Must-do things in New Orleans for first-time visitors

First time in New Orleans? Hosting friends/family who have never been to New Orleans before? We’ve got you covered. The city is jam-packed with things to do, but there are a few classics you need to hit. These are the places everyone is going to ask you about when you get home. This list should keep you busy for a two or three-day weekend trip. And, please bring your appetite.

This is the Louisiana Welcome Center on I-10 near the Mississippi state line. There's free Community Coffee inside if you stop by. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

This is the Louisiana Welcome Center on I-10 near the Mississippi state line. There’s free Community Coffee inside if you stop by. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

BASIC ADVICE

Wear comfortable shoes. You are going to do a lot of walking and our sidewalks are uneven. Skip the fashion show and wear something you can walk several miles in. No one cares if you are wearing sneakers, slip-ons or flip-flops. Most places don’t have a dress code and won’t care what your footwear looks like.

In the summer, grab a hat if you are going to be outside. We have plenty of hat stores here if you want to buy one. Here’s more advice about picking a hat and where to get one in New Orleans.

Leave your big purse at home. Minimize what you are carrying around. Get a small, crossbody purse, small clutch or a wallet in your front pocket. Big purses are easy to grab on the street and you don’t want to juggle it in a crowded bar. Continue reading

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Christmas 2014 in New Orleans (photo highlights)

Happy New Year! Tonight (Jan. 5) wraps up the Christmas season in New Orleans. Tomorrow (Jan. 6) is the twelfth night of Christmas and officially starts the carnival season, which ends with Mardi Gras. There are two parades Tuesday – Joan of Arc and the Phunny Phorty Fellows.

It’s a nice tradition – extending Christmas and taking more time to enjoy the festivities. Towns, businesses and residents leave their trees and lights up until Jan. 6. Then, the Mardi Gras decor comes out. Some people even transition their Christmas trees to Mardi Gras trees.

Santa visited the fish at Audubon Aquarium. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/NewinNOLA.com)

Santa visited the fish at Audubon Aquarium. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/NewinNOLA.com)

Before we dive into the carnival season, we wanted to take a moment to say farewell to Christmas and New Year’s. New Orleans, you sure do know how to do the holidays.

We’ve highlighted some of our favorite holiday events and moments below. What were your favorite holidays moments in New Orleans? Suggestions for what we should do next year?

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Caroling in Jackson Square – what you need to know

We’re caroling in Jackson Square tonight (Dec. 21) with a thousand or so of our closest friends.  It’s a free, magical event in New Orleans. Open to everyone. And again, 100 percent free.

The event starts at 7. Gates open at 6:30 p.m.

French Quarter Festivals Inc. hosts Caroling in Jackson Square. (photo via FQF Inc.)

French Quarter Festivals Inc. hosts Caroling in Jackson Square. (photo via FQF Inc.)

Song sheets and lights are provided. Arrive early because this is a popular event and you want to get inside the gates. Christmas attire is encouraged. Think sweaters, Santa hats, bells, etc.

You stand while you carol so wear comfortable shoes. Don’t bring chairs unless you physically need one.

If it is raining, the event will be moved inside the cathedral. Seats/pews are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Plenty of places to park:
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Happy 4th of July (meetup info)

Happy 4th of July, y’all! Hope you are making the most of this three-day weekend. Want to watch fireworks tonight? Our Meetup friends are having a watch party tonight in the French Quarter. The group is meeting at 8:45 p.m. Click here for more info.

Happy 4th of July, y'all! How about this tasty snoball from Hansen's?! Yum. (photo via @NewinNOLA on Instagram)

Happy 4th of July, y’all! How about this tasty snoball from Hansen’s?! Yum. (photo via @NewinNOLA on Instagram)

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New Orleans Oyster Festival 2014 (schedule, tips, map)

The 2014 New Orleans Oyster Festival is this weekend (May 31 and June 1). The food is the same both days, but the music is different.

Want to see the oyster shucking contest? That’s Saturday at noon. Interested in the oyster eating contest? That’s Sunday at 11:45 a.m.

We’re tagging along with a Meetup group going Sunday at 11 a.m. Join us 🙂

The Oyster Fest serves up all sorts of bivalve goodness. Here are some of eats in 2013. (photos by Carlie Kollath Wells/New in NOLA)

The Oyster Fest serves up all sorts of bivalve goodness. Here are some of eats in 2013. (photos by Carlie Kollath Wells/New in NOLA)

The fest is at Woldenberg Park, which is next to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (map). We like this festival because it is free admission and there’s parking around the French Quarter. When we take a car, we usually park in the garage above Saks Fifth Avenue. Tip – if you get in before 9 a.m. at most garages, parking is $10 for the entire day.

You can also take a bus or streetcar and not fool with parking at all. It takes a little longer than driving, but it’s cheaper than parking and you don’t have to worry about a designated driver.

We went to the fest last year and had a really good time. See our pix.

Tips we learned about the New Orleans Oyster Festival:

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New Orleans Halloween option – Krewe of Boo parade

Halloween is almost here. Do you have plans? We’re celebrating Saturday night and going to the Krewe of Boo parade in the French Quarter. Hope you’ll join us.

Krewe of Boo (photo via KreweofBoo.com)

Krewe of Boo (photo via KreweofBoo.com)

The parade rolls at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and audience costumes are encouraged. Riders throw Louisiana-specific items like pralines and voodoo doll pins. The riders don’t throw beads, but they do throw:

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Where to eat in New Orleans 10/7/2013

We’re eating & drinking our way through New Orleans with the #NewinNOLA crew. Venues from Sept. 30 to Oct. 7:

This is the vegetarian grape leaf plate from Mona's on Magazine. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/New in NOLA)

This is the vegetarian grape leaf plate from Mona’s on Magazine. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/New in NOLA)

  • Hansen’s in Uptown
  • Hollygrove Market & Farm
  • Taj Mahal in Old Metairie
  • Mona’s on Magazine Street
  • McClure’s Barbecue on Magazine Street
  • Cafe du Monde in the quarter
  • Mister Apple in the quarter

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Extras needed tonight for New Orleans web comedy ‘Sunken City’

Our friends at “Sunken City” are filming part of their New Orleans-based web comedy tonight and they need extras for a scene in the French Quarter. The gig is unpaid but Kyle & CJ will make you famous on the interwebs.

image via @OurSunkenCity on Instagram

image via @OurSunkenCity on Instagram

Info they sent over:

We are looking for a few more extras to join us tonight for a Sunken City ghost tour scene in the quarter (6 p.m. -10 p.m.). The shoot isn’t able to pay extras anything, but it’s a chance to stand around in the quarter, drink beer and have Kyle and CJ be weird to you on camera.

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Where to eat in New Orleans 9/2/2013

We’re eating & drinking our way through New Orleans with the #NewinNOLA crew. Here’s where we spent the last week of September (time flies, right?!):

s'mores pie from the American Sector (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/NewinNOLA.com)

s’mores pie from the American Sector (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/NewinNOLA.com)

  • Tan Dinh
  • Pho Bistreaux
  • Lola’s
  • Lee’s Hamburgers
  • Creole Creamery
  • Croissant d’Or
  • The American Sector

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Where to eat in New Orleans 9/23/2013

We’re eating & drinking our way through New Orleans with the #NewinNOLA crew. Venues from Sept. 16 to Sept. 23:

a peanut butter and jelly macaron from Sucre (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/New in NOLA)

a peanut butter and jelly macaron from Sucre (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/New in NOLA)

  • SoBou
  • Crabby Jack’s
  • Pierre Maspero’s
  • Cafe NOMA
  • Sucre

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