Hipmunk City Love: What to Pack for a Trip to New Orleans
New Orleans draws travelers from all over the world, and instantly captures the hearts of many. Wearing its history openly on its sleeve, the city is a melting pot of culture, with historic hotels, colorful facades, a lively street culture, and every style of music which has shaped the beat of global pop practiced and played on every street, in every club, every night of the week.
Simply put, New Orleans prioritizes the things which make life worth living – drinking, eating and entertainment – and people travel from near and far to breathe the New Orleans air. To ensure you get the most out of your trip to New Orleans the following is a guide of things you should pack.
New Orleans is known throughout the world for its famous culinary delights, and local and international foodies alike flock here for the eclectic food scene. NOLA is a haven for food lovers, and from Mardi Gras King Cakes to jambalaya and gumbo, as well as that Cajun take on fried cornmeal they call couche couche, you’ll find some of the most fascinating foods cooked up today.
New Orleans offers some of the finest African, Italian, French, Chinese, and, of course, Cajun cuisine, and there is an award-winning restaurant or café on almost every corner.
Do be aware, however, that if there is a line waiting for a table, it’s likely you’re about to step into a tourist trap. There are more four and five-star restaurants here than anywhere else in the US, and locals don’t wait for a table.
Comfortable Walking Shoes
New Orleans is an extremely walkable city, so it’s essential to travel with comfortable walking shoes. From exploring the streets which make up the famous French quarter to heading out on foot to Canal Street for the ferry which crosses the river, New Orleans is a pedestrian-friendly city and almost everyone walks.
This is especially important if visiting during Mardi Gras or catching a football game – you’ll be on your feet all day and between street musicians, parades, and extensive outdoor celebrations, you’ll want to be ready when the New Orleans street scene bursts to life.
You’ll also want to walk because parking is near impossible to find, and walking means there’s absolutely no chance of finding yourself in the position of driving back to your cheap New Orleans hotel while intoxicated after a night at the bars.
Items Specific to the Festival/Time of Year
The time of year you choose to visit NOLA will dictate what you’ll need to pack. Between a constant string of Jazz festivals, football games and Mardi Gras there seems to always be some form of event happening, so make sure you plan and pack accordingly.
For instance, if traveling during Mardi Gras you’ll want to pack elaborate costumes, accessories, and maybe even a ladder. (Hotel rooms with a balcony which overlooks the event are expensive, so locals use decorated ladders to prop themselves up and see over the barricades).