New Orleans, Louisiana is one of the most vibrant and eclectic cities in the United States and a relatively easy drive from Houston making it the perfect weekend getaway! The rich history and cultural scene are second to none. Known for its world-famous cuisine, music, and Mardi Gras celebrations, New Orleans is a destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. The last time I was in New Orleans was my bachelorette party and this time the vibe was very different. We wanted to experience Mardi Gras without going too crazy. This itinerary is the perfect way to spend a weekend in the city, exploring its many attractions and experiencing the best of what it has to offer.
A Weekend Getaway to New Orleans: A Travel Guide for Non-Partiers
Saturday: A Day in the French Quarter and Beyond
After driving in and we checked into the beautiful Hotel Peter and Paul. This hotel has been on Jared’s bucket list for a while and now I can see why. Hotel Peter and Paul is a charming hotel located in the heart of New Orleans just north of the French Quarter so it’s off the beaten path but not too far.
The hotel is housed in a beautifully restored historic building that was once a Catholic church and school, and it offers a unique blend of modern comfort and classic charm. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, with high ceilings and large windows that let in plenty of natural light. Each floor is a different color of gingham and I’ve truly never stayed a hotel this unique. The hotel offers a lovely courtyard that’s perfect for relaxing and taking in the sights and sounds of the neighborhood.
It’s also pet-friendly so we brought Beau along for the weekend and had no problems at all! The friendly staff will make you feel at home and are always willing to offer recommendations and advice to help you make the most of your stay in New Orleans. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, Hotel Peter and Paul is an excellent choice for a comfortable and convenient stay in the city.
The first stop on the itinerary after checking was the Royal Frenchman, a classic New Orleans bar that is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the city’s nightlife scene. We happen to catch happy hour and enjoyed $5 martinis and live jazz music.
Next, we took a stroll through the historic French Quarter and Jackson Square. Unfortunately, it was raining but that meant it was pretty empty and quiet. Typically, the French Quarter is very lively filled with vibrant street performers, quaint shops, and delicious food. Jackson Square is a beautiful public park surrounded by historic buildings and is a great place to sit and relax for a bit.
After taking in the sights and sounds of the French Quarter, it was time for a sweet treat. We stopped by Café du Monde for a beignet, which was the perfect snack for a lazy afternoon. My biggest tip at Café du Monde is DO NOT wait in line. A lot of tourists end up waiting in line for a table when really if you see an empty table grab it’s first come first serve! The waiter will serve once seated.
Before we rested and freshened up, the evening started with drinks at Elysian Bar, one of the city’s best craft cocktail bars located beside the Hotel Peter and Paul. With a focus on locally-sourced ingredients and innovative techniques, Elysian Bar is a great place to try something new and experience the city’s thriving cocktail scene.
The final stop on Saturday was dinner at Arnaud’s, one of New Orleans’ most iconic restaurants. Founded in 1918, Arnaud’s serves classic Creole cuisine in a beautiful dining room that is filled with vintage New Orleans charm. From jambalaya to gumbo, the food is delicious, and the atmosphere is unforgettable. They also have some very showy menu items like a flaming coffee cocktail and bananas fosters made tableside.
Sunday: Exploring the Garden District and Shopping on Magazine Street
Sunday started with breakfast at Willa Jean, a chic bakery and coffee shop that serves delicious baked goods and coffee in a bright and airy atmosphere. From here, we headed over to the Garden District, one of the city’s most beautiful neighborhoods. With its stunning antebellum homes and lush gardens, the Garden District is a great place to spend a morning exploring.
It was Mardi Gras season so we stumbled up on the Femme Fatale Mardi Gras Parade. There were parades happening everywhere so I’m glad we caught this one! However, during Mardi Gras expect ubers to take longer than you think and be patient with road closures and traffic especially close to the French Quarter.
After the parade, we hit up Magazine Street for some shopping. This adorable street is home to a variety of independent boutiques, vintage stores, and antique shops, and is the perfect place to find unique gifts and souvenirs to bring back home. Definitely check parade hours before going because we ran into some shops being closed because of the parade route being too close.
For lunch, Jared had Turkey and The Wolf on his list, a popular sandwich shop that serves delicious sandwiches in a 90’s nostalgic vibe. With a menu that features both classic and creative sandwich options, Turkey and The Wolf is a must-visit for food lovers.
After lunch, we took Beau for a stroll and walked down Royal Street and took him to Washington Square Park, a beautiful public park that is surrounded by historic homes and is a great place to relax and take in the sights and enjoy a drink on the go if you choose.
It was a busy day so we headed back to the room to freshen up before hitting up the Carousel Bar, a classic bar located inside the Hotel Montele that offers a unique experience as the bar itself rotates. I had been to the carousel bar before but was never able to snag a seat on the carousel. I had a hunch that since it was Super Bowl Sunday we might get lucky if we went during the game and sure enough there were a lot of open seats!
We then headed to Galatoire’s for dinner. Galatoire’s is a landmark restaurant in New Orleans that has been serving classic Creole cuisine since 1905. The food was delicious and the atmosphere is elegant and sophisticated. Note, that Galatoire’s and Arnaud’s both have strict dress codes, especially for guys with jackets required.
After dinner, we finished the night off at Jewel of the South, a stylish cocktail bar that serves a variety of creative cocktails in a chic and intimate setting.
Monday: A Delicious Farewell to the Big Easy
The final stop on the itinerary is breakfast at Molly’s Rise and Shine, a laid-back restaurant preparing generous wraps & sandwiches, plus classic breakfast dishes. This is the same owner as Turkey and Wolf and has a similar 90’s quirky nostalgia feel. The patio is pet-friendly so it was perfect for Beau but be prepared to wait in line!
After breakfast, headed home, and made a pit stop in Scott for some boudain, pralines, and cajun seasoning. From the vibrant French Quarter to the elegant Garden District, the city has something for everyone, and this itinerary is the perfect way to experience its many attractions if you want something low-key. Whether you’re a foodie, a music lover, or just looking for a fun and exciting getaway, New Orleans is the destination for you.
I’ve never been to New Orleans but would love to get to see it at some point!! You’re selling me on the great looking food and drinks!
You have to go! It’s one of those cities where you can do it so many ways!!
Does your sweet pup just stay in the room when you go out to dinner? We love to travel with Pyper, but she would not stand for being left in the room- she is a “talker”! So we have to dine at places which are pet friendly on our whole trip. Trip looks super fun!
Beau is definitely a talker too and gets separation anxiety. We brought his crate and covered it with a blanket when we left. We also brought a sound machine and left the tv on so he wouldn’t hear people walking by. Lastly, we asked housekeeping to not come so he wouldn’t be disturbed. All of those things definitely helped him and we tried to make him tired before we left so he’d just sleep while we were gone!