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Photo by @jude_allen

 

New Orleans is as well loved for its vibrant nightlife as it is its culinary scene and cultural treasures. This makes the city a draw for people of all ages and walks of life. People sometimes assume that New Orleans is just a place to party, but it’s as vibrant in the day as it is at night. Its rich and complex history is evident in the architecture and statues, and it has beautiful parks and great art. Even the famed facades of the French Quarter have a complicated and intriguing history. There remains debate to this day about the influence of Spanish architecture over the French quarter, because the Spanish acquired control of the region in 1762. The rich historical treasures of New Orleans are best appreciated during the day, just as the lax open container laws as best appreciated after the sun goes down. Whether your idea of an early morning is rolling out of bed at 1 PM, or you’re more likely to hit the hay just when everyone is getting ready to go out, New Orleans is a great city to visit. Below, we’ve compiled a list of recommendations split between day and night. Whatever you’re looking for, New Orleans has it.

 

 

Daytime Activities

 

Cafe Beignet

Photo by @elodielepape

Cafe du Monde is globally famous, but there are plenty of other great (and less crowded) places to get beignets. In the heart of the French Quarter is Cafe Beignet, a counter serve cafe with delicious beignets, coffee, and plenty of other pastries. Plus, it has a charming patio, making it a great first stop for breakfast.

 

 

Ogden Museum of Southern Art 

Photo by @ogdenmuseum

The Ogden takes a look at the complex culture of the American South through the lens of art. The collection encompasses a broad swath of mostly modern art, but the museum is not so expansive that you’ll feel forced to spend the entire day there. Plus, there’s an outdoor balcony that offers panoramic views of the city.

 

Parkway Bakery and Tavern

Photo by @thisbabeeats

Parkway Bakery and Tavern is the worst kept secret in New Orleans when it comes to Po’ Boys. That means it’s always teeming with hungry patrons. But before you ask, yes, it’s worth the wait. It’s not too expensive, the portions are sizable, and the food is delicious.

 

Antoine’s Restaurant

Photo by @antoinesnola

Antoine’s is billed as the oldest family-run restaurant in the US, and it’s a great destination to get a sampling of delicious seafood and creole cuisine. The historic restaurant is in the heart of the French Quarter, and while it’s a higher-end dinner destination (including a business casual dress code), it has an affordable $20 three course lunch menu and 25 cent martinis.

 

 

Audubon Park

Photo by @happilygrey

The expansive Audubon Park is a great destination to walk, bike, or jog. It’s located off the St. Charles streetcar line, across from Loyola and Tulane Universities, making it an easy destination to access by public transit. At the end of Audubon park is the Butterfly Riverview Park, which is a great place to watch the sunset over the Mississippi river.

Evening/Nightlife

 

Casamentos

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photo by @the.preservationist

For a quick bite before heading out, Casamentos on Magazine street features delicious fried seafood and fresh oysters with a charmingly down-to-Earth decor. It’s inexpensive, cash-only, and only open Thursday through Sunday. The restaurant has been around for 100 years, and between friendly service and simple, delicious food, it feels as if nothing has changed at all in that time.

 

 

Maple Leaf

Photo by @camibar

Oak street is a ways from the tourist-heavy streets of the French Quarter, which is what makes it a great destination. The Maple Leaf, especially, is a lively bar with incredible music, a quiet patio, and friendly staff. One frequent act at the Maple Leaf is the George Porter Trio, fronted by the co-founder of the massively important funk group The Meters. Porter interpolates jazz and funk in his lively sets.

 

 

Cooter Brown’s Tavern

Photo by @cooterbrownsnola

Between dancing, drinking, and listening to live music, you sometimes you just need a low key place to sit down and eat during a night out. Cooter Brown’s features an expansive beer menu and a great po boys and oyster selection. It’s an unassuming sports bar, meaning it’s relatively easy to find a seat.

 

 

Blue Nile

@mykiajovan & @noahyoungbass at the Blue Nile. Photo by @naughty_professor

 

Frenchmen Street is a popular destination in the French Quarter that’s slightly less hectic than Bourbon Street. The Blue Nile has both downstairs and upstairs bars featuring energetic live acts. Best of all, the spacious balcony is a great place to watch passers-by, which often includes brass bands busking in the street. For a quick bite, check out Dat Dog, which is across the street from Blue Nile and also features a balcony. 

 

 

New Orleans Original Daiquiri

Photo by @neworleansorginaldaiquiri

 

New Orleans is one of very few places in the United States without strict open container laws. New Orleans Original Daiquiri is the chain that best capitalizes on that. While you’re going from bar to bar, or heading back home after a long night, stop by New Orleans Original Daiquiri. They sell ridiculously cheap frozen margaritas, daiquiris, and long island iced teas in to go plastic cups.

 


Looking for a long weekend trip, check out our recommendations