What can I write about New Orleans that hasn't already been written a million times over? It's a city I'd visited three times now. Each time, a different experience with different people. Each time, it felt familiar. And though I'd never lived there, each time it felt almost like home.
Let's get this out of the way first. There's something to be said for the nightlife in New Orleans, of course. The French Quarter, being the number one choice, as it were. Much like Las Vegas, it is a shock to your system if you'd never experienced the spectacle that is Bourbon Street. Much like Las Vegas, it is best experienced in shorter bursts.
Alright, so why come to #NOLA if not to drink? Well that depends on what you want to accomplish on the trip and how much time you've allowed yourself to do just that. I personally gravitate to cultural history and culinary experiences. Viewed through that lens, New Orleans is a place like no other.
Founded by the French as a bustling port in the 1700's, the city is ripe with culture, both French and American. You can't walk anywhere without stepping on some piece of history. The streets are crooked with the weight of ancient footsteps. The art scene is unrivaled. The museums are exhausting, in their knowledge and exhibits.
The food is amazing, from the smallest hole in the wall, to the largest fine dinning experience. You've got your Beignets, Jambalaya and Gator Sausage. You've got your Muffulettas, Po-Boys and Gumbo. It's all there. Whatever you want. However you want it.
You can join one of the many free or paid tours in the Garden District that will snake you through gorgeous cemeteries, with their above ground crypts, and welcoming streets, with fantastic mansions, unlike any other.
Check out Royal street, instead of Bourbon. Swing by Cafe Du Monde and buy their coffee and beignets (bring cash). The French Market will have you looking in every direction at once, while your stomach rumbles for the po-boys and the sea food on display. Get the 3 day pass and take the streetcars, instead of a Lyft.
In short, bring your fitbits and your gym shoes and leave your shot glasses and beads in the hotel. You'll be glad you did.