Travel Tuesday: 5 Must Dos In New Orleans

NOLA band on street corner

An amazing brass band playing on a street corner

Let me guess: by merely seeing the words “New Orleans” your mind automatically conjured up images of cocktails; colorful beads; music; Bourbon Street; poboys; and gumbo.

NOLA is one of my favorites cities in the world and I fall in love with it a little bit more each time I set foot in the city. In fact, my love and I actually have our own little ritual each time we visit:

  • Land at the airport
  • Pick-up the rental car
  • Eat a lunch of fried seafood and gumbo at one of our favorite restaurants
  • Drive to the hotel and drop off our bags
  • Go straight {as in “Do Not Pass Go!”} to our favorite, tiny, neighborhood bar housed in an old brick building where we promptly turn into bar flies for a few hours {wanna see me getting a champagne cocktail made in NOLA? Click here →IMG_3868}
  • Go back to the hotel to take a nap so that we’re rested enough to get back out that evening for more fun

Of course that’s merely just the start of our revelry. And I have exactly 0.0% shame about it.

But there’s SO much more to New Orleans than just revelry. There’s rich culture and history; cool places to explore; and plenty of distinctive experiences that will really give you a true taste of the city. As a person who thrives on experiential travel and experiences that aren’t the status quo, I always try to dig deeper into the heart and soul of a destination so that I can take in as much of the spirit of the city as possible. That’s exactly what my “must do” list is about–getting out of the tourist mindset and delving into the mindset of a true traveler.

The Bubbleista’s 5 must do’s while in NOLA:

Crescent City Books

Dauphine Books1.) Go to the French Quarter…then find a used book store: Those that relish the feel of paper pages between their fingers will be delighted with the wealth of unique, vintage, and hard-to-find reading treasures waiting to be discovered. I love stumbling across historical books on NOLA; old cookbooks; books on entertaining and design; and even the occasional vintage vinyl. A couple of my favorite spots include Dauphine Street Books and Crescent City Books.

Boulangerie signage

Boulangerie food case

The pâtisserie display case at La Boulangerie {copyright Davon D E Hatchett}

Ashley Longshore's artwork is colorful, sassy, and humorous commentary on pop culture. {copyright Ashley Longshore}

Ashley Longshore’s artwork is colorful, sassy, and humorous commentary on pop culture. {copyright Ashley Longshore}

2.) Get off Bourbon Street and get onto Magazine Street: There are tons of restaurants, bars, and places to shop all along  several blocks of Magazine Street. A few of my fave pit stops include: La Boulangerie French Baker {killer chocolate croissants!}; Ashley Longshore of Longshore Gallery Studio Art {if cheeky, colorful, amusing, and in-your-face commentary on pop culture in art is appealing to you then you’ll absolutely love her!}; Apolline for “Custom Drink Fittings;” and Saveur {formerly Baie Rouge} where I insist that your order the crispy fries smothered in melty, creamy, salty, silky brie fondue and fresh thyme. Pair it with a glass of bubbly. Enter a sublime culinary nirvana. You’re welcome.

A deliciously boozy trio from Old New Orleans Rum {copyright Davon D. E. Hatchett}

A deliciously boozy trio from Old New Orleans Rum {copyright Davon D. E. Hatchett}

Barrels of booze showcased on the Old New Orleans Rum tour. {copyright Davon D. E. Hatchett}

Barrels of booze showcased on the Old New Orleans Rum tour. {copyright Davon D. E. Hatchett}

3.) Go on a distillery tour: It shouldn’t surprise you at all that a city where booze is part of the community’s very fabric has distilleries. Check our Old New Orleans Rum where the tour kick off with a boozy cocktail. The tour itself is really awesome in that it includes a {really visually descriptive} recounting of how Hurricane Katrina impacted the very building you stand in during the tour. In true New Orleanian style, the tour ends with more of the distillery’s spectacular alcohol. *tip: don’t leave without picking up some of the distillery’s bitters and their “Ginger Roo” made of ginger juice; Louisiana cane sugar; and Old New Orleans Crystal rum. De.Lish.

"Decisions, decisions..." A veritable plethora of wine at your fingertips at W.I.N.O.

“Decisions, decisions…” A veritable plethora of wine at your fingertips at W.I.N.O.

4.) Lay off the ridiculous amounts of hard liquor…drink ridiculous amounts of wine instead: Check out W.I.N.O., the Wine Institute of New Orleans where you can sample over 120 wines by the 1-ounce taste; half glass; and full glass with just a push of a button via the  Enomatic Wine System. It’s an excellent way to try wines you’ve always wanted to taste or to sample those that pique your curiosity.


An oyster shucking party is just waiting to happen with these antique oyster platters and plates.


5.) Pick up some vintage treasures: I’m a girl who loves vintage {this holds true whether we’re talking about champagne, furniture, jewelry, clothing, and handbags!} so I love checking out antique and resale shops when I visit a city. New Orleans has a ton of great market places to find the vintage treasures of your dreams–just be sure you can pack them all in your suitcase! A great place to start your hunting is Aux Belles Choses.

As you can see, there are lots of ways to Laissez le bon temps rouler. Expand your horizons in New Orleans–be a traveler and not just a tourist.







  1. says

    I was in New Orleans this September and was desperately searching for good book stores. After remembering how magical this city is, I promised myself I’d go back and I’ll be taking your list with me! Thanks for the tips!

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