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First time to New Orleans. Need suggestions on things to do

Fort Worth, Texas
6 posts
First time to New Orleans. Need suggestions on things to do

Me and a few college buddies will all be making our first trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras this year. We will be in town 3/5 - 3/9 and curious if we anyone has any suggestions on must see places, things to do, resturants, etc. etc. We will be staying at the Hilton New Orleans/St. Charles Ave.

Thanks for your help!

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
500 posts
3 reviews
1. Re: First time to New Orleans. Need suggestions on things to do


I'm not from NO but have been there several times including Mardi Gras. The St Charles st area is beautiful. You can jump on the Trolley car to get downtown and the French Quarter, however it might not be running during Mardi Gras. It is difficult to get around and site see during Mardi Gras because of all the parades. The last day of the festivities is on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) is the wildest day.It is an experience to say the least.It is a holiday down there so a lot of places are closed. Have Fun !!

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
479 posts
1 review
2. Re: First time to New Orleans. Need suggestions on things to do

Covsting - you don't say if you are going with current college buddies, i.e., y'all are still in college or college buddies from long ago. Not that it really matters, except it's hard to make suggestions unless we know a little bit more about you, and sometimes, we can assume things if we know your age. In any event, seeing as you are going during Mardi Gras, my first suggestion is to take in as many parades as you can. Here is the schedule: mardigrasparadeschedule.com/2011-Mardi-Gras-… Staying in the French Quarter, the parades you should be looking for on the schedule are the ones that indicate they are in "uptown." Most nicer restaurants are closed MG day, so if there are any you have been wanting to try, you should plan those ahead of time and not on MG day.

If you are current college students are looking for more of a young/fun time, you will probably want to spend a bunch of time on Bourbon Street. Prior to going to MG, I thought the entire event was the little snippets we see on TV of Bourbon Street and boy was I wrong. Most of the parades don't go on Bourbon Street or technically in the French Quarter (though, just outside).

So we can all make suggestions ... are there are things you have heard about that you want to see or do? In other words, why New Orleans?

As you will see from browsing the forum, there are lots of "must see" places, things to do and places to eat, but navigating all of those during Mardi Gras is not the easiest thing.

Level Contributor
12,999 posts
7 reviews
3. Re: First time to New Orleans. Need suggestions on things to do

You can take the St. Charles Streetcar to Uptown/Garden District for lunch/dinner at some fine restaurants there. Commander's Palace would be a good one. You should have Friday lunch at Commander's in the GD for $25.00 and 25 cent Martini's. Coquette is another great restaurant a few blocks from Commander's on Magazine. You should plan an afternoon walking and visiting the fine shops and restaurants on Magazine Street in the 3,000 to 5,000 block area. Take the street car to Washington and walk 2 blocks to Commander's. After lunch walk 3 blocks to Magazine. I like Cafe Atchafalaya in the GD also. Have a few drinks at The Column's Hotel on their porch off St. Charles. Patois, Clancy, Dick and Jenny's and Brigtsen's are outstanding restaurants Uptown. Bistro Daisy is fun also. You will have a lot of decisions to make planning a week in NOLA. Bon Appetit.

Commander's Palace @ 1403 Washington Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 899 - 8221.


Coquette @ 2800 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 265 - 0421.


Cafe Atchafalaya @ 901 Louisiana Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 891 - 9626.


The Columns Hotel @ 3811 Saint Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 504 - 899 - 9308.


Patois @ 6078 Laurel St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 895 - 9441.


Clancy's Restaurant @ 6100 Annunciation St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 895 - 1111.

Dick & Jenny's @ 4501 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 894 - 9880.


Brigtsen's Restaurant @ 723 Dante St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 861 - 7610.


Bistro Daisy @ 5831 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 899 - 6987.


Level Contributor
12,999 posts
7 reviews
4. Re: First time to New Orleans. Need suggestions on things to do

Have a po boy at Johnny's in the FQ and eat on a bench in Jackson Square. Napoleon House in the FQ is nice for drinks and lunch also. Stanley's is outstanding for breakfast/lunch. Mena's Palace is a local's favorite that serves NOLA comfort food for breakfast and lunch. They serve 25/30 different po boys. Johnny's Po Boy's is in the FQ on St. Louis and has outstanding po boys. Felipe's has great Mexican food using local ingredients. Clover Grill is open 24/7 for breakfast and good burgers and it's inexpensive. Rampart Food Store has good po boys. They are all in the FQ.

Johnny's Po Boys @ 511 Saint Louis St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 524 - 8129.


Napoleon House Bar & Cafe @ 500 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 524 - 9752.


Stanley @ 547 St. Ann St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 593 - 0006.


Mena's Palace @ 200 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 525 - 0217.


Felipe's Taqueria @ 301 N. Peters St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 267 - 4406.


Clover Grill @ 900 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 598 - 1010.


Rampart Food Store @ 1700 North Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 944 - 7777.

Level Contributor
12,999 posts
7 reviews
5. Re: First time to New Orleans. Need suggestions on things to do

Spend half a day in By Water. Walking is not bad in NOLA if you can stop and rest every so often. Walk to Lost Love Lounge for a few bloody mary's and then walk to The Joint or JD's for lunch about 1PM or so. Then walk to Markey's and hang out for a few hours. After a few there walk to Bacchanal and have a few drinks outdoors and then dinner. They might even feel like going by Vaughn's. Pretty good plan.

Lost Love Lounge @ 2529 Dauphine St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 400 - 6145.


The Joint @ 801 Poland Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 949 - 3232.


Bacchanal Fine Wine and Spirits @ 600 Poland Ave., New Orelans, LA 504 - 948 - 9111.


Jack Dempsey's @ 738 Poland Avenue, New Orleans, LA 504 - 943 - 9914.


Markey's Bar @ 640 Louisa Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 943 - 0785.

Vaughn's Lounge @ 800 Lesseps St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 947 - 5562.

Adolpho's is casual reasonable Creole Italian above the Apple Barrel bar.

Adolpho's @ 611 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 948 - 3800.

Apple Barrel Bar @ 609 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 949- 9399.

College Station...
Destination Expert
for New Orleans
Level Contributor
13,358 posts
2 reviews
6. Re: First time to New Orleans. Need suggestions on things to do

Fact is, the St. Charles Streetcar will not be running between late afternoon March 4 and early morning March 9. Based on this last weekend, because of the late Carnival season everything is going to be packed, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Read as much as you can about Carnival, go with the flow, and have a great time.

Fort Worth, Texas
6 posts
7. Re: First time to New Orleans. Need suggestions on things to do

I am 2 years removed from college but still a college student at heart :) we are all in our mid 20's. Why NO? Mardi Gras of course. haha. I always remember seeing stuff on TV and how crazy it was and figured this is something i MUST experience.

As far as places to eat i love trying places that our unique to the area. Obviously I dont want Burger King since i can get that anywhere.

Now things to do... we do plan on doing our fair share of partying but I don;t know if i can last 4 days in a row of straight drinking from the time i wake up until who knows so we would like to spend a day checking this out. I heard something about haunted tours or the graveyards that is really unqiue and cool to check out.

Now as far as the parade I am thinking like the thanksgiving parade you see on TV in NYC haha. Except Mardi Gras of course... does everyone just camp out on the side walks and watch and drink or how does that work?

Thank you all for the advice!

Mystic, Connecticut
Level Contributor
1,210 posts
6 reviews
8. Re: First time to New Orleans. Need suggestions on things to do

A little more information might be helpful....how many in group? guys? girls? or a mix? Are you planning on having autos?

Here is a good link to parade times and routes....the uptown parades will all come up St. Charles from uptown and will end near but not in the FQ.


Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
500 posts
3 reviews
9. Re: First time to New Orleans. Need suggestions on things to do


You described the PARADE " DECORUM " pretty accurately. There is not only one parade but numerous throughout the week or so prior to FAT TUESDAY. A lot people bring chairs and coolers and sit and watch the parade and/or you can stand around close to the street " to get more involved ". It can get kinda of rowdy at times especially when people are jumping, climbing.shoving ,yelling.screaming,flashing @#$%$ all for a bunch of plastic beads. Be alert because the "Masked Characters" on the floats sometimes really "fire' those beads out at the crowd and you get smacked in the head with a BAG full of flying beads. The huge beads (golf ball size) are more desirable ,Hang on to those they might "pay out "later. Take a bunch home with you because "this Party " will very likely inspire you to have a Mardi Gras party back home. Happy Bead Hunting !!

Kansas City
Level Contributor
5,990 posts
7 reviews
10. Re: First time to New Orleans. Need suggestions on things to do

The Live Music scene in New Orleans is nothing short of amazing!

Clearly, it is a Jazz town and you will find good jazz many places. The Irvin Mayfield lounge in the Royal Sonesta Hotel, Preservation Hall, Clubs on Frenchmen Street, (DBA & Spotted Cat just to name a couple), and other venues too numerous to mention. You may even want to venue out to either Uptown or Bywater to hear Kermit Ruffins or The Rebirth Brass Band.

I am a rabid Blues fan, and there are some good Blues Bands on Bourbon Street too. My personal favorite is Mark Penton & The Pentones, they play Blues and also some awesome Classic Rock. Funky Pirate, 727 Bourbon Street, they play from 4-8 on Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

Another, more traditional Blues Band that I love is Willie "The Hambone" Lockett and the All Purpose Blues Band. You can hear them at Chris Owens Club, 500 Bourbon on Thursdays 9:00-1:00AM and Fridays 7-9. You can also hear them on Sunday & Monday nights at the Funky Pirate from 8:30 to 12.

Big Al Carson is a favorite of many, (although not mine personally), he plays at Funky Pirate Tues-Sat every week from 8:30 to 12 or so. I read another poster say he was more Funk than Blues and I think that is true, but he is very well known.

Cajun and Zydeco are pretty popular in New Orleans, (again, not my personal favorite, except in small doses). The Olde Opry House, 601 Bourbon has The Bonoffs, (whom a lot of posters really like), from 2PM on Fri and Sat and from 5 PM during the week. Right across the street at 602 is the Bayou Club and they have a Cajun/Zydeco band about every night.

Later in the evening you will find Rock cover bands at Old Opry House, some are great and others only average, depends on when you go.

So, you see, there is a lot to choose from, and I just suggested a sampling.

Just a walk down Bourbon Street will help you decide. It is also good for you to know that like many others in New Orleans, musicians are not paid very well and rely on tips to survive. If you are in a bar or club and enjoy the music, please put some money in the jar. They don't charge a cover charge and it is well worth it.