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Just two days to see New Orleans? Here's our staff's recommended itinerary on how to explore New Orleans like a local. We are sure these hand-picked activities will be the perfect way to fill up your downtime.

Arrival: Check into the award-winning Cambria Hotel New Orleans. If you’re driving, take advantage of our valet parking (located on the Commerce Street side of the building), with in and out privileges. It's just $40 per night, plus tax.

Settling In: Enjoy a cocktail at our Lobby Bar. If you can’t wait to get out into the city, get a "roadie" – a.k.a. a grab-and-go cocktail. After all, you can drink on the street in NOLA, as long as the container is plastic!

Taking a Stroll: Head out to explore the Warehouse/Arts District, home to some of the best restaurants in the city. Or, if you’d like to stay close to home, Emeril’s (Emeril Lagasse’s newest venture in town) is just around the corner on Girod St., serving small plates and offering an amazing Happy Hour. A little further away in the neighborhood, Peche serves awesome fresh seafood dishes and a raw bar.

garden district new orleans

Day 1

The French Quarter is only a few short blocks from our doors – it’s what put New Orleans on the map and is not to be missed. Start at Jackson Square, flanked by the Pontalba Apartment Buildings and adjacent to the St. Louis Cathedral, Cabildo and Presbytere. Stroll through the narrow streets and admire the centuries-old architecture, window shop the myriad stores. Better yet, treat yourself to something really unique and take a carriage ride to get the lay of the land.

When it comes to food, there are so many restaurants in this area you can’t possibly try them all; but here are a few of our favorites to get started:

  1. Café du Monde – This beloved cafe is located on Decatur Street, just across from Jackson Square. Open 24/7, it serves only French doughnuts with powdered sugar and Café au Lait. Great for breakfast or a midnight snack.
  2. Napoleon House – A great bar and casual restaurant on the corner of St. Louis and Chartres Streets. The Muffaletta (a large Italian sandwich, great to share) is amazing, and they are famous for their Pimm’s Cup Cocktail.
  3. Café Amelie – Located at 912 Royal Street, the charming courtyard and tempting menu is always a hit.
  4. Brennan’s – Located at 600 Royal Street is famous for their over-the-top breakfast, complete with Brandy Milk Punch. Newly renovated and reopened, it’s a traditional environment with an up to date menu.
  5. Arnaud’s – An old-world New Orleans restaurant, great service and a Mardi Gras Museum! Order the Souffle’ Potatoes to start.
  6. GW Fins – Award-winning chef/owner Penney Flynn keeps the hot mini-biscuits coming and the "scalibut" is the dish to try – halibut with scallops is divine.
  7. Justine – The newest addition to the culinary scene in NOLA, Justine was recently opened by husband and wife team, Chef Justin Devillier and wife Mia. They also operate Le Petite Grocery, Uptown.

End the day with an evening of live music – there are many, many choices depending on your taste, but a tried-and-true authentic New Orleans experience always includes Preservation Hall, with four sets nightly.

audubon park new orleans

Day 2

A leisurely day starts with breakfast at Mother’s, just a block and a half from the Cambria. After your meal, head on over to the National WWII Museum – part of the Smithsonian, it’s the #1 attraction in New Orleans. Start with the film, Beyond All Boundaries, which will set the stage for your visit. Narrated by Tom Hanks, you will be reminded of the reason that the Greatest Generation fought for our freedom. Allocate 3-4 hours to see the many exceptional exhibits. (The landing craft used at Normandy were built by Andrew Higgins in his New Orleans boatbuilding plant).

After your visit you may want to take it easy for a little while – a great low-impact activity is to hop on the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar, heading uptown, (exact fare $1.25 required) at the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Lee Circle, just two blocks from the Museum, for a great way to experience the Garden District, one of the City’s oldest neighborhoods.

The 100+ year-old cars will transport you back in time, as you roll past Ante-Bellum mansions and towering Oak trees. Tulane and Loyola Universities are located on the Avenue, as well as Audubon Park. Ride to the end of the line and back again (switch sides so that you get to see both sides of the Avenue), or hop off anywhere along the route if you want to explore more or grab a bite.

When it’s time to start thinking about lunch, there are many great choices in the Uptown area, including:

  1. Commander’s Palace – Offering a great jazz brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, it’s a true local experience. You can’t miss the aqua and white striped awnings on the Victorian building at 1403 Washington Avenue. You can disembark at the Washington Avenue Streetcar stop and walk the four blocks to the restaurant. Take a few minutes to peek into St. Louis Cemetery, just across the street. The above-ground tombs are unique.
  2. Coquette – Also located on Washington Avenue (corner Magazine Street), this modern bistro is a favorite of locals and visitors.
  3. Pascal’s Manale – Famous for their barbecue shrimp (not really BBQ, but REALLY wonderful if you like Shrimp), this is a neighborhood tradition. Located on Napoleon Avenue.

The afternoon runs into the evening. Start out at the Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue for a traditional New Orleans Old Fashioned Cocktail, then head back downtown and consider spending the evening on Frenchmen Street, where you can wander through the various bars and restaurants, all offering live entertainment. Plus, check out DBA, Snug Harbor and the Spotted Cat for authentic jazz, then the last stop to make is at Marigny Brasserie for a late-night bite.

Kid-Friendly Attractions
If you are traveling with the family, we recommend these kid-friendly attractions and restaurants:

Destinations for Family Fun
Audubon Zoo, Aquarium, Insectarium, Children’s Museum, Snow Balls, Streetcar, Riverboat, City Park’s Storyland, Carriage Ride though the French Quarter, Café du Monde

Kid-Approved Restaurants
Deanie’s, Johnny’s Po-Boys, Mother’s (400 block of Poydras, just down the street from the Cambria), Reginellis’ (930 Poydras Street, Walk On’s, Grand Isle, Manning’s, Gordon Biersch.

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Cambria New Orleans Downtown Warehouse District
632 Tchoupitoulas Street,
New Orleans, LA 70130

(504) 524-7770

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