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planning first trip to NOLA help!

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posts: 3
planning first trip to NOLA help!

I am in the process of planning a first trip to NOLA and need help!. My husband and I are loking to travel the first week of March. Can anyone give suggestions for Hotels, Restaurants, Things to do. I would like to find a centrally located hotel that isn't too noisy but still close enough to all the fun. Also will spring breakers be an issue in March? We are a mid 40's couple that enjoy a great time but dont want the college bar experience to be the focus of our trip. looking for a well balanced NOLA experience probably budgeting 200-250 night for hotel...........Please help!!!!

posts: 505
reviews: 107
1. Re: planning first trip to NOLA help!


we havent been to New Orleans either yet, but we have our trip planned for June 2013.

I cant really help you with things to do or restaurants much but i have been researching on here alot about what hotel to stay in. Everyone seems to like the Provincial and says it is a central location and within walking distance of everything. It is in the french quarter but on the edge enough to where it isnt noisy and still close enough to the fun. We will be staying there in June. They also offer a continental breakfast and everyone says the staff are great and very helpful. We are in our mid 40's as well.

Not sure about everything with the time you are going, i know Mardi Gras is either in March or April.

Hopefully you will get other responses on here and people that have more knowledge to help you out.


posts: 3
2. Re: planning first trip to NOLA help!

Thank you for the information. I will be checking out the Provincial now. We are also from Illinois and generally travel to the Florida Keys but are deciding to change things up a little. I think we will be missing Mardi Gras during our trip and that is fine I am sure we will find all the fun we want without the huge crowds of the festival.

Have safe and wonderful travels!

posts: 1,041
reviews: 29
3. Re: planning first trip to NOLA help!

You might want to check out this list and then get back with more specific questions after you narrow down your choices:


Seattle, Washington
posts: 17
reviews: 19
4. Re: planning first trip to NOLA help!

I was just in New Orleans in August of this year. We had an amazing time. I have travelled to so many different places, and I can honestly say that the people of New Orleans are so friendly and welcoming. We were travelling with two smaller children, so we had to avoid a few areas - but we had a great time. We stayed just across from the convention center at the Hampton Inn and Suites - it was great. We were able to walk to the French Quarter and other areas in New Orleans without any problems. It was a great way to work off all the amazing food. We did take a taxi a couple times as it was raining. We ate at a couple restaurants that were just amazing - we didn't get too adventurous or expensive because of the kids, but the food was wonderful, and two of the restaurants were both local favorites. We went to Oceana Grille - they had the most amazing crab cakes I think I have ever eaten. They also had things like Fried Alligator, Turtle soup, etc. We also ate at Acme Oyster House. We waited for 40 minutes in the rain to get in - and it was well worth it. Both restaurants are just off Bourbon Street. Of course we stopped in for Beignets at Cafe de Monde. We also did a swamp tour while we were there. This was a pre-cruise visit - you are going to have

a wonderful time in New Orleans. I can't wait to go back


Birmingham, AL
posts: 2,239
reviews: 28
5. Re: planning first trip to NOLA help!

I would start by typing "first time" or newbie in the New Orleans forum search box above. You'll get lots of information from those that have helped previous travelers.

Stay in the French Quarter- I highly recommend the Hotel Provincial. Wear comfortable shoes and watch where you're walking. The sidewalks are treacherous; although they have made some pre Super Bowl repairs. There's so much to see and do in New Orleans. You'll love it!

Slidell, Louisiana
posts: 45
6. Re: planning first trip to NOLA help!

Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday and is always in February or March.

Mardi Gras 2013 is February 12.

Hope this helps

Slidell, Louisiana
posts: 45
7. Re: planning first trip to NOLA help!

I live in slidell, a Northshore town across Lake Pontchartrain to the NE. Lived here most of 50 years.

I can't recommend hotels, 'cause I've not stayed in one in years. Anything in the Quarter, on Canal Street, or near the Convention Center is fine. If I had to pick one based on location, I'd probably pick the Hilton. It's on the river, and next to Riverwalk (upscale shopping mall). Also close to troller that runs to French Quarter.

Things not to miss in the city: Zoo, Aquarium, Mardi Gras museum, Jackson Square, French Market, a City Bus Tour, Riverboat ride, Museum of Art, City Park, Lakefront.

Out of the city: Plantations (San Francisco, Oak Alley), Swamp Tour in Slidell

My favorite places to eat (assuming I had an unlimited budget): Brennans and Commander's Palace (make reservations now for Commander Palace very expensive, but worth it). Cheaper fare not to miss: Mother's PoBoys (on Poydras), Circle Grocery (muffalattas), and Cafe du Monde (coffee, milk, and beignets).

Skip the carriage ride. skip a Bayou river tour (take the swamp tour instead).

If you like horse racing, the Fairgrounds will be running through the end of March. Go to the Clubhouse for lunch $$ and get the corned beef and bread pudding (or just about anything else on the menu). Bet on front speed and favorites.

If you like casinos, go to the Gulf Coast and skip Harrah's (High minimums and really tight slots). Silver Slipper and Hollywood are my favorites - not fancy, but both have excellent buffets, $3-5 minimums, and loose slots.

Hope this helps.

posts: 3,311
reviews: 7
8. Re: planning first trip to NOLA help!

The Provincial is good, but there are MANY other very nice, well-located hotels IF it is full or out of your budget range. neworleansonline.com is a great source for hotels, restaurants, things to do/see, things that are happening each week, and even has printable coupons.

posts: 1,041
reviews: 29
9. Re: planning first trip to NOLA help!

Here are SOME of the "must dos" in the French Quarter alone:

-Visit Jackson Square and peruse the offerings of the artists and craftsmen there.

-Stop often and listen to the street musicians and observe the street performers.  BE SURE TO TIP THEM IF YOU LIKE THEIR PERFORMANCE. ( For that reason, be sure to bring a bunch of dollar bills, and fives too.)

-Go into the beautiful old St Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square. Again, BE SURE TO LEAVE AN OFFERING to show your appreciation.

-Visit the French Market to peruse the Flea Market and the Farmer's Market and the associated restaurants and shops.

-Take a buggy ride from Jackson Square around the Quarter to get narrated history lesson.

-Eat a beignet at Cafe Du Monde.

-Eat a po'boy sandwich or some crawfish or alligator on a stick.

-Drink a Hurricane in the courtyard at Pat O'Briens.

-Take a walk along the Mississippi River levee.

- Take a cruise down the river on the Riverboat Natchez.

-Take a FREE ride on the Algiers Ferry to get a great view of the Quarter from the river.

-Peruse the art galleries on Royal Street.

-At nite, either watch or participate in the spirit of bacchanalia on Bourbon Street.

-As an alternative at nite, walk over to Frenchman Street to the jazz clubs.

-EAT, EAT, EAT, EAT, EAT, EAT at many of the dozens of superb dining establishments in the Quarter.

-SHOP, SHOP, SHOP, SHOP, SHOP, SHOP in everything from "touristy" shops to high-end places.

-DRINK, DRINK, DRINK, DRINK, DRINK if that is your wont.  Lots of places and lots of different drinks.

-Take a ride on fhe streetcars, which opens up an entire new set of activities OUTSIDE of the FQ!

-If you are active, take a bike tour or a kayak tour on St John Bayou.

-Take a tour to visit local plantations or swamps or a "Katrina tour" to understand the devastation and recovery from that terrible event.

And this list has only touched on SOME of the highlights.  Others will, I'm sure, add to this list.  Be sure to ask more questions as you firm up your itinerary.

posts: 505
reviews: 107
10. Re: planning first trip to NOLA help!

Skt54... what other hotels would you suggest other than the Provincial? I booked our hotel with Provincial in June but still open to hearing other options and suggestions?