Howdy! When I visited New Orleans in 2017ish, it was Mardi Gras week. While I had a great time, tons of places were closed for the holiday. So, bank on checking out popular attractions before and after Fat Tuesday. Also, a lot of my suggestions are not kid friendly. This is an adult—oriented itinerary, so, head's up!
Arrive. Best not to schedule any reservations for right after, since airlines maintain a realm of chaos. Will you be delayed one hour? Five? Who knows. When you land, go straight to the hotel. Check in, ditch your things in the room, and head back out to explore.
Breakfast: Grab a creole breakfast at Café Beignet on Bourbon Street. The beignets come highly recommended!
Morning Activity: Explore the French Quarter! Enjoy the old world vibe of cobblestone streets and tiny shoppes.
Lunch: Grab a poboy for lunch at Killer PoBoys!
Afternoon Activity: Check out the Museum of Death! Never to early to learn about the great beyond!
Dinner: Grab a bite at Antoine's Restaurant, the oldest restaurant in New Orleans! Definitely make a reservation as they fill up!
Evening Activity: Catch a ghost tour! Learn a little history while getting your spook on!
Breakfast: Grab breakfast at the Ruby Slipper Café!
Morning Activity: Visit Mardi Gras World! Don't let Big Calendar limit when you celebrate! They host team building activities, events, and allow for self guided tours. Don't worry—they've got signs showing the way! Don't forget to take a ton of pictures!
Lunch: Grab a bite at Stanley! I highly recommend the croquettes!
Dinner: Enjoy a nice, sit down meal at Muriel's Jackson Square. They're a little ritzy so no tank tops or hats, but they have live music. You're going to want to make a reservation because they fill up!
Evening Activity: Visit Pat O'Brien's, one of the oldest bars in the city! Don't forget to order a Hurricane, a popular cocktail in New Orleans. It's pretty loaded so pace yourself!
Lunch: Grab brunch at Atchafalaya!
Afternoon Activity: Explore Uptown New Orleans and the Garden District! This is especially fun in spring when the flowers are in bloom.
Evening Activity & Dinner: Take a Jazz Cruise on the Steam Boat Natchez! Make sure to include the dinner option, and enjoy your night on the water!
Pack up your room, and make sure you're not forgetting anything before checking out. The concierge might print out your boarding pass so it's worth it to ask. Try and eat before you get to the airport for a better value meal. Get home safe!
If you wanna visit for Mardi Gras—that's great! Have the best time! But in that case, base your itinerary off of what parades you want to see the most. They start days before Fat Tuesday, and there can be more than one parade at a time, in different neighborhoods, so you need a game plan. For the bigger parades, folks camp out in the best spots for hours beforehand, like sneaker aficionados waiting for a new limited-edition pair outside of Footlocker.
I can not stress enough how not-kid-friendly the French Quarter is Mardi Gras night. Picture men in thongs and women either topless or with painted breasts. The cobblestones are drenched in liquid and it's definitely not water. The only vehicles in the French Quarter, the day of, are ambulances. Police are on horse-back so there is the occasional horse-pie, even before the debauchery really gets going. You'll want to wear closed toe shoes that you don't mind throwing out the next day. I'm not here to judge. If you want to be partially-clad, do so only on Fat Tuesday night and only in the French Quarter, otherwise indecency laws will be enforced. Do not provoke angst from police officers (and do not engage with the religious extremist protestors). Don't get into fights. If you get arrested, you'll be locked up until the fun is long over. Everybody, but the police, are off for the holiday, which includes judges. Have fun but be safe. Wherever there is a mass gathering of drunk people, there are pick pockets. The more aware you are of your surroundings, the better. If that means having a designated sober person, so be it.
Thanks for stopping by. I drop a new blog post every Monday. Toodles!