonderful send off to New Orleans. This brunch is all you can eat and just $33 a person. Sit in the courtyard while live Jazz 🎷 music plays.
Then, go inside to visit the huge buffet. You can get all sorts of NOLA favorites including gumbo, turtle soup, king cake, and jambalaya. They also have an omelet and eggs Benedict window 🍳 where you can order what you want. There are so many options that it’s hard to not overstuff your plate. Luckily, you can always go back in to try other options. It may keep you full for the entire day.
NOLA City Park
Hopefully, you still have time to explore, because the NOLA city park is truly something special. This park is more than 50% bigger than Central Park in New York. So, you know that this urban park has plenty of areas to explore. You can spend a day sitting on the lawn and enjoying the sunshine ☀️ or you can get more cultural and visit the free sculpture garden. It’s a wonderful way to spend a beautiful day in New Orleans and end your time there.
Things to See in NOLA City Park:
- Wander the Botanical Gardens and see the Historic New Orleans Train Garden
- Admire the pieces in the free sculpture garden
- Eat beignets at Cafe du Monde
- Play mini-golf at City Putt
- Go on a ride at the Carousel Amusement Park
- Visit the New Orleans Museum of Art
There’s no better time to go on a trip to NOLA! You’ll fall in love with this city as you stroll the streets of the French Quarter or take the bite of your first warm beignet. So, get packing and get ready to go to New Orleans!
Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this NOLA itinerary!
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