10 tips for getting the most out of your trip to New Orleans

ROBYN BECK / StaffBourbon Street in the French Quarter is a great place to grab a drink.
  • From creative cocktails to unique streets, New Orleans has plenty to offer.
  • If you’re planning a trip to the popular destination, it’s best to stay in the city’s French Quarter.
  • When it comes to food, you can’t go wrong with gumbo from Gumbo Shop and beignets from Café Du Monde.

Thinking of travelling to New Orleans? From shopping to entertainment to incredible cuisine, this Southern city has a lot to offer. There are some things, however, that you should know before you book your flight.

Read on for ways to save money, can’t-miss attractions, and the best places to eat in New Orleans.

Avoid travelling during Mardi Gras if you want cheaper flights.

The most popular time to celebrate Mardi Gras is the weekend prior to “Fat Tuesday” which falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. And while Mardi Gras is an incredible experience, it’s also a time when flights and hotels tend to book up quickly and cost more than they would any other time of the year.

If you’re looking to save money, visit when it’s a bit calmer and be sure to hit up Mardi Gras World and tour the warehouse where they store the floats. That way you can experience the action without the crowds and high costs.

If you want to go to Preservation Hall, reserve your tickets ahead of time.

Education Images / ContributorSeats at Preservation Hall can book up fast.

Preservation Hall, a famous jazz hall in the French Quarter, is definitely worth a visit. It’s important, however, to book your tickets ahead of time to avoid long waits. According to their website, premium, reserved seats should be booked “well in advance” and visitors should arrive 10 minutes before the performance.

If you don’t book tickets ahead of time, there’s plenty of other places to experience great jazz music. Consider heading to Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub or Musical Legends Park instead.

Eat your way through the city.

Austen TosoneThe charbroiled oysters from Antoine’s are a must-try.

An ideal food day in New Orleans should start with brunch at Broussard’s where you can add bottomless mimosas or rosé to your meal for $US14. Next, be sure to try Antoine’s for French-Creole food and take note that, if you’re travelling in Winter, they offer a $US20.19 lunch special featuring 25-cent martinis. End the day at Johnny’s Po-Boy with a fried-shrimp po’ boy.

Find an affordable place to stay in the French Quarter so you’re near the action.

Austen TosoneThe French Quarter is where you’ll find the most things to do.

The French Quarter is the heart of the city and if you can find an affordable hotel anywhere in the Quarter you’ll be in good shape since the whole area is walkable. Another great neighbourhood to stay in is the Garden District where you’ll be amidst beautiful buildings and be a streetcar ride away from the French Quarter.

Go to Gumbo Shop on a weekday.

Austen TosoneYou can’t go wrong with gumbo from Gumbo Shop.

This popular restaurant is known for its long lines, especially on the weekends. If you want to check out the Gumbo Shop, consider going on a weekday to avoid the crowd.

The shop is known for its shrimp creole and, of course, its gumbo.

Scope out affordable and free activities.

Skip Bolen / StringerThe Buckner Mansion is featured in ‘American Horror Story.’

If you want an affordable day of activities, take a streetcar to the Garden District and admire all of the mansions in the area. If you’re an “American Horror Story” fan, don’t forget to stop by Buckner Mansion.

In the afternoon wander around the French Quarter. Be sure to visit Jackson Square and walk through St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest Cathedral in the United States in continual use. Then head to the Voodoo Museum – admission for one adult is only $US7.

Hit up Magazine Street for shopping and restaurants.

Austen TosoneThe Courtyard Brewery has an impressive beer selection.

There are some unique antique stores and fashion boutiques along this famous road in New Orleans. One of New Orleans’ hidden gems is The Courtyard Brewery. Located right off of Magazine Street, their IPA selection is one worth checking out.

If you’re a fan of art, the street offers plenty of small galleries showcasing Southern artists.

Split “The Hurricane” at Pat O’Brien’s.

Austen TosonePat O’Brien’s is known for its rum-filled drink.

Bourbon Street is a big attraction in New Orleans and one thing everyone should check off of their bucket list is getting “The Hurricane,” a drink made from rum and “Pat O’s Hurrican Mix,” from Pat O’Brien’s.

If it’s warm outside, consider drinking the famed drink on the patio. And if it’s a colder day, head inside to the piano lounge.

Save money on a ghost tour and take a walk down Pirate’s Alley.

Buyenlarge / ContributorPirate Alley, next to St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square in the French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ghost tours are a big deal in New Orleans since the city has many very interesting stories about “haunted” buildings. But if you don’t want to pay for a tour, take a stroll down Pirate’s Alley at night. Located in the French Quarter, the legend of Pirate’s Alley goes that it was ahaven for pirates, although there is likely little to no truth to the tale.

Don’t miss out on beignets from Café Du Monde.

Austen TosoneThe beignets are topped with powdered sugar.

Café Du Monde is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The popular eatery been serving up tasty beignets and coffee since 1862.

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