How to: Do an A+ Girls' Trip in New Orleans
A little over a year ago, I gathered my closest girlfriends for a weekender trip to New Orleans. We were set on making it an atypical NOLA experience, meaning we focused our planning into a Google sheet full of non-touristy finds and recommendations. Here are a few of our favorite spots and recommendations to help plan your next trip to the Big Easy.
Audrie’s choice: Walking Bourbon Street in the daytime, and heading to Frenchman Street for a night out.
Here’s the deal, everyone knows that Bourbon Street is a great place to party—it’s probably the first spot you think of when you start planning your trip to NOLA. Here’s what everyone doesn’t know (especially if it’s your first time)—though it’s a fun experience and I wholeheartedly believe everyone should go out there at least once, it’s kinda gross. If you are looking for a low-key girls’ night out like we were, skip Bourbon for the night and head to Frenchman for the evening. It’s less crowded, has a classier vibe, and still bears the live music and dance floors that New Orleans is known for.
Tina’s plug: the Ace Hotel of New Orleans
Yes, I am well aware that I selected a chain hotel for my #1 perk from NOLA. Yes, there are other places I could recommend that compete with the awesomeness that is the Ace. No, we did not spend the majority of our time holed up in our hotel room besides when Mackenzie and I thought we were dying the morning after our Frenchman Street outing. Holy shenanigans, you guys, the Ace Hotel is amazing! Though a little pricy, we ended up snagging a great deal on a room with two double beds (remember when I said I love saving money) for our lodging during our three night getaway. The pillows were plush, the toiletries were quality, the decor was on point, and the vibe was aligned with our no-frills expectations (PS—you can buy everything on their website, but don’t blame me if you drain your bank account). Other perks: the hotel gym was stocked with everything you could want on a vacation—kettlebells, resistance bands, free weights, cable machines, and cardio machines. Also, there’s a rooftop pool (and bar), which needs no explanation.
Maggie’s pick: A self-guided walking tour around the Garden District, complete with shopping on Magazine Street.
On our first full day in NOLA, we took an Uber to the Garden District and spent a couple hours strolling the neighborhood and admiring the grandiose homes that belonged to both locals and celebrities (we even saw Beyonce and Jay-Z’s church-turned-mansion, holla!). While there were other walking tours we could have tagged along to, it worked out that we just googled what was in the area and read each other the different historical blurbs off the internet. We walked at our own pace, saw what we wanted to see, and admired the gorgeous colors and architecture. Magazine Street was nearby, so after we had lunch at Coquette, we did some leisurely window shopping. Out of the few shops we did go into, all of them had complimentary wine or champagne, so we were very ready for naps when we got back to the Ace.
Mackenzie’s tip: Eat good food, especially dinner at The Country Club.
After dreams of Bourbon Street, the amazing food is what NOLA is known for. Maggie went a little research crazy when she gathered potential restaurants for us to visit, but her hard work paid off because those were some of the most memorable parts of the trip. Though the name can be a bit deceiving, its a great example of why capitalization matters—The Country Club. Definitely don’t judge a book by its cover on this one—the seemingly plain outside widely contrasts the bright and eclectic decor on the inside. The wallpaper is different in every room—the dining room we ate in was covered with different hand-painted ginormous flowers (makes for a great photo op, and is definitely a “grammable” spot if that’s up your alley). The food was also amazing, and macaroni-and-cheese snob Audrie still makes glorified comments about the mac n’ cheese there. Here’s a tip—definitely pay a visit to the bathroom, even if you don’t have to use it. We won’t spoil the experience with photographs, but it’s definitely worth a look. Bonus point food spots: Peche, Seaworthy, and (the only touristy plug you’ll see on here) Cafe du Monde. Go on a Tuesday afternoon to escape the ridiculous crowds.
And there you have it, a great foundation for your next New Orleans girls trip. You’re welcome.