“I just want to warn you, I’m not as crazy as I used to be. I’m actually kinda lame now. I go to bed at 10 p.m. on most nights,” Di told me as we discussed our upcoming trip to New Orleans.
“Perf. I need to be more lame, so maybe you’ll rub off on me,” I teasingly replied.
I consider myself to be fairly decent at adulting. Sure, I don’t have kids, but I hold down a stressful full-time job while carving out time to travel and pursue my passion through this blog. Occasionally, I even show up for work with my clothes ironed (although I make no guarantees about this one). As a young (enough) professional who works a substantial amount of hours per week, I was super excited to head to New Orleans for the weekend to blow off some steam while reuniting with one of my college BFFs who lives in Houston. We had planned on a low key enough weekend – I figured we would enjoy a few cocktails and a couple epic brunches while we caught up. I was run down from a busy month at work and Di is a mother of two, how crazy could things get, right?
Fast forward to BOTH Friday and Saturday nights at 2 AM… Well, let’s just say that we were NOT in bed at 10 PM getting our beauty sleep for those epic brunches we were so excited about. Now, before your mind gets too carried away, we weren’t actually behaving like our former 21-year-old-college-selves, but we both had a LOT more fun than our status-quo-selves typically do. Which leads me to my first reason why New Orleans is the perfect girls trip destination:
New Orleans has it all – history, culture, live music and an amazing foodie and craft cocktail scene. There’s so much to do and see. The city truly offers something for everyone, no matter what time you prefer to go to bed in the evening (or wee hours of the morning… #guilty).
Regardless of what you like, you’ll find it in New Orleans. From chill outdoor patios with live jazz, to swanky terraces with views of the historic French Quarter, to rowdy party bars with cheap drinks and EVERYTHING in between – you won’t have any problem finding your scene, which is what got us in trouble (it wasn’t actually the cocktails – I swear!). We had so much fun that the hours flew by and the night turned into early morning. Whether it was chatting up our super knowledgeable bartender about the cocktails he concocted, closing down the restaurant we had dinner at because the food and ambiance was just THAT good or listening to street performers do their thing, we didn’t want the evening to end.
You probably know that New Orleans has a legendary night-life scene, but so does the city I currently call home… yet, you can still find me on the couch watching Netflix and drinking wine on most Friday nights in Atlanta. That didn’t happen in New Orleans. The city has a spirit that’s positively infectious. We tried to resist and failed miserably because we couldn’t help but try to cram as much fun into one weekend as humanly possible. (Luckily, we are both REALLY good at setting alarms, so we didn’t fail just as miserably at making our brunch reservations).
If it’s not posted on Instagram, it never happened…right? Lucky for you and your girls the city is jam-packed with one Insta-opportunity after the next.
Call me a purist, but my favorite place to saunter around and snap pics is the French Quarter – I love admiring the architecture. (Plus, the colorful buildings are the perfect backdrop for some fun vacay pics).
The Shopping is B-A-N-A-N-A-S
Grab your girlfriends and get your biceps ready to do some serious credit card swiping. I remember very distinctly how surprised I was by the city’s shopping scene during my first visit to New Orleans. You’ll find so many super unique items you didn’t even know you
Don’t make a rookie mistake and leave without:
- Strolling down Magazine Street. I love how the neighborhoods each have a very distinct vibe and continually change as you continue down the street. You’ll find antique shops, contemporary design studios, off-beat clothing stores and much more.
- Wandering the shops on Royal and Chartres Streets. Ladies, just trust me on this one – if you love fashion and clothing stay FAR away from these French Quarter streets. I’m sure you can probably relate when I tell how I absolutely needed that faux-fur mink stole and handmade teal leather briefcase.
- Perusing the Frenchmen Art Market. True story: I have never been able to make it through a weekend in New Orleans without purchasing a piece (or five) of handcrafted jewelry from this hip open-air artisan market. If there is one place that I can ALWAYS do some damage in New Orleans, it’s here.
- Meandering around Jackson Square. Don’t write off Jackson Square just because it’s located in the midst of the most touristy part of the French Quarter – you can find some beautiful pieces by talented artists for a fraction of the price you would pay in a gallery.
The City isn’t Lacking Super Stylish Accommodations
A girls trip is the perfect excuse to stay at a luxe hotel for the weekend. Di and I stayed at International House Hotel and positively adored everything about it. The ultra-modern boutique hotel is housed in a gorgeous historic building and is walking distance to the heart of the French Quarter and a ton of restaurants and bars. We were impressed the moment we stepped foot into the lobby. Our room was beautiful (and spacious enough for the entire contents of our luggage to be strewn about while we got ready each evening) and we found the hotel staff to be super helpful.
One of my favorite things about IHH is its lobby bar, Loa. In my opinion, your hotel’s lobby bar plays a huge role in any good girls trip, since it’s often the place your girls night out starts and ends. We loved Loa’s fun mix of both modern and classic decor, and got to know Terry, our bartender and mixologist, quite well by the end of the weekend – I can state with certainty that you won’t be served anything less than a perfect expertly made cocktail at Loa.
There’s No Such Thing as a Basic Brunch in New Orleans
My gal pals in Atlanta will be excited to learn that New Orleans turned me into a brunch-believer. I hate to admit it, but I’m one of those annoying girls who prefer to brunch after noon and pair my burger/salad/sandwich with a mimosa. So, basically I don’t brunch, I lunch (while using the meal as a socially acceptable reason to day drink, of course). Y’all, I WAS SO GOOD AT BRUNCHING IN NEW ORLEANS. Probably because there were no #basicbrunches on this trip.
Saturday morning we were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed(ish…) for our brunch reso at Coquette. Di devoured her Gulf Shrimp and Grits and I opted for the Fried Pork Chop and Egg Sandwich. (I couldn’t help myself – I was super curious how a swank place like Coquette would serve an elevated version of this sandwich. Suffice to say, I didn’t regret my choice for a single moment).
I wasn’t sure how Sunday’s brunch could top the morning before, but I had faith that the famed Jazz Brunch at Commander’s Palace wouldn’t disappoint… Aaaaaaaand, it absolutely did not. Not one bit (or bite)! It’s not surprising that Commander’s Palace is a New Orleans institution because everything was sheer perfection: from the restaurant’s classic décor and live jazz band, to the superb service we experienced (our waiter escorted me arm in arm to restroom), to the delicious multi-course modern Haute Creole cuisine we indulged in.
I wasn’t born yesterday – I knew Commander’s Palace would likely live up to its reputation, but I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by how fun brunch was. Commander’s Palace, like the city of New Orleans itself, knows how to do fun. The restaurant’s lively atmosphere makes it THE perfect way to end the perfect girls weekend.
Need I say more? New Orleans is a fantastic destination for bonding with your besties! Check out New Orleans & Company’s website for all the info you need to plan the perfect girls trip.
Have you been to New Orleans?
My girls trip was sponsored by New Orleans & Company, but all opinions (and excitement) are my own.
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