New Orleans for First Timers

Photo by Phil Roeder

Perfection for your New Orleans trip

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New Orleans can be overwhelming for first timers but this itinerary will show you where to go and what to do.

Day 1 in New Orleans

Start your trip to New Orleans with a croissant and cafe au lait at Croissant D’Or. From there take a short walk over to Jackson Square. Browse through the many artists, fortune tellers, and entertainers there. When you need a break from the heat step inside St Louis Cathedral. There are self guided tour brochures for $1 and plenty to see in this site where people have worshiped since 1727. Next door is the Cabildo where the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803. The building is now a museum housing over 1,000 exhibits. After lunch check out the Insectarium. There you can walk through an Asian garden populated with hundreds of butterflies and even visit the tasting room for some chocolate chirp cookies! Top off your day with traditional jazz at the famous Preservation Hall.

Day 2

On Day Two you are ready for some beignets at the famous Cafe Du Monde. Right next to the restaurant is the opening to the Moon Walk where you can take a stroll along the mighty Mississippi River. Or you could walk the other direction and visit the French Market, where New Orleanians have shopped since 1791. When you’re ready walk over to Toulouse and sign up for a jazz cruise on the Steamboat NatchezHave lunch on the boat and relax, then stroll over to the Ogden Museumwhere you can learn more about the culture and art of the American South.

Day 3

Get a fancier start to your day with Breakfast at Brennan’s.  This is a little pricey for your morning meal but the experience is almost as wonderful as the food. For a somewhat less expensive option that will still satisfy check out The Court of Two Sisters‘ daily jazz brunch buffet. Then spend the day at the World War II Museum.  Opened in 2000 this has quickly become a favorite attraction in New Orleans. Visit the 4D theatre, talk with one of the WWII veterans who volunteer as docents, and walk among the many exhibits. Have lunch there at The American Sector which is so good it puts other museum lunch spots to shame. If history doesn’t interest you, spend the day at The Aquarium of the Americaswhere you can pet sting rays, hand feed parakeets, and watch penguins and otters at play. If you have time take a ride across the Mississippi on the Algiers Ferry and take a walk around this town that was founded in 1719.

Day 4

Slow down and spend a day at City Park. Hidden within the park is Morning Call, where you can eat and then share your crumbs with ducks, geese, and the occasional black swan. Take a walk through the Besthoff Sculpture Gardenwhich is free and open to the public. The New Orleans Museum of Art is also nestled inside the park. If you have any energy left, rent a paddle boat or bicycle and take a ride through the park.  End your day listening to music at The Maple Leaf Bar.

Day 5

New Orleans is known for its beautiful above ground mausoleums. Take a tour of the St Louis or Lafayette cemetery with Two Chicks Walking Tours.  If you choose the latter, your tour will start right outside District Donuts with their daily rotating Simple, Fancy, and Extra Fancy Donut selections. After the two hour walking tour have lunch at the beautiful Commander’s Palace before doing some antiquing on Magazine Street. Alternatively you can take a street car ride downtown and grab a muffuletta at Central Grocery, then do your shopping and sightseeing on Royal Street. Either way you should end your five days with dinner and a show at the very New Orleans Snug HarborSleep well and download a copy of Louis Armstrong’s “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?” Before you know it you will be planning your next trip back.

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