New Orleans has had a powerful influence on American and global culture. The cuisine is known across the world and rock and roll was born from the sounds of the sultry jazz.
One of the great things about living on the West Coast of Florida is that the rest of the Gulf Coast is more accessible for weekend getaways. And while we all love the small town charm that you can find in many places along the Gulf Coast, there is also some big city fun to experience as well.
New Orleans is one of the more popular Gulf Coast tourist destinations north of Fort Myers, and it is about an eight and a half hour drive for residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills.
Most people think of New Orleans as a big party with images of Mardi Gras and wild parades. However, there is a lot more to see and do in the “Big Easy” over the course of any given weekend!
Places to Stay in New Orleans
Along with the big chain hotels there are many great little boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts to choose from. One of our favorites that are a mix of both is the Grenoble House.
Grenoble House is located one block from Bourbon Street and three blocks from Canal Street, so you are close to everything. There are 17 suites here that each contain a full kitchen and run in the neighborhood of $400-500/night.
If you are looking for a slightly less expensive option that still packs plenty of great New Orleans charm, the Bourbon Orleans Hotel is a fantastic hotel located right in the French Quarter offering both single rooms and suites.
Things to Do in New Orleans
New Orleans is quite extensive, so you can spend a weekend in just about any part of the city and have many things to do.
If you’ve already visited a few times, you might want to get lost in the Warehouse District or the Garden District for the weekend. But if this is your first time in New Orleans, you will almost certainly want to explore the French Quarter.
Everyone’s first stop in exploring the French Quarter should be Jackson Square. This beautiful garden in the heart of the city will simply take your breath away…and the architecture surrounding as well. While you are here, make sure to get some pictures in front of the St. Louis Cathedral.
Right next to St. Louis Cathedral you will find The Presbytere, one of the more interesting museums around. They have a wonderful collection of Mardi Gras history, as well as a fascinating exhibit on the power and destruction of hurricanes.
Another place to see as you explore the French Quarter is the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. With exhibits that detail the Amazon Rain Forest, the Mississippi River, and this area of the Gulf Coast. This aquarium is a truly unique experience.
Places to Eat in New Orleans
New Orleans is a place with many amazing restaurants. In order to keep this simple for your trip, let’s highlight a few in the French Quarter.
As the residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills already know, when you are eating in any town along the Gulf, seafood is a must have. Acme Oyster House is the spot to hit in New Orleans when you are looking for raw oysters on the half shell or a shrimp po’ boy in a casual environment.
If you are craving a great cup of coffee in the morning, Cafe Du Monde is world famous for its cafe' au lait, beignets, and the opportunity to people watch.
French-Creole food is very popular in New Orleans, and one of the places to experience this is at Galatoire’s. This restaurant, established in 1905, is perfect for an upscale night out in the French Quarter. Some of their specialties include veal chops and a seafood-stuffed eggplant.
With all that there is to see and do right in the French Quarter, you might not make it past Bourbon Street. But that’s okay because you will definitely want to make a weekend in the Big Easy a regular getaway.