Editor’s Note: This article is part of our series “Escape from New York.” Series Overview: Flight times are within 2 hours and 30 minutes of New York City. Spend 48 hours immersing yourself in the culture and feel of the destination city. Flights can depart at 6am on Saturday and arrive back in New York on Monday morning so you can attend your first meeting of the day. Previous articles include: 48 Hours in Chicago and Enchanting Charleston.
Ask for a restaurant recommendation in New York and get ready to start Google mapping locations. People in the city love to tell you their favorite haunts from brunch to borough for specific cultural dishes. They will tell you what to order, what to expect and what time to go. It’s quite impressive. My trip down south had many similarities to this NYC approach.
I touched down in New Orleans, got in my Uber and asked the driver where I should go to eat and immediately got a list of places. I asked more locals as I made my way through the city and the recommendations poured in. This is very much a food town. You can make that case for cities across the country, each with signature dishes (Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago, Hot Chicken in Nashville, Fish Tacos in San Diego.) But New Orleans runs deeper than most; historically and culturally with influences from all over the world. There is muffaletta, jambalaya, gumbo, etouffee, oysters rockefeller, beignets (and we are just scratching the surface.) There are restaurants (plural) over 100 years old serving up some of the most well recognized dishes around (which they also happened to do first.)
On the advice of my foodie council, I checked out Cochon which was a stand out of the trip. Wood fired oysters with chili-garlic butter, smoked ribs with pickled watermelon and rabbit with dumplings are highly recommended. Muffaletta at Central Grocery was a smile after each bite. The blackened redfish at Royal House Oyster Bar was spot on (and they made a great old fashioned as well.)
With the food must come the walking. Both to see the city and walk off at least a few of the calories. Over 2 days, I walked 20 miles which goes way more quickly than you would expect. Covering the Garden District, City Park and along the Esplanade. The French Quarter was definitely on the list but I also think it’s important to branch out and see neighborhoods across a city.
The Garden District, Loyola and Tulane campuses were very much walking highlights one afternoon. If you get tired, hop on the St. Charles line streetcar. A 24 hour pass for $3 is the best deal in town and offers the perfect opportunity to take pics as you ride through the picturesque neighborhood.
The following day, I got dropped off at City Park to visit the sculpture garden and museum of art. From there I took a 3 mile walk back to the French Quarter along Esplanade Avenue with just a brief layover at Fair Grinds Coffeehouse). A bike is also a perfect option and as I made my way back could see that was the preferred mode of transportation for most visitors.
New Orleans was always at the top of my list for cities to visit (and will be getting more visits from me in the future.)
Editor’s Notes: New Orleans is dealing with high crime rates. Be aware of your surroundings, walk with friends and know where you are heading to not get lost at night. For walking tours plan in advance and pick times of the year where the humidity is lower.
*I reached out to the New Orleans Visitor Convention and Visitors Bureau and they supplied entry into the museums and aquarium visits I did on this trip. They have a helpful website and it is worth checking out in advance of your trip down south.
Stephanie Fera and Damian Kazeangin contributed to this article.
Categories: Escape from New York