Vagner and I have been lucky to explore a lot of the U.S. together, but there are still some cities on our bucket list that we haven’t hit yet. New Orleans is a big one, so I was so excited when I found out that one of my good friends was getting married there. (I know people have hot takes about destination weddings, but I love an excuse to travel.) It should go without saying that I’m not a local and only visited for a few days, but I think we made the most of it. Without further ado, here’s our New Orleans 4-day itinerary.
New Orleans 4-Day Itinerary: Where We Stayed, Dined, And Drank
Where We Stayed
We stayed at The Saint Hotel in the middle of the French Quarter on Canal Street. It has an angel-and-devil theme that’s a wee bit garish, but it works. We could do a lot of walking, so I loved the convenience — but I don’t think I’d pick this hotel again. It was so loud outside that it kept us up at night and lacked the quaintness of some other New Orleans neighborhoods we saw. Still, being in the middle of everything was neat, and the hotel staff was great.
Where We Ate
I knew the food would be good in New Orleans, but I was shocked at how many incredible meals we had. The food was terrific, and the hospitality was even better. In no particular order, here’s where we ate and what we thought.
Pêche was probably the top dinner recommendation people sent me, and I’m so glad we snagged a reservation. (We did have to eat at 4:30 p.m., but it worked because we had a flight to catch.) We ordered fried bread, fish sticks, and crawfish croquettes for starters. For dinner, we split the jumbo shrimp and chili vinegar Brussels sprouts. It was delicious.
My best tip for going to Shaya is to show up hungry. The portions are incredibly generous, and I was so bummed we didn’t have a fridge for leftovers. Our server went above and beyond to explain the menu to us, too. We ordered the baba ganoush, smoked labneh, and okra to share. I got the falafel sandwich, and Vagner got the burger.
Ruby Slipper Cafe
I found out after the fact that this is a chain restaurant, which breaks our cardinal rule of choosing local spots — but it’s so good that I don’t mind. I recommend getting there early because the lines get pretty intense. Order a side of sweet-heat chicken, and thank me later.
It’s not a trip to New Orleans without a beignet stop, and these were fabulous. We wanted to avoid the long lines of Cafe du Monde while still having great dessert, and Cafe Beignet checked off every box. We visited the Decatur location.
Elizabeth Street Cafe
One of our days, we couldn’t decide what to eat — so we split up for lunch. This decision proved controversial when I shared it on Instagram stories, but I have no regrets. I’m still dreaming about this shrimp banh mi (and I wish I had a picture of their cute outdoor dining area to share because it was a highlight).
Where We Drank
I’m not a big partier, but New Orleans has so many great bars that we knew we had to visit at least a couple! It’s a must to include in a New Orleans 4-day itinerary. We were persuaded by friends to see a karaoke bar on Bourbon Street. Still, I have no photographic evidence of that. I can say that I don’t think I’ll return to Bourbon Street when we visit again — it was sensory overload!
If there’s one thing I’ll do on vacation, it’s ordering a $20 cocktail. I saw Bar Marilou recommended by the fabulous Grace Atwood and knew I wanted to stop in! The drink menu was super interesting — the Fragola Rock (fernet branca, strawberry, mint, lemon, soda) and Childish Gambino (Gambino’s king cake rum cream, aged rum blend, chicory, pecan).
This was one of the top suggestions for things to do in New Orleans, and I’m glad we went. It’s a wine bar with fabulous live music and delicious cheese boards. I’ll say that I would go during the week if I did it again — we stood around waiting for a table on a Friday night for quite some time. But it was 100% worth it! I hope this post helps you plan your own New Orleans 4-day itinerary.