Your Ultimate New Orleans Bucket List

Discover the perfect itinerary to the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Get to know this cajun paradise while enjoying great food, drinks and sights. Welcome to your ultimate New Orleans Bucket List!

New Orleans is always a good idea. Whether you have a long weekend or a more extended amount of time to explore, you will enjoy the Big Easy! Founded by the French in 1718, New Orleans is known for its nightlife, music and cuisine reflecting its unique history blending French, African and American cultures.

Starting with where to stay, I’ll walk you through the best places to grab a bite, and sights you must see. I’ll include all the things I’ve personally experienced, and those still on my New Orleans bucket list (because I know I’ll never be done visiting this magical city!).

For a fast itinerary, scroll to the end of this post to find all my favorite things to do in New Orleans! Or download the Google map below to save all of my recommended locations in one place.

Visit New Orleans: WHERE TO STAY

There are so many fun neighborhoods to call home when visiting New Orleans. If it’s your first time, I would recommend staying close to the French Quarter so you can walk to most of the bucket list sites. If you have visited a time or two, I also love Uptown or the Garden District to be closer to all the good food and shopping on Magazine street.

Two specific stays I have really enjoyed in New Orleans were the Eliza Jane hotel, and a Sonder. Sonder is like a mix of a hotel and an Airbnb, giving you the best of both worlds. Our first experience with Sonder was in New Orleans, and we have nothing but good things to say! We liked the safety of being in a secure building similar to a hotel, but the room was larger and more personalized similar to an Airbnb. They are also fairly priced.

We stayed at 1500 Canal Street in the Central Business District. The Sonder shares the lobby with the Jung Hotel, but the Sonder side was cheaper and more like an apartment than a hotel. There is plenty of space, and in room laundry making it feel more homey. You can also take the Streetcar from the stop right outside your door all the way down Canal Street to the riverfront and French Quarter (if a mile walk is a bit too far for you).

If you prefer a hotel, the location and aesthetic of the Eliza Jane hotel can’t be beat. It is a Hyatt boutique hotel, also located in the Central Business district on Magazine Street. In walking distance to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, there is little need for a car. The rooms are spacious with comfortable beds, a snazzy hotel bar and two restaurants attached.

Visit New Orleans: EAT

This list is by no means exhaustive, and when it comes to New Orleans it is almost hard to find a bad meal. I’ll highlight some tried and true favorites, as well as a few more I plan to try in the future.


 Café Du Monde: A tourist’s paradise, you must try a café au lait with an order of beignets at least once in your life. There are multiple locations throughout the city, and you can expect long lines at them all. I would recommend the one on Decateur, but have yet to have a bad beignet at any location.

What exactly is a beignet? Think of a warm, fluffy funnel cake with lots of powdered sugar. Café Du Monde has been serving them up since 1862.

Things to Do in New Orleans

Couvant: Couvant is the French inspired restaurant connected to the lobby of the Eliza Jane hotel. Complete with a matching boho chic aesthetic, we enjoyed Sunday brunch here!

La Petite Grocery: A yummy find on Magazine street with a few menu items worth highlighting that we enjoyed during a Saturday lunch- blue crab beignets and turtle bolognese (yes, it is made with turtle meat and was good!). They also serve a Sunday brunch.

Tout De Suite Cafe: If you decide to venture to Algiers Point and take the ferry across the Mississippi River (more on that later), you’ll find a charming neighborhood cafe serving French and cajun inspired breakfast and lunch.

Things to Do in New Orleans
BLT with tomato soup- the perfect January lunch!


Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar: Felix’s is my favorite place for creole seafood right in the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter. Start with amazing freshly shucked oysters, and end with etouffe, gumbo, red beans and rice, or a po’boy. They do the classics right, and in a greasy spoon style diner there’s just enough age to know it’s tried and true (since the 1940’s to be exact).

Things to Do in New Orleans

Cafe Amelie: We had a perfect date night here! Right on Royal Street in the French Quarter, there is a wonderful patio for al fresco dining (as well as an air conditioned interior if its a bit hot and muggy for your liking). Enjoy an array of elevated Louisiana cuisine in a romantic setting.

Juan’s Flying Burrito: If you find yourself craving a break from Louisiana style food (which is unlikely, but I write to serve everyone), Juan’s Flying Burrito has excellent “creole tinged Tex-Mex”. Stop by for a unique margarita or burrito!

Things to Do in New Orleans

Places Still on my New Orleans Food Bucket List

Napolean House: A 200 year old landmark in the French Quarter serving muffulettas, po’boys, and other staples

Saba: casual farm to table middle eastern food with family style dining and a patio, perfect for a weekend lunch or weeknight dinner!

Elysian Bar: A bar in Hotel Peter & Paul open to walk ins for a cocktail and bar bites!

San Lorenzo: For fine dining seafood in Hotel Saint Vincent, San Lorenzo comes highly recommended!

Coquette: upscale creole inspired small plates with short rib to rave about!

Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar: A popular seafood spot for brunch, happy hour and dinner offering frozen beverages, lobster mac, crawfish beignets, and crawfish cornbread (just to name a few menu highlights!)

As always, check the menu for all recommendations before you go, consider reservations, and confirm opening hours.

Visit New Orleans: DRINK

A few of our favorite spots on Bourbon Street are Pat O’Brien’s, The Beach, Boot Scootin’ Rodeo and the Carousel Bar in Hotel Monteleone.

Pat O’Brien’s is a classic with a famous juicy rum Hurricane everyone should try at least once!

Beach on Bourbon is a fun indoor/outdoor bar with a good atmosphere and our favorite spot to go to before sporting events.

Boot Scootin’ Rodeo is a saloon style bar with country music, an electrical bull, and access to an upstairs patio. Getting a bird’s eye view of Bourbon Street is always a must. No better people watching exists.

The Carousel Bar in Hotel Monteleone is a great stop for a cocktail while yes, riding a carousel around the hotel bar indoors!

A local recommendation if you’ve had enough of the sights and sounds of Bourbon Street is Frenchman’s Street. You can still find local live music, jazz and drinks with less of a rowdy crows. The Spotted Cat Music Club is a favorite.

Visit New Orleans: THINGS TO DO

Jackson Square: You must visit this 2.5 acre space in the French Quarter designated a National Historic Landmark. Named after General Andrew Jackson (whose statue is pictured in front of the cathedral), the square is always bustling with street performers, live music, and an open air art colony that sets up along the iron fence on all 4 sides of the square.

St. Louis Cathedral: Overlooking Jackson Square, The Cathedral of St. Louis IX King of France is the oldest Catholic cathedral in the country. Open daily from 9:00- 4:00 pm, you can view the inside of the cathedral and learn more about its history.

Things to Do in New Orleans

Canal Place Shopping: Where else can you enjoy a Fat Tuesday Daiquiri while shopping? This shopping mall is centrally located on the riverfront, a short walk down from Jackson Square.

City Park: If you need an escape from the city, you can find it here. City Park boasts the largest grove of mature live oaks in the world, some of which are almost 800 years old. With 1,300 acres of green space, it’s one of the largest urban parks in the country. And they have a Café du Monde… win/win.

Things to Do in New Orleans

Ferry to Algiers Point: If you have the time, taking the ferry across the Mississippi River to Algiers Point is a fun way to visit a quiet suburb of New Orleans est. in 1719. Algiers Point sits directly across the river from the French Quarter. You can take the Algiers Point ferry from Canal Street, next to the Audubon Aquarian. Tickets only cost $2 each way.

Crescent City Books: If you are in the mood for an independent bookstore, Crescent City Books is for you. Selling an impressive collection of new, used, out-of print books and antique original maps and prints you are sure to find something as you browse!

Bonus Bucket List Item: You may be privileged enough to participate in a Second Line parade. A cultural part of New Orleans history, modern Second Lines are parades in celebration after a wedding or funeral involving the first or main line, a brass band, and the “second line” of participants dancing through the streets of the city. If you don’t get to be a part of one, you may be lucky enough to spot one going by!

Bonus: Getting Around

If you are looking for a fun way to get to the Big Easy, you may be near an Amtrak station to ride a train down! Living in Memphis, we have Central Station that takes you straight down to New Orleans in about 8-9 hours, no transfers necessary. The line continues north all the way to Chicago as well. This is a cheaper option that flying, and a bit longer than driving but without the stress of navigating and parking. If you want more information on my Amtrak experience, you can read all about it here.

New Orleans Travel “Fast Itinerary”



-Eliza Jane Hotel


–Cafe Du Monde


–La Petite Grocery

-Tout De Suite Cafe

-Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar

-Cafe Amelie

-Juan’s Flying Burrito

-Napolean House


-Elysian Bar

-San Lorenzo


-Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar


–Pat O’Brien’s

–Beach on Bourbon

-Boot Scootin’ Rodeo

-The Carousel Bar

The Spotted Cat Music Club


–Jackson Square

–St. Louis Cathedral

-Canal Place Shopping

-City Park

-Algiers Point

–Crescent City Books

-Participate in a Second Line Parade

I hope this guide helps you plan your next trip to New Orleans! We’ve covered all the good bucket list items to check out, and gone over plenty of food recommendations to guide your journey. Enjoy all the wonderful creole food and fresh seafood!

Enjoy the Journey,

things to do in new orleans

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my other travel guides here!


-Portsmouth, New Hampshire

-Acadia National Park, Maine

-Portland, Maine

-Newport, Rhode Island


-Memphis, Tennessee

Oxford, Mississippi

-Shreveport, Louisiana

-New Orleans, Louisiana

-The Florida Keys

-Miami, Florida


-Green Bay, Wisconsin

-Branson, Missouri

-Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

-Omaha, Nebraska


-Bozeman, Montana

-Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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