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Friends Getaway

When planning a rendezvous with friends, the Big Easy beckons with the perfect balance of captivating culture and carefree fun. Days brim with history and art-infused outings or easygoing strolls through bustling squares, manicured gardens and charming, tree-lined streets. Later, jazz-filled nights are fueled with free-flowing cocktails and spicy Creole cuisine. Equal parts peaceful and exhilarating, New Orleans makes a superb backdrop for a reconnecting with friends — and The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans provides the perfect home base.

Day

1

MORNING
  • Beignets and Café au Lait.

    No matter what time you rise, head to Café du Monde. The 24-hour New Orleans institution will have piping hot plates of sugar-dusted (or doused) beignets and chicory coffee waiting. 

  • Neighborhood Walk.

    Dust off the powdered sugar and set out to take in the French Quarter. Head to the riverfront Woldenberg Park for a scenic view of steamboats and public art. Double back to Jackson Square, where you can see the bronze statue of Andrew Jackson and the steeple-topped St. Louis Cathedral. 

MIDDAY
  • Sandwich Stop.

    There are many places that serve a muffaletta in New Orleans, but to try the original, go to Central Grocery. The sandwich counter at this tiny Italian market serves up sliced meats and olive salad on giant discs of sesame-peppered bread. 

AFTERNOON
  • Backyard Wine Tasting.

     Amble down the Mississippi waterfront trail of Crescent Park for a quiet view of the city skyline and end up at Bacchanal Wine. This little gem off the beaten path showcases wines from small producers. Share a bottle while listening to live music in the charming, unpretentious backyard.

EVENING
  • Garden District Dinner.

    Take a pre-dinner walk through the leafy, tree-lined Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 to see marble and brick tombs that date back to the 19th century. Make a reservation at the elegant Commander’s Palace for classic Creole cuisine in equally historic environs. 

  • Listen to Jazz into the Night.

    End your day with another New Orleans tradition. There are plenty of places in town to hear a lively jazz set, but try The Ritz-Carlton’s Davenport Lounge, Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse or Preservation Hall, or better yet, hit all three. 

Day

2

MORNING
  • Home and Garden.

     Venture beyond the French Quarter with an outing to Longue Vue House and Gardens. Situated in the city’s Lakewood neighborhood, the historic, neoclassical mansion and renowned 8-acre gardens make for a peaceful morning. 

MIDDAY
  • Award-Winning Lunch.

    For a taste of something a little different, dine at Chef Alon Shaya’s eponymous restaurant on Magazine Street. Order wood-fired pitas, hummus with an array of savory toppings, and other modern Israeli dishes to share. 

AFTERNOON
  • Boutique Treasures.

    Spend a leisurely afternoon popping into the boutiques and antique shops also populating Magazine Street. Hazelnut is a popular pick for gifts and home goods, including an exclusive New Orleans-themed toile featuring St. Louis Cathedral and other city landmarks. 

EVENING
  • NOLA at Night.

    Some prefer the Big Easy at its rollicking, rowdy best, but a walk along the city’s bustling streets can be a little less hectic in the early evening. Stop into The Roost Bar at Brennan’s for a pre-dinner classic cocktail like a vesper or aviation. 

  • Brother Rabbit.

    Award-winning chef Nina Compton injects both Italian and Caribbean flavors into classic Creole cuisine at Compère Lapin, from conch croquettes to curried goat with sweet potato gnocchi. 

Day

3

MORNING
  • Relaxing Brunch.

    Housed in a quaint old carriage house, Sylvain serves an indulgent brunch with classic biscuits and eggs, as well as more inventive dishes like gulf shrimp and cornmeal dumplings and a chicharron scramble with sweet potato chips and chimichurri. Order the “Champagne and Fries” for the table, with hand-cut French fries and a bottle of bubbles. 

MIDDAY
  • Scenic Streetcar.

    Hop on the St. Charles Line streetcar — the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the country — and marvel at the antique touches like mahogany seats and brass trimmings as well as the beautiful mansions and monuments along the route.  

AFTERNOON
  • French Quarter Antiques.

    Return to the French Quarter for a stroll down Royal Street, stopping to treasure hunt at antique shops like the century-old M.S. Rau. 

  • Spa Break.

    Spend the rest of the afternoon at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, New Orleans, choosing among signature, New Orleans-centric therapies like the VooDoo Ritual, featuring a full body massage and an element that includes a locally crafted herbal poultice.     

EVENING
  • Havana Night.

    The rum-based cocktails at Cane & Table, the relaxed, tropical-infused restaurant off Jackson Square may arrive in carved-out pineapples or coupe glasses, but make no mistake: Each one is meticulously, thoughtfully crafted. Share a selection of tasty small plates — order at least two of the crispy ribs — and toast to a memorable weekend with friends.