Three night birthday celebration in NOLA

By Mary B · Apr 19, 2016

The Trip — We flew to NOLA for birthday celebrations.

Duration — 3 Nights

Origin — Milwaukee, WI USA

Type of Trip— Historic Sites, Culture, Nightlife, Live Music, Shopping, Relax, Food

Group Size— 2 people

Trip Dates and Average Temperature — December. Timing for this vacation couldn’t have been more perfect - Rob’s birthday weekend and an escape from December weather in Wisconsin.

Mode of Transportation — Aeroplane

Arrival Logistics — Landed at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, grabbed a taxi to the hotel in downtown NOLA. We pre-arranged the hotel stay online.

Cost per Person — $251 - $500

General Route — We arrived on Thursday to get settled into the hotel the night before my husband’s work conference and to explore the surrounding area on our own. We had plans to explore Bourbon Street, the French Quarter and other locations via New Orleans’ Free Tour by Foot.

Accommodation — We stayed in Le Pavillon - located on Poydras Street in the central corridor of the New Orleans business district, Le Pavillon is rich in history and tradition. It is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and to our delight, it’s hotel tradition to serve freshly made pb& j with ice cold milk and piping hot chocolate to guests every night at 10.

Main Activities — Cultural experiences, Food, Historical visits, Relaxing, Shopping, Nightlife, Live music.

Food and Drink Highlights — A must-visit in New Orleans, Café Du Monde. Order beignets - a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. BBQ Shrimp at Oceana (AMAZING seafood). Crawfish macaroni and cheese at Basin Seafood and Spirits on Magazine Street. Brunch at Cafe Amelie. Three Muses was also FANTASTIC for dinner.

Essential Packing for this Trip — December is a little chillier so pack a light jacket - most of the time we were okay with jeans and long sleeve shirts/cardigans. Pack good walking shoes and a nicer outfit for going out on the town!

Our Experience

We couldn’t take a trip to New Orleans without seeing Bourbon Street and it was just a few blocks away from our hotel. On our walk, we passed a popular Street Trolley stop on Canal Street and welcomed the site of palm trees to start our vacay. Eventually, we made it to Bourbon Street and walked around the surrounding French Quarter to cap off our first evening.

Birthday in NOLA

Friday during the day we took one of New Orleans’ Free Tours by Foot on the subject of Voodoo. The tour took us to Congo Square in Armstrong Park as well as Marie Laveau’s, the “Voodoo Queen of New Orleans”, old residence. This tour told a lot of New Orleans during the time of slavery and offered some insight into the Code Noir and Haitian Rebellions in the area. It was our first look at residences in New Orleans and the architecture was very interesting - I loved the porches decorated for the holidays!

After our tour concluded, we ended up on Decatur Street near Jackson Square and another must-visit in New Orleans, Café Du Monde. We shared an order of Beignets - a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. These were delicious and had a density to them that was different from other beignets in the area. After we finished our desserts, we crossed the street to check out Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral - on our Voodoo tour we learned that New Orleanians have worshipped in churches on this site since 1727 so it holds a lot of historic significance. That night we celebrated a birthday at Oceana (AMAZING seafood) and a few drinks around Bourbon Street. We ended the night in style with peanut butter and jelly at the hotel.

On Saturday, we decided to start the morning with another Free Tour by Foot of the Garden District. The tour began in Lafayette Cemetery #1 with stories of tragedies, epidemics and haunted spirits. It was so interesting to explore the cemetery because of its unconventional above ground vaults and strong history. I’ve never viewed cemeteries as a source of history but this tour really changed my outlook.

Birthday in NOLA

The Garden District is actually home to some of New Orleans’ rich and famous. Among the celebrity homes, we saw John Goodman and Sandra Bullock’s homes as well as the home of Archie Manning and childhood home of Peyton and Eli Manning.

After the tour we stopped at a few places on Magazine Street for appetizers and drinks - our favorite was the crawfish macaroni and cheese at Basin Seafood and Spirits. Instead of walking back to the hotel, we decided to try the Street Trolley! Although it was rather slow, it was a fun experience to look out onto the city at night from the windows of a New Orleans classic.

Sunday was our last full day in New Orleans. We enjoyed the free walking tour so much the day before that we decided to take another one that day in the French Quarter. This tour was very informational and taught us about the French and Spanish influence on the district.

After the tour we met friends for brunch at Cafe Amelie. We sat in their wonderful courtyard that offered the perfect atmosphere to share stories. An average walk-in wait for a table is an hour and a half but it was worth it! The fountain and scenery made the waiting pass rather quickly.

Birthday in NOLA

After brunch we walked to the French Market to buy a few souvenirs. The streets were filled with performers and we took some time to listen to the sounds of NOLA. Similar to downtown St. Louis, the French Quarter allows visitors to walk with open containers so we enjoyed a New Orleans classic suggested by our tour guide earlier in the day - Pimm’s Cup. We strolled around Bourbon Street a little bit longer before heading out to Frenchmen Street.

Home to some of the city’s most popular live music venues, Frenchmen Street was our next stop for the evening to get a couple drinks and celebrate our last dinner in town. We really enjoyed our time in this area as its a favorite spot to enjoy authentic, local tastes. We stumbled into Balcony Music Club on our to Frenchmen and enjoyed a cocktail with brilliant, live music. They played one of my favorites - Superstition by Stevie Wonder.

We stayed for a few more songs before making a stop in Marigny Brasserie for another cocktail and appetizer. Afterwards, we moved onto Three Muses for dinner. Luckily, we were able to get a table and enjoy the live music. This was by far my favorite meal of the trip - the fish tacos were really flavorful and the atmosphere was just perfect. If you are in New Orleans, you must stop at Three Muses!

Best Bits

Home to some of the city’s most popular live music venues, Frenchmen Street was our favorite stop to get a couple drinks and celebrate our last dinner in town. We were able to get a last-minute table and enjoy the live music. This was by far my favorite meal of the trip - the fish tacos were really flavorful and the atmosphere was just perfect. If you are in New Orleans, you must stop at Three Muses!

We also highly suggest the Free Tours by Foot. During our stay we did one on Voodoo, the Garden District, and French Quarter. Its a great (FREE) way to learn more about the city - just make sure to bring cash for tips at the end!

Birthday in NOLA

Worst bits

We were hopeful that the weather would be warmer but it stayed around 50-55 degrees throughout the stay. Definitely suggest checking out the weather forecast daily!


Rate the overall trip — 9/10

Rate the activity on your trip — 9/10

Rate the ease of logistics — 10/10

Value for money — 9/10

About The Traveller

Gender & Age Range
Female, 25 - 35

I’m from
Chicago, IL USA

My favourite trip as of late
Ski trip to Steamboat Springs, CO

Travelling Style
Book the important stuff, but leave some flexibility in the schedule.

I like to go on the following types of trips
Adventure, AirBnb, Birthday Trips, Culture, Relaxing

It’s a dealbreaker when
My accommodations don’t meet expectations

Continent I know the best
North America

First Last Name

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I’m from Perth, Western Australia

My favourite trip as of late is New Zealand, solo travel in lots of nature for a soul-refresher.

My travelling style is to Book the first night, then wing it from there!

It’s a dealbreaker when I’m stuck around large groups of package tourists.

Continent I know best is Asia.

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