There are no two cities in the U.S. full of more vibrant history and pride than Boston and New Orleans. From the strong Creole roots in NOLA to scenes of the American Revolution in Boston, the diverse culture and storied pasts of each city are evident from the moment you step out of your hotel.
Learn the Lingo
With two distinct accents and dialects that date back to each city’s historic roots, you might need more than a viewing of Treme or The Departed to understand local jargon and dialects. Here’s a glossary of terms and phrases to give you a leg up in N’awlin’s and Bahston.
Jimmies: Sprinkles. The little delights you put on your ice cream
Southie: South Boston
Wicked: A general intensifier; “He is wicked cool”
Dunks or Dunkies: Dunkin’ Donuts
The Gahden: Reference to the TD Garden, home of the Boston Celtics and Bruins.
The “T”: Boston’s subway system and preferred choice of transportation around the city.
Who dat? A chant for the New Orleans Saints
Dressed: If you want your po’boy with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo
Backatown – Back of town; the section of New Orleans from the River to North Claiborne
Laissez les bon temps rouler: Let the good times roll! (and trust us, they will)
There are more to these two cities than Mardis Gras and a wicked good lobster roll. Make sure to give yourself a day to explore the renowned landmarks each city boasts.
These must-visit areas in the heart of each city are distinctive in style, and paint a picture of local culture past and present.
Boston: Fanueil Hall & Quincy Market is a one-stop shop for all things Boston. The building, Fanueil Hall, served a vital role in the revolutionary politics. Nearby you’ll find restored historic buildings surrounding a vibrant city center full of shops, restaurants, pubs, and street musicians. Navigate the cobblestone square with stops at the touristy, must-see Cheers bar and America’s oldest restaurant, Union Oyster House to get your oyster fix.
NOLA: As the oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans, The French Quarter takes you from the boisterous bar-lined Bourbon street to the stunning rows of architecture on Royal Street. Before you discover the joy of Hurricanes in to-go cups, visit the famous Café du Monde for the prerequisite beignet before walking to NOLA’s National Landmark, Jackson Square.
Whether by foot or by historic streetcar, there is no better way to get to know each city than by these do-it-yourself tours.
Boston: Pro-tip: Make sure to pack comfortable shoes. 2.5 - - That’s the length in miles of the Freedom Trail and the number of centuries this 16-site trail encompasses. Download the map and follow the red bricks on a self-guided tour to discover the rich history of the American Revolution. Start in Boston Common and continue on to the Old State House, site of the Boston massacre, and Paul Revere’s House before finishing up at the USS Constitution or as you know may know it, Old Ironsides.
NOLA: Grab a seat on the St. Charles Streetcar for the best way to see some of the most well-known sites in town. The oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world, this famous line runs 13 miles through the rows of stunning mansions in the Garden District to Audubon Park. Hop on an off with a one-day jazzy pass to see the sites of Lafayette Square and Lafayette Cemetery #1. For lunch, stop at Commanders Palace on Washington Ave. for 25 cent martinis. You heard us right. 25 cent martinis.
The passion points of these cities may differ, but not the dedicated following who live and breathe what their respective cities are best known for.
Boston: Die-hard baseball fans flock to the oldest stadium in the league, Fenway Park, each game-day to cheer on their beloved Red Sox. Fan or not, the iconic stadium’s unique charm, renowned Green Monster, and manually operated scoreboard make this ballpark a magical place to visit.
New Orleans: Established in 1961, Preservation Hall has helped to conserve and perpetuate New Orleans Jazz in its 18th century historic home. Veteran musicians transport visitors to another era with their daily performances in an intimate setting.
With some of the most celebrated music schools in the country and a city that’s the birthplace of jazz, there is no shortage of cool venues to hear spectacular tunes.
All about that Jazz
With its rich sound, improvisational style and deep history, Jazz is considered the most influential genre of music of our time. Pair that with long-standing institutions, and you might find yourself stumbling upon the next Louis Armstrong.
Boston: Known as the “Training Ground”, Wally’s Café in the South End is one of the oldest continuously operating jazz clubs in the United States. This intimate club gives students studying at one of the acclaimed nearby conservatories and colleges a platform to hone their craft. Order yourself a stiff drink and don’t miss one of the free nightly jam sessions.
NOLA: If you want to hear some of the greatest jazz in the world, it’s no secret to head to Frenchman Street in the Big Easy. Lined with epic jazz clubs, our favorite is the upscale The Spotted Cat. You’ll feel the energy pulsating before you walk through the door of this quintessential jazz oasis. Insider Tip: Hit up the ATM beforehand – The Spotted Cat is cash-only.
Live Music throughout the Decades
With a mix of namesake local bands and new-comers touring, these two illustrious music venues have played host to yesterday’s legends and today’s acclaimed musicians.
Boston: The old theater-style marquee halos the entrance of this popular neighborhood rock and roll bar, the Paradise Rock Club, in Cambridge, MA. Small in size but big in sound, this intimate venue has attracted great bands throughout the decades including Boston’s own Aerosmith, and U2 on their first U.S. tour.
NOLA: Not many clubs have dedicated themselves to a single musician, but Tipitina’s in uptown New Orleans was opened by a group of music enthusiasts to honor the famed Professor Longhair in 1977. He played there until his death in 1980, and the roster of musicians to pass through the doors since have included Pearl Jam, Willie Nelson, and Wilco.
These two cities may be best known for their craft beers and pimm cups, but the emergence of a more sophisticated cocktail culture has shaken up (pun intended) two of the biggest bar scenes in the U.S.
Boston: Subtle in it’s showmanship, but not drink complexity, the cocktails at Drink in Boston’s Fort Point section are award-winning concoctions made with high-quality spirits and ingredients from around the world. It’s personal approach to mixology means no-menu; strike up a conversation with one of the uber-talented bartenders and let them hand-craft your signature drink.
NOLA: A pioneer to the craft cocktail movement in NOLA, Cure is known for it’s inventive cocktails and handsome modern bar setting. Mixologist names are listed next to each exceedingly original cocktail on the menu – that way, you’ll know who to high-five when you order your second Maybe, Baby.
Classy & Classic
Boston: The speakeasy, hard-to-find vibe of Boston’s cocktail den, Backbar, is just a backdrop to some of the most impressive classic cocktails in the city. Don’t get us wrong, their innovative menu stretches beyond just a really great old fashioned. It’s signature Milk Punch, Backbar’s answer to the Sazerac in New Orleans, is lush and meticulously crafted.
NOLA: At the iconic French 75 bar in Arnaud’s, expect perfectly executed classic drinks, like the namesake cocktail, served by celebrated bartender, Chris Hannah. Outfitted in a white tuxedo jacket and bowties, the old-school style of service compliments the precision given to each hand-crafted cocktail.
Both cities invite you take on the town by day and relax with great drinks and even better music by night. Immerse yourself into the local culture and find out whether you prefer the spicy flavors and European vibes of the Big Easy or classic Americana in Beantown.