The US – for many people it’s a place without a lot of culture or old buildings. And it’s true, especially being from Europe, where you can find gorgeous houses from hundreds of years ago on almost every corner.
But then I came to New Orleans. And even though the houses there might “only” be around 150 years old, they still have a unique charm to it. But that’s not everything that fascinated me about this city.
Just like in Dublin, you can walk down the streets and find (Jazz)Bands playing on every corner. How beautiful is that? I could get lost listening to every one of those bands but that would mean I couldn’t explore more of this beautiful city.
But what is there to see?
First, obviously, the French Quarter. Not only is this the home to all those music artists that set up their instruments just outside a shop or restaurant but it also has the most gorgeous buildings with balconies that made me wish I could just get a good book, sit down on one of them and never leave again.
At the French Quarter, you can do a ghost tour, because apparently New Orleans is full of ghosts.
At Muriel’s, a restaurant just right at Jackson’s Square, they even set a table for a ghost on the side of the stairs, because they’ve been told, it could help them save their struggling business – and it did!
Besides that, there are a lot of great restaurants and little boutiques around there. I have to say, this is another charm that New Orleans has – around the most touristy areas, there are (almost) no commercial shops as you might know them from around big (American) cities but a lot of little, more independent boutiques that make shopping way more fun!
Just down the road from Jackson’s Square there’s the French Market, a market that offers various foods to try (alligator on a stick anyone?) and little stalls full of souvenirs, jewelry and other treasures. Needless to say that there are great restaurants around there as well! We tried out BB King’s Blues Café and got to listen to an awesome jazz band while we ate Shrimps and Grits. Worth it!
The French Quarter is also home to the famous Bourbon Street, a place that reminded me a little bit of Hamburg’s Reeperbahn but maybe a bit more trashy. Which makes it even more fun. If I lived in New Orleans I don’t think I’d go there for a night out but it was still really cool to see, especially because we celebrated a Bachelorette party there. Everyone’s running around with their plastic cups filled with sweet frozen drinks or cheap beer, dancing to live music in bars and getting pizza, fried chicken or hot dogs on their way home.
My second favourite part of this city is the Garden District with their breathtaking victorian houses and Magazine Street, where you can get lost shopping in – yet again – small boutiques. I loved Francesca’s and Naaz, both located close to Washington Street, because they are full of pretty clothes that are not even too expensive.
If you’re not that into shopping and just want to look at the beautiful houses around there, the streetcar is the best way to do it. It’s only $3 and it takes you all the way down Saint Charles Street where you can already find pretty impressive houses. Obviously you can get off at any time and stroll around the whole district to see even more of them or snap some pictures.
If you want to see some of the commercial mainstream stores after all and you are in for a bargain, you should check out the Riverwalk Mall, which is an outlet mall that includes stores like Forever21 or American Eagle. From there on, you can walk down the Mississippi for a bit and enjoy the harbour-y touch. You can also take a boat cruise around the river, which we didn’t do (too much to do, too little time I guess) but it’s supposed to be great!
Well, I guess this is my little guide to New Orleans. I was only there for a few days because of my friend’s wedding, so unfortunately I didn’t get to see everything or dive even more into exploring different areas or nice restaurants, cafés and bars.
I still gotta say, New Orleans made it to my Top 3 favourite American cities for sure!