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Must do/see in three days....

Chicago, Illinois
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Must do/see in three days....

Hi, planning a road trip to NOLA over Thanksgiving weekend.

Any recommendations on your favorite "must go" places/restaurants and hotels would be most appreciated. It will just be hubby and me. We have never been to New Orleans (a travesty, I know) so we'll be newbies driving down from Chicago. We would love to take in some jazz and experience the "divine" food we've heard about from friends.

Thanks!

Blenheim, Canada
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1. Re: Must do/see in three days....

Gimli--A definite must do is Pat O'Brien's. They have a beautiful courtyard with a fountain that even lights up and flames at night! Their signature drink is the hurricane and it is dang tasty! For sure Pat's! Have fun!

Willington...
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2. Re: Must do/see in three days....

How about a self guided cemetary tour, carriage ride.

Schulenburg, Texas
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3. Re: Must do/see in three days....

Since you're a newbie, I suggest a carriage ride through The Quarter to acquaint you with it....a good driver will share some history and lore and even give you some good dining tips. These are available on Decatur St. at Jackson Square. The cost for a group tour is @ 15. per person. From your post, it sounds like you haven't secured lodging yet....if that is the case, I recommend that you stay somewhere in or very near The French Quarter. Parking your vehicle will be an additional (plan on $25-30 per night) cost if you do so at a hotel's facility. Divine food is abundant....so many places to mention...if you'll give us some food preferences and anticipated price points, I'm sure we can make some good referrals. Preservation Hall is reknowned for jazz, but there are also so many other venues/options. If I were going for the first time and only there for a weekend, I would probably stay within The Quarter and not schedule any outside tours...but that's just me. And yes, Deny's right about going to Pat O'Brien's...it's a New Orleans landmark and worth a visit...the patio is beautiful at night and the Piano Bar is a lot of fun...especially when there's an active, fun-loving crowd. Have a wonderful trip!

Somewhere
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4. Re: Must do/see in three days....

We really enjoyed the plantation tours and swamp tour! Our driver was stupendous and it was really fun to see the houses!

College Station...
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5. Re: Must do/see in three days....

As mentioned above, you will want to stay in or VERY close to the French Quarter. Parking in the French Quarter is expensive. If your lodging is well located, during a 3-day stay you will not need access to your car between arriving in and departing from the City. It depends on your interests, but during a 3-day visit I would confine myself to the French Quarter, immediately surrounding areas, and things close to the St. Charles streetcar line.

The following is my "canned" list of "can't miss":

Daytime stroll 200 - 1200 Royal St. - See note on Carousel Bar and Lounge below.

Daytime stroll 1200 – 600 Decatur St. - See notes on Jackson Square, Café du Monde and Central Grocery below.

Daytime or early evening stroll Jackson Square, passing surrounding buildings and going through Pirate’s Alley. Carriage rides depart from the Decatur St. side of the Square.

Evening or nighttime stroll Frenchmen St. between Decatur St. and Royal St. (Faubourg Marigny) – Location of musical performance venues.

Nighttime stroll 200 - 1000 Bourbon St. - See note on Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop below.

Ride St. Charles Avenue Streetcar (requires exact change [$1.25]) - Board at Canal St. across from the French Quarter on Carondelet St. (Bourbon St.). Time permitting, get off in Garden District (Washington Ave.), at The Columns Hotel (Peniston St. [pronounced like tennis ton]), at the “Bend” (at Carrollton Ave.), or at Oak St. If you are boarding more than 2 times that day (including end of line), get a $3 day pass when first boarding (available on streetcar). See Note on Commander’s Palace below.

Experience the River from the River bank, free Canal St./Algiers Ferry, or, time and finances permitting, the Steamboat Natchez.

Carousel Bar and Lounge - In the Monteleone Hotel at 214 Royal St.

Café du Monde - Cafe au lait (coffee with chicory and cream) and beignets (fried pastry). 800 Decatur St.

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop - Bar in historic (1770s) building. 914 Bourbon St.

Central Grocery - Arguably the best muffuletta (sandwich). Open Tue-Sat 9:00-4:00. 923 Decatur St. Get your sandwich, chips (Zapp’s) and drink to go; picnic on the River bank (other side of French Market across the street).

Commander’s Palace - Traditional and famous restaurant. Corner of Washington Ave. and Coliseum St. (2 blocks off St. Charles Streetcar route). Consider lunch (M-F 25 cent martinis) or brunch (S-S) to allow for Garden District walking tour, including Lafayette Cemetery (closed Sunday and after 2:30 PM) across the street.

Other popular activities/locations: National World War II Museum, Napoleon House Bar & Café (warm muffuletta and Pimm’s Cup), dueling piano players and/or flaming patio fountain at Pat O’Brien’s, Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, free History of French Quarter morning walking tour given by the Jean Lafitte Park and Preserve’s Folklife and Visitor Center, The Cabildo/Presbytere museums, various other walking/bicycle/Segway tours (cemetery, ghost, huricane restoration, haunted, voodoo, historical, cocktail, culinary, architecture, etc.), swamp and/or plantation tour (outside the City [transportation available]), and New Orleans School of Cooking class.

Long Beach...
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6. Re: Must do/see in three days....

All of the above suggestions are right on the money! But be forewarned, 3 days is not going to be enough (just enough to get your feet wet!), and you will soon be planning your next trip to NOLA before you know it! Have a good time!

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Must do/see in three days....

Thank you so much for your suggestions! Keep them coming. We lucked out and got rooms at the Westin in the French Quarter for $97/night. We love their beds!

chicago
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8. Re: Must do/see in three days....

If I could go back and relive my first day in New Orleans, I'd want it to look something like this....

1. Beignets at Cafe DuMonde

2. Bartering in the French Market (buy masks, beads, hot sauce, beignet mix, and creole seasoning here--they're cheaper than the rest of the quarter. Plan to give them as souvenirs, but then just keep 'em when you get home. )

3. Walk across to El Gato Negro and buy a seasonal margarita to fuel your shopping spree.

4. Check out the artists and get your palm read at Jackson Square. Make sure you tip the guy painted gold!

5. Take a carriage ride around the Quarter

6. Grab a po' boy at Johnny's.

7. Go get a hurricane at Lafitte's, then walk up Bourbon to Pat O'Brien's for another. Try to decide which is better. If you can't decide, you should definitely have one more!

8. Catch the Bonoffs at the Old Opera House (they usually play late afternoon while beers are 3 for one!)

9. You should be ready to try the mechanical bull at Bourbon Cowboy by now....Or...maybe just catch a set at Preservation Hall

10. Stagger back to Lafitte's. Their hurricanes really are the best, after all. Hang out at the piano in the back. Sing along. Loudly.

11. Oops...forgot to eat dinner, somehow? Looks like the Clover Grill for grilled cheese and a milkshake before bed!

Long Beach...
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9. Re: Must do/see in three days....

Summerbum-- that sounds like such a perfect day to me! :)

Blenheim, Canada
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10. Re: Must do/see in three days....

me too...only on #10, I'd stagger back to Pat's!

Or to EGN for more margaritas, as that's a closer walk back to the hotel!!!

Edited: 8:16 am, November 19, 2011