New Orleans is a vibrant, exciting place brimming with history, music, and amazing food. From its quiet Garden District to bustling Jackson Square, there’s something for everyone in this Louisiana city. If you’re planning a girls trip to New Orleans, you’re in for a great time.
Ahead, we’re sharing our favorite things to do in the Big Easy (plus the best places to eat!). Whether you’re visiting for a bachelorette party, a mother-daughter trip, or a girlfriend getaway, you’ll make lifelong memories and will be counting down the days until your next trip here.
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How to Get Around New Orleans
If you’re flying into New Orleans, you may wonder if you should rent a car during your girls trip. If your entire group can fit into a taxi or Uber, skipping the car rental may be more cost-effective. Many hotels charge steep parking fees, and you’ll likely do a lot of walking anyway.
Plus, you can use the New Orleans trolley or call a ride-share when you need time off your feet.
However, if you’re planning to spend a lot of time exploring the surrounding towns, or if you need to squeeze into a full seven-passenger minivan, then renting a car might give you the flexibility and ease of travel you need.
Things to Do on a Girls Trip to New Orleans
1. Have a Spa Day
New Orleans may not feel like the most tranquil city, but it’s still a great place to have a spa day. Most five-star hotels in the Central Business District have world-class spas designed with luxury and relaxation in mind.
2. Go shopping on Magazine Street
You could easily spend multiple days shopping along Magazine Street. This avenue stretches six miles and features something for everyone. There are yoga studios, coffee shops, boutiques, and fantastic restaurants. Most of it’s locally owned, so you can find plenty of unique treasures.
3. Admire the Houses of the Garden District
Walking through the Garden District of New Orleans is one of our top things to do in the city. It’s so relaxed and quiet – probably one of the best places in the world to take a stroll. Here, you’ll find intriguing architecture, leafy sidewalks, and a few cafes.
Come in the morning or evening to stretch your legs and enjoy this unique place. Or, book a walking tour of the Garden District to learn about the history of this beautiful place.
4. Take a Food or Cocktail Tour of the City
You only have so many meals and cocktail hours during your girls trip to New Orleans. Don’t leave them up to chance. A guided food or cocktail tour will make sure you’re hitting up all the best places – and ordering the best things.
Whether you want to sip the best drinks or try the most delicious Cajun cooking, a guided tour is an excellent investment for your limited time in the city.
And if you want to get really creative, consider taking a cooking class in New Orleans. Find some options HERE
5. Get Dressed up for Fancy Brunch
You need to enjoy a fancy brunch while vacationing with your girlfriends in New Orleans. We’re sharing a few of our favorite spots below. Be sure to make reservations at all these New Orleans brunch spots, as they’re very popular (for good reason).
- Commander’s Palace: We’re always quick to recommend Commander’s Palace for its white-glove service and exceptional style. They open late morning on Saturdays and Sundays for their jazz brunch. There’s a dress code here, so it’s a great chance to dress up for an Instagram-worthy outing.
- Court of Two Sisters: You can’t beat a courtyard brunch in the French Quarter. Dine al-fresco in a secret garden-style setting as you enjoy jazz music and a delicious buffet meal. They have a great selection of classic brunch fare and Cajun favorites, like gumbo and duck a l’Orange. Court of Two Sisters also offers brunch throughout the week, so it’s a great option if you’re in town on a weekday.
- Muriel’s: We love the ambiance of Muriel’s on Jackson Square. Its multiple rooms and patio each have a distinct character. Besides its perfect setting, the classic Muriel’s Bloody Mary is reason enough to visit this great place. But their entire menu is delicious. Come on Saturdays for a classic brunch or Sundays for a jazz brunch.
6. Find Cocktails with a View
Whether you are day drinking your way through the city or just want to sip with some scenery, you need to find the New Orleans bars with the best views. We think Hot Tin is one of the best rooftop bars in the city, as it overlooks the New Orleans skyline and has such a sleek ambiance. For something closer to the French Quarter, head to Vue Rooftop Bar at the SpringHill Suites.
7. Visit a Museum
You could dedicate your entire New Orleans vacation to museum hopping. And for your girls trip, we recommend you visit at least one of these fascinating places.
- New Orleans Museum of Art has an array of artwork, but its sculpture garden is its main draw. Plus, its location in City Park allows you to get away from the Business District and French Quarter to see another great area of the city.
- The National WWII Museum is a surprising gem in New Orleans. History buffs in the group will love the stories and artifacts from this world-changing era. It’s located on Magazine Street and you can get tickets HERE.
- Mardi Gras World is the perfect place to get up close to the wonders of Mardi Gras, as it’s home to the famous parade floats. Take a guided tour to see how they build these incredible masterpieces from the ground up.
8. Tour a Plantation
If you want to get out of the city and walk through history, then a plantation tour could be a great thing to add to your New Orleans itinerary.
Whitney Plantation is our top recommendation because it focuses solely on the experiences of enslaved people. Laura Plantation also features the stories of enslaved people and how they influenced Creole culture. Oak Alley Plantation looks straight out of a movie with its giant oaks draped in Spanish moss. Some of “Interview with a Vampire” was filmed here.
9. Join a Walking Tour of the French Quarter
Even if you spend days wandering around the historic French Quarter, you’ve still only hit the surface of this amazing place. The music, art, scenery, architecture, and (most importantly!) the people’s stories are so interwoven. The best way to better appreciate the vibrancy of the French Quarter is through a walking tour.
An expert tour guide will take you through the neighborhood, highlighting some of its most interesting parts and revealing hidden gems.
10. Cruise on the Creole Queen Riverboat
See New Orleans from a different point of view while enjoying quality time with your girlfriends. The Creole Queen is an authentic paddle-wheeler that offers day and night cruises along the Mississippi River. They offer jazz excursions, historical tours, and holiday events that are perfect for a girl’s trip.
11. Wander Jackson Square and Bourbon Street During the Day
You can’t visit New Orleans without seeing Jackson Square and Bourbon Street. Though often crowded and loud, these places hold a distinct energy and are fun to see. Impromptu parades, street performers, and sidewalk artists bring these streets to life.
We recommend going during the day if you plan to simply wander around. You’ll feel safer and can better see the architecture and landscaping around Jackson Square, home of St. Louis Cathedral, and lots of entertainment.
12. Get Scared on a Ghost Tour
New Orleans is widely considered the most haunted city in the United States. It seems like each building holds some kind of paranormal (or just creepy) story. Whether you want to learn a little about its haunted past or get your socks scared off by horrid stories, there’s a ghost tour for you.
This is a great way to learn about the city’s voodoo culture, the above-ground cemeteries, and catastrophic horrors.
13. Tour the Swamps on an Airboat
If you and your friends crave a little adventure, then an airboat tour will do the trick. Get out of the city and see the swamplands in an unforgettable excursion. Feed alligators or spot wildlife from afar on a thrilling tour through Louisiana’s bayou.
14. Listen to Live Music
New Orleans is home to some of the world’s best jazz and blues musicians. Even if you’re not typically a fan of this enthralling style of music, you should still check out the live music venues during your girls trip to New Orleans. Here are some of the best spots to find great sounds:
- Preservation Hall: This French Quarter icon has been home to traditional New Orleans Jazz since 1961. Today, they present 45-minute shows every night, a great way to appreciate the music without committing an entire night to it. Reserve your tickets online in advance.
- Blue Nile: This music club hosts a range of music styles, including classic jazz, funk, and rock. Its indoor detailing holds true to the colors and artistry of New Orleans.
- Maple Leaf Bar: This fun venue has nightly performances from great acts, including brass bands and talented soloists. Come back on Sunday for poetry nights.
- House of Blues Restaurant & Bar: This multi-room event venue sees several big-name and local acts. There’s a full restaurant, bar, lounge, and nightclub, making this place a great spot to visit as part of a well-planned evening or a spontaneous outing.
15. Take a City Bike Tour
New Orleans is a beautiful place to bike, plus it’s a great way to get in some casual exercise during your girls getaway. However, it can be tough knowing where to bike in a new city.
A guided New Orleans bike tour will allow you to pedal through the city without getting stuck in impossible intersections or tight corners. Guides can offer great insight into the incredible history and culture of the city while helping you navigate its unique streets.
Best Restaurants for a Girls Trip to New Orleans
New Orleans is famous for its delicious food. Many people come from all over the world just to try some of the city’s best restaurants. For your girls trip, you need to plan on visiting some of these places that put New Orleans on the map for delicious, soul-nourishing food.
Café du Monde
You will wait in a long line, and get powdered sugar in your hair, but you will eat one of the most delicious treats in the world. This is Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, a place on nearly every visitor’s bucket list. The warm fluffy donuts and fresh coffee are worth the wait, and the ambiance is unbeatable: a crowded French Market cafe that allows for the best people-watching and jazz-listening.
If you want to avoid the lines, consider visiting one of their other locations outside of the French Quarter. Otherwise, enjoy the chance to slow down and take in the sights and sounds of this unique neighborhood.
Going to Mother’s in New Orleans is a whole experience—a taste of true local flavor from an 85-year-old establishment. Food here is served from a fast-moving lunchline, and it’s almost always crowded. This is a great place for a po’ boy, Jambalaya, or glazed ham. Mother’s is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with lines typically going out the door and around the corner.
Central Grocery and Deli
Central Grocery is the French Quarter icon that’s home to the original Muffuletta sandwich. This Italian-style sandwich uses the freshest meats and house-made olive salad. This is where you’ll go before a girl’s trip picnic, as it’s just a quick lunch counter (often with a long line). The sandwiches are great and are another bucket-list meal for most visitors.
For a fine dining experience, we recommend Brennan’s, a colorful yet classy establishment on Royal Street. Their history dates back to 1946, and today they offer an inventive menu full of creole flavor. Though it is an upscale restaurant, it’s still a really fun place – the perfect balance for a fancy dinner during your girls trip.
Arnaud’s in New Orleans is super classy, with tuxedo-clad servers carrying artful plates of French dishes. Feeling adventurous? Opt for their chef’s tasting menu to get some of the most inventive and delicious options curated for the most discerning diners.