Imagine that you have one week left in the great city of New Orleans. Whether you’re a born-and-raised local or a first-time visitor, creating a bucket list can be a daunting task.
As a local (born and raised) who’s about to move to a new city, this is the dilemma I face right now. While most people in other cities would think about the menial tasks, like moving out of your house, what you’re going to do in your next location or how you might not have enough gas money to get out of the state, I’ve been thinking about the important things—what restaurants I need to eat at, the drink specials I need to catch and how I can pack in as much social life as I can without collapsing.
Which led me to this thought: What are the best things to do in one of the greatest cities in the world with only a week to spare?
Here is my New Orleans bucket list, from a locals perspective:
Hang out at The Fly/Crescent Park/City Park
You know that Happy Gilmore scene where Adam Sandler goes to his Happy Place? The Fly is my happy place. If I close my eyes right now, I might be able to illustrate every minute detail from the bends in the river to the smell of sun-baked crawfish remnants. Whether it’s the Fly, City Park, Crescent Park or the Lake, it’s important to take some time out, sit back, and enjoy the great green space New Orleans has to offer.
Your favorite neighborhood restaurant
The New Orleans staples are nice, but when I travel, the restaurant dishes I crave most are the ones I grew up eating. I want a place that I can sit down with family, eat the same food I was raised on and see the same people I’ve seen for the past 20 years. I may even try to get something out of the claw machine, even though it’s rigged, and I’ll never win.
I’m sure I’m not the only New Orleanian that feels that way. Regardless of what neighborhood you’re from, nothing beats that local spot. It reaffirms your sense of community, and isn’t that what this city is all about?
A show at your favorite music venue
No New Orleans bucket list can be complete without at least one live show. No matter the day, week, or month, you have plenty of chances to catch a show at your favorite music venue. In fact, you can see all New Orleans has to offer here.
A restaurant you’ve never been to
The only thing we like to talk about more than the Saints is the food. What better way to do that than to go to a restaurant you’ve never been before? Not only do you get to branch out from the norm, but you also get a chance to explore a new and exciting menu. Especially with so many new places opening up all around the city, the possibilities are almost endless.
A trip to the local grocery store/farmers market
You’re bound to get homesick when you do finally leave, so it’s important to stock up on the ingredients you can only find in New Orleans, namely: Camellia Red Beans, Zapp’s Potato Chips, Crystal Hot Sauce, Slap Ya Mama (or your favorite equivalent), Zatarain’s seasoning (if you plan on having a boil of some kind), coffee and chicory, Old New Orleans Rum and your favorite local beer, among other things.
So there you have it. I’ll be a happy man, if I can conquer all of these. Just remember, everything in moderation, including moderation.