Updated: Apr 30, 2019
Everyone knows New Orleans is one of the most famous vacation spots for bachelorette/bachelor parties and spring breakers. This is probably because it's one of the best places to get drunk. The drinks are cheap, huge and come in exciting shapes/containers (ex. fishbowl or hand grenade.) But there is so much more to NOLA than drinking and Bourbon Street. There is culture, art, and some of the best food you will ever eat. Allow me to help you plan your trip and give you some ideas of things you should ACTUALLY do. Spoiler alert: I'm not going to tell you to spend your whole trip on Bourbon.
Bourbon Street is good for about one night. It is chaos and alcohol and tourists. Yes, there are lots of bars. But there are bars literally all over New Orleans and Bourbon is only one small street in a lively city. I promise you can still party off of Bourbon.
Walk down Magazine Street, preferably in the Lower Garden District. There are lots of cute antique shops, coffee shops, and some great bars and restaurants. You can get drunk here with much less annoying tourists and none of the grime.
Take a stroll down Frenchman Street. It is right on the fringe of the French Quarter and filled with great bars and great food. It is a much more classy and trendy version of Bourbon St.
Get a burger at Port Of Call. This is easily my favorite thing to do in NOLA. It is a little hole in the wall restaurant on Esplanade. They have the best burgers you will ever eat and 32oz drinks in cups you can take to go. You can even bring them home at the end of your trip and reuse them. I have several. But don't worry, if you're not a drinker you can get iced tea and still get the cup. 😉
Go to Dat Dog and get an Alligator Sausage with Creole Mustard. I know what you're thinking but just trust me ok?
Walk around Jackson Square and admire the art. And if you can afford it, buy some.
Get some souvenirs from the French Market. They've got everything from voodoo dolls to hot sauce.
Have a Crawfish Po-Boy. You can literally get them anywhere and they're basically guaranteed to be delicious.
Have breakfast at The Ruby Slipper. Take one look at their menu and you will book your trip.
Get a beignet from Cafe Du Monde. Yes, the hype is real. The truth is you can really get beignets anywhere but its just classic to head to Cafe Du Monde. And it happens to be right next to the French Market so you can kill two birds with one stone.
Go to a parade. It doesn't have to be Mardi Gras for there to be a parade. But if you are going early in the year the Mardi Gras celebrations start as early as January. You can google a parade schedule or download a Mardi Gras parade tracker app. If you go, try to get a good spot as they throw lots of goodies. My cabinets are filled with cups from numerous parades.
Check out some of the famous cemeteries. They are quite fascinating even if you're just walking through on your own but tours are available.
Go on a tour. If you want to learn more about the culture check out some of the many tours they offer down there. Swamp tours, ghost tours, etc. This is not a must but is fun for any first timer.
Get a Hurricane at Pat O'Briens. They are pretty good and will get you wasted but you can feel classier doing it while you sit in the garden patio.
Have a Snowball. They are like a combination of Italian ice and a 7/11 Slurpee. Except with ice cream.
Go to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop and have the Voodoo Daiquiri. This beverage is better known as the "purple drank" and it is basically a delicious grape slushy that will get you wasted. (Pictured below: me drinking said purple drank.) This establishment has been around since the 1700s is said to be haunted. I have never seen any ghosts while I was there so if you're afraid of that kind of stuff you're probably fine. This bar is also right on Bourbon so it gives you an excuse to go there after all. 😉
I could live in New Orleans and never get tired of it. There are a million other things you can do outside of this list but this is a great start. Spend one night on Bourbon just to say you did it. But then graduate to something better. Enjoy the culture. Enjoy the art. And especially enjoy the food.