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Cultural Treasures

Synonymous with Mardi Gras celebrations and rollicking fun, New Orleans also offers visitors a host of cultural gems. These can be explored through the lens of the city’s rich history, from iconic squares to magnificent beaux-arts mansions, or its flourishing art scene and plentiful museums. Nightlife, too, is an essential part of the Crescent City, with its legendary jazz halls and lounges, and don’t overlook the bar and dining scenes, with emblematic cocktails and dishes, and the celebrated institutions that serve them. Sample it all during three inspiring days in New Orleans.

Day

1

MORNING
  • Historic Market Breakfast.

    Dating back to 1875, the St. Roch Market was recently reopened after being shuttered for a decade. Pick up a pastry and café au lait or a fresh pressed juice and find a seat inside the light-filled, lofty space.

MIDDAY
  • French Quarter History Tour.

    Stroll through Jackson Square and take in the statue commemorating the nation’s seventh president and the grand St. Louis Cathedral beyond. Walk toward The Presbytère, where you’ll find two permanent exhibits in the historic building: “Mardi Gras: It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana” and “Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond.” Afterward, head to The Cabildo. Dating back to the late 18th century, the stately building is the site of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase and is now home to a museum of New Orleans history. 

AFTERNOON
  • Modern Muffaletta.

    Part butcher shop, part sandwich shop and wine bar, Cochon Butcher uses house-made meats, terrines, pickles and jams for their outstanding sandwiches and small plates. Order one of their signature muffalettas or try a duck pastrami slider paired with a signature craft cocktail.

  • Southern Art.

    Start at the top of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and take in views from the museum’s fourth-floor deck. Make your way down to take in the impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, photographs and more work celebrating the South. 

EVENING
  • Dine in the French Quarter.

    Return to The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans for an elegant dinner in a stunning dining room. Farm-to-table fare combines with authentic New Orleans cuisine at M Bistro, where chefs take an indigenous approach to the preparation of meats, seafood and produce from regional farmers.

  • Quintessential Cocktail.

    End your night at Arnaud's French 75 Bar for one of their namesake cocktails in a lively, iconic space.

Day

2

MORNING
  • Garden District Stroll.

    Amble through the charming Garden District, taking in the stately antebellum mansions populating oak-lined streets. In the heart of the district is Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, where you’ll find tombs and mausoleums dating back to the 19th century standing among the leafy grounds. 

MIDDAY
  • A Little Lunch.

    At La Petite Grocery — the name a nod to the building’s history as a late 1800s grocery store — James Beard Award-winning chef Justin Devillier delivers delectable fare in a warm, romantic space. Don’t miss the turtle Bolognese or the blue crab beignets, made from scratch. 

AFTERNOON
  • Urban Oasis.

    The sprawling Audubon Park features a golf course, lagoon, jogging path and zoo, but recover from lunch with a leisurely walk, making sure to stop by the massive oak known as the Tree of Life toward the southern end of the park, and the Butterfly Riverview park, for a picturesque view of the Mississippi River. 

  • Artistic Education.

    Stop by Tulane University’s Newcomb Art Museum for a look at the collection of eponymous pottery — a distinct brand of ceramics that emerged from the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College women’s college that is now part of Tulane — as well as luminescent Tiffany Windows.

EVENING
  • Dinner on Magazine Street.

    Make a reservation at the beloved bistro Coquette for a taste of contemporary Southern fare. Sip a spritz at the handsome, chandelier-lit wooden bar before sitting down to inventive updates on classics or the highly recommended blind-tasting menu. Desserts like coconut cake and chocolate pudding with caramel, popcorn and sea salt are practically obligatory.

  • Night Music.

    There’s nothing fancy about Preservation Hall, but the nightly live jazz shows are an essential part of New Orleans culture and should not be missed. Get tickets for one of the later shows, starting at 8, 9 or 10 p.m., and revel in one of Louisiana’s most beloved art forms. 

Day

3

MORNING
  • Rise and Dine.

    You can come to New Orleans and skip the beignets, but it’s not recommended. Head directly to Morning Call, open 24 hours, for a plate of powdered sugar-showered fried dough and chicory coffee. There are fewer crowds here than at Café du Monde, and a view of City Park, too.

MIDDAY
  • City Park.

    After breakfast, head out to explore City Park. The 1,300-acre grounds include the lush New Orleans Botanical Garden and the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Part of the New Orleans Museum of Art, the garden features over 60 works ranging from a bronze Renoir to the iconic Robert Indiana “Love” piece, all situated among the landscape of Spanish-moss covered oaks and placid lagoons. 

AFTERNOON
  • NOMA.

    On the southeast tip of City Park, find the exquisite New Orleans Museum of Art, with over 40,000 works. Wander around some of the 46 galleries, taking in the notable collections of European, African and Japanese art. 

  • A Taste of Louisiana.

    A little over a mile south of the museum, find the Parkway Bakery & Tavern. Since 1911, the legendary shop has been selling some of the city’s best po’ boys. Decide between fried Gulf oysters or shrimp on crusty French bread, and take a seat on the patio. 

EVENING
  • Dinner at Galatoire’s.

    This legendary institution has been a quintessential part of the French Quarter for over a century. Feast on classic French-Creole cuisine (ask your seasoned server for recommendations). Jackets are required after 5 p.m. 

  • Davenport Lounge.

    Finish off the evening on The Ritz-Carlton’s third floor, where you’ll find the elegant lounge named for the headliner Jeremy Davenport. Sip delightful cocktails while listening to lively jazz.