New Orleans…Best Shopping, Dining and Entertainment on a Budget!
My husband I took our “vacation” this year in New Orleans which is about 150 miles away. We did this for many different reasons, main ones, money and babies. Once you have kids its just so hard to leave for longer than a weekend and we knew that going on a trip that didn’t require a flight wold help us out in the budget department. I wanted to write up some of hte best places that we visited, dined at and shopped at for your reference and entertainment.
- Magazine St – If you have never been on Magazine its a quirky collection of cool retail shops, restaurants and boutiques. We stopped in at
- Blink which had lots of cute trendy fashions. They also had a great selection of shoes where I bought two pairs. Great prices and a great different selection.
- Little Laughter – This was a kids boutique which had lots of things from clothing like smocked dresses to a full line of Stephen Joseph products. They also had really cute Louisiana or New Orleans style kids merchandise like books, Saints gear and more.
- The French Quarter – If you have never heard of the French Quarter is a collection of market type merchandise like T-shirts, knock off sunglasses, hats, kick knacks and some farmers market vegetables. This is a very good area for cheap buys on souvenir type items. Its a must if its your first time to New Orleans, other than that its a great place to walk around and haggle for some cool items.
- Shops around Jackson Square – Around Jackson square there are lots of independent artists and lots of shops containing all sorts of items from wind chimes to dolls to apparel. Definitely a great place to walk around, you are sure to find a few treasures in this area.
- Haunted History Tour – We decided to do this tour b/c it was something that we had never done before. All in all it was very informative and interesting BUT our tour guide was not the best and It think that having a tour guide that is really into it makes a difference. This is by no means a haunted house and will not “scare” you, it is more a history tour than anything else. Pretty fun and very interesting and at $20/person $17/person if you are a student or have a coupon its a pretty good deal for a 2 hour guided tour to the most haunted places in the French Quarter. This company has all sorts of tours like Vampire and Cemetery Tours and you can book right online and you can find a $3 off/person coupon here.
- DDay Museum – If you haven’t heard of the D-Day or National WWII Museum its amazing. It is a very traditional museum with loads of information, photos, memorabilia, artifacts etc from WWII and D-Day. They have also added a complete interactive 50 minute movie hosted by Tom Hanks which is very impressive. The museum can take some time to go through, I would block about 4 hours of your day to go through it and fully experience it. The museum and movie experience is normally about $23/person but I came across a coupon for 2 free tickets into the museum and all we had to pay for was the movie which was $8/person! The coupon is gone but you can check out the DDay Museum site and there are normally specials or forms you can fill out to get special deals.
- The Delachaise – This is a bar that we came across after searching for somewhere to eat at 12 am. They have a crazy amount of beers on draft and AMAZING bar food. The best bar food I have ever had. We ordered the Flank Steak Bruschetta which is grilled marinated flank steak, peruvian garlic sauce & shaved aged manchego on ciabatta crostini and the Boz Sandwich which is St Andre, tuscan ham & arugula on ciabatta to share. They were only $12 each and were to die for. Definitely a great place to check out for drinks or late night eats.
- Crescent City Brewhouse – Located on Decatur a few block over from Broubon this resturant has a really cool style matched with great microbrews and amazing food. We had a coupon, that you can get here for Buy 1 get 1 free entrees so we had an appetizer of the Seafood Cheesecake which was a savory cheesecake made with shrimp, crab, crawfish and a blend of goat cheese and provolone cheese served with a Red Stallion pepper sauce and crispy croutons. Forrest had the Southern Crispy Duck (Slow roasted and flash fried, a half duck partially deboned. Served with homemade andouille cornbread dressing and southern greens, glazed with a pepper jelly au jus) and I had the Red Fish St. Louis (Fresh red fish pan seared, topped with crispy fried crawfish and smothered with a spicy barbeque sauce of butter, black pepper and worcestershire served with a side of au gratin potatoes.) We finished off the meal with a White Chocolate Banana Creme Brulee which was a seasonal special. The entire meal came to $100 without our coupon which was a great deal for amazing service, great beer and a succulent meal.
- Atikki is a super cool Mediterranean Hookah bar and restaurant. It has a really cool atmosphere with reasonably prices drinks (Abita on draft for about $4) and amazing belly dancers. They also have a variety of flavored hookahs to try out which make your experience all the more authentic. We only ate the Hummus b/c we were full but it was absolutely wonderful and spicy at at about $4.95 it was crazy cheap.
- American Sector is the restaurant inside the DDay Museum. It is a John Besh restaurant and does American Classic’s with a twist. it is a great restaurant with the waitresses wearing “Lucille Ball” inspired dresses. The presentation of the food is amazing and makes the experience all the more enjoyable. I had the heirloom tomato soup and grilled ham and cheese sandwich which was so cutely presented in a tin can allowing you to pour it out on your own into a tiny white glass bowl with a chive oil covered bottom. Forrest had the Sicilian sandwich which was their take on the muffaletta but instead of olive salad there was a pickled artichoke salad. We finished off lunch with a chocolate shake and for all around $28!
- Atikki – as stated above, super cool Mediterranean hookah bar and restaurant, great atmosphere and belly dancers!
- Crescent City Brewhouse – as stated above this is a great location for dinner but also has a bar with great beer brewed in house. They also have sampler options if you want to try all of their beers without falling out of your chair. Forrest and I tried all of their beers and all were great with the Red Stallion being my favorite. A large glass, probably a 24 oz glass comes in at $7.50 which is a great price for the quality.
- Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar – we came across this place on our Haunted Ghost Tour, this bar was said to be built in between 1722 and 1732 and is the oldest standing structure in the US. It has a great atmosphere with lots of history and stories to go along with it. They have a signature drink called a “Voodoo Daquiri” which is like frozen grape alcoholic Kool-aid…delicious!
- Jackson Square – There are always street performers, acrobats and palm readers in this area which are great for “free” entertainment.
- Bourbon Street – There are literally 100s of bars, clubs and more on Bourbon St. You can find anything you are looking for here whether its a great Karaoke bar, Jazz Club or Drag Queen Spot you are sure to find a great spot to kick back and relax.
- The Delachaise – Mentioned above, great beers on draft and great food.
Lodging: We stayed at the Henry Howard House Inn on Prytania. Such an amazing place with real history. The rooms are really big, the furnishing and art are really authentic and the staff is super helpful and knowledgeable about the city. Not only is the Inn right off of St. Charles in walking distance from restaurants and the Street car it is a quick and cheap cab ride to most places in the city most of the time around $7 to $10. Beautiful place, great staff and true New Orleans living.
We had a great time in New Orleans and would definitely suggest all of the places, shops restaurants mentioned above. Hope you enjoy.
- The Big Easy on a Little Budget (cheapvacations.net)
- Chef turns Katrina experience into new venture (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- New Orleans: An American Fairy tale (online.wsj.com)