Living Big Travel

Living Big Travel Blog

Travel tips, guides, and real life stories to inspire your next adventure. Go explore! 

My NOLA -- top 5 for a first-time visit

New Orleans has a spirit that is downright contagious. It’s fly-by-your-seat fun, carefree, anything goes, and embodies the spirit of ‘why not?’ and ‘the more the merrier.’ It’s so contagious that I find myself in New Orleans every few years for a long weekend away.

If New Orleans is on your travel wish list, here are my top five experiences for a first-time visit. AND — if you want to do all these things and more in 2018, join me on a Living Big adventure to good ole’ NOLA in March 2018. Click here to learn all about this women’s adventure.


#1: take a cruise on the St. Charles Streetcar
For $1.25 (exact change paid in cash on board) take a stroll through the charming Garden District. Hop off along the way to explore historic mansions, rooftop bars and the great restaurants and shops on Magazine Street. Streetcar Information 

#2: visit the National WW2 Museum
This museum is done SO WELL! There are multiple buildings, but if you have to prioritize your time I’d recommend you take time going through ‘The Road to Tokyo’ and ‘The Road to Berlin’ to learn about both fronts of the war. And the 4D movie, ‘Beyond All Boundaries’ is pretty spectacular. Museum Information

#3: craft your own food crawl
Spend some time researching restaurants, bars, and cafes. Look for the new ‘it’ spots (Eater NOLA is a good resource) and also look into famous institutions such as Cafe Du Monde for beignets, The Carrousel Bar inside Hotel Monteleone for sazerac cocktail, etc. Once you have all the locations on a map, pick one part of town and then hop from one place to the next. Remember, you have a few places to go – so pace yourself, and tackle a new area of town each day.

#4: experience live jazz
One of my favorites places for guaranteed great big-brass jazz is Preservation Hall. A concert here is the perfect way to kick off an evening! I like to start here for a 7PM show, then stop for a cocktail, then make my way to dinner, and then see where the night takes me! You can buy tickets advance for guaranteed seating in the front or you can get there early to wait in line and buy day-of tickets for open seating.

#5: experience life outside the city
When I’m in New Orleans I like to take a trip outside the city to experience the bayou lands and people. If you haven’t spent time on a swamp, consider going on an alligator swamp tour aboard a high-speed air boat. It’s pretty incredible to be up close (and personal!) with these large animals. I’ve had a great experience with this company.

Enjoy NOLA, and let the good times roll! And remember, if you want to experience all of this and more, join me in New Orleans next year!

Mary + the Living Big team!