How to Experience New Orleans Like a Local
Updated: Aug 13
One of the favorite parts of traveling for Josh and I is trying to experience every place we visit as if we were a local. Because Josh lived about an hour outside the city prior to Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was one of the first cities I was able to ease into this travel style.
My definition of traveling like a local means avoiding the typical tourist traps (with a few exceptions – who isn’t going to stop at Cafe DuMonde when in the French Quarter???), eating at restaurants that are off the beaten path, enjoying the amenities cities provide for their citizens (parks, museums, etc.), and taking time to just explore.
After our first trip to New Orleans together, Josh and I compiled a list of recommendations for a friend who was planning her own trip. I’ve saved that list and every time another friend is planning a trip, I make sure to offer it up, as my contribution to their trip planning. We have friends who have come home and raved about our recommendations and one who lets me know every time she goes back to one of the restaurants we originally recommended when she visits the city.
Below is our list of recommendations. I hope they are as beneficial to you as they have been to some of our other friends.
(Photo Credit: Bacchanal Wine)
600 Poland Avenue
Bacchanal is in the ‘super cool’ Bywater neighborhood. It’s a wine store, but out back, they have a pop-up restaurant where you can enjoy live music while relaxing on patio furniture sipping your favorite cocktail or a local Abita beer. When the weather is nice, it’s an experience that can’t be beat! Bacchanal has been featured on Top Chef several times, as well as on the HBO show Treme.
(Source: Follow Me Foodie)
930 Tchoupitoulas Street
Cochon is a restaurant and butcher. The butcher shop is next door to the restaurant, and provides all of the meat for the restaurant. It was one of the best meals we’ve ever had in New Orleans. It’s run by famous New Orleans Chef, Donald Link, who was one of the first chefs back in the city after Hurricane Katrina. He’s been on Top Chef multiple times and his food is exceptional!
(Source: Mid-City Lanes Rock N Bowl via Facebook)
3000 South Carrollton Avenue
If you like bowling and live music (or just live music), Rock N’ Bowl is a spot you shouldn’t miss. It’s a really cool live music venue that happens to be housed in a bowling alley. Many fantastic musicians have played at Rock N’ Bowl and it’s a favorite spot for locals to catch their favorite New Orleans bands.
(Source: Willie Mae’s Scotch House)
2401 Saint Anne St
Willie Mae’s Scotch House serves the very BEST fried chicken in the country. But plan accordingly. . . They’re open for lunch and serve until they run out. You’ll want to get there early because they do sell out. On one of our trips, we actually ate at Willie Mae’s twice because we thought it was so good. The restaurant was wiped out by Katrina and the community came together to rebuild it.
(Source: Napoleon House)
500 Chartres Street
Have a Pimm’s Cup here if you get a chance. It was invented here and Josh loves it. Their muffaletta is also pretty phenomenal. 🙂 It’s in the French Quarter.
What are your favorite New Orleans spots? Comment with your recommendations and I’ll be sure to add them to my list to check out the next time we’re there!
Other blogs in my What Not to Miss series: