Cheers to my Sippin Gypsy Team Tequila! This post comes to you while enjoying my Bloody Maria with a special hot sauce I found in my travels to New Orleans!
New Orleans is rich in history and culture. There is a passion that resonates in this city found in the most gracious of restaurant owners to the spirited musician that plays on the sidewalks of Royal St. For those of you who have never been....yet...I'm sure you've heard stories of Bourbon St. and all the indulgences offered there. But before I list some of my favorite excursions, I wanted to offer a few tips to help you plan your next adventure!
1. You will be doing a lot of walking. The side walks are charmingly uneven. There are a lot of puddles, and on Bourbon St. after 10 pm I can not begin to guess what those puddles may consist of. I prefer comfortable closed toe shoes for meandering the French Quarter.
2. New Orleans is an 'Open Container" city. This means you can order a nice cold sip at a bar as you stroll by and take it "to go" so you can get to your next destination. This allowed me to see so much more of New Orleans, and as The Sippin Gypsy, I was in absolute heaven sippin and strollin! Just be polite, finish your drink before stepping into the next establishment, they want your business too!
3. Many of the bars and lounges with live music do not charge a cover, but they do require a 1 or 2 drink minimum to enjoy the air condition, use the restroom or listen to the music. So be prepared to keep sippin!
4. Most of the bars and lounges will not accept a charge to a credit card for less than $10. So order a few and charge it, or bring cash if you just want one beer at a time.
5. Many venues start live music around 5 or 6 and the musicians wrap up around 11 or 12, so get out early in the evening if you want to hear live music.
6. The bands you hear predominantly play for tips only. Please support the arts and talents of these people, bring cash and tip well...live music is an art worth preserving.
There is so much to do in New Orleans. The following is just a few of my most memorable adventures,
1. French Quarter Phantoms
I love starting my visit to a city with a tour of the historic area. For my first visit to New Orleans we stumbled (literally) upon the French Quarter Phantoms tour given in the cool of the evening encompassing the history and legends of the city. On my next visit to New Orleans our group did the cemetery tour with this same company. The tour guides are all witty and knowledgeable. It was a great way to see the city and formulate places we wanted to go back to and spend more time.
2. Live Music, Live Music, Live Music!
There were several venues that offered live music in the evenings. As I stated above, be prepared for at least a 1 drink minimum to sit and listen, and be ready to tip the musicians. Some of my favorite spots for music are: Bourbon O Bar, Fritzels European Jazz Pub, The Spotted Cat Music Club, Maison Bourbon, Preservation Hall and RF's Martini Bar.
3. Take time to tour the other neighborhoods of New Orleans
Treme and the Garden District are both rich in history and offer so much to appreciate in this city. Whether you choose to leverage a guided tour group (the French Quarter Phantoms offers tours of Treme) or you simply pull out your phone and do your own self guided tour. These are distinctly unique and special neighborhoods that will add flavor your New Orleans adventure. The street cars across Canal Street are a great way to travel up to the Garden District to start your stroll!
4. Cemetery Tours
Due to how low New Orleans sits at sea level, the dead they burried would just keep popping out of the ground every time it rained and try to rejoin the living! So New Orleans had to create cemeteries that housed above ground tombs. The St Louis Cemetery #1 in the French Quarter requires you tour with a group, but this cemetery is worth the tour. You will see the tomb of the famed Marie Laveau and the tomb purchased by Nicholas Cage. The Layfayette Cemetery #1 in the Garden District is free to tour during operating hours.
5. Pick up a local map and walk up Decatur St to indulge on a beignet from Cafe Du Monde, explore the artists around Jackson Square. Continue your stroll along Royal St with all its tempting boutiques and historic buildings and back up Bourbon St. Watch for hidden treasures along the side streets including the famed shops of Reverend Zombie's House of Voodoo, or the Boutique du Vampyre. Just start sippin and strollin! There is so much to see!