Ryan and I went on a road trip! If you recall from my previous posts, on the day after Christmas we flew to Oklahoma to be with his parents for a week. Then, we flew to Florida for a week in Fort Myers. We had a lot of fun and spent most of the week relaxing on the beach and trying every single restaurant within walking distance.
Right before we flew to Florida, we decided that we wanted to take a road trip. Originally, Ryan was supposed to be in Fort Myers the following week for work meetings but then found out that he didn’t have to go. So we had a free week on our hands. We really wanted to visit New Orleans and Nashville but we had never made actual plan to go. When Ryan suggested we rent a car in Florida and drive back up to PA, stopping at a few destinations on the way, I was all for it. I love seeing new places and road-tripping is a great way to see more parts of the United States.
We only had roughly 3 days in each place but we tried to make the most of it! Here are the things we did in New Orleans:
We arrived on Sunday, January 8th around 3pm. We checked into our Airbnb which was in a perfect location within the French Quarter! That first night we took to the streets and walked around for over an hour. I spent the whole day in the car and ended up with over 10,000 steps after we walked around that night!
Blue Oak BBQ
Our first meal in New Orleans was Blue Oak BBQ. If you know us, you know we can’t turn down a good BBQ place. This one was really good and also pretty new!
The next morning we ate brunch at Stanley which was right in Jackson Square. We had a tour at 11 that met at the statue in Jackson Square so we looked for places we could eat breakfast nearby. I thought the food was good, but nothing crazy!
Tour of French Quarter with Free Tours By Foot
Ryan and I signed up for a free walking tour of the French Quarter. I say “free” but it’s really pay what you wish. When the tour is finished you have the option to pay the guide whatever you felt the tour was worth. Our tour guide was super knowledgable and a New Orleans native so we obviously paid him well! We were really happy we did this tour because we got to learn a lot of the history of the French Quarter and it allowed us to see some places we didn’t see when we wandered around the night before!
Cafe du Monde
Of course, we had to stop by Cafe du Monde for some beignets and cafe au lait! I’m not a big coffee person so I opted for a hot chocolate but I thought it was seriously good! I totally recommend stopping by even though it’s a super touristy spot. It’s open 24/7 so you can go anytime you want! We went around 2-3pm on a Monday and it wasn’t super crowded. We were able to grab a table easily and there was no line. The way you order is a little weird. It’s super packed but you just sit down at a free table and wait for a server to come over to you and take your order. Also, reminder that this place is cash only!
For late lunch, we went to Willie Mae’s because Ryan heard they had amazing fried chicken. They did, but the place was a little sketch for me and didn’t seem super clean. The fried chicken was really good though so I’d recommend ordering take out and bringing the chicken elsewhere to enjoy!
Bayou Beer Garden
On Monday night we went to the Bayou Beer Garden to watch the college football championship. This place was awesome. It had about 4 sections of “beer garden” space outside and then another big section for a “wine garden”. There were tons of people there watching the game outside on their multiple TVs. The only thing I wished was that it was warmer! It was pretty windy and therefore, chilly. We ended up staying for most of the game, leaving just before the 4th quarter began to head back to our Airbnb. The food was pretty decent bar food. It was nice because you could just sit around and drink and then decide to order food whenever you got hungry! There was a window inside you could walk up to and place your order and then they gave you a buzzer to let you know when it was ready. We loved that! It allowed us to not feel pressure sitting around for a few hours.
The Ruby Slipper Cafe
GUYS. This place. My mouth is watering just thinking about my cinnamon roll pancakes. They were SO good and just the perfect amount of sweet. Ryan got a really good chicken + biscuit combo and he also was a huge fan of my pancakes (he might’ve stolen a bite or two). Easily the best place we ate for a meal in New Orleans!
The Garden District
Ryan and I wanted to do another Free Tours by Foot walking tour of the Garden District but I dropped the ball and forgot to register the night before so we didn’t get a spot. However, on their website there’s a handy list of places to stop and check out in the Garden District so we decided to do that! The big one that we liked exploring was Lafayette Cemetery. There were also some really cool homes in the Garden District too! To get there, we ended up buying a day pass for the street car (trolley) which was cool. We got to see a lot more of the city that way!
After hearing there was a rivalry between Cafe du Monde and Cafe Beignet on who has the best beignets… we decided to check out Cafe Beignet on Day 2. We couldn’t really tell the difference. The beignets at this place did seem a bit more cakey but they weren’t THAT different. Obviously go check it out though because you need more beignets in your life!
District Donuts Sliders Brew
After that busy day of walking, we decided we just wanted to keep it chill. We drove to District Donuts Sliders Brew for some tasty donuts for takeout! We got a bunch of different flavors including s’mores. They were a really good treat and we snacked on them the next morning on our drive up to Nashville.
After we picked up the donuts we went to Raising Cane’s which is honestly one of the best fast food restaurants I’ve ever been to. They have amazing lemonade, chicken fingers, Texas toast, and Cane’s sauce. If you’ve never been there I highly suggest that you go! We rarely get to eat there because there are no Cane’s in PA so we stopped there for our dinner that night. We were having trouble figuring out what restaurant to go to so we ended up just settling on Cane’s so we could get to sleep early to be rested on our drive.
Have you ever been to New Orleans? Where were your favorite places? Stay tuned for the second part of this post where I talk about what we did and where we ate in Nashville!