A 4 Day Itinerary for New Orleans, Louisiana

new orleans itinerary

Hey, everyone! Over MLK weekend, my boyfriend and I paid a visit to the Big Easy. Truthfully, New Orleans was never at the top of my travel list. I have a complicated relationship with jazz music and I don’t really eat seafood, and those are two of the main draws to NOLA. I never thought it would be a place that I would enjoy, but four and a half days there proved me wrong- I absolutely LOVED it! It felt like being in Europe but in the south if that makes any sense? lol. The architecture was stunning, the people were super friendly, and even though the food did make my sensitive af stomach queasy, it was delicious and well worth it (thank god for Pepto though). Here is a full 4-day itinerary for New Orleans, including what to skip and what not to miss.

4 day itinerary for new orleans pinterest

RELATED POST: A 3-Day Itinerary for Nashville, Tennessee

WHERE WE STAYED

We stayed in this adorable Airbnb that was decked out for Mardi Gras! The room was spacious and had a TV and a private bath. We were a $5-$10 Uber ride from all of the sightseeing, but if that’s a con in your book, I’d recommend staying closer to the French Quarter. The only drawback with this place was that it’s occupied by a big family, and they were loud :/// so that was annoying but other than that it was nice!

WHAT WE SAW

The French Quarter

This is the main/touristy neighborhood in New Orleans and it’s not hard to see why. It literally looks like Europe. So cute, beautiful architecture, amazing colored buildings. You’ll have no problem finding a spot to shoot a quick ‘gram here. I walked around for hours and couldn’t get enough!

WORTH IT ✅

Bourbon Street

Located within the French Quarter, this is where all of the touristy bars are! It really comes alive at night, but thanks to NOLA’s open container laws, there are people out there all day, every day. Come at night if you want to see live music!

WORTH IT ✅

Frenchmen Street

Frenchmen Street is Bourbon Street’s edgier, more local counterpart. All the real New Orleanians were out and about here rather than on Bourbon, so that made for a totally different vibe altogether. I’d suggest spending a night out here for live music and dancing! There’s a lot going on.

WORTH IT ✅

4 day itinerary for new orleans

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The Garden District

The Garden District, like the French Quarter, is filled with historic houses. We’re talking mansions! #HouseGoals. The streets here were so beautiful I didn’t want to leave. This is a must if you’re visiting, just literally walk around this neighborhood and look at pretty houses. I loved every minute of the time I spent here.

WORTH IT ✅

Burlesque at the Burgundy Bar

Mark and I actually saw a ton of burlesque shows when we were on study abroad, so this wasn’t our first rodeo. The burlesque performers were immensely talented, but the best part of these shows is that they’re in a hotel bar on the first floor right on Canal Street. There is a huge window behind the performers, so you can see pedestrians walking by in the background. It’s a known fact that a basically naked butt is guaranteed to capture attention, so some of the passersby stop to see what the HECK is going on and it’s hilarious! The performers interact with the strangers through the window while the live band is roaring. It’s definitely a spectacle.

WORTH IT ✅

4 day itinerary for new orleans

Jackson Square

We all know Andrew Jackson was trash, so pay absolutely no attention to the big statue of him that’s located here. What you shouldn’t miss though is the beautiful church that towers over the square! The park is also a lovely spot to catch a breather when you’re walking around all day. The outer edges of the square are filled with street performers, so that’s always fun.

WORTH IT ✅

4 day itinerary for new orleans

4 day itinerary for new orleans

4 day itinerary for new orleans

Lafayette Cemetery

I have this thing with cemeteries. The Lafayette Cemetery is located in the Garden District so we popped in while we were looking at the mansions. The tombstones are, shall I say, hauntingly beautiful. If you’re not creeped out by graves, it’s worth taking a quick look around.

WORTH IT ✅

Museum of Death

Another creepy activity that the city has to offer is the Museum of Death! This is close to the Carousel Bar (see food + drinks section of this post). The $15 admissions fee is a steep price to pay – the museum isn’t that big or interesting enough to justify that price. It was mostly just taxidermy and old newspaper articles. And no photos were permitted, which is also lame because #CONTENT!

NOT WORTH IT ❌

Preservation Jazz Hall

If you want the experience of standing in a crowded, dark room for 45 minutes listening to jazz music with a bunch of strangers, this is for you. The band was very talented, but there is so much music to be heard (for free!) in the city, that I didn’t feel like this was exactly worth it. There was no photography allowed when the band was playing, but one lady had the audacity to snap a FLASH photo while we were there! I’d never seen a bigger death glare in my life – the singer of the band stared her down so hard! If you go, don’t be *that lady.*

NOT WORTH IT ❌

National World War II Museum 

Calling all history buffs! The National World War II Museum is a world-class museum. Mark and I spent a good 3 hours here and we would have stayed longer had we not been hangry. Be sure to bring your student ID if you still have one for discounted tickets! I felt the money I spent here was well worth it for the sheer volume of information and the attention to detail in each exhibit.

WORTH IT ✅

RELATED POST: A 3-DAY ITINERARY FOR WASHINGTON D.C.

WHERE WE ATE & SIPPED

4 day itinerary for new orleans

Acme Oyster House

All of the Yelp reviews for this place call it a tourist trap, so I was definitely on guard upon entering. Mark and I ordered their ~famous~ oysters and they were so0o0o good. As I said in the very beginning of this post, I don’t even really eat seafood, but I would 100000% order these oysters again. We also got fries, because I was still feeling deprived ever since I was served a baked potato at Port of Call (scroll down to read more about that) and they were AMAZING! So yeah, don’t let those Yelpers get you down, we both really loved our meal at Acme!

WORTH IT ✅

Buffa’s

Pronounced “Boofa’s,” Buffa’s is known for their jazz brunch, which is exactly what it sounds like. Every Sunday morning, they have a live band performing during brunch! The band was comprised of mostly older folks which was honestly pretty rad. We stayed here all afternoon to watch the Saints game (which was disappointing because they lost to the Rams). This was the perfect place to watch the game because they had one of those huge projector screens. This place is a dive but it was totally a luxury to be able to watch an important game on such a big screen.

WORTH IT ✅

Coop’s Place

Not gonna lie, I was flippin’ scared to eat at Coop’s after hearing this bit about it from comedian Hannibal Buress. My boyfriend still really wanted to check it out (???) so I was dragged there. We sat at the bar and had a pretty low-key dinner. I had red beans & rice with sausage, which is a meal you can get at pretty much any traditional New Orleans restaurant. It was really good, but like I said, it’s a meal you can get anywhere, so unless you’re near Coop’s, I wouldn’t say this is a place to go out of your way for.

CONSUME AT YOUR OWN RISK ❗️

4 day itinerary for new orleans

Gumbo Shop

We waited in line for several places on this list, but the longest line was definitely for Gumbo Shop. I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype and that we’d end up feeling silly for wasting time and money, but WOW, guys. It was really frickin’ good. Probably my favorite meal of the trip, actually. I’d recommend going at an off-peak time to minimize the wait, but if you can’t, it’s still totally worth it. I had the chicken gumbo and I’m probably going to be thinking about it for the rest of my life.

WORTH IT ✅

Lil Dizzy’s Cafe

The closest eatery to our Airbnb was Lil Dizzy’s. Very traditionally southern and a down-to-Earth spot to grab a meal. We had breakfast here and loved the food. Mark got catfish (!!) and said it was delicious, whereas I wasn’t as adventurous and stuck to eggs and bacon (#basic). They have a buffet and outdoor seating, so really, what’s not to love?

WORTH IT ✅

Mother’s

This place is a greasy spoon complete with pictures on the wall of all of the famous people who have eaten there. After we waited in line for a solid 20 minutes, Mark and I ordered the famed Ferdi Special, which is a Po’ Boy sandwich with roast beef and ham. They really don’t skimp out – the meat was literally hanging off my plate when it was served to me. Mark loved the food but I actually felt really gross after eating this. So idk, if you’re into super meaty dishes, I’d say go for it, but my stomach couldn’t handle it. I don’t think I would go here again.

CONSUME AT YOUR OWN RISK ❗️

Port of Call

This was actually our first real meal after we landed! The burgers at Port O Call are served with baked potatoes, instead of fries, which was interesting. They are also known for their tropical drinks, which are delicious (who doesn’t love fruity dranks???). We ate our burgers and then ordered our drinks to go, because WE COULD.

WORTH IT ✅

Willie Mae’s Scotch House

Fried chicken lovers, where you at? This place isn’t close to any of the other attractions, but it was kinda close to our Airbnb. We waited in yet another line for 15 minutes before we were seated. We went pretty close to closing time, so they had run out of a lot of the things we wanted to order. I’d recommend going for lunch or earlier in the evening. Even though we couldn’t order all the things we wanted, what we did order was v v v good. Remember how I said I felt super gross after eating at Mother’s? After Willie Mae’s, my boyfriend felt super sick but I was fine! Lmao, we honestly wrecked our bodies so hard on this trip, but even though I wouldn’t go back to Mother’s, Mark says he would still go back to Willie’s because it was that good.

CONSUME AT YOUR OWN RISK ❗️

Cafe Amelie

Who likes boozy coffee? 🙋🏻‍♀️ One of my favorite places in NYC is Veniero’s, which Cafe Amelie reminded me of. They have a full menu, but Mark and I just popped in for some spiked cappuccinos, which hit the spot. We went when it was pretty cold, but they have a beautiful outdoor courtyard.

WORTH IT ✅

4 day itinerary for new orleans

Cafe Du Monde

If you’ve read any NOLA travel guide, chances are, this is on it. This is a very famous spot for beignets, which are essentially hole-less donuts covered in powdered sugar. The beignets are delicious and if you stop by, be sure to get coffee as well! They taste even better when dunked in a latte.

WORTH IT ✅

Cafe Beignet

This is Cafe Du Monde’s main competitor. They also serve beignets and coffee. The beignets at Cafe Beignet were chewier and doughier, whereas the ones at Cafe Du Monde are more solid and crispy. I actually preferred the doughier beignets, but I’d recommend visiting both to see which one you like more!

WORTH IT ✅

District Donuts

If you want traditional donuts, not beignets, District Donuts makes ENORMOUS ones! We stopped here after wandering around the Garden District because we were seeking food + caffeine. The decor and vibe reminded me a lot of Wormhole in Chicago’s Wicker Park, if you’ve been there. The staff was very friendly. I also recommend stopping here on the earlier side; we were lucky to get a donut because they were about to run out when we arrived. It takes something ridiculous like 3 hours to make a new batch, so beware.

WORTH IT ✅

30/90

30/90 serves a dual purpose. Upstairs, there’s a DJ playing all your favorite modern hits, but downstairs, there’s a live band playing more traditional jazz and party jams. We went with a big group of friends who also happened to be visiting at the same time. Some people wanted to hang out upstairs, while others preferred the downstairs. I thought it was cool that the space had both types of vibes happening at once so you could mix it up depending on how you’re feeling.

WORTH IT ✅

Blue Nile

This had a super local and dive-y feel to it and had a live bluegrass band. Because of the bluegrass, the crowd was definitely older, but Mark and I still had a really fun time. Definitely pop in if you’re out and about on Frenchmen Street.

WORTH IT ✅

Carousel Bar

For the ultimate ‘grammable moment, stop by the Carousel Bar. What I didn’t know, however, from seeing pics of it on Instagram, is that it ACTUALLY ROTATES. We were taking pics before we started drinking and I still got hella dizzy. Being on a spinning bar while slamming down drinks is not exactly a safe move, so I suggest snapping your pics and then sitting down at one of the nearby tables surrounding the bar to eat and drink.

WORTH IT ✅

Tropical Isle’s Bayou Club

This is where you can get a hand grenade. No, not the weapon. An extremely powerful drink that comes in an unmistakable neon green container. These are so strong that my boyfriend and I split one rather than each getting one of our own. Delicious but dangerous.

WORTH IT ✅ CONSUME AT YOUR OWN RISK ❗️

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar

A piece of history! Lafitte’s is the oldest standing structure used as a bar in the good ‘ol USA. They are known for their “voodoo juice,” which is basically an alcoholic slushie. I thought it kind of tasted like medicine at first, but then I got used to the taste. We stopped here a few times throughout our stay – it’s good for both a quick round and staying for a while.

WORTH IT ✅ CONSUME AT YOUR OWN RISK ❗️

4 day itinerary for new orleans

Pat O’Brien’s

Pat O’s is known for their signature drink, the hurricane. It comes in a to-go cup so you can take it wherever, but we actually decided to hang around the enormous outdoor courtyard area that they have. This spot is really large, so you can choose to sit around or continue on your night of debauchery in the French Quarter. I would also recommend only ordering ONE hurricane. You may think that’s a weenie thing to say, but they are ultra strong. The waitstaff actually praised us for only ordering a single drink each.

WORTH IT ✅ CONSUME AT YOUR OWN RISK ❗️

4 day itinerary for new orleans

This is probably my longest post to date! Kudos to you if you read every word. I wanted to give you guys the real low-down on e v e r y  s i n g l e  t h i n g I experienced. Have you ever been to New Orleans? Planning to visit anytime soon? Leave comments below!

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