Staycation Ideas

Whether you’ve got a free afternoon or a long weekend to explore the Crescent City, these are our versions of the ultimate tours. No post-summer shoulder shrugging over missing the good stuff. Right here, right now, here are some ways you can explore the definitive New Orleans:


Romantic afternoon

Looking to spice up your date nights? There are endless options to liven up in one of the most romantic cities in the world. New Orleans is the perfect place to spend time with the one you love, no special occasion required.

Royal Street gallery hop – Dotted with art galleries, antique stores and street musicians, Royal Street is ideal for window-shopping.

Carriage rides – Take a carriage ride through the French Quarter. Evening or nighttime carriage rides are often the most romantic.

Wind down your night with cocktails in the Central Business District. Check out the courtyard and funky décor at Cellar Door or grab a cocktail at Victory.

With serene courtyards and incredible food, there’s no shortage of romantic dining options in New Orleans. Take advantage of COOLinary Restaurant Month deals and revisit an old favorite, such as Antoine’s or Arnaud’s, or try a newer hot spot such as Angeline or The Fountain Lounge.

Late-night dessert – Nothing beats a late-night trip to Café du Monde for traditional beignets and café au lait.

Pack a bag and stay the night! Select the romance package at the Renaissance New Orleans Arts Warehouse District or the Pere Marquette French Quarter to enjoy a little lagniappe of champagne and strawberries, breakfast for two and a late checkout.

Bonus: Plan a movie night on Mondays or Tuesday this summer and check out the Cinema Series at the Orpheum Theater, or Challenge yourself to learn some new moves with some of the weekly free swing dance lessons offered by NOLA Jitterbugs.

 

Family fun

Start your day by enjoying some sunshine in City Park or Audubon Park! When the weather is nice, your family can spend an entire day in City Park. Take the kids on a tour through the Botanical Gardens or the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden next to the New Orleans Museum of Art. Check out Carousel Grounds Amusement Park, which offers a variety of rides for kids of all ages. Play a game of mini-golf at City Putt, make believe in Storyland, or enjoy an afternoon of sunshine and boating on Big Lake. Audubon Park is the perfect place to toss a Frisbee, or rent bikes and cruise around the biking trail.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the view along the St. Charles Ave. or Canal streetcar lines. Remember, its only $1.25 per person (exact change) per ride, or $3 for a whole day of hopping on and off. Purchase the tickets from your smart phone on RTA’s new app, GoMobile.

After a morning full of fun, head to the French Quarter to feast on a po-boy at Johnny’s Po-Boys, or get the original muffaletta at Central Grocery.

Make sure to leave room for a sweet treat! Stop by Southern Candymakers for a free praline sample and watch as the candymakers hand-scoop pralines on to a marble slab, make small-batch caramel and more!

To feel the abundance of New Orleans’ culture, there is no place quite as magical as Jackson Square. See the sights with your family and enjoy street performers and artists. Don’t miss out on a family photo opportunity in front of the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral and the statue of General Andrew Jackson, a historic national landmark.

Take the entire family to the Cool Zoo, featuring a splash park with a lazy river and much more at the Audubon Zoo! This is the perfect way to beat the heat and get your family together this summer.

If boat rides catch your interest, take a cruise on the Steamboat Natchez. This is a great way to see the city on the scenic Mississippi River.

For an interactive and educational stop, visit The National WWII Museum, full of displays and activities such as the Beyond All Boundaries film, and new exhibits including the Road to Berlin (1st floor) and the Road to Tokyo (2nd floor).

Think COOLinary Restaurant Month deals are all just for adults? Think again! Check out the family friendly options including Hard Rock Café, St. Roch Market, Charcoal Burger Bar and more. Your entire family will leave happy and full.

Still up for some live music? Take the whole family to enjoy an all-ages live jazz set at Preservation Hall. There is no better way to end the perfect night then with your family falling in love with New Orleans jazz music all over again.

 

Foodie Fun

It wouldn’t be New Orleans without our cuisine. With more than 1,400 restaurants in the city and more opening every week, there’s always a new hot spot or a classic favorite to check out.

Dine out at one of the 65+ participating COOLinary Restaurant Month restaurants offering a two-course lunch for only $20! This is a great opportunity to try multiple options on the menu without breaking the bank.

Stroll through the French Market to snag some local hot sauces, coffee, or pralines. Reminiscent of some European markets, this open-air area features shopping, dining and music in a tradition that is uniquely New Orleans.

Have a liking for beer? Check out some of the new breweries on the scene, including Urban South, Courtyard Brewery, Second Line Brewing or 40 Arpent.

Need a little help with your kitchen skills? Try a Creole cooking class with The New Orleans Cooking Experience or the New Orleans School of Cooking. After taking these classes, invite your friends over and wow them with your newfound skills and passion for cooking.

Become a real foodie and learn about the food, drink and culture of the South at The Southern Food & Beverage Museum which is just one of the many museums participating in New Orleans Museum Month.

True foodies are always thinking about their next meal. Take another peek at the COOLinary Restaurant Month menu’s to pick where you’re going to go next. There isn’t a restaurant on the list that won’t have your mouth watering!

Make it a complete staycation and spend the night in a hotel! Stay at Harrah’s and enjoy a complimentary buffet, or at the Maison Dupuy and enjoy coffee in their courtyard. Relax and let someone else make the bed and clean up after you in your hometown!

Bonus: Louisiana Seafood Festival, September 2-4, is offering buy-one-get-one prices for Friday’s admission!

 

Adventure-seeking

Are you and your friends tired of the same weekend routine? Get creative and plan a fun staycation together!

Utilize FUHWE, the newest service for experiencing the city in a unique way. Locals love showing off what they know about New Orleans – where to go, what to see, where to eat and what to do – so use this service to meet a fellow New Orleanian and find out their favorites!

Get active and kayak or paddleboard through Bayou St. John, or take a fitness class in Woldenberg Park with Sweat Social.

Know how to make those classic cocktails you love? Book a demo with Drink Lab and learn how to make them yourself! Victory has assembled a team of master bartenders who  are eager to teach you and your friends how to mix classic New Orleans cocktails. From the Sazarac to the Hurricane to Ramos Gin Fizz, they teach it all.

Turn your own town into a giant board game with this fun Amazing Race style scavenger hunt. Solve clues and complete challenges while having fun in the French Quarter and surrounding areas with Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure.

Planning an epic day in the city? Design your own t-shirts for the occasion with N. O. Vative Printing!

Whether it’s the ghosts of the mistreated slaves of Madame Lalaurie or the vampires interviewed by Anne Rice, New Orleans’ reputation as “The Most Haunted City in America” is well-deserved. Learn about the haunted history of New Orleans by taking a ghost tour with Gray Line Tours and Ghost City Tours.

View the Mississippi River, the French Quarter, Mercedes-Benz Superdome and Port of New Orleans like you’ve never seen it before with Big Easy Aerial Tours! Then fly out to the beautiful bayous of South Louisiana. Of, if you prefer, the experienced and knowledgeable guides will customize your tour to see whatever you want!

 

After dark

When your day is drawing to a close, it’s time to hit the town. Between the live music, cozy bars, and delicious late-night eats, you’ll always have a night to remember in New Orleans.

Enjoy pre-dinner drinks to kick off your evening. The Garden District’s bars offer no shortage of watering holes. Swing by The Columns Hotel Bar for a classic New Orleans cocktail and a view of the streetcar, or check out The Pontchartrain’s Hot Tin, Cellar Door, Richard Fiske’s Martini Bar and Restaurant or Public Belt.

Hop on the Steamboat Natchez for an evening harbor cruise, offering buffer-style dining, a live performance by the Dukes of Dixieland and a spectacular nighttime view of the city.

Treat yourself to a night away from the kitchen and dine out in one of New Orleans finest.

An untraditional option for a local that will allow you to feel like you’re on vacation is the Big Easy Jazz Walking Tour on Bourbon Street, which includes a complimentary cocktail and VIP seating at a jazz concert.

Check the schedules for shows at the Joy Theater, Civic Theater, House of Blues, Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market, or Tipitina’s Free Fridays!

Late night music should be your next stop. Revisit favorite spots such as at Preservation Hall, Snug Harbor and One Eyed Jack’s. WWOZ’s new Livewire app will help you navigate the town!

Watch Trixie Minx with Romy Kaye & The Mercy Buckets shake it at their free midnight set with a modern spin on a classic 1960s Burlesque Show at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

 

History buff

As we approach the 300th birthday of New Orleans in 2018, it’s the perfect time to learn a bit more about our city! New Orleans is filled with history and there is no time like the present to refresh our memory on the great city we call home.

Stroll through Jackson Square a national landmark, to see the iconic Andrew Jackson statue and the St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral still in use in North America.

New Orleans prides itself as the birthplace of jazz, and what better way to celebrate New Orleans’s rich jazz history than by visiting the Jazz National Historic Park. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about the origin of New Orleans jazz music.

Take a Louisiana History tour or a Mysteries and Scandals tour with G L-f de Villiers Tours and prepare to be spooked while learning about the city of New Orleans. These tours are two different ways to make learning history fun and exciting.

The National World War II Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today – so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired. During New Orleans Museum Month you can receive free admission to all participating museums by just being a member of one of them. The National World War II Museum is not the only museum participating in New Orleans Museum Month, make sure to check out The Historic New Orleans Collection and learn about our city’s historic roots.

New Orleans’ architecture and landscape is part of what makes this city so unique. Check out some of our famous architecture, courtyards and gardens at places like Longue Vue House and Gardens or the Beauregard Keyes House.

Ever taken the trip down River Road to view plantation country? Continue your historical journey and stop by the St. Joseph Plantation to learn about life as a slave on this working sugar-cane plantation.

Enjoy some of the oldest restaurants in the city such as Antonie’s, Arnaud’s and Tujague’s which celebrates its 160th anniversary this year. These historic restaurants are not the only ones partaking in COOLinary New Orleans Restaurant Month, so make sure to check out the many others participating.

After exploring 300 years of local history, grab a cocktail at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop the oldest bar structure in the United States.