7 things you absolutely need to know before visiting New Orleans
My favourite city of all time.
So back in 2015 I was lucky enough to visit New Orleans.
The Big Easy had been on my travel bucket list for YEARS, and let me tell you, it didn't disappoint. I always go places with high expectations, and a lot of the time I'm let down.
Not because the places aren't amazing, simply because I have built an unattainable fantasy in my head. New Orleans is a real life fantasy lads. To be fair, I visited the city for Halloween, which made it even more special.
We did quite a bit of research before we went, which may have been the key to our success.
So, if you are heading to The Big Easy, here are some of the wonderful things you should know.
Visit the swamps.
New Orleans lies in the heart of Louisiana - which is basically one giant swamp. I know when you hear swamp, it doesn't really sound cute, but there are parts of the swampland that are STUN. We did a tour of the Bayou swamp on one of those super fast hover boats, it was LIT.
I saw alligators, gorge nature, and a bald eagle shit on my face. No lie, we all looked up to see the majestic bird, when it let loose and went to the toilet. It landed on me, but I still had a glorious time.
Plus: you get a veryyyyy cool poncho. Sold.
Get a famous doughnut.
Oddly, New Orleans is probably most famous for its special doughnut - the beignet. Get your cute butt to Café Du Monde on Decatur Street, you honestly won't regret it. Order yourself a big plate of delicious fried dough and a latte. Sometimes, if I close my eyes, I can still taste them.
Full disclosure: you will spend some time in a queue, but it'll be worth it hun.
The bars don't close.
The licensing laws in New Orleans are virtually non existent, meaning pubs, bars and clubs can stay open for as long as they like. The best part of this is that if you want to have a nice nap after a long day of exploring, you absolutely can. The bars don't close, so even if you head out at 3am, you can have as much fun as you like.
Side note - you can drink on the streets in NOLA, so if you buy a beverage in one place, you can literally walk out with it in your hand and go strolling to your next location.
Eat off the beaten track.
New Orleans has a number of famous dishes, like gumbo and a cheeky poboy. However, if you fancy trying some of these iconic dishes, I suggest you choose somewhere off the beaten track. If you go somewhere on (or around) Bourbon street, the food will be more expensive, and not as good.
I had one really gorgeous dinner in a place called GW Fins... get the lobster dumplings if you go, you fucking deserve them.
Do at least one walking tour.
There's so much to see in The Big Easy, so a walking tour is a great way to tick boxes. There are ghost tours, witch tours and loads of other themes. We did a ghost tour, and it was basically like a pub crawl with creep stories and loads of culture.
We learned a lot about the city's past, and why it's home to all things supernatural. At the end of the tour, we even met a real life witch, who told our fortunes. A gimmick for sure, but a very nice touch.
Don't spend your entire trip in the French Quarter.
So we spent our first few days roaming the French Quarter, and visiting plantations and swamps. However, on our last day we decided to venture to the other side of the city, to the Garden District.
We mainly did this because I wanted to see Sandra Bullock's house, but it turns out all the homes in this area are stun. In fact, we even got to see the Coven house from American Horror Story, which was tres cool.
Go to a graveyard.
When someone dies in New Orleans, they can't be buried. As I mentioned before, the city is built on a swamp. Meaning if you dig a couple of feet into the ground, you'll hit water. So, the dead of New Orleans are laid to rest in above-ground tombs, and they're pretty impressive.
Known as the Cities of the Dead, the New Orleans cemeteries have been film sets for some iconic films and TV shows, such as The Vampire Diaries. They're very interesting!
Most importantly - have the time of your life.
It really is a magical (and kind of bizarre) city, and you're about to fall madly in love.
I'm so jealous.