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First timer to NOLA

Maryland
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First timer to NOLA

We are planning our first trip to NOLA over Memorial Day weekend. Have a couple questions:

1. Do we need to rent a car? We plan to stay downtown/French Quarter area.

2. Will we find enough to do over a 5 day long weekend?

3. Anything that are "must do's"?

Any comments are welcome.

Redmond, Washington
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1. Re: First timer to NOLA

I'm not an expert - my first trip is next week. But...

1. No, between NOLA being walkable and the streetcars/buses, we are not renting a car. 'Sides, it looks like parking is quite expensive. Good choice on location!

2. We are there 5 days and 4 nights and I have so much I want to do that we may not get to sleep!

3. Wandering the FQ, listening to various music, eating various foods, $.25 martinis at lunch at Commander's Palace. We are doing a culinary bike tour, a haunted night tour, an airboat swamp tour...the list goes on and on.

Enjoy!

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Commander's Palace
Commander's Palace
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2. Re: First timer to NOLA

The forum questions at the top right of this page offer a lot of help. You won't need a car. Use cabs, buses and the streetcars. Stay in the FQ and walk to all the attractions. Visit the WWII DDay Museum. Take the streetcar to the GD and Uptown. Visit the neat shops on Magazine. You can take the bus back to the FQ on Magazine. Go to Marigny and visit the neat clubs there. Enjoy your visit.

Missouri
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3. Re: First timer to NOLA

1. No.

2. Yes.

3. Yes.

College Station...
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4. Re: First timer to NOLA

Most on this board would advise the longest possible stay because we never manage to complete our New Orleans to do lists, hence the return visits. However, as a practical matter, figure a 3 night visit to explore the French Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods (Central Business District [CBD], Marigny [Frenchmen St. area] and Treme). Add another night if you want to check out Garden District/Uptown, which you should. And another night if you want to take a daytrip to the swamps and/or plantations.

If you stay in a well located hotel there is no need to rent a car. In fact, a car is more hassle than help in the French Quarter/Central Business District. The tour services will pick you up at your hotel for the outside of the City plantation/swamp tours.

Here is my "canned" list of must see and do:

Daytime stroll 200 - 1200 Royal St. - See note on Carousel Bar and Lounge below.

Daytime stroll 1200 – 600 Decatur St. - See notes on Jackson Square, Café du Monde and Central Grocery below.

Daytime or early evening stroll Jackson Square, passing surrounding buildings and going through Pirate’s Alley. Carriage rides depart from the Decatur St. side of the Square.

Evening or nighttime stroll Frenchmen St. between Decatur St. and Royal St. (Faubourg Marigny) – Location of musical performance venues.

Nighttime stroll 200 - 1000 Bourbon St. - See note on Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop below.

Ride St. Charles Avenue Streetcar (requires exact change [$1.25]) - Board at Canal St. across from the French Quarter on Carondelet St. (Bourbon St.). Time permitting, get off in Garden District (Washington Ave.), at The Columns Hotel (Peniston St. [pronounced like tennis ton]), at the “Bend” (at Carrollton Ave.), or at Oak St. If you are boarding more than 2 times that day (including end of line), get a $3 day pass when first boarding (available on streetcar). See Note on Commander’s Palace below.

Experience the River from the River bank, free Canal St./Algiers Ferry, or, time and finances permitting, the Steamboat Natchez.

Carousel Bar and Lounge - In the Monteleone Hotel at 214 Royal St.

Café du Monde - Cafe au lait (coffee with chicory and cream) and beignets (fried pastry). 800 Decatur St.

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop - Bar in historic (1770s) building. 914 Bourbon St.

Central Grocery - Arguably the best muffuletta (sandwich). Open Tue-Sat 9:00-4:00. 923 Decatur St. Get your sandwich, chips (Zapp’s) and drink to go; picnic on the River bank (other side of French Market across the street).

Commander’s Palace - Traditional and famous restaurant. Corner of Washington Ave. and Coliseum St. (2 blocks off St. Charles Streetcar route). Consider lunch (M-F 25 cent martinis) or brunch (S-S) to allow for Garden District walking tour, including Lafayette Cemetery (closed Sunday and after 2:30 PM) across the street.

Other popular activities/locations: National World War II Museum, Napoleon House Bar & Café (warm muffuletta and Pimm’s Cup), dueling piano players and/or flaming patio fountain at Pat O’Brien’s, Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, free History of French Quarter morning walking tour given by the Jean Lafitte Park and Preserve’s Folklife and Visitor Center, The Cabildo/Presbytere museums, various other walking/bicycle/Segway tours (cemetery, ghost, huricane restoration, haunted, voodoo, historical, cocktail, culinary, architecture, etc.), swamp and/or plantation tour (outside the City [transportation available]), and New Orleans School of Cooking class.

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5. Re: First timer to NOLA

Here are SOME of the "must-do's" in the French Quarter alone:

-Visit Jackson Square and peruse the offerings of the artists and craftsmen there.

-Stop often and listen to the street musicians and observe the street performers.  BE SURE TO TIP THEM IF YOU LIKE THEIR PERFORMANCE. ( For that reason, be sure to bring a bunch of dollar bills, and fives too.)

-Go into the beautiful old St Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square. Again, BE SURE TO LEAVE AN OFFERING to show your appreciation.

-Visit the French Market to peruse the Flea Market and the Farmer's Market and the associated restaurants and shops.

-Take a buggy ride from Jackson Square around the Quarter to get narrated history lesson.

-Eat a beignet at Cafe Du Monde.

-Eat a po'boy sandwich or some crawfish or alligator on a stick.

-Drink a Hurricane in the courtyard at Pat O'Briens.

-Take a walk along the Mississippi River levee.

- Take a cruise down the river on the Riverboat Natchez.

-Take a FREE ride on the Algiers Ferry to get a great view of the Quarter from the river.

-Peruse the art galleries on Royal Street.

-At nite, either watch or particpate in the spirit of bacchanalia on Bourbon Street.

-As an alternative at nite, walk over to Frenchman Street to the jazz clubs.

-EAT, EAT, EAT, EAT, EAT, EAT at many of the dozens of superb dining establishments in the Quarter.

-SHOP, SHOP, SHOP, SHOP, SHOP, SHOP in everything from "touristy" shops to high-end places.

-DRINK, DRINK, DRINK, DRINK, DRINK if that is your wont.  Lots of places and lots of differnt drinks.

-Take a ride on fhe streetcars, which opens up an entire new set of activities OUTSIDE of the FQ!

-Take a tour to visit local plantations or swamps or a "Katrina tour" to understand the devastation and recovery from that terrible event.

And this list has only touched on SOME of the highlights.  Others will, I'm sure, add to this list.

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6. Re: First timer to NOLA

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