Let’s take it easy in The Big Easy with The Ultimate Road Trip Guide to New Orleans.
If you are like me, sometimes you just want to get away from your city and find new experiences and inspiration. Just a few hours away (7.5 hours) from Dallas, TX (I live here) and honestly anywhere in the south, there is a perfect magical city called New Orleans. A city that has withstood the test of time, whose multicultural architecture can’t be found anywhere else, and whose music and gastronomy have inspired the world.
It's no secret that New Orleans is considered one of the best cities in the United States. It’s a culturally rich melting pot that’s both welcoming and down-to-earth, yet elegant and boujie. Its unique blend of French, African and American cultures, vibrant live jazz music scene, beautiful scenery, and one-of-a-kind Cajun and Creole cuisine have made this city into what is known today.
So whether this is your first time planning a trip to New Orleans or your 27th time (we met a group of guys who have been going to NOLA for years), there is always something new and exciting waiting for you. So as the New Orleanians say, “laissez les bon temps rouler”. Cajun French for “let the good times roll” and let's explore the city.
This is a 5-day, 4-night road trip itinerary, starting Monday - Friday, where I take you through the famous French Quarter, magical Garden District, mystical Lafitte Bayou in the Mississippi River, and mesmerizing Plantation Grounds in Vacherie. Activities are scheduled according to location availability. You are more than welcome to re-arrange according to your preference; however, please pay attention to restaurant hours, especially as the majority close on Mondays and Tuesdays. Also, reservations are highly encouraged to avoid long waiting times. Most of these locations are within walking distance from the hotel while on The French Quarter or a short ride on the St. Charles Streetcar.
DAY 1: BACK IN TIME
OAK ALLEY PLANTATION
After an early morning ride to New Orleans, 7.5 hours from Dallas, TX, there's no better way to start your journey than by stopping at the historic @OakAlleyPlantation on your way to the city. It's only 1 hr away from Benton Rouge and New Orleans. Make sure you take the Big House tour to learn more about its history as it provides insight into the illustrious ground’s dark past. Allow at least 2 hours of your time to explore. Book your tickets here.
ROYAL SONESTA NEW ORLEANS HOTEL
Next, check in at the Best Hotel in New Orleans at the heart of the action on Bourbon Street at The @RoyalSonestaNo. Explore its grounds and all the incredible amenities this hotel has to offer. Believe me; you can do a whole vacation inside this hotel.
Here are a few reasons why you should stay at The Royal Sonesta in New Orleans:
Location! It’s located right in the action of Bourbon Street.
Timeless & elegant decor with iconic crystal chandeliers & charming secret courtyards
Luxury amenities, gorgeous suites, and guest rooms with balcony access
Great staff, on-site parking & room service!
The largest Salt Water Rooftop Pool in the French Quarter
On-site restaurants! Like Revolution & Desire Oyster Bar with delicious Chargrilled Rockin' Oysters.
Entertainment & NightLife at The Jazz Playhouse.
If this doesn’t make you want to book a stay, I don’t know what will! Book your next stay here.
CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO TOUR OF THE ROYAL SONESTA NEW ORLEANS:
Finish your evening by exploring Bourbon Street just outside of the hotel. We finished our night by having dinner at @acmeoyster. Be prepared to wait, but the wait is well worth it. This time we tried their Fried Oyster and shrimp platter, which comes with your choice of side. Their hush puppies are a must!
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR DAY 1:
DAY 2: ADVENTURE & SIGHTSEEING
Wake up early and head over for delicious beignets at the famous @cafedumonde. Make sure to bring some cash and order their Chicory and Cafe Au Lait Coffee to dip in your beignets! Here you can also listen to fabulous live Jazz music while you eat. Don’t forget to tip the artists!
Take a Swamp Tour to the Lafitte Bayou in the morning. It’s absolutely gorgeous and super peaceful. You get to see a few friends on the way, such as alligators, and did you know that this bayou was the inspiration for the movie Princes and the Frog? We recommend @airboatadv for this trip. They pick you up and drop you off from your hotel. Book your tickets here.
MUFFALETTA & PIMMS CUP
Once you are back at the French Quarter! It's time for food. Stop at the historic @NapoleonHouseNola known for being the refuge house of the late Napoleon Bonaparte. Here you need to try their giant Muffaletta and refresh yourself with their signature Pimm’s Cup cocktail.
A TASTE OF MARDI GRAS
Next, take a trip to @mardigrasworld and see all the fabulous parade floats they create all year round to celebrate Fat Tuesday! This is a self-guided tour, and they give you a slice of King Cake while you learn about Mardi Gras. Book your tour here.
FRENCH QUARTER - JACKSON SQUARE
Finish your day low-key by exploring Jackson Square in the French Quarter. Here you can see the oldest cathedral in the United States, St. Louis Cathedral, and explore all the shops and artists around the square. Also, explore the Mississippi River, the perfect place to see the sunset, and it's just across the cathedral. You can also board the Natchez Steamboat, one of the oldest steamboats in the US or get engaged like I did during this trip.
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR DAY 2:
DAY 3: TIME TO GET BOUJIE!
Start your day at @courtoftwosisters and their famous Jazz Brunch. Here you can experience one of the most gorgeous courtyards in New Orleans, a full creole buffet, mimosas, jazz music, and a little bit of voodoo history with the Devil's Wishing Well, where possibly Marie Laveau practiced her voodoo rituals. Reserve your seat here.
THE SAZERAC HOUSE
After Brunch, make your way to @sazerachouse to learn all about New Orleans's favorite cocktail, The Sazerac, where you can also enjoy sample cocktails made with Herbsaint, Myers’s Rum, and so much more, all for FREE! Reservations are recommended; make yours here.
DESIRE OYSTER BAR
Get ready for the most delicious Chargrilled Oysters of your life at @royalsonestano’s Desire Oyster Bar. If you are a fan of Oysters Rockefeller, then make sure you try their Char-Grilled Rokin’ Oysters and don’t forget the GUMBO and a Hurricane! The staff is also the best!
LIVE MUSIC AT THE JAZZ PLAYHOUSE
Lastly, head over for some cocktails and music at The Jazz Playhouse inside the Royal Sonesta. We got to see @FunkyBigSam, and he brought the house down! We had so much fun. Be sure to check him out when in New Orleans.
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR DAY 3:
DAY 4: ALL ABOUT FINE DINING
CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE BEIGNETS
Rise and shine, it's time for more beignets! Head to New Orleans Musical Legends Park across from The Royal Sonesta, and try Cafe Beignet's chocolate drizzle beignets. They are huge but so delicious, and you can listen to great live music throughout the day.
RIDE THE ST. CHARLES STREETCAR
Next, get ready and grab the historic St. Charles Streetcar to the Garden District. It only costs $3.00 for a day pass. Get this on the app cause you’ll need it for this day.
TRY THE .50 CENT MARTINIS AT COMMANDERS
Make your stop on Washington St. and head over to @CommandersPalace for Brunch and their iconic .50 cent martinis, famous Turtle Soup, and delicious Creole Bread Pudding Souffle, a must while dining at Commanders.
VISIT ABOVE GROUND CEMETERY
After Brunch, explore the Lafayette No. 1 above-ground cemetery and walk around the beautiful Garden District. You can find houses from celebrities like Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon, and more.
VISIT THE GARDEN DISTRICT
Want to see more? Hop on the St Charles Streetcar again and ride it all the way to Audubon Park, where Tulane and Loyola universities are.
VISIT THE OLDEST BARS IN NOLA
Back in the French Quarter, it's time to explore two of the oldest bars in New Orleans, @lafittesblacksmithshopbar Est. 1772, try their purple voodoo drink, and the @oldabsinthehouse Est. 1807. Famous for the banned absinthe drink.
ANTIONE'S NEW ORLEANS
Lastly, get dressed to the nines and head to dinner at the oldest family-owned/operated restaurant in New Orleans Est. 1840 @antoinesnola, known as the creators of Oysters Rockefeller and the Cafe Brulot Diablique. Don’t forget to order their Baked Alaska dessert and explore their fabulous themed rooms!
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR DAY 4:
DAY 5: BUBBLES & GOODBYES
Don’t say goodbye to New Orleans without experiencing @brennansnola and their signature Eggs Benedict, Bubbles at Brennan's Happy Hour, delicious Brandy Milk Punch, and iconic Bananas Foster, which is an experience in itself.
SOUVENIRS AT NEW ORLEANS SCHOOL OF COOKING
With a happy belly and just a few steps down the road from Brennan’s it's time to shop for our souvenirs. The perfect place to do so is at the @nolaschoolofcooking. Here you can get all the ingredients to recreate all of your favorite New Orleans dishes, plus don’t forget the pralines!
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR DAY 5:
I hope you enjoyed this fun itinerary through New Orleans. As you can tell, there is so much to see and do, but we didn't even cover 10% of all the awesome things you can do while in New Orleans. If you ever plan on going to NOLA, try a couple or all of these places and let me know what you think. Don't forget to follow me on social media at @sashazavala on IG and TikTok or The Daily Sash on Facebook to keep up with all the latest adventures!