How To Spend 72 Hours in NOLA

Because there is nowhere like NOLA, friends and family will undoubtedly come visit. For the full-time working babe, it might be tricky to squeeze in a weekend of fun for visitors. We’ve got your back with a 72 hour itinerary.

Commander’s Palace on Washington Avenue is a can’t-miss New Orleans tradition


Many coming for the weekend will choose to fly in Thursday night. If they’re itching to start the festivities, a casual place to drink will do the trick, and give you time to catch up, without tuckering you out.

Consider a cute neighborhood bars near where you live like Cure, the ColumnsBakery BarBayou Beer/ Wine Garden, Twelve Mile Limit,  or Finn McCools.

Bakery Bar New Orleans
Cocktails and cake at Bakery Bar New Orleans


Most of us can’t afford to take a full day off, so consider taking a half day and letting your friends do the most touristy galavanting first thing in the morning.

For ya friends:

Morning: The French Quarter

If they’re driving,  direct them to park in Treme. They won’t have to pay and it encourages walking – the best way to explore a city! Otherwise, have them get dropped off on N. Rampart by Uber, or take the newly opened streetcar and walk into the Quarter.

Royal Street

Encourage your babes to take a walk down Royal Street and peruse the galleries during their French Quarter morning.

royal street new orleans louisiana babes and beignets
Royal Street, New Orleans

Café Du Monde

Obviously. To keep their sugar going, I also recommend the Frozen Café Au Lait, diets don’t count on vacay (or in NOLA for that matter).

New Orleans French Quarter Cafe Du Monde Beignets Babes
Beignets and Frozen Café Au Laits at Café Du Monde

Jackson Square

Enjoy the fortune tellers and performers. Climb up near the cannonball to check the Mississippi and take the most #instaworthy St. Louis Cathedral shot.

Afternoon: Lunch & Strolls

When you’re free of your work-day binds and can rejoin, I recommend reconvening at Commander’s Palace for lunch. The 25 cent martinis, the overzealous service and the Disneyland-esque decor makes this the spot for friends to really feel like they saw NOLA. Stroll around the Garden District after and show what a Southern Belle you’ve become.

If you’re alive post-martini lunch, head to a park to lounge and enjoy the outdoors. My preference is Audubon Park. Grab a with daiquiri from down the street if y’all can hang!

NIGHT: Dranks

Check out local stuff going on (because there always is) like First Fridays on OC Haley. Afterwards, it’s time to suck it up and go to Bourbon.

But first: if y’all need dinner and/or nourishment Dat Dog is a classic NOLA place both for its funky feel and fabulous food. You can go to the one on Frenchman– the balcony has an amazing view of the jazz clubs and impromptu dance parties below.

Gotta show those Northeasterners where the real drankin’ happens amirite??

Make your way through the jazz clubs (Spotted Cat is my fav but Bamboula’s never has a cover) until you’ve had enough beers to get through Bourbon. Once there, to make the experience less slimy, maybe check out  the Carousel Bar nearby at Hotel Monteleone (Pricey for a cocktail but pretty ambiance, where the great writers would hang.) & Cat’s Meow Karaoke on Bourbon (Wasted karaoke=Blackmail.)


Morning: up all night to get brunch

When you #justcanteven after a night post-Bourbon karaoking, brunch will come to soothe your savage soul. Anywhere on Magazine will be great (check out the boutiques while you wait, or after with a to-go mimosa).

My suggestion is Surrey’s—  BYOB uptown, so if they can stomach alcohol stop at Les Bon Temps to get a bloody mary or mimosa next door. The BBQ Shrimp & Grits will wake something in you you didn’t know existed.

And then shop! Perhaps a flea market will be available that day (or Sunday), if not let them wander into boutiques and buy something SoOo Nola.

 Afternoon: Po-Boy Time

parkway bakery tavern nola

Either in lieu of, or in addition to brunch, po-boys ! You can’t fit it all, but if you do end up getting poboys (my rec being Parkway Bakery & Tavern,) you’ll be near City Park and to the sculpture garden, which you could also do after Magazine if your friends are bigger shoppers than artistes.

Night-time: ByWater Adventures

Your friends will be weaker than you remember (NOLA has trained you to drink more, eat more, and stay up later than whatever city they live in) so a chill night will probably be preferred. I recommend, Bacchanal Wine (wine/music venue garden) and St. Claude to dance after– where the hipsters go! Depending what kind of foodies they are, either eat at Bacchanal (the mussels are a godsend), Vietnamese at Love Lost Lounge, or swing by Pizza Delicious for some drunk slices.


Morning: Be Cultural

If they want something non-food or booze related (is there anything else though) consider doing a swamp tour, or other tours on foot. A good alternative is Jean Lafitte— a  boardwalk through the swamp where you can snag a few peaks of some gators.

Gotta snapchat every step on a swamp tour walk at Jean Lafitte!

Museums are also a great option (Ogden Museum of Southern Art is my fave, but the Contemporary Art Center can have cool exhibits, as does NOMA if you still need to do the sculpture garden/City Park/ poboy trifecta.

For food options:

Non-Boozy: Tartine, Toast or Cake Café

Toast new orleans
Toast’s version of beignets: Aeblskivers puffed pancakes with Nutella

Boozy: Bywater Country Club (unlimited mimosas for 15, make reservations for their Drag Brunch)

Outdoorsy:  Picnic at The Fly instead of brunch.

The Fly NOLA

If you have extra time

Ace Hotel: Brunch and swim.

Ace Hotel Rooftop
Grab some Frozen Purple Rain.

Asian food

Pho Vietnamese new orleans

Like Indian in London, give them a taste of NOLA’s colonial history– whether on the West Bank post-Jean Lafitte (maybe Hong Kong Market), or at Magasin/ elsewhere on Magazine.

Seasonal, Seasonal, Seasonal

New Orleans Parade St Patrick's

Whether it’s Sno balls, Crawfish, a festival, Tipitina’s free Fridays during the summer, or some Krewes to go watch, try to keep things seasonally relevant!

Manola, Contributor

Manola Gonzalez, originally from San Diego, is a Penn grad transplanted to New Orleans. She is an avid reader, culture junky, and probably talks faster than anyone you know.You can learn more about maNOLA here.

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