Are you curious about visiting New Orleans? In this blog post, I list some of my favorite New Orleans restaurants, museums, and music/entertainment venues to make the most of your time in NOLA.

I fell in love with New Orleans the first time I traveled here for Mardi Gras 2008. The culture — the food, the music, the people — captured my heart and I knew I needed to return and learn even more about this city. Now I live here and continue to uncover more about the Crescent City, its fascinating history and vibrant communities. Living in a city that attracts and caters to tourists means I always have friends visiting and asking me for recommendations!

I especially love to support Black-owned or people of color owned establishments and/or spot that are owned and operated by local folks. I also create itineraries so feel free to contact me for more details on how I can help you plan a visit here! This is just a taste of what the city has to offer.

Food and Drink:

brunch crabcakes with crawfish gravy at Vyoone's in New Orleans
crabcakes benedict with crawfish gravy at Vyoone’s

The good food here is INFINITE. For traditional New Orleans food like beignets, I go to the Cafe Beignet on Royal Street in the French Quarter over Cafe du Monde. I’m told Loretta’s Authentic Pralines has some bomb praline beignets or crawfish beignets so it’s definitely worth stopping through! For poor boy sandwiches or “po-boys,” I like Parkway Tavern in Mid-City and Verti Marte in the Quarter. For classic Creole cuisine like jambalaya or gumbo, check out the historic Dooky Chase where civil rights leaders would gather, or Vyoone’s. Both are Black-owned by locals and the food is fantastic. For brunch, Bearcat CBD is my go-to — their breakfast potatoes with cajun crawfish gravy is a MUST! Commander’s Palace is an institution and experience — it’s one of the oldest restaurants in the city. Alma Cafe in the Bywater also has a robust brunch menu of Latin American and New Orleans fusion. For upscale dining, visit Compere Lapin, run by Nina Compton of Top Chef fame, which honors her Caribbean ancestry and New Orleans history through the menu. I’m also a fan gurl of Palm and Pine in the French Quarter — their dinner menu is fire and they also have late night burlesque and bites! Plates is a wonderful spot for brunch or dinner and if you have large groups, you can hire them for a private crawfish boil! Also it’s date night approved. Visit the beautiful Elysian Bar for Instagram-worthy bites and craft cocktails in a gorgeous courtyard. Bar Tonique in the French Quarter is an awesome spot for impeccably prepared cocktails at a great price!

Mardi Gras Indian suits at the Backstreet Cultural Museum in New Orleans
Mardi Gras Indian suits at Backstreet Cultural Museum


If you’re into history like me, there’s a lot of dope ways to learn more about the city. The #1 museum I recommend is the Backstreet Cultural Museum dedicated to Mardi Gras Indian culture. The photo above shows the intricately beaded suits created by different tribes and worn on Mardi Gras. Another great place to learn about New Orleans’ unique history is the Musee de f.p.c. which focuses on the free people of color communities in the 1800s. To learn about jazz here in its birthplace, visit the New Orleans Jazz Museum and the Petit Jazz Museum in Treme. There’s also a myriad of tours – on foot or via bikes that highlight the rich history of this city. Also, you MUST visit Congo Square in Louis Armstrong Park. It is a spot with deep ancestral knowledge. It was the site where Native Americans traded, and later where enslaved Africans meet on Sundays to sell goods, worship and organize.

From the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park.

If you like the outdoors and want to get out of the French Quarter, visit City Park. It was designed by the same architect who created New York’s Central Park and it’s just as robust. There’s a lake with paddleboats, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, The Botanical Garden and a free sculpture garden.

Also ride the streetcar from Canal Street up St. Charles Avenue to see some beautiful houses in the Lower Garden District.


Frenchman Street offers a variety of bars and jazz clubs in a few short blocks. The Blue Nile has great acts and DJs, as well as DBA, Cafe Negril and The Spotted Cat have live music pretty much every night. Sometimes it’s free and sometimes there’s a 2 drink minimum depending on the night and the bar. The Royal Frenchman Hotel and Bar usually has free live music and I’ve been blown away by the talent. (Also their cocktails are magnificent!)

WanderWomxn at the Royal Frenchman Hotel in New Orleans
Went to the Royal Frenchman for a cocktail and stayed for hours because the live music was so good!

Local radio institution, WWOZ’s Livewire Calendar always has a listing of what live shows are happening that night. Located uptown, Le Bon Temps Roule and Tipitina’s are classic music venues and should be on any music lover’s bucket list. For traditional New Orleans jazz, Preservation Hall is the quintessential historical spot with hourly shows most afternoons and evenings. I’m also a big fan of the DJ lineups at the Ace Hotel (Three Keys) and the Dew Drop Inn which just reopened is bringing in top talent!

New Orleans is also known for its festivals which are in abundance! While the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is the most well known, French Quarter Fest also has nine stages of epic musical acts and its free!

Love me some Jazz Fest!

The Congo Square Gumbo Festival is free and amazing in the spring, as well as the Bayou Boogaloo is set up along the bayou. Follow New Orleans and Company to plan ahead for a visit during one of the smaller but just as fun music festivals.

For some super dope queer art and burlesque, visit The Allways Lounge in the Bywater, and the Saturn Bar was some funky DJ nights and local music.

I hope this gives you some New Orleans travel inspiration. There’s so much to explore and experience in this city. For some ideas for group trips, take a look at the New Orleans bachelorette party guide I wrote for Conde Nast Traveler!

For more New Orleans content and a deeper dive, check out my interviews with local New Orleans experts!

Ifatumininu Bamigbala-Aresa – Artist, Curator and Founder of A Black Creatives Guide

Dr. Nicole Caridad – Foodie, Historian and New Orleans Food Influencer EatenPathNOLA

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