Are you wondering how to spend three days in New Orleans? Take it from me; this is the perfect amount of time to take in this great city. Just thinking of New Orleans brings images of powder sugar-dusted goodness to my mind, but more about that later.
I promise you that no two visits to NOLA are ever alike. New Orleans is a melting pot of cultures and attitudes, and one of the many reasons that we had to include New Orleans on our couple’s bucket list!
Whether you are here to enjoy Mardi Gras, sip cocktails all day, dance to jazz bands, or enjoy the local Cajun cuisine, New Orleans never disappoints. I mean, it was named one of the best places to travel! So please sit back and let’s dive into our 3 days in New Orleans.
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3 Days in New Orleans-Day 1
Where to Stay During Your 3 Days in New Orleans
When Marty and I visit New Orleans, we always stay in the French Quarter, New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood. We usually choose a hotel on or close to Canal Street because I love the convenience. You can easily walk all over the French Quarter or conveniently catch the streetcar to explore other parts of the city.
Of course, we book through Hotels.com. Not only do they have the best rates, but we earn free nights. Here are some of our favorite New Orleans Hotels:
Is located right on Canal Street, making it a great home base. You can easily walk to all of the French Quarter attractions and catch the streetcar to explore other areas like Uptown and the Garden District.
We love the JW Brand for its excellent accommodations and superior service. Located right on Canal Street, the JW Marriott allows you to have all the conveniences of a centrally located hotel with a touch of class.
Located right on Bourbon Street, the Royal Sonesta boasts balconies overlooking Bourbon Street allowing guests the ultimate New Orleans experience.
The Hotel Monteleone has a beautiful courtyard area that makes it feels like you are in a tranquil environment. Combine that with their fantastic guest rooms, and you have the perfect home away from home in New Orleans. The Hotel Monteleone is also one of the haunted hotels in New Orleans!
If you want to be in a quieter area that is still full of New Orleans charm, then consider staying in the Garden District. There are some really great New Orleans vacation rentals in the Garden District.
This area is full of great New Orleans foods, excellent shops, and loads of history, yet it is still close enough to easily get back into the French Quarter when you want!
Day 1 of Your Three Days in New Orleans
You must start your 3 days in New Orleans at the legendary Cafe du Monde on Decatur Street. We didn’t put it on our list of things to do in New Orleans for nothing!
In the first paragraph, I mentioned “powder sugar-dusted goodness” this is it! Everyone says don’t wear black to Cafe du Monde, but I say wear what you want. You will be covered in powdered sugar no matter what you’re wearing!
Grab an order of beignets and a cafe au lait and start your day carb-loaded. Don’t worry; you will walk it off! Cafe du Monde is always busy, so don’t be intimidated by the line.
The Cafe’s staff is very efficient and used to the crowds, so the line actually goes pretty fast.
After getting your fill of beignets, head up the stairs by Cafe du Monde. This is the perfect spot to snap a selfie in front of the iconic Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral. After taking your picture, go across the street for a closer look at Jackson Square.
Jackson Square was initially called “Place d’Armes”, but was later named Jackson Square in honor of the Battle of New Orlean’s famous leader, Andrew Jackson.
Jackson Square is surrounded by history and beautiful architecture, making it a great introduction to the city for your 3 days in New Orleans. The oldest apartments in the United States, The Pontalba Apartments, surround the square.
The Pontalba Apartments have been continually rented since their inception in 1850. Read more about their fascinating history here.
I love life around Jackson Square. I recommend walking around the square and seeing all the artwork lining the fence. Stop and enjoy some street performances, or get your palm read.
Go inside the St. Louis Cathedral. For a $1 donation, you can pick up a self-guided tour brochure at the entrance. The church is an authentic piece of history.
The original structure was completed in 1727 but was destroyed in a fire in 1788. The town rallied and rebuilt the church about five years later. It’s worth a visit during your 3 days in New Orleans.
If you would instead take a guided tour of this area, consider taking this walking tour and have an expert guide telling you fascinating stories about New Orleans ‘ history and culture.
French Market in New Orleans
After enjoying Jackson Square, head to the open-air French Market.
The French Market is one of my favorite places in New Orleans and definitely should be on your to-do list during your 3 days in New Orleans. I love thinking that this was once the home trading post of the Native Americans of this area.
Now granted, the market has come a long way since then, but it’s still cool to think about.
Friends, I need to warn you, you might have sensory overload when visiting the French Market. There are so many sights, smells, and sounds that it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
Don’t let this happen to you! Take the edge off immediately by grabbing a glass of wine from Alberto’s Gourmet Wine and Cheese. Those who read our blog know I am always up for a glass of wine.
The Market is a great place to grab a casual meal if you’re getting ready for lunch. Step up to J’s Seafood Dock and let them shuck a fresh oyster or two for you. Are oysters not your thing?
I understand, mine either! Instead, try N’Awlins Cafe and Spice Emporium for authentic Cajun cuisine, including gumbo, etouffee, and bread pudding.
The Crepe Cart is also a popular spot. This French treat can be made sweet or savory and is perfect to munch as you explore the market.
If you are vegan, have no fear. There are several vegan options in New Orleans as well.
One of our favorite things to do is to take a food walking tour of the city. Food walking tours allow you to learn about the food culture while exposing you to places you might not usually visit.
Here are some food tours to consider:
Hit Up Some of the Best Bars on Bourbon Street
I know it’s touristy, but you must visit Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
Start your evening off at Pat O’Brien’s great courtyard for some New Orleans cuisine and, of course, their famous Hurricane.
Spend the rest of the evening bar-hopping while enjoying great music and the party atmosphere of this famous street. Visit historical places like Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar and enjoy a Purple Drank while taking in the history of this building, believed to have once served as the base for the smuggling operation of the Lafitte brothers.
Head to The Old Absinthe House to try one of their famous cocktails, the Ramos Gin Fizz or “The Absinthe House Frappe.”
One of our favorite things to do on Bourbon Street is people watch.
Grab a hand grenade from Tropical Isle, and continue your journey down Bourbon Street. Please note that these drinks are cheap, sweet, and strong!
Pop into any of the clubs, like the Old Opera House, to check out the live music and dance a little, or just people-watch some more.
For an excellent jazz experience, stop in at Fritzel’s European Jazz Club. While there, be sure and get into their new speakeasy located upstairs. Just tell the hostess, “the vampire sent me,” and for a $5 cover, she will escort you to the second floor, where you are transported to France in the 1920s.
Lounge around sipping cocktails, and enjoy their Bourbon Street balcony! Better yet, let an expert guide take you to all the best drink spots in New Orleans. Multiple tours do just that!
Find the cocktail tour that you want:
Day 2 of Your 3 Days in New Orleans
Best Brunch in New Orleans
I recommend starting day 2 of your 3 days in New Orleans by heading to The Ruby Slipper for breakfast/brunch. The Ruby Slipper puts its own NOLA spin on traditional southern breakfast favorites. Munch on some applewood smoked bacon, buttermilk biscuits, and fried green tomatoes.
For those feeling a little more adventurous, consider trying one of their quirky egg benedicts like the Shrimp Boogaloo Benedict, gulf coast shrimp over fried green tomatoes and a buttermilk biscuit, all topped with a poached egg and a creole tomato bouillon sauce!
New Orleans Cemetery Tour
Participating in tours around New Orleans is a great way to learn about the rich history and culture of the city. There are several options of tours to choose from, including bike, walking, and guided bus tours. Click here to check it out.
We recommend finding a tour that includes visiting St. Louise Cemetary No. 1. During the tour, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the Voodoo religion and the famous Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.
You will see the gravesite of Marie in St. Louise Cemetery No. 1 and have a chance to view the monument built by Nicholas Cage. See if you can guess which one it is when you visit.
Seriously, a visit to St. Louise Cemetery is a must, as it is one of the most famous cemeteries in the United States!
When taking a tour, I would recommend asking how large the group will be before you book your tour. We prefer groups of 15 or smaller. This allows you to stay together quickly and to hear your guide through the bustling streets of NOLA.
For American Horror Story Fans, this is a great resource to visit the filming sites of Coven. Right after the show aired, Marty and I went on an exceptional guided Coven tour, but recently I haven’t found this tour.
Shopping in The French Quarter
Take some time to stroll the streets of Chartres and Royal today. Here you will find amazing artists, timeless antiques, and quirky little boutiques.
I drag Marty here to treasure hunt every time we visit New Orleans. Recently, we found ourselves in one store surrounded by old records and musical instruments. You should splurge and take home a unique souvenir from this area.
Be sure to have your camera ready as well (not in the stores, though); endless photo opportunities await you in the streets. We constantly stop in this area to snap photos of balconies, doorways, and people.
Check Out the New Orleans Music Scene: Frenchmen Street
Tonight you should head to where the locals hang out, Frenchmen Street. On Frenchmen Street, you will hear every type of music streaming out of the bars and into the street. Just listen to what you like, and then pop in.
Safety note: Although the French Quarter and Frenchmen Street are safe areas, the area between them can be sketchy after dark. We suggest taking a cheap cab or Uber for this outing. If you choose to walk, take a group and stay together.
You must hear some live jazz during your 3 days in New Orleans. We suggest starting at The Spotted Cat for some great live jazz; note that this is a cash-only bar, so bring your green.
For a fantastic music club, try the Blue Nile. The Blue Nile is broken into two separate clubs, one downstairs and one upstairs.
The downstairs club is big, probably one of the largest on Frenchmen Street, but the upstairs has a balcony overlooking Frenchmen Street, and I am all about New Orleans balconies!
Consider this dinner and live jazz package for your visit to Frenchmen Street.
Day 3 of Your 3 Days in New Orleans
Best Jazz Brunch in New Orleans
Today, treat yourself to the best jazz brunch in New Orleans at the famous Court of Two Sisters. There is nothing better than sitting in the most beautiful courtyard in New Orleans, listening to live Jazz music, and eating mouth-watering food!
Did I mention that the Jazz brunch is a buffet? You can eat enough to hold you over until dinner!
See the New Orleans Mansion in the Garden District
Visiting the beautiful Garden District has to be on your itinerary for 3 days in New Orleans!
Head over to Canal Street to catch the streetcar for the Garden District. Go to the corner of Canal and Carondelet (Carondelet is the same street as Bourbon, it changes names when you cross over Canal) to wait for the streetcar.
You will probably see other people just standing around waiting as well. The next stop on the line is St. Charles and Common. If the Canal St. stop is too crowded, you can venture down to St. Charles and Common.
The ride costs $1.25 each way. We prefer the buy the Jazzy Pass (day pass) for $3 so that we can hop on and off as much as we would like, be sure, and have cash.
There are several online self-guided tours of the Garden District, but I recommend a guided tour. You get more insight into the history and the local area.
Whether you choose a self-guided or guided tour, you must be sure to check out the Sandra Bullock House in New Orleans! It is so beautiful!
Click here for some great Garden District tours.
Get Your Ice Cream Fix
After your tour (or during if it’s on your route), you MUST visit The Creole Creamery. This Garden District ice cream shop is like no other!
Be sure to bring cash because they don’t take cards.
You will find the craziest combination of ingredients in their ice cream, which is so delicious! Of course, Creole Creamery has your primary flavors like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and cookies and cream, but who wants that when you could have lavender honey, Thai basil coconut, or champagne violet (my personal choice)?
Marty was feeling adventurous and went for this amazing sundae. I’m sorry, I don’t remember the name. I know they drizzled the glass with hot fudge sauce, put in big scoops of chocolate fudge ice cream, added more fudge, and topped it off with whipped cream and chocolate chunks! DIVINE!
After a long day of exploring, it seems like the perfect evening to do something romantic to round out your 3 days in New Orleans. How about dinner and a private boat tour on The Famous Steamboat Natchez. Or just a jazz dinner on the steamboat instead.
Cap your night off with one last trip to Cafe du Monde; there’s no hurt in eating beignets at 2 a.m., is there?
Final Thought On Your 3 Days in New Orleans
We could go on and on about all the awesome things to do in New Orleans. Hopefully, this post has inspired you to see all the awesome things New Orleans offers. We have made countless trips here and keep returning for more!
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Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight:
We love using CheapOAir, Kayak, and Kiwi to search for the best flight prices. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines worldwide to ensure you get the best deal! In addition to flights, you can also find great hotel prices on Kayak and Kiwi.
Book Your Vacation Package:
If you want to book an entire vacation package, we suggest using Expedia. We love how easy Expedia is to use, and we always find good deals on entire vacation packages on their site.
Another great site for vacation packages is BookVIP. BookVIP offers super cheap vacation packages to incredible destinations. You are sure to save money using their site!
For full guided vacations, including hotels, some meals, transportation, and guides, then we book with Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a trusted tour company that will meet all your needs while ensuring a great experience.
Trip.com allows you to book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, airport transfers, tours, and more all on one site. Owned by the parent company that also owns Skyscanner, this is a trusted resource for travel booking and a great “one-stop shop.”
Book Your Accommodations:
We always begin our search by checking out honest reviews on TripAdvisor hotels. This allows us to narrow our search for specific properties once we are ready to book. Of course, you can also book directly on the TripAdvisor site!
There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it offers a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses at a good price.
Another “go-to” hotel booking site for us is Hotels.com. We love their loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights, and their “secret prices” for members are fabulous deals!
If you want a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, consider checking out the Sandals/Beaches properties. Sandals properties are for couples only and Beaches are for families. We have visited Sandals in the past and absolutely love the attention to detail and the service they provide.
Tour Companies We Trust:
We love taking guided tours when visiting new places. Our go-to tour companies are Viator.com and Get Your Guide. Both of these companies have been in business for years and provide excellent customer service. You can trust booking tours from their sites for sure!
CityPass is a great way to save money when visiting large cities. CityPass allows you to get free admission to major attractions once you buy their pass. The savings add up quickly with this pass, often saving 50% with combined admissions.
Another great pass to save money in larger cities is the Sightseeing Pass. This pass allows you to save valuable time and money by combining admissions to major attractions. They also have a handy app that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.
Looking to Save Time and Money?
Check out our resource page for all of our favorite vendors. These companies help us to save time and money on our travels!
About The Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.