New Orleans has to be one of the coolest cities I have ever visited in all of my travels. The vibe is unlike anything I have ever experienced and with the amazing history, music, culture, food and drinks your visit will be packed with entertainment. I try to not visit the same places twice but I think New Orleans gets a special exception because it really was that amazing.
We went for our annual Christmas trip before we departed on a weeklong cruise through the Caribbean and definitely made the most of our few days with nonstop site seeing. The architecture, cobblestone streets and live street music & entertainment could have kept me going the entire trip.
We stayed in a spa suite at the Hilton New Orleans on St Charles Avenue which was only a short walk away from Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. We decided to go with this hotel for its quaint Southern Charm and I couldn’t have been more pleased with our decision.
We hit up Bourbon Street our first night and it was exactly how I imagined it to be. Roads were blocked off which allowed for everybody to walk down the streets rather than on the sidewalk, people were partying on balconies and were throwing beads all over the ground and rows and rows of bars were packed with music and the infamous Hurricane cocktails. The only disappointment to Bourbon Street was that we were expecting a lot of live jazz music and that was a little bit harder to find, but we did get the inside scoop on where the local guys were playing.
The next morning was spent with a leisurely stroll around the city, a late brunch at the Royal House Oyster Bar and an amazing afternoon harbor cruise that departs from the French Quarter on one of the last steamboats on the Mississippi River – Natchez No 9!
We followed up our harbor cruise with a stop at Café du Monde and enjoyed hot chocolate and beignets. This place was always packed whenever we walked by it and it is hard to snag a table, but once you are in you will soon realize it was worth the wait.
That night we ate at an amazing fusion restaurant called Galvez and Ciaran reserved a private booth in the back that had skyline views of the Mississippi River and the Crescent City Bridge. Following our dinner we took a horse drawn carriage ride around Jackson Square and we learned about the history of the city. That was followed up by a quiet stroll around the city which led us to a gazebo overlooking the river where Ciaran proposed! To follow up that magical moment we headed to Frenchman street to take in the sounds of the local musicians.
The next day, before we headed out for our cruise, we went on an airboat swamp tour where we saw some of the most beautiful scenery around including the bayous lined with moss-draped cypress and tupelo-gum trees. Our guide was a true local and even brought out a baby crocodile for all of us to hold!
Our final day was spent eating breakfast at The Camilla Grill, visiting the French Market where we checked out locally made hot sauces, strolled through a quaint music store that mainly carried music from local jazz musicians and hit up an amazing chocolate shop where we stocked up on all sorts of goodies.
This trip was one I will never forget and I hope to get back there someday soon.
All images were taken and edited by my lovely fiancé, Ciaran.