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4 Days in New Orleans for our 10th Anniversary!

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Toronto, Canada
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4 Days in New Orleans for our 10th Anniversary!

Hi all,

I am so excited to be writing this post with our tentative itinerary (for me, writing out for suggestions is one of the most anticipated part of any trip planning!). So here goes (sorry in advance that I tend to be a little wordy - I just feel that more info right off the bat is more efficient in the long run)!

My husband and I are heading to New Orleans (for the first time!) in June to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary! We will be arriving on a Wednesday around dinnertime and will be leaving on Sunday after brunch. I’ve spent lots of time reading travel books, posts, and trip reports, and have come up with the start of an itinerary that I’m hoping we can work on together!

Day 1 (Wed.): Arrive in New Orleans at 4:30pm. Taxi to the Dauphine Orleans hotel – we are staying in one of their Hermann House courtyard rooms. It will likely be after 6pm by this point and we’ll need to grab some dinner. Maybe VIP reservations for Preservation Hall on this night – as a beautiful introduction to the music we’ll be experiencing on this trip? Is there a place where we could have a semi-quick dinner before heading to the 9:15 or 10:15 show at Preservation Hall?

Day 2 (Thurs): AM: Start at Café du Monde (how early does one have to be to avoid crowds/mayhem?) for a “light” breakfast of beignets ☺ Wander around Jackson Square enjoying all that it has to offer, see both exhibits in the Presbytere, shop on Royal St., generally explore the French Quarter.

Aft: Where should we go for lunch in the Quarter? We have some big dinners planned (as you’ll see) and so we may not need to have big/long/crazy lunches… suggestions here would be great. Both Mr. B’s Bistro & K-Paul’s looks fantastic and we’d love to be able to fit at least one of them in at some point on the trip – maybe this is a good time for one of them? After lunch, I was thinking that we could head to City Park (and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden) for a few hours. I’ve read great things about it and I think it might fit in best here (or else, Friday afternoon if it's decided that we should spend the afternoon in the Quarter as well – would appreciate hearing opinions on this).

Eve: We’ve made reservations for dinner at SoBou at the W Hotel (French Quarter). After dinner, we’re going to head to the Mid-City Rock n’ Bowl for Zydeco Night (both my hubbie and I would like to hear some zydeco while in town). The show begins at 8:30pm. Any info about how early we need to arrive? Also, is Mid-City in an okay part of town?

Day 3 (Fri): AM: Breakfast at the hotel. Start the day at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art (is it walkable (e.g. distance, safety) from our hotel? Spend a few hours there. Take the St. Charles streetcar (is it scheduled to be back up and running by June?) to the Garden District. Explore the houses and buildings in the area and some of the shops on Magazine St.

Aft: Lunch at Tracey’s for po boy sandwiches. In the mid-afternoon, we either head to City Park (if we decide to do it on Friday, rather than Thursday) or we head back to our hotel for a swim and lounging a bit by the pool.

Eve: Spend the evening on Frenchmen St. We were contemplating an earlier dinner at Bayona (which is near our hotel), but we’ve also been toying with the idea of trying to find a place to have dinner right on Frenchmen St. Which option would be best? Our night on Frenchmen St. will definitely include a show at Snug Harbour… and then who knows from there? Is it possible to “hop” at these places, or does one need tickets in each place because of all the performances?

Day 4 (Sat.): AM: Breakfast at the hotel. Then a ½ day Swamp Tour with Cajun Encounters Tour Co. on a small 10-person watercraft (to maximize sightseeing and photo ops). We are real nature-lovers and so look forward to this section of the trip! Haven’t thought of where we should go for lunch following the tour?

Aft: This is the day that we’re going to be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary! After our Swamp Tour, I’d like some time to be able to get dolled up for our evening out. We have a reservation at 6:30pm at Restaurant Revolution at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. From there, we’d like to either head to the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone or the Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse (now that I’m writing this, it may make the most sense to perhaps go the Carousel Bar after Preservation Hall on our first night and then stay at the Royal Sonesta for the evening at Irvin Mayfield’s?). We’d just like to enjoy a romantic night together. Part of me was even thinking of a carriage ride at this point…? Any other ideas?

Day 5 (Sun): Enjoy the Sunday Jazz Brunch at Commander’s Palace. The place opens at 10:30 and we don’t have to be at the airport until 2:30. That should give us enough time to gorge ourselves, right? ☺

So, there's the itinerary as it stands... Thanks in advance for your time and comments – can’t wait to hear back!

Jenn

little rock arkansas
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1. Re: 4 Days in New Orleans for our 10th Anniversary!

Can I come too? Seriously, this is one of the best itineraries I've seen in a long time.

a few answers though others will probably offer better:

*Nice pretty spot for light lunch in a quarter courtyard while you are exploring the lower section: Cafe Amelie

*Pretty good spot for food and music on Frenchman: Three Muses

Georgia
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2. Re: 4 Days in New Orleans for our 10th Anniversary!

We love Mr B's. Snug Harbour has good food and you can hear the music from upstairs while dining.DBA for good music and the Spotted Cat. No cover and no food at either I believe. Go ahead and make reservations for Preservation Hall. Only 8 seats per show.

College Station...
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3. Re: 4 Days in New Orleans for our 10th Anniversary!

For a semi-quick meal between arrival and Preservation Hall, maybe Red Fish Grill, a nice but kind of hustle and bustle type place that well represents New Orleans food.

Both City Park and a swamp tour during a 4 night stay is a bit ambitious, as is both Uptown/Garden District and City Park/Mid-City in one day. Although the streetcar ride from Canal St. and Carondelet/Bourbon St. to the Museum only takes a little over 20 mins, the wait for a "Museum" car could be as much as 30 min, making the round trip travel time between 3/4 and 1 3/4 hrs. Yes this can all be done, but New Orleans has a way of absorbing time, and you"ll want to get in tune with the laid back unhurried vibe. Things move slowly in NOLA, both very charming and, at times, very frustrating.

As relates to St. Charles streetcar line construction, in place of streetcars there are buses running the portion of the route then undergoing renovation; although not as romantic, charming and unique, the buses are more comfortable and faster than the streetcars.

If you are planning on going back to the hotel after Commander's, you might be running tight on time. I'd figure 1 3/4 hrs at Commander's, 3/4 - 1 hr walk/streetcar (1/2 hr cab) between Commander's and Hotel, and leaving French Quarter/Garden District, at least 1 3/4 hrs before flight time.

Kalamazoo, Michigan
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4. Re: 4 Days in New Orleans for our 10th Anniversary!

We always stay in the Hermann House to celebrate our anniversary, 11 years when we go this summer. You will love it. I would suggest Bayona for a possible lunch location for day 2, if you don't go for dinner. Also, we really enjoyed a bike tour with Confederacy of Cruisers, if you have an extra few hours one day. We have been to NOLA nearly ten times now and our to do list is still not completed and is still growing. It's impossible to fit everything in. Enjoy your trip!

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: 4 Days in New Orleans for our 10th Anniversary!

Thanks so much for all of these suggestions! I will checking them out today :) MichSummer, I was so happy to hear that you guys find the Hermann House romantic - I had written out about this at one point a while back, but didn't get any replies. Do you guys stay in one of the regular rooms or one of their suites? Currently, we're booked in a regular room (I really liked the look of the exposed brick), but that doesn't have to be set in stone...

I also really appreciate hearing that we might be trying to do too much. We really like to be kept busy (we're not the types that like to find a bar and sit there for 3 hours during the day), but we certainly don't want to rush the city. We're leaving our two young kids at home with their grandparents and are looking forward to some grown-up time - not too rushed, not too slow. We're going to play around with the itinerary to find that balance.

Two other quick questions:

1) My hubbie happens to be lactose-intolerant (which we're learning is going to really suck when we're in New Orleans!). Is absolutely everything doused in butter in some form? He doesn't mind cheating every once and a while, but doesn't want to feel sick the whole vacation either...

2) We were getting the sense from the travel books and jazz club websites that there are specific show times (e.g. 8 and 10pm) and that patrons are restricted to coming in at those times. Is that not true? e.g. can we enjoy a leisurely dinner somewhere and then just start wandering into jazz clubs?

Thanks again!

Jenn

Kalamazoo, Michigan
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6. Re: 4 Days in New Orleans for our 10th Anniversary!

We usually stay in a regular room-the suites aren't really worth the price difference. We find the regular room roomy enough. I always request a room with a mini fridge, and we like the second floor, towards the middle or rear to minimize noise. It's really pretty quiet anyway, and the beds are so comfortable. I don't know about the dairy issue, but we usually just wander and pop in for music. Unless there is someone specific we want to see, then we have either purchased tickets for a specific time or arrived before the set time. I'm sure there are others on here with more knowledge about this. If you are planning on bowling while at Rock n Bowl, call ahead to reserve a lane. That's a fun time. We are also going without our daughter-our first trip since we've had her. While I'm sure we will miss her terribly, I think we will have a new appreciation for our vacations.

Colorado
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7. Re: 4 Days in New Orleans for our 10th Anniversary!

I think you have put together a wonderful itinerary and I do think that you can do it all if you are people who like to be on the go. I also like to be on the go, but one piece of advice is that if something strikes your fancy along the way that isn't planned don't be hesitant to check it out and not worry about missing something on your itinerary. The little unexpected experiences are what makes NOLA truly unique in my opinion.

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: 4 Days in New Orleans for our 10th Anniversary!

Hi guys!

So I've now digested all of your suggestions and done some more reading/research and here's the revised itinerary I've come up with. I still have some questions, so I look forward to further suggestions!

DAY 1 (Wed):

PM: Arrive in New Orleans at 4:30 pm. Taxi to the Dauphine Orleans Hotel (Hermann House courtyard room).

Eve: Dinner at Sylvain (menu looks great!) or Felix's Oyster House - any opinions about which would be better? Also, which would be quicker (given that we want to be in and out quickly to catch a show if possible). 8pm show at the Irvin Mayfield Jazz Playhouse to see the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. We know that dinner seems a bit rushed, but we do need to eat and I really want to see the NOJO if possible, which starts at 8:00.

DAY 2 (Thurs):

AM: Start at Cafe Beignet for a "light" breakfast of beignets (and to avoid the line-ups at Cafe du Monde :) ). And then, explore the French Quarter: wander around Jackson Square, see both exhibits at the Presbytere, shop on Royal St. etc.

PM: Lunch at Mr. B's Bistro. More exploration of the FQ. Pop into LaFitte's for a drink. Then in the mid-afternoon, head to City Park for a short while to see the live oaks and to check out the Besthoff Sculpture Garden

Eve: Dinner at SoBou at the W Hotel (FQ). We've decided against Mid-City Bowl and instead are going to try for VIP seats at Preservation Hall at 9:15 or 10:15. After that, perhaps we'll check out some jazz on Bourbon St. Is Maison Bourbon a good option?

DAY 3 (Fri):

AM: Breakfast at the hotel (or perhaps another breakfast place - we're still searching). Start at the Ogden Musuem of Southern Art for a few hours. Take the St. Charles Streetcar (or buses :)) to the Garden District. Explore the area (maybe take the Frommer's suggested walking tour), the houses and buildings and the shops on Magazine St.

PM: Lunch at Tracey's for poboy sandwiches. Further exploration of the Garden District and then back to the hotel to lounge in the pool for a while.

Eve: Dinner at Bayona. After dinner, head to Frenchmen St. Shows at Snug Harbour are at 8pm and 10pm. After a show there, we plan to club-hop a bit (maybe Spotted Cat, dba)

DAY 4 (Sat):

AM: Breakfast at the hotel. 1/2 day Swamp Tour with Cajun Encounters Tour Co. on a small 10-person watercraft (to maximize sightseeing and photo ops).

PM: Once back to the quarter, lunch at K'Paul's or Muriel's (opinions?). After lunch, head back to the hotel to lounge by the pool and then start getting dolled up for our evening.

Eve: Dinner at Restaurant Revolution (Royal Sonesta Hotel). After dinner, a private carriage ride around the Quarter. End up at the Carousel Bar (Hotel Monteleone).

Day 5 (Sun):

AM: 10:30am Jazz Brunch at Commander's Palace. Rush back to the hotel to pick up our bags and head to the airport for 2:30pm

Thanks! Can't wait for responses :)

Jenn

Maryland
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9. Re: 4 Days in New Orleans for our 10th Anniversary!

If you're concerned about being rushed on Sunday, I'd recommend checking out of the hotel before your Jazz brunch, and just have them keep your bags in the lobby. Then take the same cab from Commander's Palace, back by your hotel for a quick luggage pick-up and up to the airport... Hopefully you've already made brunch reservations?

Take a jacket for the swamp tour, it gets windy when the boat picks up speed on the second half of the tour.

Fritzel's is another good choice for Jazz on Bourbon Street.

Have fun!

Maryland
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10. Re: 4 Days in New Orleans for our 10th Anniversary!

Oops, I see you're coming in June, so you probably won't need that jacket - but do make brunch reservations early!