There is something fundamentally special about New Orleans. It is a city set to a soundtrack, making you inevitably feel like the main character in a LaLaLand-esque film, complete with parades of newlyweds and picturesque sunsets. It is truly an incredible place to visit, and I hope this guide helps anyone planning a trip have an amazing time.
Begin at the iconic French Quarter. Know that Royal Street is right next to Bourbon and about a thousand times move lovely.
Enjoy brunch at Broussard's, Brennan's (at both places make sure to have the Bananas Foster), or Two Sister's Court. If you go to Two Sister's Court, try to arrive around 11:15ish. They replace breakfast foods with lunch ones at 11:30, so this way you can sample both meals.
Make your way to Jackson Square. Pick up a delicious frozen latte and some beignets from Café du Monde. They are truly the best.
Do not stop for any person who claims he can tell you "the exact place where you got your shoes." The answer is Bourbon Street (or whatever street you are currently on). He will then polish your shoes with hair conditioner and charge $10. Grrrrr.
Make your way back to Canal Street, and take the trolley to City Park.
Walk around City Park. It is huge, with gardens and amusement parks and mini golf and more.
If you have time, grab a drink on the balcony of Ralph's, which overlooks the park.
Return to French Quarter, taking either the trolley again or an Uber.
Grab dinner at Antoine's, Arnoud's, or restaurant of choice.
Then have fun on a night out in the French Quarter! Frenchman's Street is honestly better than Bourbon, though the Dueling Pianos at Pat O'Brien's was fantastic.
Grab some breakfast at Bakery Bar in the lower Garden District. Chocolate chip cookie beignets? Yes, please. (Note they open at 11am on weekdays. If you're in NOLA during the week, I would just grab coffee and head to the museum for an hour or two and then duck out for a quick bite.)
Then, head to the World War II Museum. It is truly an incredible experience, even for those who don't really enjoy history. There are exhibits where they sort of try to recreate the landscape, like the Ardennes Forest or El Alamein.
For lunch, eat at the museum. This may be sacrilegious, but the Po Boy I had at The American Sector was by far my favorite (*cough* they added avocado *cough*).
After your time at the museum, take a walk around Garden District, where beautiful old houses line the streets and the St. Louis Cemetery is location.
Grab dinner at the Commander's Palace. This was probably my favorite meal in New Orleans, both times I have visited. A particular favorite was the shrimp in pepper jelly, which is also apparently Drew Bree's favorite dish in NOLA.
Finish off with a drink Hot Tin, a beautiful rooftop bar at the top of the Pontchartrain Hotel. It is eclectic and fun with phenomenal drinks and views. Highly highly recommend.
Grab some breakfast, like at Café Beignet or place of choice.
Next, take a ride on the Creole Queen. It takes you down the Mississippi to Chalmette, the field where the Battle of New Orleans took place. The battlefield is very basic, but even if you aren't a history buff, the commentary on the cruise was fantastic. Plus, riding a steamboat down the river was very fun.
Once off the boat, it is only a ten minute walk to the start of Magazine Street. Enjoy lunch at a small cozy place, like District Donuts, Sliders, and Brew. Walk some more and absorb the fun ambience.
Dinner at place of choice. Whether it's back in the French Quarter, or a cute place on the river.
Other favs: the Bullshot at Dickie Brennan's steakhouse was fantastic, as was the grasshopper at Tujague's, which invented the drink.
Disappointments: the Carousel Bar. The bar was crowded, you had to really maneuver to find a seat, and there was no clean up, meaning once you finally found a seat, you would have to deal with napkins and empty glasses.
On the trip down: watch the Netflix documentary on the Brennan food empire called Commanding the Table. Super fun about the woman restauranteuse whose restaurants now dominate the NOLA food scene.