NEW ORLEANS: Cheap Hotels in New Orleans
Arguably the most celebrated city in the south and also the state of Louisiana's largest, New Orleans offers a shining example of people of differing race and culture living in harmony. As the home of the Mardi Gras festival and an important historical city, the "Big Easy" is packed with tourist attractions, places of interest, events and cheap hotels.
When to visit based on priceYour best prices can be found between October and January, June through September.
Key attractionsThe key attraction in New Orleans is by far the French Quarter, with its shops, clubs, restaurant and high level of activity both day and night. Where else can you walk the streets, in party mode, day and night, with a “hurricane” in hand?
The history of New Orleans is also a major attracting, with old homes, museums, Voodoo, and cemeteries to visit. You can find tours of the history of New Orleans by van and by horse drawn carriage. In the evening, there’s nothing quite like the buggy ride “Tombs and Graves Tours”.
Having funNew Orleans is all about having fun. If you visit during Mardi Gras, you will have more fun than just about anywhere on earth. Pop into any jazz joint and enjoy some of the best music ever.
This city is known for its food, especially Cajun and Creole cooking. The restaurants here are another reason to visit this city. For a fun time, try taking a Restaurant Walking Tour, where you visit four to six of New Orleans most famous restaurants in the French Quarter. Not only do you get to meet the chef, but also taste his featured dish. It’s also common and accepted to walk this tour with “beverage” in hand.
A visit to one or more of the “Big Easy” most famous bars and restaurants is in order for all visitors. Some of the more famous “haunts” you might visit are Pat O’Brian’s for their famous “Hurricane”, Arnaud’s for a “French 75”, and for the brave, a “Hand Grenade” at Tropical Isle.
Something you probably never thought of doing in New Orleans is taking a guided “Urban Kayak Tour”. That’s right, you can paddle through some of the old historic sections of New Orleans without fighting the crowds.
ShoppingWhile in New Orleans, you must visit Royal Street, famous for it’s shops and a great place to find a souvenir of this great city. Also a place for designer wears, jewelry, and of course shoes.
A visit to Magazine Street puts you on six miles of not only shops, but restaurants and attractions too. From antiques, clothing, home furnishings to your favorite cigars, you’ll find it here.
Another experience in shopping is the French Market in lower French Quarter, where twenty plus unique stores await you.
There’s no shortage of shopping in New Orleans, with stores of The Riverwalk, Canal Place and much more.
NearbyTake a drive to Baton Rouge and experience the mighty Mississippi River, with maybe a riverboat cruise. Another excellent adventure would be to explore the Biloxi area on the coast, where the casino’s, beaches and golf courses provide entertainment.
Visit the famous Louisiana bayou. What better way to experience this than taking a tour of Bayou Lafourche? Experience the wildlife, fauna and flora of the marshes of Louisiana. A National Park Ranger guides you on tour, for an exciting way to spend a day.
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Most popular hotels in New Orleans
The Blake Hotel New Orleans, an Ascend Collection hotelExperience the prime location coupled with the upscale luxury of an Ascend CollectionÂ® Hotel when you stay at the Blake Hotel New Orleans....ViewRooms from$69.52
AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon/French Quarter AreaA stay at the Cotton Exchange gives you the historical appeal of a National Historic Landmark mixed with a touch of French Impressionism and that unequalled New Orleans hospitality for an unforgettable stay....ViewRooms from$105.00
St. James Hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection MemberStylish renovations, personalized service and a boutique experience will make sure you enjoy your stay inside an amazing 19th Century landmark....ViewRooms from$88.00
Top 150 rated hotels in New Orleans
Local expert's tips
New Orleans Vacation budget ideas for anytime visit
You might also be tempted as you walk the streets to eat a heavy lunch in a restaurant, to help disperse the alcohol later that evening. We offer a much more pleasant experience on the waterfront of New Orleans. Why not lunch like a local, and try the cities favorite traditional lunch, the Muffuletta, born of Sicilian Immigrants back in the 1800’s. Today you can find the best example created by and available from the “Central Grocery”, and now New Orleans signature sandwich. It’s a ten inch round loaf of Italian bread, stuffed with salami, Cappicola ham, Provolone cheese, and assorted greens and condiments. Not only is this mega sandwich mouth watering juicy, but easily split between two for a picnic. Just add a bottle of vino, and head down to the riverfront and enjoy lunch outdoors with a view, and for only a few bucks.
If you can stay with this theme, especially if here to party and not eat fancy every evening, why not check out another NOLA local favorite, the “Po-Boy”? These are awesome no matter what time of day, and although available all over town, there is one special place you really should check out, “Killer Po-Boy’s” located on Dauphine Street in the French Quarter. The Chef has taken the standard Po-Boy and taken it up 5 notches at least. This is a deli so they do offer other tasty sandwiches, but you just have to try one of their designer sandwiches.
If someone asks me where my favorite bar is located without hesitation I say Lafitte’s Blacksmith Tavern where the drinks flow, live jazz every evening, and oozing history. You will be enjoying entertainment in what is believed to be the oldest building used as a bar in the U.S. It was built back in early 1700’s, and rumored to have been a smuggling center by Lafitte Brothers back then. For me it’s just an awesome place to sit by an open window, sip a cocktail and watch what goes by while listening to sweet jazz.
Another fun experience that offers a fantastic opportunity to taste the New Orleans experience is a walking food tour. Taking this tour of 5-6 of the finest restaurants will reward you with samples of each restaurant’s signature dish, and its history.
Although they don’t serve booze on the tour, each restaurant has a bar that is open for your pleasure.
Another fun place to experience in NOLA is the French Market District, which offers six blocks of shopping, stores and vendor booths. Stroll about and you may find a thing or two you just can’t live without. This is also a great place to experience some of New Orleans tasty treats, like gumbo, jambalaya and of course alligator sausages or cocktail. This is your opportunity to share a dish of something special and tasty, and it won’t bust the bank.
Best times to visit New Orleans, and best places to visit
Possibly the best time to visit New Orleans is in Spring or Fall, when weather is just right. Spring in NOLA provides nice warmer weather, everything’s blooming, humidity level is low, and however airfare and hotel rates are higher. It can be well worth it though. The French Quarter Festival in April is a celebration of everything Louisiana, from culture to music and food, and best of all it is free.
Of course fall brings the threats of hurricane season, but worry not, typically storms miss New Orleans, and in fact, the city enjoys the lowest rainfall during October and November.
While some may discourage you from visiting this city in the summer months July and August, I in fact love visiting then. Sure its hot, usually hitting mid 90’s and humidity, but then there’s ice cold beverages and crazy women in tank tops! Or not!
If you come for the party, and either are used to heat, or miss it, this is a happening party time of year to hang out on or under a balcony. Hot summer months are also the best times to save money on your hotel and airfare, because of the heat, and low occupancy rates. You can actually find some sweet hotel deals on-line, many, which offer free breakfasts, parking, and more.
In offering you suggestions on where to go, and what to visit in NOLA, its not all about Bourbon Street, although it’s a experience you do need to experience. That being said, if you want to experience a more authentic New Orleans, tries visiting Frenchman Street where the locals hang out. You will find four blocks of pure fun, from bars and restaurants to galleries and nightclubs, and the bonus is, fewer crowds. As this area caters to the local population, you will quickly realize your drinks and food are cheaper and actually the music is somewhat better.
There is a couple, “must visit” taverns to experience there, like the Three Muses, D.B.A. and the very popular Spotted Cat. You can easily get to Frenchman Street by walking, as it’s just off Bourbon, or by all means take a cab especially after dark.
My final gift to you is a small jazz bar / pub, very old, and frequented by locals, and myself whenever in town. It’s called the Blacksmith Tavern, and in fact was one many years ago. It’s way down on Bourbon Street out of the busy section. A great place to sit and watch the people, and sometimes, get a big surprise by someone sitting down at the piano and playing a tune you recognize.
Do’s and Don’ts for your upcoming New Orleans Vacation
For one thing, there is absolutely no good reason to rent a vehicle for your New Orleans Vacation. If your hotel doesn’t offer free shuttle service from and to the airport, take a cab. Those that do rent a car will most generally wish they hadn’t, because all it does is sit in a parking lot, and you pay dearly for parking. The way to go almost anywhere is on foot or maybe a bicycle rental. Planning to hang on Bourbon Street, it’s all about comfortable shoes.
Hot Tip: Use Uber and Lyft to get around town, or even a pedicab.
If you want to get out of that area, and discover the outer neighborhoods, just jump on a streetcar. There are actually three streetcar lines covering the city of New Orleans, and your ride will only set you back $1.25. Memorialize yourself with a photo, sitting on the mahogany seats, on the oldest running streetcar in the world.
Now lets talk about something New Orleans is famous for, besides drinking mega alcoholic beverages on Bourbon Street, Cajun and Creole food. Especially when it comes to Bourbon Street, tourists are targets for cheap food vendors, and you get what you pay for. Why would anyone choose a “Lucky Dog” off a corner food cart, instead of an authentic Po Boy? Why would you walk into a dark and dingy “restaurant” with a sign on the window stating “Best New Orleans Food”, when you could eat at Les Paul or Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants?
If you must spend time on Bourbon Street, break it up with visiting other areas and sights. For instance, close by you can explore Frenchman’s Street, offering local jazz and Reggae groups in bars where the locals frequent. This is where you experience the true New Orleans, and also where you can get some excellent suggestions on where to eat see and do.
Helpful hint to stay out of jail: New Orleans is one of those party towns where you can legally consume alcohol openly on the streets. However, make sure that when you purchase or prepare to walk out of that restaurant, you use a “to go” plastic cup or glass. It’s against the law to drink alcohol on the streets from any glass container or glass.
You are vacationing in the Deep South, where heat, humidity, and even rain can put a damper on you fun. Remember to pack accordantly, including sunscreen and maybe a parasol?
For a totally fun and relaxing activity, which includes some awesome sightseeing, why not take the time for a Jazz Cruise aboard the paddlewheel vessel, Steamboat Natchez. You can choose a day cruise for great photos, or the evening dinner cruise, more for adults.
Safety Tip#1- NOLA is a “pickpocket heaven”, so don’t keep your wallet in a back pocket.
There are two activities that I suggest for you to experience New Orleans to the fullest. The first is taking a horse and carriage tour of the old cemeteries, where the carriage driver fills you in on history, voodoo and things that walk in the night.
The second is taking a walking tour of the most popular restaurants in Bourbon Street area. Its not only a tour of the restaurants and kitchens, but also meeting the chef’s and tasting some of their food. It’s quite worth the money for the tours, and yes, grab a cocktail or two during the tour.
Visiting New Orleans’s best-kept secrets and saving some buck’s
Another excellent choice, and one I have talked about in the past is Jean Lafitte” Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon Street, but out of the busy section. This is touted as the oldest continued operating bar in the U.S., built in 1720. This is a great place to relax a sip a cocktail in a small piano bar, and escape the crowds as the pirate Jean Lafitte is supposed to have done here.
To experience the New Orleans Crawfish Capitol and not get the “real deal” is criminal. Sure, you can get crawdads almost everywhere, but why not experience this delicacy like a local? The season starts in late winter up to summer months and some of the Mid-City joints will celebrate with craw-boils every week. Ask around when you get to town and either drive or take a streetcar to the best dinner in NOLA. If you have never eaten a crawdad, grab a seat near a local, obvious by a mega pile of shells, and ask for help.
I also have a suggestion for maybe Sunday Brunch, in place of the usual tourist attraction, Court of 2 Sisters. Buffa’s Bar and Restaurant located on Esplanade Street is an excellent substitute frequented by locals, because there are no “tour groups” packing the place with tourists. You can stroll there in fifteen minutes off Bourbon Street; have an awesome brunch with live jazz in background.
Everybody knows that the history and even today, Voodoo plays a part on the local community. There are many shops where you can experience a bit of this religion, and even purchase a voodoo doll, bat wing powder and maybe even a spell. But is you really want to get a feel of what Voodoo is all about, visit the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. Unlike the suggestive name, this is actually a “Little House of Horror’s”. Not only will you learn about the voodoo potions, cures for the sick and possessed, but some extremely questionable medical procedures. One things for sure, you can expect to leave the building and with urgency head for the nearest bar serving the “Zombie Cocktail”, and make it a double. On the same note, one place you may choose to “splurge” is by taking a carriage tour of New Orleans famous cemeteries, especially in late afternoon. If you decide to just visit one cemetery, we suggest visiting the St. Louis Cemetery #1, final resting place of Marie Laveau, New Orleans most powerful and famous Voodoo Princess. We will caution you that even today, from beyond the grave, locals believe her magic influences people, maybe even those who gaze upon her grave with doubt?
Awesome travel tips and deals for NOLA this summer
Staying with the same theme, Cajun cooking, another fun thing to do during the day on Bourbon Street, is to take one of the culinary tours of famous restaurants. These walking tours aren’t expensive, and are a lot of fun. You get to meet the restaurant chefs, taste their signature dishes, and yes, sip cocktails along the way.
If you want to take this one step further, visit the New Orleans School of Cooking on Canal Street, and sign up for a cooking class. They offer classes featuring NOLA classics, like gumbo, pralines and for sure, jambalaya.
Perhaps you find yourself in the Frenchman Street local, visiting some of the famous jazz clubs. If you need a break and feel the need to do some shopping or just browse about, you’re in luck. Right there you can find the Frenchman Street Night Market, open until 1 AM daily. This market offers local crafts and artisan pieces and you just never know, maybe a “shrunken head” or two.
For the ladies visiting New Orleans, what would be more appropriate than a visit to the Bourbon French Parfums on Royal Street? Keep in mind that the root of the New Orleans culture is deep with French influence. So why wouldn’t you want to experience this local shop, in existence since 1843, and have a designer perfume made specifically for you or your spouse?
“hops”, we have the place for you. Why not jump on a tour of New Orleans own, NOLA Brewing Club there on Frenchman Street. This is a real New Orleans club, including the local crowds, smoky atmosphere, and packed house in this small club.
Hot Tip: Forget about that rental car! Take a shuttle or cab from the airport to your hotel, and work off those cocktails and pastries by walking. There’s always the streetcars and busses.
If bringing some souvenirs hoe for friends, family or yourself, we have suggestions for you that won’t bust the budget. Why not pick up a jar or two of Louisiana Hot Sauce, or maybe a box of Aunt Sally’s beignet mix? For those now hooked on NOLA jazz, hit the Music Factory and pick up a CD or two.
If you have had enough of the “high octane” cocktails in large plastic mugs, and are seeking maybe some “hops” why don’t you head over to New Orleans own, NOLA Brewery and Tap Room on Tchoupitoulas Street. It’s located right on the Mississippi River and has some awesome brews available. Visit on any Friday and you get a free tour and beer tasting offered afternoons. Plan to visit at lunch or dinner hours? They now serve McClure’s Original Barbeque, so come in hungry.
Vacation Tips for your 2017 visit to the “Big Easy”
Keep in mind that there’s much more than spending time in the major tourist trap, Bourbon Street, where it can seem like a “Spring Break” experience every day and night. We hope you expand your discovery vacation to other parts of New Orleans and experiences. On my last visit, friends and myself got on the trolley and rode around suburban streets just enjoying the feel of the “real New Orleans”. At one point we decided it was time for a “cool beverage” and asked the driver for a suggestion where to get off. He opened the door in front of a public Laundromat and told us this was just the place. To our amazement, we spent three hours visiting with the locals in this popular hangout. You see, this laundry also had a bar in it, and a pool table! Sipping cold beers, playing pool with these guys, we learned much about this great city, as well as the best places to visit.
Probably the 2nd most popular question you will be asked is “where are you going to eat”? New Orleans is one of the most popular food destinations, with so much to offer your taste buds. From crawdads to jambalaya and much more, creole cooking will change your whole idea of what great food taste’s like. From Emeril Lagasse’s two fine restaurants, to Arnauds, Café Adelaide, and many more, these are the places to jump out of the budget once in a while. As far as eating cheap, there are a plethora of awesome happy hours, as well as places like Pirate Pizza.
When you are looking for that dark a jazzy bar to hang out in the evenings, the French Quarter is the place to be. Take a stroll on Royal Street, and the music will lead you into some of the most famous nightclubs. My own personal experience says this is a much better experience than hitting the bars on Bourbon Street, although, that’s also an experience you should have, and make up your own mind. I will say one thing about Bourbon Street, don’t travel alone at night, don’t venture off the main drag, try to have at least one “semi-sober” person in your party, and never trust that the person you are talking to is what or who you think they are.
Finally I will suggest that you visit one club, especially in the evening for cocktails and music, and that the “Blacksmiths Tavern”, located at the end of Bourbon Street. Again be careful walking there after dark, and if possible take public transportation. The piano is open most nights and you never know what local or famous musician will sit down and play for you.
Visit New Orleans for a romantic adult vacation escape
From its suggestive name, the Desire Oyster Bar sets the stage and chemistry for romance, and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Starting your day off at a table for two at the famous Café du Monde, sipping their excellent coffee, and feeding each other their famous beignet doesn’t get much better. You can also enjoy some privacy at a table for two in the most romantic courtyard in New Orleans, Café Amélie.
These are some of our best pics, but there are many more to explore on your own.
The fact is just holding hands and strolling the French Quarter is romantic, as long as it’s not Mardi Gras, with thousands of inebriated vacationers on the streets.
An absolute evening in a romantic setting can’t get much better than dinner for two on the last authentic Steamboat on the Mississippi River. Board the Steamboat Natchez. After dinner take a stroll around the deck in moonlight, sipping a local favorite.
Of course, touring the streets of New Orleans day or night in a horse drawn carriage is probably the most romantic thing you can do, ever. Never enjoyed cuddling to the swaying of the carriage and rhythm of the horse’s shoes? This is your perfect place to impress your mate. A horse drawn (or mule) ride after strolling about Jackson Square is just the thing. This square enjoys the sounds of local live jazz, artists to dray your pictures, just a relaxing adventure.
Even if you don’t take that riverboat cruise, you just have to experience a moonlit walk along the Mississippi River waterfront with your honey.
Another adventure, which I have personally experienced and enjoyed, is jumping on a historic wooden St. Charles Avenue Streetcar for a tour. Experience the real New Orleans neighborhoods, and beautiful scenery as you snuggle on the bench seats together.
My last suggestion is an awesome experience that will provide warm memories forever. There’s nothing quite like taking a cooking class together in New Orleans, laughing, feeding your love on a spoon as you “taste, taste, taste” with a local Chef.
Learn a local Cajun dish, and bring that experience home to show your friends what you learned, as you smile at each other, with fondest memories of the experience.
New Orleans, the Best and Worst of Bourbon Street
You should try supplementing the readily available “ready cups” of booze with some of the fine foods available along your journey. This town is famous for its Creole and Cajun delights; there are no shortages of restaurants on Bourbon Street.
One of my favorites is Pier 424 Seafood Market, for fresh seafood as well as my reason for snacking there, the oyster bar. If you are seeking a place where you can relax, sample some of New Orleans tasty experiences and have a view, Le Bayou offers you second story seating, and a place to throw beads and enjoy the results of that view also.
Now for some of the best bars on Bourbon Street, which is quite the task, because there certainly isn’t any shortage. If you really want to boost your spirits quickly, head to the Tropical Isle Original bar and get into their specialty cocktails, the Hand Grenade. A stop that’s almost mandatory is the Old Absinth House, a favorite watering hole for many, with lots of history about it. The bar experience I look forward to every trip to NOLA is Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Tavern. This is the oldest bar in New Orleans and one of the oldest in the states. You never know who will sit down at the piano and play tunes. This hidden gem is an awesome place to relax by the candlelight and sip one of the frozen purple cocktails. Beware, sip slowly or suffer a thousand deaths of “brain freezes”! Try to get a window (open shutter) seat just for the excellent people watching.
Caution: After dark you may want to take a cab to the Blacksmith, because its at the very end of Bourbon Street, and the area is very “questionable”.
Ladies, there’s a bar recommended just for you, called the Cats Meow where he theme is “girls just wanna have fun”! It’s actually a very “un-serious” karaoke bar. Ladies take the stage, and the guy’s head up to the balcony to throw the girls below beads. Drink of choice, the hurricane.
As you probably are aware, or should be, prostitution is quite prevalent in the Big Easy, especially around the popular Bourbon Street and its strip clubs. The city has been working to clean this up, but beware, its still there.
If you are in the mood to have cocktails and watch the ladies on stage, or ones that look like ladies, we suggest Rick’s Cabaret on Bourbon, your safest bet.
Ricks is one of the cleanest men’s clubs on the street, and your best place if planning a bachelor party for a buddy.
As a general rule, it is highly suggested that if visiting Bourbon Street, especially at night, to stay on Bourbon Street. Don’t be tempted to wander down a side street, and you should never be alone.
Super reasons to visit New Orleans in the fall / winter months
And then there’s the food in this culinary palace, starting with the oysters. As with anywhere in the U.S., but especially here, the months ending with an “R” are the best months for shellfish, especially the oysters. If you are newbie to the world of oysters,
We have two suggestions for you. The first place is for the oyster affectionate, or someone who prides themselves as someone who “can eat anything”. The Sazerac Bar located in the Roosevelt Hotel has been serving the “coldest oysters in the city” since 1919. If the thought of cold slimy things sliding down you throat is just a nightmare, we have an option for you too. You can find many restaurants, like famed Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, where you can enjoy grilled oysters.
The fall and winter months also bring some excellent festivals, as if New Orleans has any shortage of those. One specific fun one that you should try to catch is the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival on November 13th, as well as the awesome Bourbon and Beer Festival. Here’s your golden opportunity to experience how Emeril Lagasse throws a party! He’s bringing fifty of his best friend chefs for this annual fundraiser, so you can experience a true taste of New Orleans. Top that with sipping some designer crafted bourbon cocktails, and that’s New Orleans.
Another interesting festival for those with a desire to stick pins in dolls is the Voodoo Fest 2016 in NOLA! Ok, so its not al about voodoo, but arts & crafts, food and music. The festival is located in City Park in New Orleans, Oct 28-30th, and this year features over 65 bands, and is considered New Orleans “Music Gumbo”.
And then there’s the food! You will be enjoying a “taste of New Orleans”, with some of the best chef’s in the town serving specialties from their booths, like Fried Duck Quesadillas and if your lucky, alligator cocktails.
Another tasty festival, and true to NOLA is the annual Treme Creole Gumbo Festival November 14 & 15. This signature dish of New Orleans has its own celebration; where you get to sample tons of variations of this perfect fall weather steaming delight, while dancing to the best live jazz in the world.
And then there’s Halloween, and spending it in one of the spookiest cities in the U.S.
Have you ever wanted to see a real “shrunken head”? We have the perfect place during this special holiday, in a very spooky place, the Museum of Death. That’s just one of the gruesome exhibits in this chamber of horrors, and perfect for Halloween.
If you love that feeling of shock and fear, a visit to the House of Shock open every Friday and Saturday in October is just the place. This place will definitely test your nerves.
Lastly, if you are lucky (or not), try to book a room in the Monteleone Hotel in the French Quarter for your stay. They say ghosts of former owners and guests can visit you. If you are lucky, the most popular ghost visiting rooms often, is Maurice Begere, a toddler who died in this hotel ages ago of yellow fever.
Vacation in New Orleans like a local not a tourist
Two additional haunts for some sweet Jazz are One Eyed Jacks and the Little Gem Saloon, where you can spot some very famous Jazz artists.
There’s another historic tavern located in an old blacksmiths shop called appropriately, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop that I discovered years ago. I never miss an evening there when I come to town. Its located way down on Bourbon Street, but off the main drag, If after dark be aware you will walk thru a “different” kind of neighborhood. Get a window seat (open shutters) for excellent people watching if possible. You just never know who will sit at the piano and bang on the ivories. My suggestion for your evening cocktail is their Purple Drank or Voodoo Daiquiri.
The best way to start your day like a local is a Bloody Mary with side of bacon at Elizabeth’s. Just yummy! Another “Bayou favorite” that you can sand in line with locals is the iconic fried shrimp Po’boy, and that line is at Guy’s Sandwich Shop on Magazine Street. Cheap eats for lunch, but bring cash. Another excellent place that has been serving oyster sandwiches for well over 90 years is Casamento’s on Magazine Street.
Tip: How to “fit in”. Instead of buying cheap plastic beads, pick yourself up a nice New Orland hat.
Visit one of the local haberdashers and get your “lid on”, like the famous Goorin Brothers shop on Magazine Street or Royal.
Here’s another “hot tip” for you involving the mouth watering and world famous New Orleans beignets. Everyone will tell you that you have to endure the crowds in the French Quarter for your beignet at Café du Monde. Do locals frequent there? No, only with friends and relatives who insist.
Instead, we suggest you go on an adventure, and hop on a streetcar to Canal Street and City Park. There you will find “Morning Call” where you can purchase an excellent beignet and superb coffee, better tan du Monde in my opinion. Instead of being crunched in that crowded outdoor patio, enjoy the majestic oaks and Spanish moss in City Park.
You can visit New Orleans on a “shoestring budget”
The nice thing about vacationing in New Orleans is you really don’t need to drain your bank account to experience all that is NOLA.
Of course the most famous and exciting district to visit is of course the French Quarter, with clubs, bars, restaurants and wild and crazy people. New Orleans has perhaps one of the most diverse populations of visitors as well as locals, to people watch. It’s not just about an evening of partying, tossing colored beads to “exposing ladies”, or drinking to oblivion, unless that’s what you are there for.
The French Quarter is also a packed with art, culture, history and the mysterious world of Voodoo. Starting your day off with an iconic hot beignet with café au Latté at the famous Café du Monde.in Jackson Square. Taking a stroll around the square you can experience the open-air market, bronze statues, and even sneak a peak inside the Louis Cathedral. During the day, you can enjoy the many art galleries on Royal Street, for free. Another area of New Orleans that has some of the best art museums is in the Arts & Warehouse District near Lafayette Square, a great park for a cheap picnic lunch. This area is also gaining popularity for its “happy hours”, in restaurants known for being “upscale”. Happy hour specials and cocktail prices can be the way to go for in-expensive dinner.
NOLA is also famous for its iconic and diverse sandwich, the Po-Boy, which is awesome for lunch or even dinner. Although you can get them in so many restaurants, if you want authentic and possibly the best, hit “Killer Po-Boys”.
Another great way to experience New Orleans is to jump on a streetcar (during the day) and head out to one or more of the areas outside of downtown. It only costs $1.25 for a one-way trip, and you just never know where you can end up. On a recent visit, I did this, and got off in a nice boulevard, mainly because there was a corner store, and I needed a beverage. They suggested I experience the laundry next door, which I did. Inside were two old pool tables, where they served beer and hurricanes to the regular “locals”. I spent about three hours there and learned tons of things about the city I never knew. Plus, I had the opportunity to get 1st hand recommendations on where to go, and eat, that proved to be priceless.
Must Do: Get a table seat in the world famous Pat O’Brien’s and order their Original Hurricane for $8. It’s well worth the price for the experience, and don’t forget to tip the piano player.
Another fun experience is to take a guided tour or walking tour of the cities famous above ground cemeteries. I highly suggest taking if your budget can handle it, a horse drawn carriage cemetery tour, and get the real story.
New Orleans Bars and Restaurants locals don’t want you to know about!
For something different, but a tasty adventure, how about something delicious in Vietnamese Cuisine at Roses Café on Conti Street? Roses place is well known as one of the best lunch spots in New Orleans, and offers excellent portions of fresh tasty treats.
Now everyone has heard of the New Orleans famous “Poboy” sandwiches, and if you have never enjoyed a bit into one of these, you need to. Have we got the place for you to get away from the crowds, and enjoy one of the best in town? Killer PoBoys located on Dauphine offers a great alternative for not only lunch but also breakfast sandwiches. Best local choice for a breakfast Poboy is their Cheese and Ham Poboy, and for breakfast and anything but especially beef with pickled beans for lunch.
Looking for someplace with a mystical dark and quiet atmosphere for maybe a cocktail and small plates? We highly suggest that you head over to the Cellar Door on Lafayette Street. They obviously have some of the very best “Mixologist” in New Orleans, because the cocktails are “to die for”. You may feel the presence of “spirits” not in a glass, but the experience is all New Orleans.
Another choice for some tunes, beer on tap and definitely some barbeque oysters is the Old Point Bar on Patterson Drive. It can get a bit smoky with occasional cigar puffers, but what the heck, it’s a dive bar, with pool tables and darts being thrown.
Now for the staple dish The Big Easy is known for, gumbo, and where do locals go for the best in town. Everyone has their favorite, but time and again, many living in the area will choose (but not tell visitors) they choose Liuzza’s by the Track, located on N. Lopez Street. Don’t expect anything fancy on the outside, but everything good on the inside of this restaurant/bar. This old time restaurant is the real deal, and
Eat your way through New Orleans French Quarter for less
First off for the experience of a lifetime and a terrific starter to a day following “one of those nights”, you have to experience a New Orleans “beignet” and cup of their awesome heavy coffee. There are two names that you will have to remember, and put a note in your cell phone, Café Beignet on Bourbon Street, and Café Du Monde on Decatur Street. Sitting in an outdoor Café, smelling that beignet coming fresh to your table from the oven will make you delirious, and as it melts in your mouth, you will be living the dream that is New Orleans.
Verdi Marte located on Royal Street is one of the places that might get a recommend from that bartender or hotel staff. Many locals pass through their doors for breakfast, lunch and dinners, to go. That’s right, all they serve is food to go, and not just food, but excellent and cheap food. This is where you get to taste New Orleans famous “Fried Shrimp PoBoy”, the sandwich of choice for locals. They also put out a killer Philly Cheese Steak PoBoy that will melt in your mouth.
Whether for lunch or dinner, if New Orleans style seafood is calling your taste buds, but your wallet is light from last nights partying, Café Maspero located on Decator Street is the place to check out. Whether it is a grab and go PoBoy, or a sit down seafood dish like étouffée, crawdads local fish dish, this is your “go to” place.
If last night has you crawling your way to find a nice greasy but tasty burger to bring you back to life, you’re heading to Port of Call on Esplanade at Dauphine. Most days you will find yourself waiting in line, but just know, everyone in line is there for the burgers and stuffed baked potatoes. In the words of famous chef Emeril Lagasse, these burgers “are the bomb”! If you are a couple, you probably can share a burger and potato, because they are mega! And if your head isn’t still pounding, and you are ready to “prime the system”, order their rendition of the “hurricane” their” Monsoon”, then be happy you are on foot.
Mardi Gras New Orleans, time to start planning now!
You won’t find many businesses open on Mardi Gras Day, because most shut down for the holiday. There’s no shortage of restaurants and bars to check out along Bourbon Street, which is usually “out of control” during late evenings. For those looking for nothing but parties, sometimes outrageous behavior, nudity, the by all means, head to Bourbon Street.
If the “real” Mardi Gras is what you’re looking for, where locals have spent mega dollars on their floats and attractions, they won’t be found there. These floats are actually too large for the Bourbon Street area. The mega and traditional parade, Mardi Gras krewes are the ones that bring the “Greatest Free Show on Earth” to the streets of New Orleans, and is the one to see.
A fun and free option for you is a visit to the Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum on Rue Bienville St., where you can view collections of Mardi Gras costumes, gowns and other memorabilia.
There are some specific eateries that you must visit at least once while in town, and we have the list for you. The first is Café Beignet, located in the French Quarter and world famous for its beignets and cafe lait. This is a perfect place to start or end your day.
Although there are plenty of restaurants where you can grab lunch and dinner, and believe us, the New Orleans Gumbo is delicious and won’t break the bank. However, if you really want to taste the history of New Orleans once while visiting, you should make reservations well in advance at Antoine’s. This is New Orleans oldest French-Creole restaurant in New Orleans; with its doors open a d serving guests for over 175 years. Dining at Antoine’s is truly a experience that everyone should indulge themselves in if possible. If you are a seafood lover, you will certainly find heaven here.
Lastly for a down to earth taste of New Orleans, there’s none better than the Olde Nola Cookery located at 205 Bourbon St. in the French Quarter. From Catfish Po Boy, Crabcakes with crawfish sauce, to crawfish étouffée you won’t be disappointed with the depth of flavor. We will tell you that most locals will tell you that the Gumbo is the best, and you have to try it. Add to your plate a “side of Hurricane, the local favorite cocktail, and nothing but smiles will follow.