If you’re into roadtrips and quick traveling, New Orleans is a great destination for a short, fun trip. Here’s what we did with just one day in the Big Easy.
In a spontaneous decision I found myself heading down to New Orleans to celebrate Christmas…for one day. Eight hours from Nashville to the Big Easy didn’t leave me feeling well-rested after working all weekend, but traveling in a whirlwind is part of what makes a trip memorable, in my opinion. In this misty, spooky city there’s so much more to do than just visit the French Quarter, so I wanted to share the experience and photos from this quick little getaway!
Where to stay: French Market Inn, 501 Decatur St.
This charming little inn nestled in the French Quarter is close to everything…bars, restaurants, and a short walk to Jackson Square located on the same road. When we arrived and had finally unpacked, showered, and got ready, the sun was down and the night ripe for food. What else could you want after driving for so long? The French Market Inn not only has a great location, but the price is relatively low for a one-night stay (just $81 this time of year). It’s interior is gorgeous, adorned with chandeliers and exposed brick. The Inn was built in the 1800s and still holds an antique, upscale flair without breaking the bank. The staff was incredible…we changed our minds about the valet parking (we parked on the edge of the French Quarter instead and opted for the scenic route), and immediately were refunded the valet charge with no complaint. The woman at the front desk was SO kind. I’ve stayed in New Orleans twice before and this is definitely my favorite hotel so far.
The hotel features a fabulous courtyard. It’s secluded and full of lush greenery and tables for lounging. It made for some great photos in the morning when the mist was settling.
What to do: French Quarter stroll at night
Although much of the French Quarter can be a tourist trap, it’s still a must to walk around and get some great photos. We took a stroll through the streets and ended up in Jackson Square. This time of year the city is pretty slow in comparison to New Year’s Eve or Mardi Gras.
The French Quarter definitely has a magical quality to it, and at night it seems to breathe a special light.
Where to eat: New Orleans Famous Beignets & Coffee, 620 Decatur St.
I know that Cafe du Monde is like, THE place to go in New Orleans for breakfast, but we chose otherwise. Avoid the long lines and stuffy crowd inside du Monde and opt for New Orleans Famous Beignets & Coffee. It’s right down the street underneath the big JAX building. The beignets were so soft and sweet, and there was no line or crowd. You get a great view of Jackson Square and can have great conversation without talking over a huge restaurant full of voices. I loved having breakfast here! Get exactly what they serve…an order of beignets (they come in threes) and a coffee. It’s a perfect way to start the day.
What to do Part 2: Buckner Mansion/Garden District, 1410 Jackson Ave.
If you watch American Horror Story and are a huge fan like I am, then you HAVE to go to the Garden District and visit Buckner Mansion, also known as Miss Robicheaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies from season 3 of AHS: Coven. You can see red on the top of the gate, a leftover from the scene where Zoe teleports onto a spike.
The Garden District itself is such a nice change from the French Quarter. It’s lined in gorgeous old trees with huge stumps that linger into the sides of the road and sweep over top. All of the houses are exceptionally beautiful and charming, and it makes a nice walk on the way to eat a quick lunch. We chose The Irish House, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to snap any photos from there. But Buckner Mansion was such a bucket list thing for me. Loved it.
Side bit: just a few blocks away on Magazine Street is the old studio of Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails. Neato.
New Orleans is such a fun city with a lot of rich history. Mardi Gras and a huge party might be what it’s known for, but if you choose the right time to visit it can be a very unique daytrip or short vacation.