3 Things you need to do on your next visit to New Orleans

I was in New Orleans this past weekend on a girls trip. This was my second visit to New Orleans, and I still feel like I haven’t spent enough time seeing all the city has to offer. If you’re a first time visitor, here’s my quick list of 3 things you MUST do on your visit.

Eat: New Orleans is known for it’s food - there is no cuisine that quite measures up and although many try, none can replicate that New Orleans flavor anywhere other than there! I think it has a lot to do with the ingredients - seafood just tastes better there. Gumbo and jambalaya are both very popular, but don’t forget to try the crawfish etouffee. The crawfish is shelled, so you don’t have to worry about removing those. You should also try the chargrilled oysters - these are a New Orleans specialty, and I’ve never seen them anywhere else! If you’re squeamish about raw oysters, don’t worry - these are fully cooked, in butter and parmesan. Trust me, they are absolutely AMAZING.

New Orleans is also known for their Hurricane drinks, but honestly all that fruit juice (or Kool Aid) is way too sweet for me. Instead try a Sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans.

Visit: New Orleans has long been associated with mysticism, and of course, death has a part in it too. The city has several cemeteries, and one of the famous is the city-owned Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District, which is a must-visit location. Incidentally, Anne Rice was very inspired by the Lafayette Cemetery, and part of Interview with a Vampire was filmed there. Now you can do a self-guided tour, or you can arrive and take a tour with one of the many “free, tips only” tours, but the best, most informative tours are conducted by Save our Cemeteries, a local non-profit that works to restore some of the abandoned historical grave sites and thus preserve the history and culture of New Orleans. These tours are low on drama, but are historically accurate and give you many cultural insights while being extremely entertaining. They also talk about what it takes to restore and preserve the monuments.

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Some of the unique offerings left at the Lafayette Cemetery. Our tour guide from Save our Cemeteries explained that this particular shoe was an offering by one of the Krewe of Muses, the first all-female Mardi Gras krewes who parade in New Orleans

Some of the unique offerings left at the Lafayette Cemetery. Our tour guide from Save our Cemeteries explained that this particular shoe was an offering by one of the Krewe of Muses, the first all-female Mardi Gras krewes who parade in New Orleans

Listen: There is no shortage of music in New Orleans, but my favorite spot is The Spotted Cat Music Club on Frenchman Street. I’ve been there on both my visits, and the music doesn’t disappoint. Go early if you can - it gets crowded, and make sure you take cash. Three Muses is another great spot if you’re also looking to grab a bite to eat.

For a taste of New Orleans closer to home, take a listen to the Trombone Shorty playlist below.

I hope you're planning a visit to New Orleans sometime in the near future. It’s an incredible city with friendly people and a unique culture, and a great place to spend a long weekend. Happy travels and pin the picture below so you can bookmark this list of my favorites!

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