New Orleans is one of those places that everyone should experience at least once. The city is fabulous and is so much more than just the party scene on Bourbon St and the French Quarter.
Stephanie, my wife and I went through the website Airbnb.com. This was the first time we have used Airbnd and the experience went off smoothly. We found a privately owned apartment in the French Quarter. The hostess was very accommodating and no problems occurred. We reserved out apartment in mid-February for a reservation in late February. This was the off-season about a week after Mardi Gras.
Unless you are a party animal who totally wants to abuse your body, I would avoid Mardi Gras. I lived in New Orleans for 3 years back in the 80s and experienced 3 of them. One was enough. I had a fabulous time but you can’t see the real New Orleans with all the chaos going on.
Stephanie and I spent a Thursday to Monday. Here are a few things we recommend to have a great time and get a good flavor (pun intended) of the city.
1. French Quarter
This is a no brainer but it has to be listed. Spend at least a day and walk around the “Quarta” as the locals call it and just see the sites. A section of Bourbon St. is the party area and starts rockin from happy hour to about 4:00 AM.
Close to the River Front is Jackson Square and the Market. Stephanie and I are from South Carolina. She says that the French Quarter looks like Charleston married to Myrtle Beach. Ouch. Actually she said that the first day before we got out of the quarter.
Be sure and find the street musicians. They are all over the place.
2. Street Car Tour
The New Orleans street car is the best deal in the city. You can pay 3 bucks and get an all day pass. This will take you along Canal St (adjacent to the French Quarter) and down to the river. The best route is down St Charles Ave. through the Garden District and then to Uptown and the Tulane University area. You can get on and off at any point, take photos, grab food and drinks.
A great place to go is O’Henrys near the intersection of St. Charles and Carrolton right after the Street Car takes a hard right onto Carrolton. The lady who owns it is a true native and has some great stories on Hurricane Katrina and the history of New Orleans. She is also one of the most knowledgeable NFL fans I have met.
3. Rent a Car and tour the Garden District and Uptown
I always recommend renting a car regardless of what country or city you are in. I don’t want to miss a thing and you can cover so much more ground with an automobile. We rented from Enterprise and it was the deal of the century. Twenty nine bucks for a day that included picking us up and dropping us off afterwards.
We drove through the Garden District. The architecture is amazing and it goes on for block after block and mile after mile.
We also cruised Magazine St. which has some great retail shops and restaurants. It is kind of the bohemian area of New Orleans.