The Young Travelier Guide to New Orleans
New Orleans, the city of soul, the city of food, and a city where you’re likely to not remember much, is one of my favorite places in the US. Follow my quick guide below on must-sees while you’re here!
- Eat a Beignet: There’s only one real place to eat a beignet, and it’s at the famous Cafe Du Monde. If you’re not familiar with the beignet, it’s a close cousin to the doughnut. It’s basically a fried pillow of dough dipped in some white sugar and served piping hot. Cafe Du Monde has been at its main location on Decatur street for over 150 years and it’s a unique experience. You get into line to sit down, then the minute your butt hits the seat a menu is handed to you with the expectation that orders be placed with haste. Don’t worry, once you get your order in relax and soak in the scene. Be sure to order a coffee with hickory from this joint, and enjoy every savory bite of your beignets here because there’s nowhere else in the world you can get one like it! (I know, i’ve tried looking)
- Get a Alligator Airboat Tour: It’s no secret that New Orleans is below sea level. It has been devastated by more than one hurricane, but the tenacity of its residents allows it to get back onto its feet every time. There is one positive note to its geographic location – it’s that the local area has been endowed with swampland that is not only uniquely beautiful, but full of life. Airboats are the way to get around, and the ride out to swampland is usually only 45 minutes. If you’ve never been on an airboat, it’s an awesome time! Cruising (more like sliding around) on water only inches deep at 45+ mph, the beauty of the land rushing by you, you get a sense of just how much countryside there is around the bustling city of New Orleans. In the summer months you’ll definitely see alligators, but even if you don’t, it’s worth going out on the water just for the sheer joy and beauty of it.
- Get Involved in the Cuisine: This city is known for food, and there’s a lot of it to eat here so make sure you came hungry, or brought your stretchy pants! There’s a multitude of places to eat here, and many are staples that have been around for a while, check out The Ruby Slipper Cafe for some of the most gluttonous and delicious southern breakfasts you’ll ever have, grab a famous Muffuletta sandwich (A version of an Italian sub) for lunch, and then have dinner at Commander’s Palace where everything is served with class and elegance. The mixture of Southern and French influences in New Orleans means everything has butter in it, or is friend (or is a combo of both), so although your health might suffer a bit, your stomach will always be happy and full.
- Catch a Jazz Show in the French Quarter: So you have heard of the French Quarter, it’s rowdy, it’s the center of the city, and it’s a lot of fun. However, if you’re no longer looking to just get black out drunk and would like to combine your imbibing with some class, check out the numerous Jazz Clubs that line this part of town. I prefer Cafe Beignet because of its open air atmosphere. They do serve beignets, which are great, but of course still don’t compare to Cafe Du Monde’s.