DriveShare New Orleans: Travel Guide

There’s no other destination in the world quite like New Orleans. From the city’s incredible food, beautiful cityscape, moving music and welcoming people, New Orleans is upbeat, playful and steeped in tradition. It is where life is celebrated and the world becomes more colorful. Travelers say that spending time in such a vibrant, resilient and diverse city gives them a deep sense of purpose and belonging.  

If you are reading this, it’s likely you already have your heart set on experiencing the magic of New Orleans. Get the most out of your visit with some of our favorite stops, scenic drives, excellent eats and places to stay, and then amp up your adventure with a cool car rental from DriveShare

New Orleans Adventures  

Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World 

Photo by Rusty Blazenhoff

If you can’t make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, make a great escape from the ordinary at Blain Kern’s Mardi Gras World. Known as one of the oldest float builders for the Mardi Gras parade, Kern Studios attracts visitors from all over the world. Tour through props and paper machete artwork on the ultimate behind-the-scenes pass to America’s most famous celebration. Blain Kern’s Mardi Gras World is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

National WWII Museum 

Photo by Jonathan Cutrer

Discover the greatest generation’s experience in the war that changed the world. Take a tour through interactive and thought-provoking exhibits highlighting the unified actions of everyday men and women throughout the war effort. Check out rare military vehicles and weaponry up close through guided and self-guided tours covering all theatres of the war. The National WWII Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., closed on major holidays. 

New Orleans Steamboat Company 

Cruise the mighty Mississippi aboard an authentic paddlewheel Steamboat. See the historic sites of New Orleans as you paddle up the river with live jazz music providing an upbeat soundtrack to your river adventure. New Orleans Steam Company cruises sets sail three times a day and offering brunch, lunch, and dinner options depending on the time of your cruise. Cruise times vary by season, click here for more details. 

Cruise around the mighty Mississippi in a Mustang 

Starting your day in Metairie, located just outside of NOLA proper, meet with our super host, Cole, and he will pass you the keys to his 1970 Mustang. Make your way to the Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge, crossing the mighty Mississippi. Here you will hop on River Road and enjoy a drive back in time, snaking along the river through historic plantations. Stop and stretch your legs at the Oak Alley Plantation, exploring the oak tree-lined roads and checking out the massive mansion. 

French Quarter 

Bourbon Street, New Orleans at nightPhoto from Wikipedia commons.

Known for its romantic gas-lit streets and long-established restaurants, the French Quarter ranks as NOLA’s most famous neighborhood. Founded in 1718, The Vieux Carre has something for everyone. From wandering the nocturnal neon-lit party of Bourbon Street to shopping the charming boutiques. Grab a go cup and sip a craft cocktail as you take a walk back in time.    

Good eats 

Bacchanal Wine and Spirits 

What started as an unassuming wine shop in New Orleans’s Ninth Ward over two decades ago has bloomed into a beloved neighborhood hangout. Maybe it’s the feeling like you just ambled over to a festive family gathering, or it could be the live jazz music that makes the wine go down in a steady tempo. Could be the wide-ranging options and pricing for said bottles of wine to share. Or the build-your-own cheese boards and tempting specialty cocktails. It’s likely all of the above, combining to create a backyard fête that finds you swooning under the twinkly lights from above (in the trees, in the night sky).  

Bacchanal Wine and Spirits is open Monday through Thursday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. 21 and over only. 

Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar 

You simply cannot plan a pilgrimage to the Big Easy without a scheduled stop for Cajun/Creole cuisine. Cajun and Creole food are both native to the great state of Louisiana and are a prolific menu feature in New Orleans. We recommend diving into the diverse menu at Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar in historic Uptown, right on the St. Charles streetcar line (stop no. 24). Known for their authentic Louisiana seafood and Creole-inspired dishes, both tourists and locals flock to this hot spot. Happy hours are lively (that wicked oyster special!), and all-around affordable prices keep traffic flowing. (Could also be thanks to their trés pro staff or views of quintessential NOLA from porch and patio seating.) First timers can’t miss with the crawfish cornbread and crawfish mac and cheese. Don’t sleep on that bread pudding, either! 

Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Daily happy hour happens from 4 p.m. till 6:30 p.m. Good vibes only. 

Paladar 511 

After you’ve soaked up the culture and Creole at Superior Seafood, set your sights on an alternative option in Paladar 511. They’re transforming old-school Italian into fresh, bright takes on a classic. Modern, but still comforting. Seasonal local produce makes this menu sing. Favorites like house made pastas and pizzas are all the talk. And the assortment of options is impressive. Also ticking the boxes is the trendy atmosphere: A converted warehouse, Paladar 511 boasts tall windows with high ceilings and an open kitchen concept. Though stylish and chic, you’re free to come as you are in this relaxed setting. 

Paladar 511 is open Monday through Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and on weekends for brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Parkway Bakery & Tavern 

Photo by Wally Gobetz

When you see a lengthy line full of folks eagerly awaiting a delectable meal, are you the type to keep on truckin’ or queue up? Our advice? The line at Parkway does not lie: post up. Established in 1911, current manager and head chef Justin Kennedy is repping with the “best po’boys in town.” A competitor on Food Network’s “Chopped” Pride of New Orleans episode, Kennedy and team are keeping it real with this New Orleans scratch-made staple. Friendly service, a spic and span restaurant, and a quick-moving line (we swear) only add to this local favorite’s popularity. Enjoy a half and half po’boy (try them all!) while admiring the 100+ years of memorabilia adorning the walls. 

Parkway Bakery & Tavern is open Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

N7 

This hidden gem is a total vibe. You’ll want to cozy up with someone special in N7’s sweet and intimate atmosphere, featuring a lush garden patio, designed to rouse, ahem, cuddles. A Bon Appetit Top 10 Best New Restaurant 2016, the menu is also quite tempting, featuring traditional French bistro and country fare – escargot and pavlova are standouts – with a somehow-this-works nod to Japan featuring dishes like sake cured salmon and Wagyu tataki. (Note: menu does change on the reg.) The wine list is extensive and features small European winemakers “who adhere to a natural, handmade approach to winemaking.” Dining is limited to those age 18 and up. 

N7 is open for brunch Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner Monday through Thursday from 5:30 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. 

Places to stay 

The Chloe 

A seamless mix of modern and vibrant plus elegant and old world, The Chloe is a place that comfortably feels like your home away from home. Housed in a 19th century Uptown mansion, each of their 14 rooms is distinctively designed and spacious. Custom drinks, individual music selections, and local restaurant recommendations greet you upon arrival. Bath areas are stocked with cushy towels and robes, and locally sourced bath products feel like a special little treat. Between resting your tootsies on the patio’s rocking chairs or hammock, taking a refreshing dip in the pool, or enjoying a cocktail crafted with local spirits, you may be hard pressed to leave the building. And don’t skip out on their on-site restaurant: favorite dishes include the chicken katsu sandwich, shrimp etouffee dumplings, and the juicy Twin Stack burger.   

Virgin Hotel 

Located in the Warehouse District, the Virgin Hotel is fun, fab, and cheeky, just like so many other Virgin brand experiences. The Pool Club rooftop pool is a draw with a bird’s eye view of the city skyline, and the Commons Club cocktails and cuisine are globally inspired. Thoughtfully designed and appointed, every corner of this hotel is a work of art. Rooms are spacious, modern, and well appointed. Great location with everything one could need (grocery, pharmacy) or want to do (eat, drink, soak in all the culture) within walking distance. To serve you is some of the friendliest staff in the city – your door greeting experiences will never again compare. Bonus: Virgin Hotel is dog friendly! 

Hotel Peter and Paul 

From a careful four-year restoration of the former Saints Peter and Paul Catholic church, schoolhouse, rectory, and convent rose Hotel Peter and Paul. Each building presents its bespoke narrative in the rooms themselves – no two are alike. The church has been respectfully restored, history still radiating from the stained-glass windows and brick. This venue serves primarily event and wedding parties. (May we suggest a DriveShare vehicle – this or that – for a lovely photo shoot addition?) Situated in a quieter neighborhood, but still within walking distance of all the New Orleans Fun, stop first for a quiet, classy drink or a bite (chicken liver toast is a rare treat) at the hotel’s Elysian Bar. 

Melrose Mansion 

This luxury boutique hotel, originally established in 1884, is a renovated mansion with 14 guest rooms and suites. Nicely situated on the edge of the French Quarter on Esplanade Avenue, its historic environs fit right into this equally historic neighborhood just a few blocks from the Mississippi. Rooms are modern and sleek with amenities equally so. Nice add-ons are the complimentary breakfast plus wine and cheese reception in the afternoon, served with impeccable southern hospitality. The Melrose claims one of the largest pools in the French Quarter complete with tranquil fountains for that “yes, I’m on vacation” vibe. Its Donecio Suite has been labeled the “most romantic bedroom in New Orleans,” often booked for honeymoons. If you are planning a romantic getaway, contact the hotel directly for that reservation. 


Looking for more places to travel? Check out our Travel Guide compilation for more inspo. 

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