Vibrant, eccentric, and soulful to the core—New Orleans is a mecca for vacationers looking for a rich cultural experience. The streets, lined with one-of-a-kind culinary gems and eclectic architecture, provide miles of unfettered entertainment. And there is never a shortage of sultry jazz and other world-class music.
As a top vacation destination, 48 hours in New Orleans is simply not enough time to enjoy everything the city has to offer. So, to help you get the most out of your trip, we’ve created a flexible itinerary that includes the best of the best!
Day 1 – Explore Your Surroundings
8:00 AM – Rise and shine and head straight to Albertine’s Tea Room at The Columns Hotel for brunch. The menu is simply impeccable, with everything from steak and eggs to a succulent plate of pistachio crusted lamb chops. There are also traditional options as well, including delectable French toast and buttermilk pancakes.
10:00 AM – After breakfast, take some time to explore the French Quarter—a beautiful and mysterious area where you’ll find most of the food, music and culture you’ve come to expect from New Orleans. Take a horse drawn carriage tour or simply explore on foot to get the full experience. After all, New Orleans is one of the best walking cities in the country.
2:00 PM – Go antique shopping! You’ll find some of the best, hidden treasures in local shops all across New Orleans, but the true artistic hub can be found on Royal Street. Be sure to swing over to Jackson Square as well—the streets have been sectioned off so pedestrians can easily shop the various antique, novelty, art and chocolate shops.
6:00 PM – Enjoy a mouthwatering dinner at one of Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants. Each presents a Creole-style cuisine with a variety of local favorites including crawfish tails, gumbo, dirty rice, BBQ shrimp and more, as well as a fantastic wine experience.
8:00 PM – Enjoy a night of gambling! Slot machines can be found in every imaginable locale in the city, from bars and Laundromats to riverboats and hotels. But perhaps the best place to test your luck is Harrah’s Casino—a winning experience for both visitors and locals.
Day 2 – New Orleans Like A Local
8:00 AM – Wake up and head over the French Market on Decatur Street, home to Café Du Monde. This local hotspot has the best beignets (French doughnuts with powdered sugar) on the market! In fact, they are so good that they are the only food on the menu. Complement your beignets with milk, coffee or orange juice—simple yet absolutely delicious.
10:00 AM – Ride around the city in a streetcar! Getting around New Orleans by streetcar is a great way to see the city. There are three different lines: St. Charles, Canal Street, and the Riverfront, each of which originates downtown but takes you different parts of the city to see beautiful homes and historic sites.
12:00 PM – Grab an epic po’boy for lunch! Luckily for you, this legendary sandwich is everywhere—on street corners, at gas stations, inside dives and fancy restaurants, too. But, if you’re looking for the best, you’ll want to head over to Parkway Bakery—they have over 20 different kinds of Po’ Boy recipes, from alligator sausage to surf & turf.
2:00 PM – Take a riverboat tour of the swamps—an important part of what makes New Orleans unique, just as much as the history and culture. You’ll likely see crocodiles and exotic birds, so don’t forget your camera. You may also want to take the free ferry from the French Quarter across the Mississippi to Algiers Point. This historic neighborhood is worth exploring for a few hours before hopping the ferry back to the Quarter again.
6:00 PM – Take the secrets of Cajun and Creole cooking back home with you with the help of New Orleans School of Cooking and Langlois Culinary Crossroads—two of the area’s most renowned cooking havens.
8:00 PM – Spend the evening meandering your way through the happy cavalcade of New Orleans bands and the city’s vibrant jazz scene on Frenchmen street. This entertainment district offers a variety of venue styles and music ranging from traditional jazz to blues to reggae to rock every day of the week.