In this little New Orleans itinerary for 4 days, see how I spent my quick trip to this iconic city!
New Orleans was such a quick trip in between basically 2 months of travel, that it almost feels like a fever dream. I’ve really yet to explore the southern side of the US, so I’m excited to have gotten a chance to visit one its most famous cities.
My friend, Rachel, was working with the NOLA tourism board and asked if I’d like to come to help her take photos, so, of course, I said yes! While our main itinerary was a little over 3 days, I wound up having an extra 2 days to wander about on my own and see anything still on my list. Here’s what we got up to.
You’ll most likely fly into the Louis Armstrong Airport, which is a bit of a drive into the main part of the city. On the way in, we used Limousine Livery, which was really nice if you want something a little more luxurious. Our driver even gave me a ton of restaurant recommendations!
On the way out, I used a driver my hostel recommended, and he had so many tips, I was ready to book a flight back to fit them all in.
If neither of these options work, you can also try this private transfer service. And of course, ride shares like Lyft work perfectly fine for NOLA.
Depending on where you stay, most things are pretty easy to walk to! Anything that was farther out, we either used Lyft/Uber, and I took the streetcar once or twice. You can also book tickets for the hop-on, hop-off bus.
Where to Stay in New Orleans
If you want to be right in the middle of all the action, then look for hotels or hostels in the French Quarter and Bourbon Street.
Loews is nice because it’s not right on the outskirts of the French Quarter, so you can walk into the main part of the city easily! Everyone was super lovely there, and if you’re hoping for a more luxury experience, then you’ll love it. | Book now
Auberge is a little farther out, but they’re next to one of the streetcar stops, and the hostel runs so many group activities, you can get around easily. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how lovely it was considering it was my budget pick. I wish I had been in a more social mood because they have such a friendly atmosphere with a lot of different activities going on. | Book now
How to Spend 4 Days in New Orleans
Travel Day & Checking In
For your travel day, just enjoy arriving and checking into your place! If you stay at the Loews, book yourself a little spa treatment ahead of time. Auction House Market is right around the corner if you’re hungry and not quite ready to jump into the French Quarter.
If you’re at the Auberge, see what they’re up to that evening! They always have a bunch of different activities. There are a few places to eat across the way too, including the Blind Pelican, which has super cheap oyster specials.
Or if you’re like me, get to your bed, stretch out, and take a nap haha.
Day 1: Getting to Know the City
Morning: A Bike Tour
Start your first full day with a bike tour! We did the Marigny and Bywater neighborhood one with Freewheelin’ Bike Tours, and it was an awesome way to see New Orleans. Our guide, Lauren, was amazing, and I feel like I could hear her tell stories every day.
Our tour started at 10:00 am, so if you’re an early riser you can always grab breakfast nearby or in your hotel. We slept in a bit, so we got coffee when our tour made a pit stop at Paloma Cafe.
Lunch: Johnny’s Po-Boys
New Orleans is pretty humid year round, so you’re probably going to want to duck back and shower before you do anything else. Once you’ve cleaned up, head into the FQ for the first big foodie venture of the day! Johnny’s Po-Boys serves up some delicious shrimp po’ boys in a super casual setting. It’s the perfect way to restore your energy after a 3ish hour bike ride
Sweet Snack: Beignets at Cafe du Monde
Save room for dessert at Cafe du Monde! We asked so many locals if it really was the best place for beignets or if it was just a tourist trap, and everyone we asked said it was legitimately the best.
Afternoon: Explore the French Quarter
Once you’ve had your fill, explore the French Quarter! I have a whole post on the best things to do in the French Quarter if you’re not sure where to start. There’s a TON to see in the city’s oldest neighborhood from the Voodoo Museum to the iconic La Branche House and more.
You can easily do a guided walking tour if you’re not sure how to tackle the famous quarter, or you could map out where you want to go and just start walking. Keep in mind some of the closing times so you don’t miss what you want to see. The cemeteries all close pretty early!
Dinner: Desire Oyster Bar
Once you’ve walked around and enjoyed the FQ, head over to Desire Oyster Bar for dinner! Don’t worry, they have more than just oysters if you’re not a seafood fan. I am, so I thoroughly enjoyed the oysters.
Evening: The Jazz Playhouse
Next door, get a drink and enjoy the Jazz Playhouse! It’s such a cool, live music venue, and it’s right next to Oyster Bar, so you don’t have to go too far!
Day 2: Swamping & Shopping
Morning: A Swamp Tour
Start the day with a swamp tour. This is one of the things we didn’t wind up doing that I wish we had because it looks quite interesting. Plus, I just think of Tiffany Haddish taking Will and Jada Pinkett Smith on a Groupon one! Most tour companies offer them throughout the day, so just check to see if you can grab a morning spot to avoid the worst of the heat and sun.
Lunch: Poydras & Peters
If you do a morning swamp tour, it should finish up around lunch time! I’d head back to shower before doing anything else. If you’re at the Loews Hotel, you can go downstairs and grab lunch at Poydras & Peters.
Afternoon: Magazine Street & the Garden District
Once you’re full, grab a Lyft over to Magazine Street for some shopping. We mostly just window shopped since it’s a bit pricier of an area. If you want something unique to NOLA, visit Mignon Faget for some locally designed jewelry.
After we’d wandered around Magazine Street, we got another Lyft over to the Garden District. It’s a fun area with crazy expensive homes. We just walked around and admired the exteriors, but if you want to actually know more about the district, you can try booking a tour.
If you’re an AHS fan, you must stop by the Buckner Mansion! Looks like a certain witchy academy. The Commander’s Place is also in this district if you’d rather wait to eat a later lunch here.
Dinner: Mosquito Supper Club
This is a MUST! I was so enchanted by this club, I wrote a whole separate post about my experience. If you want that cozy feeling of good food, good company, and great discussion, COME HERE! Even if you’re the most introverted of introverts, you need to visit. It’s a later start, so you’ll have plenty of time in the Garden District and Magazine Street before needing to make your way over.
You’ll need to get a Lyft most likely, and because it’s in a residential area, you might miss it at first!
Day 3: A Plantation Tour & Jazz
Morning: Breakfast at the Auction House
If you’re up earlier, grab some breakfast at the Auction House. They have a really good iced coffee there. Honestly, I wouldn’t judge you if you wanted to pop back over to Cafe du Monde for another beignet! Another option is one of Ruby Slipper Cafe’s locations for a hearty Southern-style breakfast.
Afternoon: A Plantation Tour
If you’re visiting New Orleans and relaxing, you can always take this morning easy or explore the French Quarter some more. However, if you want to see even more of New Orleans, go on a plantation tour.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Seriously?”
But hear me out because we didn’t do a plantation tour based on that thought, and we were totally wrong! Most of the plantations near New Orleans aren’t just there for photoshoots. The tours go into the history of the houses, and that includes slavery.
When I left NOLA, my driver highly recommended the Whitney Plantation. He said the storytelling would bring you to tears, and it really doesn’t shy away from its dark past. The tour I looked up later lasts around 5 hours and leaves at noon. Book a tour here
Dinner in the French Quarter
Most tours are all day and will include lunch. Once you’re back, I say go back into the French Quarter for dinner! There are so many options, but we did eat at Sobou which is related to the famous Commander’s Palace. You could also visit the Central Grocery & Deli for the original muffuletta sandwich.
Evening: Jazz on Frenchmen Street
If you really want to experience NOLA’s jazz scene, head to Frenchmen Street to enjoy the the live music scene.
Day 4: NOLA’s Museums
Morning: New Orleans Museum of Art & Sculpture Garden
Start your morning with a visit over to City Park where you can visit the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Sculpture Garden. You can get a quick breakfast in NOMA. I took a streetcar to get to them.
Lunch at Auction House (Again!)
Head back into the city and get lunch at the Auction House Market. I know I keep recommending this place! It’s because it was so close to a bunch of places I was visiting, and it has so many options. It’s run by the same people who run St. Roch Market, which was a bit more out of the way.
Afternoon: WWII Museum
I don’t if you noticed a recurring theme in my book selection last year, but I’m way too interested in all aspects of World War II. Hence, something like the WWII Museum is exactly how I want to spend my afternoon!
I’d highly recommend visiting, even if war history doesn’t interest you. It’s just such an integral part of our culture today, and the museum is so well done. You start by getting a card, and that card will track an individual person throughout the war. Then you can go through the different exhibits, and if your person played a role, you’ll be able to hear an account of their time. Get a ticket here
Dinner: East or West of New Orleans
If you don’t want to go back into the French Quarter, there are so many options surrounding the neighborhood. Based on recommendations I got, my vote is to try Dooky Chase or Willie Mae’s Scotch House east of the quarter or, in the west, Annunciation or Trenasse.
Of course, while I’m giving you specific recommendations above, there are SO many restaurants and this itinerary barely covers them. Check out my beginner’s foodie guide on what and where to eat New Orleans for even more spots to try as well as specific foods you might want to make sure you experience.
There’s your little guide on how to spend 4 days in New Orleans! Obviously, there are some things I’m missing like partying on Bourbon Street or the voodoo/night tours. However, if you’re looking to see as much of the city and its culture as you can in 4 days or a long weekend, this is the itinerary for you!
Anything you’d add to this New Orleans itinerary?
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Thanks so much to Visit New Orleans for this lovely trip! As always, all opinions are my own.