New Orleans Guide: 3 day weekend in NOLA

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I’ve had my eyes set on New Orleans, Louisiana for quite some time now. As a major foodie, this places was on top of my list because the possibilities were endless. I was ready for Oysters, Po’Boys, Gumbo, & Beignets galore. Aside from having some of the NOLA staples I got really adventurous on this trip and decided to try new foods I might have never tried, like Chargrilled Oysters (cheese), Alligator Sausage, Turtle Soup, and Quail.

Aside from all the food that drew me to New Orleans, I was also drawn in by the culture. Mixed with Spanish and French influence, New Orleans is a city full of vibrant sounds, views, and people. New Orleans has definitely been the city I have visited with the most live music, from bands playing covers at bars, jazz brunches, or jazz set ups on a street, you can’t help but stop and feel the music.

At the end of this blog you can find my detailed 3 day itinerary which is perfect for a long 3 day weekend. Like my previous Austin post, it is very busy, but you can take what you want from it and make it your own. I strategically mapped everything and placed it in the itinerary in a way where you could see the most by foot. Ubers&Lyfts were relatively cheap, I  DO NOT recommend renting a car.

 

Uber/Lyft from the airport is very controlled and efficient. We paid $40 for the ride from the airport to our hotel.

Hotel: We stayed at the Lafayette Hotel. It was in a prime location, if you are going to Mardi Gras, this is a great hotel to stay, because there are bleachers for the parade right by the hotel. If you enjoy walking, everything is a 13-20 minute walk or a 5 min drive.

Nightlife: Nightlife in New Orleans is like no other. We HAD to check out Bourbon street, there are so many options for bars. If you want a good Hurricane go to Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop, we had one at Pat O ‘Brien’s and it was wayyy too sweet. I avoided the Hand Grenade because I heard it was nasty, but if you want a good buzz and don’t care what you drink, go for it. Also the nightlife is so lax, you can bring your own alcohol and take your drink from bar to bar. Our favorite part of the night was people watching from the Balconies and the bars where they did live covers to songs and requests.

without further a due, lets go into the trip!

Friday Day One

We landed and quickly checked in and got ready for the night. First stop was food obviously. We headed to Acme Oyster House and this was definitely our Favorite meal and spot we went to all weekend, I wanted to go back. We had raw oysters, chargrilled oysters, and we split a seafood fried platter that had the BEST catfish.

From dinner we went to Bourbon street to see the debauchery. It was SO fun and unlike anything we’ve seen before. We checked out Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, Pat O Brien’s, Saints & Simmers, and Bourbon Bandstand.

 

 

Saturday Day 2

After finding out I booked the wrong Mercedes-Benz stadium tour (whoops) we had to make a change to our itinerary. This goes to shows that no matter how much you plan, things can go wrong. We laughed it off and made a quick change.

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Instead of the stadium tour, we went to the Historical Pharmacy Museum which was only $5 to visit and very well worth the cost! This is one of thee coolest museums I’ve seen with a lot of artifacts and instruments used back then.

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Lunch Recommendation: NOLA Po’boys, they’re pretty big and a staple in NOLA.

After lunch we headed back to the area where the stadiums are to go to Smoothie King Arena to watch the Pelicans and Clippers play. One of our goals in life is to visit as many sports stadiums so it was a must to check out a game while we here. Tickets are also significantly cheaper, when we were walking to our seats I couldn’t help but think wow if only we could sit this close at a Laker game back home.

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After the game, we decided to walk back to our hotel area since it was only a 13 minute walk. We decided to stop by the Auction House Market, I wish I would have gotten pictures of it, but I did manage to get a picture of their aesthetic bathroom. It’s a really trendy, cute, and IG friendly market. We split two empanadas and an iced coffee to fuel us for a long night ahead.

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For Night two, we decided to do a Ghost Tour of the City of New Orleans. We did it through Haunted History Tours. I really recommend doing a walking tour because you get a lot of fun, historical information you may have never heard, like the tales of Madame Delphine or Marie Laveau. During the tour you also stop at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, which is one of the oldest buildings still up and supposably, very haunted.

We finished the night with a midnight treat, Beignet’s at Cafe Du Monde, which is 24 hours. I honestly would say going the latest you can is the best idea! We sat down and ordered immediately, during the day and morning the lines are ridiculous.

 

Sunday Day Three

We made this day a strategically planned walking day to see the most around town. Which meant waking up early on a Sunday and beating the crowds. We began by grabbing a beignet and coffee at Cafe Beignet, another popular and cute spot.

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Next stop: St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square Area

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Next Stop: Carousel Bar (opens at 11am) If you want a spot on the carousel get there 10-15 minutes early to get in line. Luckily we got there and found two spots! Although it was super early to grab a drink, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the bar.

Next Stop: Lunch at the Gumbo spot. We split the Aligator Sausage (must try), Shrimp Gumbo and Chicken Andouille Gumbo!

Next Stop: Voodoo Museum, it costs $8 per person to get in. To be honest, I would skip this, it wasn’t worth the price. The Pharmacy Museum is a lot better.

 

We kept walking and decided to find some of the sights from the night ghost tour, in particular Madame Delphine’s Murder house. We had just watched American Horror Story Coven prior to this trip so I was really intrigued by the horror tales.

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Next Stop: The Spotted Cat Music Club, which is a fun, packed, jazz bar! The ambiance and crowd was on point.

Nighttime: We hit Bourbon street and bar hopped. I love how lax the nightlife is here, we were wearing football jerseys and carrying our own alcohol into each venue.

 

Monday Day 4

Our last day in NOLA and we only had half a day because our flight departed at 3:30 pm. Nonetheless, we got up early, packed and made the most of the time we had.

 

Our first stop was Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, better known as the house from American Horror Story Coven. It’s located in a beautiful neighborhood and the house is majestic.

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Next Stop: Drink Beauty NOLA

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I found this pink, instagram dream coffee shop on instagram and knew I had to go. Aside from the decor and aesthetics, was their drinks. We tried two different lattes which had CBD in them, each latte had its own benefit and they both tasted so good. My favorite part was picking out what design I wanted on my foam for my latte, and the bathroom walls (lotss of boobies)

Next & FINAL stop of our NOLA trip: Lunch at the Commander’s Palace

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So what drew us into this place was their lunch special, which allows you to get 25 cent martinis (max 3 martinis). This sounded like a good idea until we wokeup hungover on Monday, it is safe to say I only had one martini (they’re strong). We kept hearing about the famous Turtle Soup, which I was pretty apprehensive to try at first. I had some bold food adventures on this trip, and if you know me you know I am an ex-picky eater. When I first met Ed, I was that person that ordered a safe burger and fries or chicken. Luckily, traveling has pushed me to be more explorative in my food choices and I am so happy (still don’t like cheese though lol).

Here’s a snapshot of the food we got! Turtle Soup was BOMB, and so was their famous desert! You must dress nice in this restaurant or they won’t let you in.

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Thank you for following along! I highly encourage you all to visit New Orleans if you get a chance. I would love to come back because I feel like there is still SO much to see and do. Ideally I want to come back in a warmer month or fall (to catch a Saints game). I also would love to do a Swamp tour, Plantation Tour, and National WW2 Museum in the future!

My weekend itinerary is below in case anyone needs a structured list to follow!

Feel free to screenshot it and make your life easier on your future visit to New Orleans.

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Austin, Texas Guide: 3 Day Weekend in Austin

If you need to know anything about me when I travel, is that I leave no room to waste. We land and we hit the ground running, we stay out late and wakeup early and we don’t take naps (maybe in the car rides). This guide is perfect for someone who doesn’t have as much time in Austin, but is down for the adventure and wants to cover as much as possible.

Austin has been on my bucket list for many years now. From the sizzling barbeque, to the buzzing nightlife, Austin is a foodie and adventurer’s dream. When my husband found out that he had a day off for Labor Day Weekend, we booked an early birthday trip for me. Flying from Los Angeles, there are many good flight deals and you can even fly roundtrip for $125 based on the time you go and through the help of tracking apps like Hopper and Skyscanner.

Since we only had a limited amount of time in Austin, I composed a very detailed and efficient travel itinerary that would allow us to maximize our time there. I will include the itinerary at the bottom of this page to help any future travelers plan out their trip if necessary.

Hotel: We stayed at the Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt. If we were to ever go back to Austin, I would definitely stay there again. The location is prime, located right by Rainey Street, you are instantly connected to the wild adventures Rainey street offers day and night. There are also an array of delicious restaurants and foodtrucks to grab late night drunchies. Aside from the location, the hotel is beautifully decorated, the rooms are stocked with great amenities, and the hotel offers free drinks daily during a happy/socializing hour. The rooftop pool was one of the best highlights from our stay and the hotel also has live music at their restaurant “Geraldine”. Another big bonus from this hotel is that it is pet friendly, you see dogs coming in and out constantly. Oh and I can’t forget the free coffee from their coffee shop during your stay, to fuel your adventures.

Driving Situation: We decided to not rent a car and we are glad we didn’t! The airport is not even that far from the downtown/heart of Austin. Uber and Lyfts were plentiful and fast. You will also find rentable electronic scooters everywhere, another more exciting way to explore the city. With my guide I included distances between locations to see which method of transportation was the most efficient. Ideally, we like to do a lot of walking on trips when we can, to make room for the food haha.

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Day One (Saturday):

Day one started with a 3:30 am wakeup call. You would think we would have gone to bed earlier, but being who we are, we were in bed by 12:30pm lol. Our flight departed from LAX at 7am and landed in Austin at noon. We took an Uber to our hotel where we were greeted with some local beers and were luckily accommodated into our room early.

Our day in Austin began with lunch at Bangers, which is a sausage house and beer garden. Luckily we got there at a good time and our wait was only 30-45 mins, which meant we had time to enjoy the sunshine and some Hazy IPA’s. They have a backyard bar with 207 different beers you could choose from! The food was delicious and definitely one of our favorite meals of the weekend.

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With a nice day buzz going, full belly’s, and happy hearts we began our adventure into Austin. We took an Uber to Zilker Park, where we rented Canoe’s at Zilker Park Boat Rentals Canoe. I chose this rental spot based on reviews and its location on the river. We kayaked through the river and into Lady Bird Lake for some stunning scenery and refreshing rows (except when my paddle broke in half and were were subjected to rowing the canoe with one paddle and a mini broken one lol). We wish we would have brought our bathing suits with us to take a dip in the water because it was pretty hot at this point. Barton Springs Municipal pool was also next door and would have been a nice addition, however the line was pretty long and we had other opportunities to go in water later in the weekend so we did not make it a priority due to the time frame we had.

From Zilker Park we went to our next destination, which is the iconic “Greetings from Austin Mural”. The Texas heat got the best of us, we were getting covered in sweat, but it didn’t stop us from taking a good picture in front of the mural. From the Mural we walked to the Churro Co Foodtruck for a snack, water and some shade to cool down.

 

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From Churro Co Foodtruck, we took an Uber to explore the downtown of Austin most notoriously known as “Dirty Sixth Street”. We went to an arcade bar which was super fun and had a lot of games and white claws available. We then found a sports bar to catch the UT Austin Longhorns game which was going on in the city. If we would have had more time in Austin, this is another activity we would have liked to attend. Football is huge in Texas and the environment at a college game is so hyped. Finally we went back to Rainey street and explored the bars in the evening time before going out at night with a sorority sister who also happened to be in town.

The nightlife in Rainey street is my perfect environment, it’s super chill yet alive, it’s packed, yet there are many options to chose from. The setting for the bars in Rainey st are so unique, they are historic houses turned into bars. You walk in through the front door and there is even an outdoor yard. Each place is so eccentric so I recommend visiting Rainey street multiple times to see as much as you can. We started out at The Container Bar, which is huge and has more of a club feel with the DJ spinning all night. We also visited Unbarlievable which is funky and like nothing you’ve experienced before. More noteworthy bars to visit; The Alibi (has a lot of TV’s for sports and also a white claw pina colada), Half Step (spacious and a variety of speciality cocktails). We ended the night with food from the foodtrucks on Rainey St. We had the best gyro from Big Fat Greek Gyros.

 

Day 2 (Sunday)

Started the day with some free coffee from Cafe 605 conveniently located in our hotel’s lobby. An uber was called and we were off to find some of the most iconic murals in Austin. We began by visiting the Austin Motel which has a picturesque sign. From there we took a quick walk to Jo’s Coffee to take a picture with the famous “I Love You So Much Sign”, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t the most excited for this mural out of any. I had always seen so many pictures on the gram of this location and I thought it would be a sweet visit with my hubby. We then hopped on some Bird Bikes and rode down Congress street to find the next mural. The whole ride up and down Congress street was entertaining, it was colorful and artistic everywhere you looked, it felt like a movie scene. The next mural we visited was by Magnolia Cafe which is the Love from Austin mural.

By now it was lunchtime and we were hungry and in need of some shade from the sun. We headed to LA barbecue for lunch which has extraordinary reviews. My man being the planning genius he is, read online that you can preorder your food online. When we got there it was the best decision we made, the line looked about 2 hours long and went from the inside of the restaurant all the way outside in a zig zag. By the time we were done eating, people that were at the end of the line outside still had not made it into the line inside. If you go to LA Barbecue order online and you pick up at a window in the back, you can then sit outside or inside and enjoy your meal. The food was great but we realized we ordered too much and would not eat the leftovers. We boxed up the remaining food and decided to take it to someone who was homeless and needed a lunch.

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After lunch, we took Bird Bikes to the Texas Capitol and explored the building. We did one of the free walking tours and took in the knowledge of the Texas government. The architecture of the building is grandiose. After walking through the capitol we decided it was time for a drink. We called an Uber to take us to the Wonder Bar, something my husband had found on Instagram. He knows a key to my heart is a place with photo ops and this place is just that plus some uniquely crafted cocktails. The ride was about 22 minutes but well worth the drive. The Wonderbar is interactive and the perfect place to cool down from the Texas heat. Since we were already in that area, we explored the shops around it. Even though we had a busy day, it was only 4pm so we decided to go to Rainey street in the day and catch some live music. We ended up at the Clive and had some Moscow Mules and we saw a local band rock out.

We headed back to our hotel and took advantage of the free happy hour before going to the rooftop pool. The pool was so relaxing and also had a bar up top to keep the buzz going. We stayed at the pool till the sun went down and then we decided it was best to get ready for dinner. Everyone recommended Torchy’s Tacos so we went! Unfortunately they were short staffed that day so they told us thee wait was going to be about an hour for our food. We got chips, salsa, and guac to hold us up, by the time we got our food it didn’t taste too fresh and was average. This was my first and only experience with Tex-Mex so I know I have to go back and give it another shot, but at this moment, I stand with my belief that California has the best Mexican food aside from Mexico.

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Day 3 (Monday):

For our last day in Texas we saved the biggest adventure yet, Tubing in the San Marcos River. This activity has always been on my bucket list, because what is better than floating down the river, catching a tan, with a drink in hand? This activity does take up a good amount of time, so we debated doing it or not, but we are so happy we ended up doing it, because it was the highlight of our trip. We booked our tour through Texas State Tubes and they provided an exceptional time! They picked us up in downtown and took us on an adventure in a school bus. They even stop at a gas station for you to pick up your needs for the day, beer, white claws, chips, and water were the only things we needed for the day. They then provide you with a cooler for you to store your goods, don’t forget to purchase ice at the store for your cooler.  You then are given a floaty and tie yourself to your friends and cooler. It was the perfect way to spend the day, I would love to come back to Austin and do this with a gang of friends.

We got dropped off at our pick up spot and grabbed some lunch before heading back to the hotel/airport. Even though we were pretty toasted at the airport, everything went smoothly and we caught up on the lack of sleep on the plane ride home.

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Adios Austin, you were truly an adult playground for the foodies and drunkies to enjoy, I cannot wait to be back.I hope this blog inspires some of you to check out this gem of a city. There are so many things to see and do, if you only have a three day weekend like us, this blog will be very helpful (and tiring lol). If I were to go back  I would also make a trip to Lake Travis and rent out a boat if I was with a group. We did see a lot of bachelorette groups while we were there and honestly, Austin is a great spot for a bachelorette if you want something different than the typical club experience.

Love From Austin

Jess

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PS; Here is my itinerary, if you would like to screenshot it and save it for your future travels this makes it really easy and i put a lot of work into it, I would love for others to benefit from it too ❤

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