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New Orleanstakin' it easy

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French Quarter NOLA

Photo by Chris Mellor / Getty Images

You've got an extra day to kill in the Big Easy. Here's what you do.


New Orleans has boasted a reputation for indulgence and revelry since the 18th century. Long renowned for its fabulous cuisine, the Crescent City has bounced back a decade after Hurricane Katrina with more hot bars and restaurants than ever. At its heart is the French Quarter, with rollicking nightlife, wrought iron balconies and humid air dense with the perfume of magnolia flowers. But don’t ignore its patchwork of distinct neighborhoods, from the Bywater to Mid-City, which are also worth spending a few hours exploring. New Orleans, one of America’s most beloved cities, is also one of its most resilient.

Board the St. Charles Streetcar Line at Canal and Carondelet streets for the 20-minute ride past historic Greek Revival homes. Hop off at Washington Avenue and walk to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 to explore its imposing mausoleums or admire the nearby ornate Garden District mansions. Five minutes south, on Magazine Street, browse through the eclectic collection of home goods at Perch or tuck into praline pecan chocolates at Sucré.

Treat yourself to a lavish weekday lunch of Creole classics and 25-cent martinis at historic Commander’s Palace. Across town in the Warehouse District, chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski do modern Gulf seafood dishes at Pêche, their James Beard award-winning restaurant. Hit Parkway Bakery & Tavern in Mid-City for more casual fare such as fried oyster po’boys eaten on the patio.

Savor a tropical rum-based cocktail, such as a banana Manhattan, at Cane & Table or a sip a classic Vieux Carré where it was invented—Hotel Monteleone’s spinning Carousel Bar & Lounge. Head bartender Chris Hannah mixes both classic and signature cocktails at the elegant Arnaud's French 75 Bar, which also exhibits a stunning collection of vintage carnival gowns in the free museum upstairs.

Stroll among the colorful Creole cottages and shotgun houses that characterize the trendy Bywater neighborhood. Grab a seat at offbeat Satsuma for veggiecentric sandwiches and fresh-squeezed juices, then visit the new Crescent Park and climb the steely Piety Street Bridge for unparalleled views of the downtown skyline. Unearth vinyl treasures at Euclid Records and relax with a glass of wine in the lush courtyard at Bacchanal.

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