Pros:Lots to do and see even if you don't drink.
Cons:Beware of coming in the heat of the Summer. Food is pretty expensive here.
The Bottom Line: New Orleans is a very historic city, and I truly believe there is something for everyone, not just party animals. I recommend it at least once in a lifetime.
I have lived only about an hour away from New Orleans for 25 years now. I go in for a weekend several times a year and usually end up staying a little extra.
I am a vegetarian (no meat, fish, eggs) so eating is sometimes a problem since the food is based mostly around seafood, alligator, and steak. I have found several places in the French Quarter to fill my belly.
Flanigans Pub has what they call "Huge Freakin Nachos" with everything you can imagine... They also have a great House Salad and often even a Veggie Soup option.
Napolean House has several items as well, as does the Rotollos, Attikis, and Angelis. Oh, and Garage Pizza has many items for vegetarians, even Vegans. They have lots of Tofu preps, that are really good, even though I don't usually like Tofu.
There are 3 or 4 Whole Food stores in the area...and another grocery store, Rouse's, that has alot of nice things for me, and those like me.
There are several great coffee places in the Quarter as well, Cafe DuMonde, and The Royal Blend. Google them for exact locations.
Royal Street is full of great antique shops, original art galleries, and gift shops. It is unlike shopping anywhere else I've been, as they do not allow franchise/chainstores in the Quarter, so you won't see a Starbucks, Gap, or Barnes and Noble. It is truly one of a kind shopping, and the shopkeepers are a wealth of history and info on the area. FYI very important...if you do buy something expensive in the Quarter, and have it shipped out of state, you won't have to pay the 9% sales tax, just the shipping costs, which is almost alway less.
Canal Street, which is one of the borders of the Quarter, is filled with chainstores, just in case you NEED a Payless or something.
Speaking of history and info...take a walking tour..to the above ground cemetaries or a vodoo tour, or even a Katrina bus tour. These tours are fun for a soner, a couple, or small group, as you might not be able to hear well if the group gets too big.
Also, if you like aquatics, check out the Aquarium of the Americas at the foot of Canal Street. The street cars going uptown to the Garden district pass many beautiful homes and buildings, and go to some more unique shopping in Magazine Street. Also uptown, just off the streetcar line is the Audubon Zoo.
Decatur Street offers the Jax Brewery, Hard Rock Cafe and The House of Blues, among other river sites and a nice riverfront park. At the far end of Decatur is a wonderful French Market which offers produce and flea market combined. So even though most people only talk of Bourbon Street, there are many other choices in the city of New Orleans.
MardiGras is fun, but very drinking oriented, while Jazz Fest is more Music oriented. Mardi Gras season lasts for 2 weeks, and ends the day before Ash Wednesday each year. Jazz Fest is alway the last full weekend in April and the first weekend in May. Also the French Quarter Festival is picking up steam. It fall near the beginning of April each year. They had 16 stages of music and entertainment as well as many food booths spread around the Quarter this year. Ya'll come on down for some fun!
Last but not least, the time of year to come. Our winters are generally very mild...with only January being cold almost everyday. Cold to us is below 55. The summer is HOT. Usually June, July, August and September as scorchers. Our Hurricane worry time is mid August through mid October.
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Best Suited For: Singles
Best Time to Travel Here: Mar - May