To see a video going over what to do outside Bourbon Street - click here! For more information about the crypts click here.
Sunday, June 14th, 2020
Distance: 5.5 miles
We landed in New Orleans and took an Uber to our hotel (or what should have been our hotel). Being as this was during the early stages of COVID-19, many places were still closed, the hotel we booked being one of them. Apparently the company was only advertising this specific hotel with the hope they could get enough traffic to reopen- they couldn’t. They ended up sending us to one of their sister hotels, which was further away from the French quarter than we had hoped, but I guess at least we still had a reservation.
Once we got that all figured out we headed over to Eat Nola for a quick bite. After waiting for quite some time to be seated, we saw that the cook was serving as the waiter, and busboy. Forgivingly the service wasn’t great, but the meat and jam were really good! We tried to go back another time to get more jam, but with New Orleans phasing into reopening restaurants, they were only open on the weekends during that time.
After eating, we wandered aimlessly around the French Quarter to get a lay of the land. We had been told that Bourbon street was a never ending party, and the town was typically packed with people and live music. However, this was not our experience because of the time we went, so the place was a ghost town. We ended up at Cafe Beignet; they are listed as one of the better beignets in the city, but we thought they were just alright. We are also pretty inexperienced when it comes to beignets, but this treat did not blow our minds.
Our wandering continued as we ended up strolling all the way down to the Mississippi River. It was a nice view, with a long paved walkway that appeared popular with runners.
We had decided early on that we would find ourselves some gumbo while in New Orleans; to our dismay, many restaurants were still closed so we weren’t able to have as large of a selection of restaurants as we had hoped. We found a restaurant that was open called New Orleans Creole Cookery after striking out on places like Gumbo Ya Ya. They had a cute patio with a fountain. We ordered jambalaya and gumbo. Turns out, we do not like gumbo. The jambalaya wasn’t bad, but it’s a fairly safe staple.
After the gumbo experience, we were feeling like we needed a palette cleanser so we stopped at Kilwins for some ice cream. Given that the shop is right at the edge of the town between Jackson Square and the Mississippi River, the price for a cone did not equate to the quality of the ice cream, which was average. But the shop had many different desserts and little candies.
Monday, June 15, 2020
Distance: 4 Miles
We got up early to catch the sunrise over Jackson Square. The Square was closed for repairs; this was also during the protests, so that may have contributed to the closure. After cruising around the perimeter of Jackson Square, we went to Envie for coffee and breakfast. Throughout our time in New Orleans, we had limited choices of restaurants due to COVID- 19 closures; some places were closed for good, some had odd hours or were only open on weekends. We had found Envie and were pleased with the location as well as selection of coffee and food. We try to avoid going to chains because we like to experience the local places, but we did find that there at least two of almost every restaurant in New Orleans.
After Envie, we walked a few streets down to Cafe Du Monde for more beignets and live music. This was a fun experience because we had yet to catch any live music since arriving. The beignets were also good here, and the popular thing to do is order a chicory coffee to dip your beignet in. The coffee is bitter so it balances the very sweet beignet. However, we didn’t learn about this tip until our second go around here.
After filling ourselves with two breakfasts, we went back to the hotel for a bit to get some work done and figure out the rest of our day.
Around lunch time, we decided to go for a stroll through Louis Armstrong Park. There were many statues throughout the park with explanations of the history behind them. The park looked as if it was very well maintained, and had a ton of greenery and magnolia trees; it’s a serene place in the middle of a busy city.
Another thing we wanted to try was muffulettas, so for lunch we sought out a little shop called Albertos in the French Market that was open and sold them as well as other small plates and wine. The muffulettas went over better than the gumbo, but we also got a tuna sandwich that was probably the best out of the three. Nearby in the park there was some live music, so we hung out there for a bit and enjoyed ourselves before heading back to the hotel to work some more and freshen up. The heat and humidity in this city is no joke.
In the evening we ventured back out to Frenchmen Street since we heard this is where the locals go and attempted to find something for dinner. We came across a sushi spot, Royal Sushi, that had outdoor seating and no wait. Sushi in New Orleans is basically what you would expect, but it wasn’t bad.
After sushi we walked over to Amorino (which is also a chain) for some gelato; it was pretty good! On our way back to our hotel we cruised through Bourbon Street and stopped at Tropical Isle for a famous “hand grenade”, because when in NOLA.
Tuesday, June 16th, 2020
Distance: 7.5 Miles
It served us so well we headed back to Cafe Envie for breakfast. We then headed back Cafe du Monde. The frist time we went we didn’t do it “right”. We didn’t get the chicory coffee or dip the beignets in it like we were supposed to so we had to try again. I don’t know if it’d recommend it but you should give it a shot and let me know which one you like! We then needed to grab some real coffee and went to French Truck Coffee which I recommend.
One of the most iconic things to do while in New Orleans is to check out the cemeteries. Graveyards are built above ground out of necessity because New Orleans was built on wet swampy land. I do have a video that goes into more depth about this and recommend you check that out if you are interested.
An easy and cheap way to get around the city is to take the trolley. This is exactly what we took to get to City Park which is a massive park with a mix of man made and natural attractions.
We continued riding the trolley and headed out to the Garden District. If you are looking with the quintessential southern look this is where you will find it. They have you large mansions, mature trees, and gardens and parks around. When we got there we went to Stein Market to grab some sandwiches and waited in line since it was a popular place and went over to Clay Square to eat. On the way out of the Garden District we stopped by Lafayette Cemetery.
We made our way back to the hotel to enjoy some AC before going to Landry’s Seafood which has rooftop dining and a nice view of the Mississippi river.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Distance: 4.5 Miles
We wanted to try and spice up breakfast so we went to Daisy Duke’s which was a standard cheap dinner. We had a mid day flight out so we packed before cruising through the French quarter one last time and grabbing lunch at Albertos.
New Orleans Nuggets
Things To Do: 5/10
If you find yourself within the French Quarter the main things to do are rage on Bourbon St. and listen to live music. There are also things like going on the steam boat, enjoying the architecture or trying to cuisine. But, given the time of our visit there wasn't a lot of live music to be found which limited one of the main reasons to go.
Once you get out of the French Quarter you can do things like visit the National Jazz Museum, see the cemeteries, check out the parks and go on plantation or swamp tours. We did as much as we good but it didn't seem to be a whole lot to do and often found ourselves wandering for the sake of something to do.
When we went there were limited options for restaurants and nothing really blew us away. Plus, if you stay within the French Quarter everything is super expensive since it is a touristy area and we didn't think the price matched the quality of the food. One thing you will notice is that in the French Quarter a lot of restaurants have multiple location which I feel limits the diversity and options. I did think Cafe Envie, the beignets, and Eat Nola were the saving grace with the coffee.
Getting Around: 8/10
If you are in the French Quarter you can easily walk any where you want and if you need a break there will be a bar nearby. We also found the trolley really cheap and easy to use to explore different neighborhoods.
I fully will admit this ranking is simply off my own experience. I have talked to several people who loved New Orleans and was the reason I wanted to go. But while I was there I didn't find the food to be that great of there to be a lot of things to do that I was necessarily interested in. In a different circumstance I would have loved to listen to music as it filled the streets as we were cruising around or even caught a show or two. I think I'll have to go back to see the city in full swing!
Non-Obvious New Orleans Recommendations:
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I'm Jake, a dude interested in personal finance and travel creating the life I choose.
In 5 years I went from living in a basement with Craigslist roommates to paying off 90k of debt, backpacking 3 continents, getting a house for myself and 5 rental units.
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