While Ryan and I both love hiking, visiting national parks, and other outdoor activities, one of our favorite travel activities is exploring a new city. After four weeks in Baton Rouge, we were both itching for a new adventure — and an overnight trip to nearby New Orleans seemed like the perfect way to blow off some steam!
Our first stop was our hotel, The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, in the heart of New Orleans’ Warehouse Arts District and just a few blocks from the French Quarter. The hotel was very cool — the lobby was all brick and wood paneling, with dim lighting, chalkboard accents, and unique local art on the walls.
Our room was small but cozy (and that bad was one of the most comfortable we’ve ever slept in!). We found it a little odd that there was no window in the room, but it definitely made for a deep, dark night’s sleep!
And the mini bar even featured cool local snacks, like Zydeco bars and pralines.
After settling in to our hotel room, we were eager to find food. We’d left for New Orleans later than planned and had managed to skip lunch — always a dangerous proposition. We had dinner plans but needed something to tide us over until then.
New Orleans was all decked out for Christmas, and as we walked we heard music playing from a live band. Up the street we discovered Miracle on Fulton Street, a winter wonderland in the Fulton Street pedestrian corridor. There was a holiday market, live entertainment, lots of lights, and a huge Christmas tree!
We grabbed drinks and a snack at Manning’s, then headed down Fulton Street to check out the festivities.
Feeling much more cheerful with a little food in us, we walked back toward our hotel to meet up with Ryan’s aunt and uncle, who were also in town for the evening. On the way we ducked into a few of the fancy hotels that were gorgeously decorated for the holidays. And after joining forces with his aunt and uncle we headed off to the most glorious holiday wonderland of all: The Roosevelt.
It didn’t disappoint! Their lights display and Christmas trees were truly spectacular (although it was packed with other people like us, oohing and ahhing at the lights and taking lots of pictures!).
From there we hopped on the St. Charles Streetcar. Part of our agenda for the evening was seeing some of the beautiful old homes in the Garden District decorated with Christmas lights. We enjoyed the drive but I think we would have been able to see the lights better if we’d walked … the interior of the streetcar was brightly lit and it made viewing (and photographing) the lovely homes a little difficult.
At the end of the streetcar line we disembarked to walk to the local bar where Ryan’s cousin was performing that night. On the way we passed Carrollton Station where all the streetcars park for the night.
Just around the corner was the Carrollton Station Bar. While we waited for the show to start, we ordered food from their delicious new menu. Roasted Cornish game hen … surprisingly gourmet frito pie … boudin stuffed tomatoes … sweet potatoes covered in brown sugar and butter … we were in heaven!
We enjoyed the show and hanging out with Ryan’s aunt and uncle, then jumped back on the streetcar to return to our hotel. We got in late and slept hard in our super-dark room!
The next morning we checked out of our hotel and headed down to the French Market. I had a few Christmas gifts to purchase and we were hoping to get cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde.
The sun was shining and the French Market was hopping! Unfortunately the line for Cafe du Monde was crazy, and we needed to be back in Baton Rouge in just a few hours. So we contented ourselves with stopping in a few shops (and sampling some chocolate pralines, yum) and taking a quick walk around Jackson Square.
There was so much more we would have liked to see and do in New Orleans, but I was happy we got to visit before Christmas to see all the festive decorations around the city. We’re thinking we need to return for a day trip before leaving Louisiana. I want to visit The Cabildo and a few other historical sites, we’d like to ride the Algiers Ferry, and of course we still need to visit Cafe du Monde! Like most cities we visit, New Orleans definitely left us wanting more!
What are your must-see spots in New Orleans?