Regardless of what you think of New Orleans, you can’t deny that you don’t have to look too hard to have fun.
New Orleans has both its good and bad. Everyone knows that. Though you’ll be hard pressed to find a boring moment, you also need to be aware of your surroundings. If you’re new to the area, or you just need a refresher course, here are a few ideas to help you get down with your bad self.
1) Go Outside
New Orleans has so many beautiful scenic areas to choose from that you are wasting your time if you don’t go outside whenever the weather permits. Go to City Park and run around the track or have a picnic at the Fly. Hit up one of the neighborhood playgrounds littered throughout the city. If you’re a Bywater resident, stroll through the new Crescent Park. Take a drive down the Lakefront to the beautiful setting of the fancy houses and the majestic lake. Even if you don’t have transportation, just take a bike ride or ride the streetcar! Just get out there you bum!
This past week alone boasted the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in the Quarter and the Buku Music Festival at Mardi Gras World. And what always comes with festivals…music of course! And as the spring unfolds, we’re just getting started:
- Jazz and Music Heritage Festival- April and May
- French Quarter Festival- April and May
- Bayou Boogaloo- May
- White Linen Night, Dirty Linen Night- August
- Satchmo Summer Festival- August
- Southern Decadence Festival- August
- Voodoo Festival- October
- Fobourg Festival- March
Just to name a few. There are likely a couple hundred that I forgot but with a schedule like this, how can you ever say there is nothing to do?
Okay, this suggestion is kind of obvious, I get that. But still, this town is the best for bars regardless of your budget, dress code, music preference, alcohol preference, sexuality or social class. And don’t think I’m just talking about the French Quarter. Sometimes the shittiest dive bars are the best in this town . There’s nothing I love more than walking to my neighborhood bar, grabbing a burger and fries, then kicking back with my friends in a courtyard or patio while we laugh at each other and bitch about coworkers. “Grabbing a quick drink” can easily turn into a series of unfortunate decisions that always seem to end at Snake ‘n Jake’s. Seriously, I’ve never been to that place in the daylight. It has to have some Harry Potter-type magic in that it only appears at 4 AM when you’re in a blackout and cannot not be found again when sober.
Holidays in New Orleans are just better than other places. It’s scientifically proven.
Whether is Christmas, Halloween, New Year’s or Labor Day, whatever the holiday, it’s always more fun in the Big Easy. They call it that for a reason. And let us not forget Mardi Gras. I can’t get into it right now, but the year the Saints won the Superbowl was followed by Mardi Gras and Spring Break and me almost failing out of school. And it was well worth it. But the same way that locals go to Florida or Texas for the weekend, people in the South come to New Orleans for their holidays. We’re the place to be, so welcome the tourists.
I love me a wedding in any town but they are significantly better in New Orleans. Most bridesmaids and groomsmen are doing shots in the limo and getting hammered at the reception. There is a drunken parade down the street to celebrate their love known as a Second Line. Add on family, food, drinks, dancing, love and New Orleans, and what more could you want? The only downside, New Orleans weather is as bipolar as a Hollywood starlet, so planning for it is useless. Try to go with the flow.
This town eats. And plans entire events around food. There are restaurants so amazing here that waiters have to wait until another waiter DIES for before getting a spot in that restaurant. When a new restaurant opens, people are harsh, brutal, and critical of the food. Asking your friends “Where do you want to eat?” usually results in a 45 minute argument ending in “just flip a goddamn coin, I’m hungry.”
New Orleans has some wonderful boutiques and great retailers not to mention the countless used, consignment, vintage and thrift shops all over town. The mall is located in the Metairie and Kenner suburbs but there are the Shops at Canal Place if you need something high end. Not to mention the Riverwalk undergoing a HUGE overhaul that will bring in over 50 stores and outlets. Go exploring through music stores, used book stores, fetish shops, sex toy boutiques, comic stores, anything you want, this city has it.
8. Getting Weird
Are you a weirdo? A freak? An oddball? Well then New Orleans is your town. Take for instance the yearly swinger’s convention every March, fetish groups in every neighborhood, steampunks, living dolls and I don’t what they’re a part of, but there is a parade of people that ride through the quarter butt-ass naked. No judgment, just saying, you’re not alone.
New Orleans has not always been known as a sports town. It always hosted some of the world’s biggest events, but without as much regularity as we see it today. And we especially weren’t known for our own franchises. That all changed in 2009 when the New Orleans Saints won the Superbowl. Despite recent….indiscretions, this team is still strong as hell and they play their hearts out. Players are idolized in this town (Hail Breesus!). Games are considered a city-wide holiday. Even the murder rate goes down during Saints games. The Pelicans have some dude named Anthony Davis, whom you might know better as The Brow. Even better, they now have a mascot who doesn’t give children nightmares.
Even lesser known sports teams like the Voodoo Football team and the Zephyrs make for great date nights or just a good time with friends.
10. Water Fun
With the Mississippi on two sides, Lake Pontchartrain to the north, and the Gulf of Mexico a hop skip and a jump away,
the summer months mean one thing: TUBING. If you don’t know what tubing is:
- Find large inner tube
- Find friends
- Find water
- Find beer
- Mix together
The best is finding a boat, attaching tube to the boat and then cranking that shit to 40 mph. Or just go out on a boat with your friends drinking beer and fishing (except the driver–sorry). When those torrential summer showers flood your streets, get a kayak and raft through your hood. Doesn’t matter but playing in the water is just a part of living here.
This list doesn’t even begin to cover all the fun and amazing activities New Orleans has to offer. Tell us your favorite things to do in our Comments section and keep the good times rolling!