So you’ve made the decision to head to the Big Easy for the weekend, fabulous idea! Here are some activities you can’t miss on any trip to New Orleans.
How to Do a Weekend in New Orleans:
The Hyatt Regency New Orleans is located in the CBD, or Central Business District. This Hyatt property really has it all, a rooftop outdoor heated pool (with cabanas), a sports bar and lounge, breakfast buffet and restaurant, seafood grill, a gym with penthouse views, a Starbucks, sushi bar, parking garage, and tons of conference rooms. It’s located right next to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and Smoothie King Center, so if you’re in town for any events, concerts, or games, it’s the perfect location.
It’s a quick Uber/Lyft ride to the French Quarter and within walking distance of the Arts District. The rooms are spacious, with great amenities, and the hotel has a sleek, modern feel. The property was completely remodeled after Hurricane Katrina and it shows. There’s also a streetcar stop right in front of the hotel on Loyola Avenue. I highly recommend it for business travelers, friends, couples, and even families.
After checking in to the Hyatt, walk (about 15 to 20 minutes) to the National WWII Museum. It’s the top rated attraction in all of New Orleans, and the fourth-best museum in the country based on TripAdvisor rankings. There are three separate buildings to explore, as well as a 4-D show narrated by Tom Hanks definitely worth checking out. After exploring the museum, have dinner at Borgne, which is off of the lobby in the hotel. My favorite dishes were Fish In A Bag, Louisiana Oysters, and Duck Poppers. If you’re looking for a night on the town, head to Bourbon Street for some late-night fun.
Start your day at the beignet shop of your choice (I loved Cafe Beignet) and then head to Free Wheelin’ Bike Tours‘ headquarters just a few minutes away. I did the three hour Creole & Crescent tour, which takes you through the French Quarter, St. Louis Cemetery #3, Treme’, Esplanade Avenue, Frenchmen Street, The Marigny, Armstrong Park, Congo Square, Bayou, and City Park, with a stop at Morning Call Cafe (for more beignets or a coffee break). You’ll likely be a little tired from the tour, but don’t let that stop you from exploring some more of the French Quarter. Stop for some Johnny’s Po-boys and then check out Mardi Gras World or the Louisiana State Museum.
Grab dinner at popular Coquette, note that the menu changes daily, before heading to Preservation Hall for a live jazz performance. They have daily shows on the hour between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday thru Wednesday, and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday thru Sunday. I recommend reserving seats online before, or you can wait in the general admission line (just line up about 15 minutes before the show time you want to attend). After the show, head to nearby Frenchmen Street for some more live music.
Head to jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace, but make sure you have an empty stomach. The three-course brunch spot has been a New Orleans landmark since 1893 and has won six James Beard Foundation Awards. Your meal and service won’t disappoint. If you’re looking for an even more unique experience, you can book the chef’s table inside the kitchen or host a private event in the massive wine cellar.
If time allows, walk around the Garden District (where Commander’s Place is located) and marvel at the historic homes and beautiful streets.
If you’re headed to New Orleans over a long weekend, head to some of the other museums and Arts District. Near the Hyatt you’ll find art galleries and shops to explore; and check out the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Or, if you’re visiting in the spring, summer, or fall, take a swamp tour in the bayou for alligator spotting.
Bars & Restaurants
- Cafe Beignet, French Quarter
- Cafe du Monde, French Quarter
- Commander’s Palace, Garden District
- Coquette, Garden District
- Peche, Art District
- Johnny’s Po-Boys, French Quarter
- Borgne, CBD
- The Spotted Cat, Frenchmen St.
- Hot Tin, Garden District
- The Sazerac Bar, Roosevelt Hotel. French Quarter
- The Carousel Bar, French Quarter
- Blue Nile, Frenchmen St.
- Apple Barrel, Frenchmen St.
- Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, French Quarter
Museums & Attractions
- The National WWII Museum, Art District
- New Orleans Historic Homes Tour
- New Orleans School of Cooking, French Quarter
- Swamp Tours
- The Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville
- Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Art District
- Preservation Hall, French Quarter
- Mardi Gras World, Port of New Orleans
- Louisiana State Museum, French Quarter
- Free Wheelin’ Bike Tours, French Quarter
- New Orleans Cemetery Tours
- New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, French Quarter
- Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo, French Quarter
- French Market District
More from SmarterTravel:
- Your Money Goes Far in New Orleans’ French Quarter
- New Orleans at Mardi Gras
- Carnival Celebrations Around the World