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The ultimate Improper Adult destination: New Orleans. The colors, the drinks, the culture…everything screams fun. Where pleasure is preferred.
While there’s much that people know about Nola, there is also a lot to discover. You can always find something new to do, no matter how many times you travel there. Water sports, dining, parks, tours, drinks, museums. It is America’s fantasyland.
Bars that never close, drinks to be savored on the streets, the birth place of jazz pumping through your veins...all of this leads to one great party.
This is the place where partying takes precedence over riches. While best spent with more money than you need, you can also take this trip on a whim.
A place where you can be yourself; let your imagination run wild. A place where no one judges. A place you need to visit.
Taking in all the sights can be overwhelming, so here are some of our favorites worth seeing.
Museums are a must when going to New Orleans. Though it may seem like something you would do on a different vacation, don’t dismiss it here. The culture surrounding this city will leave you wanting to learn more.
The Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes & Culture, located in the French Quarter, is a great way to see all the traditions that New Orleans offers. Just $12, this museum won’t break the bank. It includes a self-guided tour, the costume closet, and mask making. You can wander into the three great rooms to see all of the jewelry and colors of the gowns and costumes, while also stopping by their costume closet for the ultimate selfie. Dress up and play as you did when you were little. Plus, there is mask making. If you prefer to keep the purse strings tight, forego the tour and peek to the left into their gift shop, featuring everything New Orleans, designed from local artisans. OPEN 10AM-5PM Monday through Saturday.
Another favorite of ours in The National WWII Museum, originally founded as The National D-Day Museum in 2000. An unforgettable way to experience World War II (www.louisianatravel.com). One of the top five museums to visit in the country, according to Trip Advisor, this second floor historical experience uses personal stories to bring to light the heroism and sacrifice of the war. They are located at 945 Magazine Street.
Another awesome historical museum to visit is the Confederate Museum on Camp Street. It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, museums in the state. Displaying swords, flags, and memorabilia from Robert E Lee and Jefferson Davis, along with countless other soldiers, this museum is one of a kind. There is a different atmosphere about this place than found at other museums. But it will intrigue the historical buff in all of us.
The Southern Food & Beverage Museum was our favorite. Its sole purpose is to discover and celebrate the food and drink culture of the South. There are scheduled tastings and demonstrations from local and national chefs, home cooks, and bartenders. Their Pantry or gift shop area offers handmade gifts and culinary specialties, plus oodles of food magazines, books, and cookbooks. The best part about this experience is that it is only $10.50. Take a stop at the museum bar and restaurant. You won’t be sorry.
Other museums to pique your fancy are the Amistad Research Center, Louisiana ArtWorks, the New Orleans African-American Museum, and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
New Orleans can be family friendly too. Some great locations to see include the Louis Armstrong Park (pictured at right), located between the French Quarter and the Tremé. Dedicated to the king of jazz, this park is filled with festive statues, arches, bridges, and waterfalls. The greenery makes it gorgeous, the jazz events make it fun.
Another fun, child-friendly location offering free music is the Lafayette Square. Originally known as Place Gravier, it is a local gathering hot spot for all ages.
The Moonwalk Park fronts the river with a view of sloth moving tug boats and giant ships. If you step to the viewing platform, you will see the picturesque view of Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral.
There is also the Riverwalk behind the Riverwalk Mall. Pleasant scenes with plaques about the history of the river trade line the path.
Take a gander at the City Park. Paddle boats, kayaks, and multi-person bike rentals are offered by the turtle and duck filled pond in the front. Travel further into the park to find the Visitor Center and Botanical Gardens. Sculpture Gardens, Mini Golf, and the Tennis Complex make this park a must for any vacation plans. But it doesn’t end there. Carousel Gardens/Amusement park and Storyland are a great way to entertain the kiddos. Daily train rides, playgrounds, walking paths, and grills make this park superb.
The Musée Conti Wax Museum is a fun establishment for all to enjoy. Wax figures of heroes, monsters, historical persons, and the like are all placed throughout this museum on 917 Conti Street.
Make it an Audubon Day and visit the Audubon Zoo on uptown Magazine Street. Besides the zoo animals, it also features a wild and wet splash park with a lazy river. Still looking for the swimming aspect, check out the Audubon Aquarium of the Americans where you can snorkel or dive in the Great Maya Reef. Located next to the aquarium is the Entergy Giant Screen Theater with 2D and 3D entertainment. And finally visit the Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectrium on Canal Street. Further information can be found at www.audubonnatureinstitute.org.
Located an hour from New Orleans is the Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery in Covington, LA. It is the only licensed alligator ranch in Louisiana that is open for guided tours. They offer group discounts (15+) and are open year-round. Watch live feedings and see alligators swim from protected walkways. Your tour will give you a hands-on opportunity to learn about the alligator industry in Louisiana as well as conservation and wetland preservation.
One of the best things about New Orleans is of course the French Quarter. The all-night party and southern flavors mixed with a little voodoo and jazz are what draws crowds in the thousands each day.
The wrought iron balconies, close proximity, architecture, and the variety of shops, bars, museums, and restaurants are a culture all their own. The House of Blues, Spirits on Bourbon, Victoria’s Designer Shoes, Keil’s Antiques, Bywater Art Market, Chartres House, Maskarade, Big Easy Daiquiris, and Café Beignet are all some of our favorites.
You just need to walk around and experience it for yourself. Stop in the shops, eat the food, and sip the drinks. The one spot we will try to force you to go to is Crescent City Brewhouse. They are the only brew pub in New Orleans. They have the best foods, views, and atmosphere, not to mention the best bloody mary that we have ever tasted. They are located at 527 Decatur Street.
If self-exploration isn’t your thing, try taking a tour. There are literally tons to choose from. Albeit pricy, a great option is the MYU Helicopter Tour. The tour will fly you over downtown New Orleans, the area swamps and Mississippi River, the French Quarter, and the Superdome at night. Call 985-785-9688 for details.
Another unique experience is to go to the neighboring city of Slidell for take a Honey Island Swamp Tour. Tours start at $23. Their boats are U.S. Coast Guard certified and will take you deep into the swamp to see fishing camps along the West Pearl River along with the area swamp animal residents.
The Plantation Parade on the Great River Road is a fun historical tour to take as well, only a short drive from New Orleans. The plantations include the San Francisco, Oak Alley, and Houmas House Plantations, as well as the Laura: A Creole Plantation.
The Cajun Encounters Tour Co. also offers a plantation tour, as well as walking tours and city bus tours. The bus tours include: the French Quarter, French Market, Frenchmen Street, Tremé, City Park, Garden District, Museum District, Jackson Square, Saint Louis Cathedral, Creole Mansions, Antebellum Mansions, and cemeteries. Choose a morning tour and get coffee and beignets, a mid-day tour and see the 9th Ward, or an afternoon tour and visit the Seven-Three Distillery.
However, some of the best tours aren’t those that show architecture and historical monuments, but those that tell of the dark secrets surrounding America’s most haunted city.
Gray Line’s Ghosts and Spirits Walking Tour takes you to New Orleans’ most haunted hotel along with other historical sites documented by paranormal investigators. The tour starts at 7:30pm, reservations required.
The New Orleans Vampire Tour that starts nightly at 8:30pm in front of the St. Louis Cathedral charges only $25. It is a tour like no other.
There is also the New Orleans Ghost Tour that takes you around the French Quarter. It is also just $25.
Finally, there is the New Orleans Cemetery Tour. This is a must when you take a trip to Nola. As the city is below sea level, the tombs are above ground. They are a sight to see. The tour will take you to the resting place of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.
For all of these tours call 504-861-2727 or visit www.neworleansghosttour.com for more details. Reservations are highly recommended.
Don’t miss out on the New Orleans Scandal Tour, Voodoo Tour, or Garden District Ghost & Legends Tour. All are spectacular events that you will want to see.
Our absolute favorite tour to take was Haunted Pub Crawl. Take an intoxicatingly spirited tour of the French Quarter, and get loaded on ghost stories while you remain under the influence of New Orleans’ very best tour guides! (www.hauntedhistorytours.com) Tours start nightly at 5:30pm and 8:15pm at Rev. Zombie’s Voodoo Shop.
While staying in New Orleans can be pricy, it is a must if you plan on drinking in the French Quarters. There is lodging located right there so you can walk back when needed. The Lafitte Guest House is a reasonably priced manor-style house located on the corner of Bourbon Street.
Just steps from the French Quarter is the Melrose Mansion. This is a renovated Victorian mansion turned B&B. This mid-scale price range includes breakfast in the mornings.
If you are looking to splurge a little on your stay in Nola, try the New Orleans Marriott Hotel located on Canal Street. It is a 41-story building that will give you views of the Mighty Mississippi, downtown, and the French Quarter.
Just outside of New Orleans is the Nottoway Plantation Resort located in White Castle, Louisiana. This is the perfect location for those wanting to take in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge. This resort offers an outdoor pool & cabana, tennis courts, lounge, fitness center, hair & nail salon, and a full-service restaurant. They offer guided mansion tours and are located close to The Island Golf Course.
While there is so much to do and see in New Orleans from O’Flaherty’s Irish Channel Pub to the Superdome, we can promise you that you will never be bored on this vacation.
Be a proper adult and plan out your itinerary or go on a whim and have a blast. Either way, you won’t regret going to New Orleans!