New Orleans is a city with soul. It doesn't get much more vibrant than Mardi Gras, of course, but then there are also the bold colors of the French quarter, the bands in bustling late night dives, and its rich creole and Cajun cuisines. This is a place made for excess, celebration and passion before everything. After all, it’s the hometown of Louis Armstrong.
If you find yourself in New Orleans for a business trip or work conference, chances are, after spending Thursday and Friday in stuffy meetings, you’re ready for live music, French 75s, and Oysters Rockefeller. And have them, you will.
Here’s how we suggest you make the most of 24 hours in NOLA before getting back on the plane. Because it’s this free day spent exploring that makes those early flights, jet lag and layovers worth it.
9 a.m. - Nosh on some beignets
It’s touristy, but it’s also delicious, so let go of your pride: start your morning by stopping into Café du Monde for a classic cafe au lait and an order of powdery, deep-fried beignets. Or, if you’re really attached to staying off the beaten path, head to Morning Call for your beignets instead. We don’t care much as long as you’re indulging.
9:30 a.m. - Take a carriage ride
From du Monde, cross the street to take one of the many horse-drawn carriage tours, which start in front of Jackson Square. It’s an elegant start to the day ahead.
10:30 a.m. - Admire the Mississippi
Take a leisurely walk up and down the Riverwalk and through Woldenberg Park where you’ll enjoy great views of the Mississippi. Because you know how to spell it (M-I-S-S-I…), but have you actually ever seen it in all its glory?
11:30 a.m. - Pick up some surprise souvenirs
Hop in your rental car to make a quick stop at the Insectarium’s gift shop, where you’ll be able to pick up some chocolate-covered crickets. Try one (we dare you) or pack them in your carry-on as souvenirs for your less squeamish friends.
Noon - Break for lunch (and a vacation martini)
Still hungry? Head to Commander’s Palace for lunch to enjoy 25-cent martinis and New Orleans’ famous turtle soup.
1:15 p.m. – Get a little morbid
Talk a walk through Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 to see all the above-ground graves and ancient tombstones. A bit morbid, yes, but also hauntingly beautiful (pun intended).