New Orleans – First Time Starter Trip

Let me start with saying that I’m not a New Orleans expert but I’ve been about 20 times and seen a fair amount of the city. A lot of people have it as a bucket list item for at least a “quick weekend”. So if you’ve never been, here’s a few things that I’ve shared with my friends…and since you’re here, we’re friends too, right?

New favorite hotel is The Q&C Hotelbar. Great re-fit of an old rail station with THE friendliest staff I’ve encountered anywhere in New Orleans. Vanessa, Derrick, Venedia and their crew will make you feel like you’re a home. It’s not in the ‘heart’ of the French Quarter, but it’s easily walkable. Their pizza is also really good when you return to your hotel after a long day!

Favorite breakfast is Majeries On Commerce, which is walking distance from the Q&C. It’s tiny, you might wait. Yes, you’ll probably want to hit the very touristy Café Du Monde for coffee and beignets too.

Favorite lunch is at Mother’s. Worth the wait. The debris sandwich and fries might be my favorites in the city.

Weirdest attraction in the city (and this city has no shortage of weird) is The Pharmacy Museum. Worth the $5 self-guided tour to do some looking and reading…and have a completely new appreciation for how far we’ve come when it comes to medicine. Sufficiently creepy and cringe-worthy.

Best tour company is Tours By Steven. You can choose from walking or jogging. Daytime or nighttime. Haunted or not. Our tour guide Angie was a wealth of information on our walking tour of the French Quarter.

Take a trolley ride out through the Garden District and back. Relaxing way to take in some architecture and history during the late morning when you might not be at full-strength yet.

Visit the lobby of the Westin Canal Place. Best views of the river anywhere in the city, plus the light fare at the bar is pretty delicious! Excellent late-afternoon or dusk stop.

For unique drinks…stop by the Bourbon Street Drinkery, or Pat O’Brien’s for the mandatory selfie with a famous “hurricane”. We also liked 21st Amendment for a laid back atmosphere and really friendly bartenders.

For cheap drinks…The Chart House is your spot. No frills. No air conditioning.

French Market is 6 blocks long and a nice browsing place to do some shopping. Outdoor, friendly, and one or two notches above a flea market.

All of this is way less than 1% of what you can do in the city. If it’s on your bucket list, let me know, let’s get you booked for that quick getaway while the kids stay home. Just know that I’m not going to recommend you go for Halloween, for New Year’s Eve, for Jazz Fest or for Mardi Gras…that may not be great for your first visit!

Pete Herrick has been with Once Upon A Vacation since 2013 and has visited Walt Disney Destinations over 30 times and takes every chance to travel to just about any fun location in the world. He and his wife Tessa live at Lake Norman near Charlotte NC. Find him on social media @peteherrick (or e-mail


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