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Excited but overwhelmed

Fairfield...
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Excited but overwhelmed

I booked our first trip to NO this week. It will be a surprise for my husband for our anniversary in June. I'm so excited about this trip and its so hard not to tell him what I did. I keep reading different posts on this forum and you guys make so many amazing suggestions that I'm having a hard time figuring out how to fit it all in. We will only have 3 full days, I know, it's just not enough time! My real question is, how much should I actually plan and how much should we just wing it once we are there? Is it hard to get reservations? What about music? Do we just walk around until we see/hear something we like? Or should we have a place in mind? I'm really feeling overwhelmed! Thank you so much for any advice :)

Allentown...
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1. Re: Excited but overwhelmed

For music - Frenchmen St.

I would plan on certain restaurants and activities, but leave time each day to just stroll around the French Quarter; there's a lot to see there.

if you could tell us where you are staying, we could tell you what's close as far as dining, activities, etc.

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College Station...
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2. Re: Excited but overwhelmed

There is also some excellent music on Bourbon St. OffBeat magazine is an excellent source for information on local music. Most of the listings include music genre. You can pick up the free magazine when you get there, explore the website, and/or download the smartphone app. See:

http://www.offbeat.com/

Things slow down a bit between Memorial Day and Independence Day weekends, so most reservations shouldn't be too difficult to obtain; but you should make reservations for your more formal meals. Consider taking your more formal upscale meals at brunch or lunch; better value and leaving your evenings more free and comfortable.

Los Angeles...
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3. Re: Excited but overwhelmed

We like to have a loose structure of what we are planning to do each day, with the understanding that certain things may fall off depending on how the day goes. That said, however, if there are things you feel like you absolutely must do, make a reservation and keep it. You can fill out your schedule with other ideas. We have found that wandering the quarter can lead us to all sorts of different unplanned adventures. Although Frenchmen Street is really THE place for music, with only three days to explore, I would suggesting wandering up and down Royal for some really good street music, and up and down Bourbon listening for what you like and popping in and out.

Enjoy!

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Frenchmen Street
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AR
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4. Re: Excited but overwhelmed

Where are you staying? What kind of food do you like/want to try? What type of music do you like/want to hear? The whole town is full of good music...Bourbon, Frenchmen, Uptown, Mid-City...just depends on what you would like to hear. Jazz? Blues? Cajun? Opera? Zydeco? ETC.

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The Frenchmen Hotel
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New York City
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5. Re: Excited but overwhelmed

We alway make plans for every day we will be in NOLA before we arrive, and complete about 25% of our plans when we are there! We always have a great time just going with the flow of wherever the day takes us. That's the beauty of the city.

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Fairfield...
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6. Re: Excited but overwhelmed

Thank you for your replies! It definitely helps. We are going to be staying at hotel le marais. We get in around 3:30pm on a Thursday then leave at 7am on Monday. I would like to do one nicer dinner (but not crazy expensive) for our anniversary (maybe on Thursday night when we first get in?) and then the rest of our meals I was hoping for casual, fun, more unique environments. We are from Connecticut so something other than what we can get here. As for music, I just want to dance! Not into a club type scene though. We are in our early 30s and don't get out that often anymore cause we have a 1 year old. I want this trip to be both relaxing and fun. Thanks again. You guys are awesome!!!!

AR
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7. Re: Excited but overwhelmed

Dancing in New Orleans can be done in/down the street! Since you are at Le Marias, you will be in a convenient location for all the places I mention: Upscale music/dancing: Irwin Mayfield's Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta Hotel (jazz), Davenport Lounge in the Ritz Carlton (jazz). Others for music/dancing: Sing Sing (blues...very small, but still some dancing), Famous Door (rock), 544 (rock throughout the ages), Fat Katz (rock throughout the ages if the Connection is playing, if not, then just rock). Bayou Club (Cajun with some zydeco), Krazy Korner (zydeco and rock depending on which band is there), Funky Pirate (blues), Fritzel's (jazz), and many others, just take a walk down Bourbon St. Balcony Music Club on Decatur (blues). None of these places have a cover, but some will expect you to purchase a drink when you walk in...others will allow you to bring in a drink from outside, but purchase one from them after you finish the one you brought in. You can walk down the street with a drink in a plastic cup, so if you buy one and then decide to leave, ask for a to go cup. Many places also have a take out window where you can buy a drink and just stroll down the streets. Be sure to take small bills to tip the bands. Many of the places have 2 for 1 or 3 for 1 Happy Hours until 8:00 p.m. or so...look in the doorway for signs or ask the doorman when you enter...that means 2 or 3 beers for 1 (usually between $6-8 or a cocktail with 2 or 3 shots in it. You might consider an anniversary lunch at Commander's Palace on Friday (make reservations)...lunch specials start at $15. They also have 25 cent martinis at lunch and the service/food is excellent but much less expensive than dinner. A few suggestions in the Quarter for casual/ inexpensive meals: Café Maspero (huge servings), Acme, Felix's, Red Fish Grill, Chartres House, SoBou, Johnny's Po Boys, Verti Mart (take out only), Central Grocery or Frank's (for muffaletta's), Clover Grill, Buffa's (great bar food), Domenica for HH, 3-6:00 1/2 price pizza, 1/2 price drinks and $7 small plates......AND MANY MORE!

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Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Excited but overwhelmed

Your choice of Hotel Le Marais is perfect. We just returned from a 4 night stay and absolutely loved it. Didn't think we'd use the pool but after walking all day we really enjoyed the pool break in the beautiful courtyard. Our favourite activities were an on-our-own walking tour in the Garden District, a morning at City Park enjoying the Sculpture Garden (free), the Botanical Garden ($6), walking along Oak Alley and having a casual lunch at Morning Call and walking through Jackson Square every chance we had. We didn't enjoy the Natchez Steamboat; scenery was industrial and the jazz band not to our liking. Our favourite restaurants were EAT at 900 Dumaine Street (easy walk from hotel) and Katie's on Iberville (streetcar). I'm sure you'll be delighted with your decision to visit NOLA.

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San Jose, California
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9. Re: Excited but overwhelmed

I would book one dinner if you think there is a specific place you want to go based on what you read, etc. We usually go for 2 or 3 nights and book dinner for every night before we arrive. We do so because we like to eat at nicer restaurants for dinner and don't want to have to figure it out when we get there. I would suggest that you really just leave the agenda open other than dinner reservations. Being that it is your first time to NO, you will have a wonderful time just wandering the quarter and taking it all in. You could have a few ideas about things you might want to do and places to have lunch, but keep it relatively unplanned. There are many bars & restaurants in the quarter and you can wander in to any place that looks interesting. You can walk by the river and through the quarter to check out shops and galleries, have a drink somewhere, etc. I also usually put a list together of places to consider for lunch or drinks. Then, when we are in town, I can check my list of places to try if we need ideas. Otherwise we will end up wherever we end up. that is part of the joy for us of visiting NO. You can be spontaneous and there is so much to do without even leaving the quarter.

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: Excited but overwhelmed

You COULD wing it 100% and just do whatever...but if you're not comfortable with that best to maybe plan ONE thing per day and just play the rest by ear.