Local’s Guide to New Orleans

My meticulously curated travel guide for New Orleans includes local hotspots, under-the-radar restaurants, can’t-miss boutiques, and hip places to stay.

I grew up in South Louisiana and still visit New Orleans often on layovers and when visiting family.

I created an insider’s Google Map that reflects all my recommendations, so you can easily access them throughout your travels. You can save the map with your Google account. This isn’t your typical list of see-and-be-seen spots (though to be fair, they’re on there).

Click here for a complete list of all the recommendations.

Here’s a list of recommendations for visiting NOLA on a layover or for a day trip.

  1. Get up early and go for a run or bike ride in Audubon Park.
  2. Grab a coffee at Bearcat or Mammoth and head to Levee Baking Company for pastries before they sell out. For breakfast, I recommend Bear Cat or Molly’s Rise and Shine.
  3. Ride the St. Charles Streetcar line to tour the beautiful Garden District. Fare is $1.25, 40 cents for guests over 65 years, or you can buy an All-Day Pass for $3.00.
  4. Head over to Turkey and the Wolf or La Petite Grocery for lunch. 
  5. After lunch, go on an Architecture Tour.
  6. Spend the rest of the afternoon shopping along Magazine Street.
  7. For dinner, try to snag a reservation at Mosquito Supper Club.
  8. Finish out your evening enjoying live music at Preservation Hall

Plus, my can’t-miss, tried-and-true favorite spots in NOLA:


Make a reservation at Mosquito Supper Club. The Supper Club is known for its oysters, shrimp okra gumbo, fried soft shell crabs, and sweet potato biscuits. Chef Melissa Martin Martin, who grew up on Bayou Petit Caillou in Chauvin, Louisiana, cooks most nights.

Mosquito Supper Club on Instagram

Saba (Israeli)

Casamentos (oysters) *GF

La Petite Grocery (burgers)

Bearcat (brunch) *GF *Paleo menus

Meals From the Heart (gluten-free crab cakes)

Willie Mae’s Scotch House (fried chicken)

Turkey and the Wolf (sandwiches)

La Boulangerie (salads & sandwiches)

Cochon Butcher (burgers & sandwiches)

Juan’s Flying Burrito (taco salad) *GF

Bear’s Poboys (Shrimp and Oyster PoBoy)

Surrey’s (breakfast) *GF

Satsuma (brunch) *GF

Brigtsen’s (seafood) *GF

Jazques Imo’s Cafe (cajun/creole)

Patais (seafood) *GF

Zee’s Pizzeria (pizza)

Lilette (French and Italian)

*GF denotes Gluten-Free Menu


Bearcat (homemade coconut milk for lattes)


Congregation Coffee


Beth Biundo Sweets

Levee Baking Company

Chance In Hell SnoBall

Cafe Du Monde (Beignets)

Piety Desire Choc (Best chocolate shop)

Breads on Oak (vegan)


Krewe (sunglasses)

Ashley Longshore Gallery

Vibrant Market (beauty and wellness boutique)

Garden District Book Shop

Hemline (women’s fashion boutique)

Swap (designer consignment)

Stoney Clover Lane (customizable accessories)

Pilot and Powell (women’s fashion boutique)

Freda (gifts)

Hazelnut (home)

Judy at the Rink (gifts)

Shake Your Bon Bon (clothing and accessories for women)

Perch (home)

Defend New Orleans (cool t-shirts)

Dirty Coast (gifts)

Royal Street (beautiful antique shops, gorgeous architecture, and art galleries)

Fifi Mahony’s

Broadway Bound Costumes (costumes)

Bambi DeVille Vintage (costumes)

West London Boutique  (clothing)

Sosusu Boutique (clothing)

St. Charles Social Concerns (thrift) no website; 1601 Paul Maillard Rd, Luling, LA 70070

Pippen Lane (children’s boutique)

Peony (women’s and children’s boutique)

Century Girl Vintage (vintage clothing)

George Bass (men’s fashion)

Faulkner House Books (books)

Sparkle and Swag (party supplies)

Madame Aucoin Perfume (perfumery)


Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop

St Germain

Bar Marilou

The Columns Hotel

Jewel of the South

Carousel Bar & Lounge

Bacchanal Wine



Snake 7 Jake’s Christmas Club (dive bar)

Hermes Bar


The Elysian Bar

French 75 Bar

Napoleon House


Sculpture Garden at City Park

Music Box Village

Jackson Square in the French Quarter

St. Louis Cathedral

WWII Museum

New Orleans Architecture Tours

Preservation Hall (A historical spot to hear live New Orleans jazz.)

Frenchmen Street for music

Crescent City Farmer’s Market

Dr. Gumbo’s Food and Cocktail tour

Mardi Gras World

Free Wheel Bike Tours

Streetcar Ride (Ride the St. Charles line to the Garden District. It’s $1.25 each way or $3 for a day pass. You need exact change.)

Ghost Tour

St. Louis Cemetery Tour

Nightly Spirits Ghost Tour

French Quarter Phantoms Ghost Tour

NOLA Historic Tours

Irish Cultural Museum

Old Ursuline Convent

Pitot House

The Historic New Orleans Collection

Hermann-Grima & Gallier Historic Houses

The Cabildo

The Pharmacy Museum


Romney Pilates

Swan River Yoga

Wild Lotus Yoga

MVMT by Romney

Audubon Park (You can jog, picnic, or visit the zoo, aquarium, Insectarium, and other attractions.)

City Park (beautiful area)

Magazine St. (I enjoy walking along Magazine Street with lots of shopping and restaurants.)


The Remedy Room (IVs/supplements)

Natural Nails and Tanning


Levisage Day Spa (facials)

Nail Bar (nails)


New Orleans Travel Guide


Hotel St. Vincent

Hotel Peter and Paul

Ace Hotel

Q and C

Four Seasons

The Chloe

Soniat House

Maison de la Luz

For more New Orleans dining out inspiration, see Eater List for 2022 and follow Ian McNulty on Instagram.

I created a Google Map that reflects all my recommendations, so you can easily access them throughout your travels. You can save the map with your Google account.

Click here for a complete list of all the recommendations.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

What are some of your favorite places in NOLA? Leave your responses in the comment section.


Laurel  // Waco  //  Jacksonville //  Philadelphia  // Austin  // Richmond // Palm Springs // Venice Beach // Oxford, MS // Portland, Oregon  // 30A Florida // Charleston // Portland, Maine // San Antonio // Savannah // DC

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