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French Quarter | © Phil Roefer/Flickr
French Quarter | © Phil Roefer/Flickr

A Local's Guide: How To Spend One Day In New Orleans

Picture of Rebeca Trejo
Updated: 29 December 2016
So you’re visiting one of the most unique cities in the world, aka New Orleans, but you only have 24 hours to explore? Fear not, we’ve got you covered! All you need is comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and a good attitude. Below is The Culture Trip’s one-day, local-inspired guide designed to show you what the Big Easy is all about.

Yoga at the Cabildo & Louisiana State Museum Tour: 8:30a.m. – 10:30a.m. 

No matter how you usually start your morning, rise up early and head to Yoga at the Cabildo for a peaceful, energy-boosting workout – you’ll be needing the pep later. The light-filled, unwinding temple, now a museum, is based inside a gallery that overlooks the historic Jackson Square, providing visitors with a memorable view of the place where the Louisiana Purchase (1803) happened. The hour long classes, which welcomes you no matter what your level of practice, are run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. It costs $12 and includes admission to the Louisiana State Museum.

701 Chartres St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130, +1 504 568 8975

Bachelorette's getting their zen on before hitting the Big Easy.

A photo posted by Yoga at the Cabildo (@yogaatthecabildo) on

Breakfast at Café Beignet & Royal St. Gallery Stroll: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30a.m.

Now that you’ve got the motors running and had a chance to explore one of the city’s national historic landmarks, walk to Café Beignet, a tradition among locals, for the quintessential NOLA breakfast. The picturesque coffee shop, which hosts daily, live entertainment by Steamboat Willie’s Jazz Band, features a Cajun-inspired menu offering guests everything from andouille sausage and crawfish omelettes to Belgian waffles and muffalettas. After filling up the tank with some of New Orleans’ must-try specialties, order a to-go bag of beignets, New Orleans’ most iconic dessert, and take a postprandial stroll through Royal Street, a strip adorned by one of the greatest concentration of galleries in the South.

334 Royal St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130, +1 504 524 5530

Bike Around the French Quarter: 1:00p.m. – 2:30p.m. 

Got that drowsy feeling that sneaks in after a meal? Get your heart racing by touring the historic French Quarter aboard a two-wheeler. The bike tours, which can be purchased in various Downtown locations including Buzz NOLA Bike Tours and Rentals, Bull Frog Bike Tours and FreeWheelin’ Bike Tours – to name a few – are about an hour and a half long, and ride through some of the city’s most important thoroughfares. However, if you desire to explore the sights solo, here’s a downloadable bicycle map to guide you through the Big Easy. Must-see locations around the Quarter are The Historic Saint Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, Bourbon Street, and the French Market. 

Beautiful bikes ready to enjoy a beautiful ride through New Orleans. Look for our bikes rolling #uptown and @neworleanscitypark

A photo posted by FreeWheelin' Bike Tours (@freewheelinbiketours) on

Lunch at Josephine Estelle: 3:00p.m. – 4:00p.m.

Recover from the cruising excursion by eating at Josephine Estelle, an Italian and Southern inspired osteria inside New Orleans’ Ace Hotel. The art deco restaurant, which prides itself on ‘combining the seasonal, craft-centric philosophy of Italian cuisine with the flavors of the American south’, offers a seasonal menu designed for sharing big or small plates including homemade pastas, po’boys, and Hungarian wax peppers, as well as watermelon salad and blackened fish. Happy hour runs from 3:00pm to 6pm daily.

Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130, +1 504 930 3070

Softshell Crab PoBoy with cherry tomato, basil and red eye mayo.

A photo posted by Josephine Estelle (@josephineestelle) on

St. Charles Streetcar Ride: 4:30p.m. – 5:30p.m.

After lunch, hop on the famous St. Charles Streetcar for a ride around aboard the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world. The 13-mile loop, which costs $1.25 and usually runs for an hour, travels through the oldest and most majestic section of Uptown, New Orleans, passing by dozens of antebellum mansions, historic monuments, city parks, shops, as well as Loyola and Tunale universities. For more information on attractions along the St. Charles Streetcar route, visit the St. Charles Streetcar page.

Magazine Street Shopping: 5:30p.m. – 7:00p.m.

Hop off the St. Charles Streetcar and walk to Magazine Street, a colorful six-mile-long stretch filled with an eclectic mix of specialty boutiques, historic architectural styles, art galleries, unique pubs and dining venues, among other attractions. Whether you’re in the mood for shopping or just a casual stroll, Magazine Street will give you a glimpse of a side of New Orleans you’ve probably never seen before.

Dinner at Port Of Call: 7:30p.m. – 8:30p.m. 

Following your Uptown stroll, head to Port of Call for one of their world famous hamburgers or steaks. The 1963 eatery, located in the historic Esplanade Avenue in the French Quarter, opens seven days a week for lunch and dinner and features delicious eats such as the New York strip and the mushroom cheeseburger, which comes with baked potato and butter, as well as lettuce, tomatoes, onion and pickles on the side. Be sure that, while waiting to be seated in the no-reservation restaurant, you try a ‘Port of Call’ (the bar’s staple drink).

838 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, Louisiana 70116, +1 504 523 0120

Frenchmen Street & Art Market: 9:00p.m. – 10:30p.m.

Once dinner has been served, walk to Frenchmen Street, a two-block stretch in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood famous for its live music venues, street performers and art markets. While the nightlife strip houses many bars where travelers can groove to everything from jazz and salsa to reggae and country music, you’ll also have the option of spending some time inside the Frenchmen Art Market, a marketplace filled with artwork, jewelry and gifts from local and regional artists.

619 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70116

Burlesque Show: 11p.m. – 12:00p.m.

After your Frechmen Street stroll, head to the Allways Lounge for an authentic New Orleans burlesque experience. The Marigny cabaret club, designed as a place where artists can perform alternative theater, plays, and indie music concerts, features Bella Blue’s Dirty Dime Peep Show, known as one of the most exciting Burlesque performances in the city.

2240 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, Louisiana 70117, +1 504 218 5778 

Bella Blue

A photo posted by The Long Kilt (@the_long_kilt) on


Dancing: 12:30a.m. – till your feet allow.

If you’re still with us after watching Bella Blue perform her popular burlesque set, cross the street to Hi-Ho Lounge, an underground alternative live music and arts venue featuring genres ranging from hip hop and disco to funk and jam. Regarded by locals as one of the original free venues in the Faubourg Marigny, the Hi-Ho lounge is a guaranteed move-breaker. Beyond the music, the bar offers visitors drink specials everyday and inexpensive small plates made with local ingredients.

The Hi-Ho Lounge, 2239 St Claude Ave 
New Orleans, LA USA, +1 504 945 4446




By Rebeca Trejo