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While a weekend is not enough time to take in all New Orleans has to offer, visitors can still get a taste of the great food, music and history the city has to offer.

How to Do New Orleans in a Weekend

Bourbon Street New Orleans weekend

DAY 1– City Bus Tour, Dinner at Arnaud’s and Music on Frenchman Street

One of the first things I like to do when I visit a new city is a Hop-on-Hop-off bus tour.  These are great for providing an overall tour of the city, highlighting the city’s history and helping you decide what to explore in greater depth. I suggest purchasing the unlimited 3-day tour ticket so you can explore at your leisure.

For an authentic Creole dinner, make reservations at Arnaud’s Restaurant in the heart of the French Quarter. Serving authentic Creole cuisine for more than 100 years, this family-owned restaurant is a great place for a romantic dinner. Request to be seated in the Jazz Bistro section which has a nightly live Dixieland Jazz band. Dine à la carté or choose from a three course “prix fixe” Table D’hôtel Menu. Be sure to try their signature side dish, Soufflé Potatoes with Béarnaise Sauce and end your meal with a local specialty—Café Brulot (for two) prepared table side and flamed with brandy.

(An interesting bit of history—during Prohibition, liquor continued to be freely poured at Arnaud’s, but rather carefully under the cover of locked private rooms, disappearing back bars and in china coffee cups!)

Arnaud's Restaurant New Orleans

Café Brulot prepared tableside

If it’s your first time in NOLA, you must stroll down Bourbon Street, but do it early in the evening before the crowds and then head to where the locals go for the best live music—Frenchman Street. Check out some favorite venues like the Madison, Snug Harbor, Blue Nile and the Spotted Cat, the quintessential jazz club of NOLA. Then stroll through the Frenchman Art Market, the only weekly night-time market featuring original art and goods by local artists.

Spotted Cat on Frenchman Street

DAY 2: Walking Tour of the French Quarter, Garden District, Dinner at Lulu Restaurant Distillery

Join the Two Chicks Walking Tour to explore notable landmarks while learning little-known facts and shocking tales as you stroll with these local guides. Then give your feet a break and take the hop-on-hop off bus to explore the beautiful architecture, mansions, and Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District. Stop for dinner at Lulu Restaurant Distillery where vodka rum and gin are made onsite. Try one of their tap cocktails like their Planters Punch or Cucumber Vodka Collins.) For dinner their fresh Shrimp & Grits are a great choice (the Gulf shrimp come in every morning straight from the boat!) For land lovers, I suggest the Blackberry Glazed Ribs which were just as amazing.

New Orleans food and history Walking Tour

Frenchman Art Market

Boudin Eggrolls and Spicy Shrimp Boil Lula Restaurant

DAY 3: A Jazz Brunch, WWII Museum

Enjoy a jazz brunch at Court of Two Sisters in a beautiful outdoor courtyard featuring a jazz trio. Their menu of 80-plus items is sure to please any taste buds. Then head to the amazing WWII Museum. I almost skipped this because I’m not a great history museum buff, but when my friend insisted, I caved and I’m so glad I did. It would take days to totally explore the multi-building museum, but if you only have a couple of hours be sure to start in the Solomon Victory Theater with the inspiring 4-D film “Beyond all Boundaries,” with dazzling effects and CGI animation narrated by Tom Hanks.

Court of Three Sisters Jazz Brunch

So why is the museum in New Orleans? Andrew Higgins, a New Orleanian built over 20,000 LVCPs (aka “Higgins Boats”) which allowed troops to storm beaches quickly through an innovative door mechanism. President Eisenhower declared Higgins as  “the man who won the war for us.” The museum was built in New Orleans as a testament to this accomplishment.

WWII Museum plane

New Orleans WWII Museum

I’m sure after you get a taste of this charming city you will want to come back for more, so to help plan your next visit, check out NewOrleans.com.

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Article written by Destination Expert Sandra Chambers of Southern-Traveller.

Read more about Louisiana:

Visiting Louisiana’s Plantation Country

Natchitoches: A Little City with a Big History