Powdered sugar, crazy cups, crowded streets and utterly dense, frizz inducing humidity. Those are the main things that come to mind when people think of a little town called NOLA. Oh….and a bold and flavorful drink known as a hurricane, that when ordered in the right places, will knock you on your ass. But really there is so much more to it than the drunkies roaming Bourbon Street on the weekend (not that there is anything wrong with that!).
New Orleans has so many highlights that it makes it an amazing destination to see your team on the road. Being a sports and travel blogger and a member of extreme fandom, I have spent a good amount of my late 20’s and early 30’s visiting different stadiums. Some cities are a bit more desirable than others and some….well…there is a reason why I am not writing about them now. From family time to the waterfront, swamp rides and an abundance of historical tours, to roaming the late night streets of the French quarter while having an amazing time sifting through crowds of people and avoiding random vomit and urine puddles to staying low key and chill filling your soul with the insanely impressive art skills in the square…NOLA is a town for all at different points in time in the day.
Staying within a rail or Uber ride or longer walking distance to the square is a high recommendation. As great as it might sound, I would NOT want to be close proximity to Bourbon Street. Too much chaos and noise and just like Vegas, you need a place to take a step back and get some shut eye even if your main purpose for being there is to party.
Food wise you almost can’t go wrong. There are places all over but a must is the infamous Café Du Monde. Yes they are known for their beignets BUT their frozen coffees are seriously addictive!!! (damn…now I want one). The seafood and oyster game in New Orleans is amazing and makes a push to give the famous Cajun dishes a run for their money. Also, another tip…if you are dead set on heading to Acme Oyster House because you hear it is the best, definitely don’t be hugely disappointed if you get there and the line is wrapped around the block. You can choose to wait and the food IS good BUT there are several oyster options nearby that I promise won’t disappoint (like Felix’s). Also, as you are strolling through town, absolutely make sure you make a stop by Evelyn Rose and sip on some AMAZINGLY delicious frozen Irish coffee. For other alcoholic purposes, make sure you hit up the "must see" spots like Pat O'Brien's (hurricane and good atmosphere), Tujague's (grasshopper) and if you are looking for an intense sugar overload caused by a questionable drink decision in a touristy cup...hit up Tropical Isle (hand grenade).
Alright, alright…are you ready for some football? I was! I didn’t really know what to expect because I’ve heard a mixed bag of reactions about interactions with the Saints faithful fans but overall I was pleasantly surprised. Everyone was easy going, helpful and welcoming to their stadium and most came with a slew of suggestions on where to eat, what to drink and what to see. If you show up hungry, the stadium has a wide variety of food available from the standard Louisiana favorites to your general variety of stadium food. Not that this affected me but the only downside to the stadium was that their ADA board was not working correctly and everything they were putting up was absolute gibberish. I tweeted the stadium a few times but no response was ever given.
All and all, if you are a sports fan then NOLA is definitely a place to put on your list to visit. There is so much for everyone to do and you can easily avoid the mayhem of the Bourbon Street “fun” if you want. With an NFL team, NBA team and even a little fun minor league ballpark, you can go see any of your fave teams in the big easy or even catch some rising stars in the baseball world.
A NOLA Culture Convert
Recommended items to carry with you:
Light weight clothing (it’s the most humid city I have ever been to….and I’m from Houston!)
Bug spray (mosquitos are never fun)
Rain Poncho/Umbrella/ Rain Shoes (it’s humid there y’all! Humidity = moisture in the air)
Comfortable Walking Shoes (don’t be that girl in heels! You could get by with a wedge but keep in mind that these are cobblestone streets and sometimes a heel is just not worth the pain).
Cash in small bills for tipping and food.
And girls.... please, for the LOVE, wear shoes that you can walk on cobblestone with. >>insert eye roll here<< I don't care how cute your outfit it, if you cant make it through the night then don't wear the shoes because trust me...you do NOT have the luxury of walking barefoot on Bourbon Street (yuck!).
Stay close to the square but not on Bourbon Street. Give yourself time to recover by being slightly removed from the action. That’s why Uber and Lyft exists guys! The square is full of the arts during the day and is well worth the walk.
Visit Frenchmen and Royal streets. Both of these are great if you are 30+ or looking for a scene that is a little more laid back and you miss out on the vomit and disgusting street action. Frenchmen is great for live entertainment and no covers and Royal St is filled with architecture and culture (I recommend seeing both in the day time and the night time).
Download Uber or Lyft. Super easy to catch from the airport and not super expensive. Everything is very clearly marked so that you are able to find the designated pick up points at the airport. Plus paying for parking at most hotels suuucccckkkksss!
Make sure you visit the square during the day to check out the amazing NOLA art scene. OR late at night if you are looking to get your palm read!
Eat! Don’t bring your diet to these parts!
Try to spend a week day in the square and city. It’s so nice to walk around when it’s not bombarded with tourist. I really enjoyed spending a Monday walking around. You can get some great photos and see some beautiful architecture.
Remember your ID!