Wedding planning is stressful enough so take a break from the seating chart and head to the Big Easy for your bachelor or bachelorette party.
New Orleans is already a popular girls' and guys' getaway destination and for good reason. From melt-in-your-mouth beignets to haunted voodoo tours, there’s something for every taste and temperament. Whether you're a NOLA newbie or a seasoned pro, here are five fun and fabulous ways to celebrate your “big” day a few weeks in advance.
Go to the Local’s Version of Bourbon Street
While tourists flock to Bourbon Street by the hundreds, many locals prefer jamming and jiving to the bands that play on Frenchman Street across town. In addition to restaurants serving southern fare and quirky bars of all sizes, there’s a nightly open-air market where you can shop for all sorts of handmade wares, from artwork made by members of the city's homeless community to bracelets constructed from recycled guitar strings. If crowds aren’t your thing, head there on the earlier side.
Sip, Sip and Swim at your Hotel
Even on the most ambitious bachelor or bachelorette weekends, downtime is a must. Some of the city’s top hotels have rooftop pools, complete with cocktail service. One of the most scenic spots is Le Meridien New Orleans, whose fourth-floor rooftop pool offers Insta-worthy views of the city. Chairs are complimentary but if you’re craving the ultimate indulgence, book a private poolside cabana. For a different atmosphere, take a dip in the courtyard pool of the W New Orleans - French Quarter.
Take a Themed Tour
New Orleans is full of personalities and curious traditions, and taking a themed tour is one way to experience both. For a crash course in NOLA history, sign up for a walking tour that takes your group through the historic French Quarter and beyond. For something a bit more adventurous, opt for a swamp tour that gets you out of the city and deep into the heart of the Louisiana bayou. Ready for a spook? Learn the ins and outs of the misunderstood practice during a New Orleans Voodoo Tour.
Ride the Merry-Go-Round
You don’t have to be a guest of Hotel Monteleone to experience their biggest attraction. Carousel Bar & Lounge is a go-to spot come happy hour, especially the coveted carousel seats. Open seven days a week, the slow-rotating string of bar stools circle the bar, similar to a real merry-go-round. Space fills up fast, so consider showing up for an afternoon drink so that your whole bachelor or bachelorette group can snag seats. Otherwise, enjoy the decor from afar as you settle into one of the lounge’s plush furnishings.
Channel your Inner Jazz Star
Don’t leave New Orleans without paying a visit to at least one iconic jazz club. The Spotted Cat is a good starting point, what with it’s old-style NOLA decor, nightly live music and welcoming ambiance. For groups already heading to Frenchman Street, stop by Blue Nile to experience one of the longest standing jazz clubs in the area. In the mood to groove? The Davenport Lounge is a local favorite, especially when Jeremy Davenport takes the stage. Definitely wear your dancing shoes to this one.