I always thought about the idea of going on a trip solo for a while now (my niece “When Geeks Travel, did a trip a year before) it inspired me and I decided to give it a shot in May 2018. It was a few days before my birthday, a year since graduating grad-school and I was itching to getaway. I was used to telling friends or family “I can’t go” because of a final and now I ended up with a lot of free time. A few days before leaving for NOLA, I was nervous if I made the right decision to go on a trip by myself to a city that is known for partying. I figured I can’t turn back now and either way the experience would end up on the blog, ha ha!
Rather than running from attraction to attraction, I realized I am more of fly under the radar, live as I would if I lived there type of traveler. New Orleans ended up being the perfect city to break in traveling solo. The culture, music, food, and the coffee! The people in NOLA are friendly, warm, and welcoming. Special shout out to my friend Allyson and my new friend’s from NOLA Scott and Robi they really looked out for this city gal!
New York Times listed New Orleans as the top place in the world to visit for 2018. With this year being the 300th anniversary of the city, there couldn’t be a more perfect time to check out. I’m glad I did! Check it out!
Street Cars – The city still operates very old-school trams. Of course I got lost in one of them being Uber spoiled! Not only do they look cool but they also take you almost anywhere a tourist would want to go! At $3 for an unlimited day ticket or $1.25 single ride they are by far the cheapest (albeit a little slower) way to get around town.
Cemetary Tours-Due to much of the city being below sea level, burying the deceased above the ground is common practice, making the city’s cemeteries a popular tourist attraction.. St. Louis Cemetery #1, was one of my first stops in NOLA. It is where the famous Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau, is believed to be buried. Book your tour though the nonprofit Save Our Cemeteries to help support their preservation.
City Park – The largest in-city park in the US, (an easy uber or streetcar away) is also home to a fabulous art museum (mix of contemporary art and antiques with a great mix of well known artists) a pretty good botanical garden and a nearby sculpture park.
French Quarter- Besides Bourbon Street (check out Acme for the Chargrill Oysters btw), there are more activities to do in the French Quarter. Walk around (with a to-go cup from Pat O’Brien’s) and take in the beautiful Spanish and French Architecture. You’ll run into beautiful Jackson Square where you can have a peek into St. Louis Cathedral (oldest cathedral in the U.S.), watch cute old people dance, and most importantly make a beignets stop at the very famous 24-hour open Café Du Monde for your Beignet fix and frozen coffee. This combo was amaze I ended up here a few times during my 4 day trip. First time having Bourbon Punch too, Bourbon House specializes in that!
Frenchmen Street-Walk down the street, listen to the open venues, and grab a seat and listen to music, swaying back and forth in your own world. The Spotted Cat was my favorite! Then check out the market!
New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA): they have a mix of contemporary art. When I went to NOMA in May, I spent a good half the morning there with my lovely friend Allyson. The Alexander McQueen exhibit was EPIC! “A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes” The exhibit showcased rare pieces from one of the world’s largest private collections from the designer. After NOMA stroll over to Morning Call-I kid you not they have the best Cafe Au Lait!
Walking tour of The Treme: The Treme' (pronounced Tre-May) sits adjacent to the French Quarter and is the oldest African-American neighborhood in the United States. Treme' was originally settled by Free People of Color; often referred to as Creoles, whose unique experience helped shape the civil rights movement. It is the hallmark of African-American history not to be missed. Today, Treme' is home to artists, musicians, and craftsmen and is a living, breathing, joyful piece of New Orleans history. The tour I went on, had a great balance of historical info and personal anecdotes from our local tour guide Robi, who is a resident of Treme’. Robi was deeply knowledgeable (and passionate about) his community and it shined through in his analysis of cultural politics in the neighborhood.
Louis Armstrong Park: As soon as you set foot in the park, you have engulfed yourself in African American history that dates back to the 18th century. From Congo Square to the Mahalia Jackson Theater, every inch of the park’s grounds contain history that has become a vital part of New Orleans’ culture. The park’s history involves slave culture, music, dance and entertainers that have all made an impact on the Treme area.
Magazine St. – I spent time on Magazine Street the final day before heading to the airport. I couldn’t get enough of looking at the Southern Style porches! This is a long stretch of street in the lower garden district with cute bars, antique shops, vintage stores and interior shops with stretches of residential colonial style houses in between. My last meal was at the Ruby Slipper, ahh it was amaze never had biscuits so fluffy and sweet. Thanks for the recommendation Scott!
I am grateful for NOLA being my first solo traveler experience. I embraced my identity in a way I didn’t think was possible and eagerly submersed myself in the culture, meeting new people, and discovering things about myself. I am stoked to plan more solo trips for 2019 and beyond!