The Big Easy, N'Awlins, NOLA, Paris of the South, Crescent City - a few of the colorful nicknames for New Orleans - is known for its food, music, history, Mardi Gras festivities and happens to be one of my favorite cities! I have been to New Orleans too many times to count and I always find something new and exciting to try. If you choose to have an urban elopement in New Orleans, there are so many things you can incorporate into your day that are unique to the city, from second line parades to muffalettas!
eat at Cafe Du Monde.
One of the most popular activities to do in NOLA is getting beignets at Cafe Du Monde, a coffee shop that has been around since 1862. Beignets are pieces of fried dough covered in powdered sugar (yum!). My order every time is an order of beignets (all for myself) and café au lait, coffee with hot milk. I also occasionally grab one of their paper hats to wear! Fun fact about their Jackson Square location is that it is open 24/7. It does get busy during peak season so make sure to be prepared to stand in a line, but you can always get it to go from the take out window on the back side of the restaurant and sit in the amphitheater of Washington Artillery Park.
hire a second line.
Ever dream of walking through the streets of the Big Easy with a live brass band playing for YOU?! Well all your dreams can come true for just $200.25. This New Orleans tradition dates back to the 19th century. There are many different social events that these lines are used for, but wedding second lines are used to celebrate the newlyweds embarking on their next chapter in life. All you need to figure out is what date you want to have it on and then you get to pick out which route you all want to walk!
New Orleans boasts a handful of super neat and unique bars that are worth checking out, especially if you want to bar hop or just need a place to take a break during the day! A hidden gem in the French Quarter is Bar Tonique known for its craft cocktails featuring housemade ingredients. This little bar is all brick and has a cozy fireplace inside, creating a homey atmosphere. A Bourbon Street favorite is Fritzel's European Jazz Pub, the oldest operational jazz club in New Orleans. They have live jazz nightly and offer a wide selection of drinks. If you want to feel suspended in time check out the Napoleon House, a 200 year old house with a beautiful palm filled courtyard. I have eaten dinner in their courtyard before and I didn’t want to leave! Sidenote: You can reserve the entire house and have your ceremony there if you are looking for a super unique location! Up last is Cane & Table, a bar that will make you feel like you are in Old Havana. Their cocktails are delicious and a perfect way to take a break from walking around the Quarter, which is what I have done there before.
explore the French Quarter.
Something that is so simple to me and takes no planning at all is to just explore the streets of the French Quarter. It seems like an endless maze of art stores, beautiful architecture, street performers and restaurants. I have wandered up and down the streets a million times and rarely feel like I ever end up on the same one, although I know I have probably walked each street countless times. New Orleans is comfortably familiar, but forever recreating itself.
walk through City Park.
Another location that is fun to explore is City Park. Set on 1,300 acres, this park has so much to offer! There is LaBorde Lookout which happens to be the highest point of elevation in New Orleans. If you are up for some competition, they also offer mini golf at City Putt and has 36 holes split between two courses. It is a pretty fun course if I do say so myself and isn’t super hard. Within the park boundaries is also the New Orleans Botanical Garden which makes you feel like you are a guest walking the grounds of an aristocrat’s estate. Another great location to say your vows would be in the Historic Oak Grove in the south side of the park. There are several highly popular and recognized oaks within the oak grove. That is just a few things that the park offers - I mean there is 1,300 acres so there is lots to do!
get your palm read.
When in NOLA...get your palm read in Jackson Square! Whether you believe in that stuff or not it is a fun, very unique thing you can do. Plus you never know - maybe they will tell you that you have a great adventure awaiting you!
take a street car ride.
One of my favorite views is standing at the corner of N Peter and Canal Streets...actually more like in the middle of Canal Street, but I can’t encourage standing in the middle of the road! From here you can see all the way down to pretty much the end. The center of the street is lined with palm trees and in the middle the street cars run up and down the strip. It is such a cool experience to hop on and off the street cars - just be careful!
Outdoor Bazaar - French Market.
The Outdoor Bazaar - French Market, open daily, is another fascinating place to walk. You can find all types of food from a variety of local foods to cheese and wine to so much more! You can find some really fun and authentic keepsakes here. This market has over 50 artisans that rotate throughout the year offering many unique handcrafted pieces.
eat some cajun + creole food.
I am a huge foodie and always love finding the traditional food for whatever area I am visiting and NOLA is no different. This city is known for their cajun and creole food. And I promise it will not be hard to find some, but there are some that are better than others! I have a tendency to always get a po boy and/or gumbo (depending on how hungry I am or how hungry my eyes are 😅). One of my favorites is Mulate's, a local hot spot. Last time I went there I got the Grilled Shrimp New Orleans Traditional Poboy Platter and it was so good - I am making myself hungry just thinking about it! I also make it a point to visit Gumbo Shop, The Original Pierre Maspero's, and Acme Oyster House as they are also popular locations that I have eaten at and enjoyed immensely. During peak season there is normally a wait for dinner, but you can also go at lunch when there isn’t as long of a wait if any!
explore a cemetery.
If you are into something a little different, walk around one of the many cemeteries that New Orleans is known for. Due to being built on swamp grounds they feature ornate above-ground crypts. In St. Louis cemetery, you can see the grave of the voodoo queen Marie Laveau and pirate Barthelemy Lafon. I think these cemeteries are beautiful and really speak to the timelessness of this city.
eat a muffuletta.
One very unique sandwich that should be on your radar is a muffuletta, an Italian sandwich invented in New Orleans. Muffulettas feature cured meats, provolone cheese, and an olive dressing which includes chopped green and black olives with onions and olive oil and spices. Head to the Central Grocery and Deli on Decatur St. to pick up this staple sandwich. I always grab one when I am in town and sit in Jackson Square people watching!
Whether you choose to pack several of these experiences into your elopement day or spread it out over a few days, these are some ideas you should not miss out on while in New Orleans. Good luck planning and happy elopement!