Just before Christmas a few girlfriends and I took a little weekend getaway to New Orleans, and it was seriously MAGIC. Being from Colorado I’m a firm believer in White Christmases, but it seems like because the South doesn’t get snow, they go over-the-top with lights and decorations until every palm tree, railing, and bar top is dripping with Christmas trimmings.
I’ve been to New Orleans once before when I was sixteen, and it was for a ministry trip, so needless to say this time around was VERY different.
In all the best ways. Primarily one way: the drinks.
My friend Maddie kept saying “It’s a lawless city!” Which isn’t entirely true, but being able to take your drinks to go while touring around the city was an entirely foreign concept to me, and I was fully willing to embrace my new found, border-less freedom.
While I’m sure there are plenty of other note-worthy places to stay, dine, and things to do, here’s a brief list of all the different things we got to experience during our weekend escapade.
Where we Stayed:
I could write and entire post on just the Ace Hotel because it is just that phenomenal, but I’ll limit it to just a brief paragraph. Ace Hotel New Orleans is just one of NINE amazing hotels across the country all apart of the same family. Each hotel has it’s own unique character, assimilating to the culture of the surrounding areas, and doing so with the best mix of comfort and style. I absolutely LOVED the eclectic vibe outfitted with a mixture of both Art Deco and Retro pieces, situated in rooms with emerald green trim, black paneled ceilings, and classic Corinthian architectural elements. It was a place I could have never left. Seriously, this hotel was complete with three bars, a rooftop pool, a restaurant, an art gallery, a small music venue and a Stumptown Coffee all under the same roof. After my experience in staying here, I’ve made it a personal goal to stay in all nine Ace Hotel locations scattered around the US.
Where We Ate + Drank:
Cafe Du Monde- If you didn’t stop here and get an order of Beignets and Coffee did you really go to New Orleans? This deep fried goodness is worth the wait. The line might seem intimidating depending on the time of day you go, but they are a like a well oiled machine and get you seated quickly and on your way to powdered sugar heaven. Tip: it’s cash only!
St Roch’s Market- St. Roch’s Market is a southern food hall featuring a diverse lineup of food and beverage purveyors. It’s the most delightful mix of different cuisines and vendors so you’re sure to find something that will satisfy the whole group.
Josephine Estelle- Right off the main lobby of The Ace Hotel, this beautiful restaurant and bar boasts a unique cuisine that combines classic Italian with the distinctly unique “American South” with seasonal ingredients and homemade pastas.
District Donuts- There’s a few locations, but we went to the original off Magazine St. If you’re not looking just for breakfast, don’t be fooled by the name. District Donuts is what I can only assume to be the brain child of an incredibly hungry, and possibly hungover man who couldn’t decide between a Donut, Burger or Beer, so he made a place that could be home to all three. Freaking delicious.
Cochon- This “Cajun Country” restaurant has a southern menu that offers an array of different dishes that are unique to their New Orleans location. Including; catfish, oysters and fried alligator (not my favorite), but a handful of locals took us here so you know its authentic 😉
The Carousel Bar- This would probably be considered a “tourist” spot, but I loved it. Y’all, there’s a carousel IN A BAR. And it moves. It’s every adult child’s fantasy, with it’s own signature cocktail created in 1938.
Pat O’ Brian’s Piano Bar- We didn’t stay long because this bar’s popularity makes it a little crowded, but you can request ANY song and the pianist will play it for you. It’s a lively vibe, with lots of singing, and their classic “hurricane” cocktail.
Laffite’s Blacksmith Shop- This is in fact a bar and NOT a blacksmith’s shop. It’s reputed to be the oldest bar in the United States, built around 1772-1732. There’s no electricity so everything is lit by candlelight giving it a delightfully dark and moody atmosphere. One would think that at this bar we would be drinking something like an Old Fashioned or another classic, but instead the locals we were out with made us get the “Purple Drink,” (not to be confused with the Purple DRANK rappers sing about, even thought Kendall would argue that this does in fact taste like cough syrup) but it’s essentially a grape slushy with insane amounts of liquor in it. It’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but definitely worth the experience!
What We Did:
French Quarter- Being a total Art History nerd this part of town was my dream. I loved seeing all of the different architectural styles that come together in a eclectic blend of French, Spanish and Creole. This is also where a lot of the city’s unique history comes together with all sorts of tours, museums, shops and restaurants.
St. Jackson Square- This square, found in the center of the French Quarter, is where Louisiana was first bought by France from Spain, and then again by the US from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase, but know it’s where you’ll find all sorts of palm and tarot card readers.
The Voodoo Museum- We wound up here kind-of on a fluke, but it’s essentially an old house with various voodoo shrines and a few pamphlets about the history of Voodoo in New Orleans. If I had the chance I probably would have saved my five dollars for another drink verses wandering around an over-crowded living room, but I did learn a little about the origins of Voodoo so it wasn’t all for nothing.
The Garden District- This is where the “stately mansions” in New Orleans are located. We took the street trolley, another fun event, down to explore this neighborhood and I’m so happy we did. This district is full of aged trees, Spanish moss and historic homes.
Magazine Street- Located in the Garden District, this street is full of cute little shops to wander in and out of while you pass some time on a sunny afternoon.
Overall it was the loveliest weekend full of late nights, lazy mornings, good food, peaceful afternoon strolls and a few too many drinks.