New Orleans in 48 Hours
Updated: Dec 21, 2021
I fly standby. A lot. And truthfully, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it on my flight to New Orleans because there were 0 seats on the flight, but alas, somehow, someway, I made it and had the most grand time in less than 48 hours. Don't get me wrong, I feel like I only scratched the surface of things to do and places to eat in New Orleans, but still, I wasn't disappointed with a single place we ended up visiting on our journey, so without further ado, here's the list:
Best Restaurants in New Orleans:
The Vintage—Located on Magazine Street, The Vintage takes beignets to a whole other level. They're known for their "fancy beignets," and let me tell you, they shouldn't be missed. We tried the normal, pear & brie and s'mores beignets and loved them all (I also loved the espresso martini)! This place is an awesome stop for brunch, an early afternoon cocktail, dinner, coffee—basically everything.
Turkey & the Wolf—While we didn't actually get the chance to eat/drink at Turkey & the Wolf, we did walk by, and the reason we didn't stop was because all the outdoor seating was taken. I've heard amazing things about their menu, and the restaurant was even featured on Netflix's Somebody Feed Phil.
Wrong Iron—This was definitely a local's spot as it was pretty off-the-beaten path, but it was the perfect place to hang out, drink and eat. Wrong Iron is essentially a giant beer garden with food trucks, tons of picnic tables and giant beautiful trees, and if you go during crawfish season, you can get 3 lbs of crawfish with sides for $16. Note: crawfish are not available year-round, so make sure you visit while they're in season (typically late February to May).
Cafe Beignet—Though not the best beignets I had on the trip, Cafe Beignet was still pretty darn good. Their location on Canal Street was really close to our hotel (Magnolia New Orleans) so it was a convenient first stop in the morning.
Let's Eat NOLA/Chef Lloyd McKissick—Less of a brick & mortar location and more of an immaculate chef, Let's Eat NOLA is a concept created by Chef Lloyd McKissick, who knows how to cook. He had a pop-up kitchen at Congregation Coffee when we were visiting for some cold brew; little did we know we were about to have the best biscuits & gravy of our life! They were homemade biscuits with his signature crab + andouille sausage gravy—this dish did NOT disappoint to say the least.
Muriel's—Located right on the corner of French Quarter's Jackson Square, Muriel's is the perfect afternoon stop from a day of exploring the town. We originally popped in to grab a to-go drink but ended up staying for the crawfish & goat cheese crepes, and I don't regret that for one second. The frozen hurricanes were pretty amazing too.
Willie Mae's—You cannot, simply cannot, go looking for southern fried chicken without making a stop at Willie Mae's. We didn't have time to go visit their original location, but the chicken was amazing just the same! I had a side a fried okra (if you haven't realized by now, I don't watch what I eat very well when I travel), and I wasn't disappointed with anything!
Jewel of the South—The name is fitting because this place is a gem. Jewel of the South had a fun "tea-inspired" cocktail menu that I adored; Plus, a beautiful outdoor courtyard that makes for the perfect happy hour spot. I had the Jasmine Barbadian (Pisco, Jasmine Tea Sherbet & Coconut Water)!
Cochon Butcher—Cochon Butcher is the best for a sando in NOLA. This is the pork belly sandwich, and as you'd guess, the meat was unbeatable. They had a "nicer" restaurant next door, but I'd recommend reservations for that place. The "Butcher" is much more casual: order and then sit.
Parkway Tavern—Parkway Tavern is the spot for some killer po boys. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu, but please, for the love of NOLA, get a po boy.
Best Coffee in New Orleans:
Congregation Coffee—Congregation had an amazing cold brew, don't get me wrong, but Chef Lloyd McKissick's pop-up kitchen is what really shined that morning. Whether or not he's there, this place makes a mean cup of joe!
Morning Call Coffee Stand—Morning Call is a bit off the beaten path and they have approximately five things on the menu, but it's a winner for sure. You can usually catch some live music outside and a waiter that knows what you want before you do: cafe au lait and beginets.
Molly's Rise & Shine—Located on Magazine Street, the inside of Molly's was closed when we visited, but it looked like a really cute set-up! They made a great dirty chai too.
French Truck Coffee—Also located on Magazine Street, French Truck Coffee looked like they had amazing coffee options, but we opted for the tea spritzers and absolutely loved them!
Best Things to Do in New Orleans:
French Market—Located right in Jackson Square, the French Market is home to a plethora of beautiful artwork from amazing local artists (I bought three small pieces myself). It's usually open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to Sunday.
New Orleans Ferry—We took the ferry from the Canal St. Terminal to the Algiers Terminal ($2/one-way ticket) on Saturday to get to Congregation Coffee, which is just on the other side of the Mississippi. It's super easy to travel on the ferry, bus or the streetcar using the RTA GoMobile 2.0 mobile app, so I definitely recommend downloading and purchasing day passes (one-day bus + streetcar pass is $3, and a one-day bus, street car + ferry pass is $7).
French Quarter + Jackson Square—Yes, this is the most touristy part of town, but it's a must-visit. There are so many amazing shops and restaurants—and no, I'm not talking about Cafe Du Monde.
Magazine Street—Magazine Street is definitely underrated because I felt the town's rich history and culture come alive here more than anywhere. The long street is lined with local restaurants, antique shops, boutiques and more.
Bourbon Street—Crowded and crazy, but it's still a must-visit. My best friend from college is from the NOLA area and her Bourbon Street recommendations are:
Hurricanes at Pat O'Briens
Grenade at Tropical Isle
Karaoke at Cat's Meow
Best Places to Stay in New Orleans
Q&C Hotel Bar | Affordable—Located in the Central Business District and walking distance from Canal Street, Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, Q&C (pictured) is a fun, edge-y hotel with a bar and restaurant.
Magnolia Hotel | Affordable—Magnolia is located a block away from Q&C, and we absolutely loved it! It's a super cute, clean and quaint hotel that's in the center of all the amazing parts of New Orleans.
God created such a beautiful world, it would be a shame not to explore, preserve + appreciate it.
Explore: the streets. And not just the French Quarter, Canal and Magazine, but explore all the streets. This town is so rich in history, culture and beauty, and it's evident down every street you walk.
Preserve: the same streets! It's no secret that New Orleans is a hot spot for bachelor/ bachelorette parties and people just looking for a good time (which is great), but in that, many people forget that they're in a real town, with real struggles that needs real preservation. I can't say it enough: stop littering!
Appreciate: the history. Not only is New Orleans a beautiful ecosystem for jazz music, but the community's love for the town truly showed when Katrina hit, and they had to rebuild back better—even though many told them it wasn't worth it.