New Orleans has a reputation as a party destination, and while that’s certainly something we celebrate, our city is so much more than that. In fact, NOLA is the perfect destination for your next relaxing weekend. Here are some of our favorite spots to wind down and appreciate the everyday comforts our city has to offer:
The Country Club
Head out to the Bywater gem, the Country Club, for a getaway from city life. Once you step into the Country Club pool, you’ll instantly forget you’re in a major metropolis. The courtyard is lined with lush plants and palm trees that obstruct the happenings on the streets and muffle the noises of the outside world. Once you start sipping that first cocktail, it’ll be hard to imagine a better place to lounge poolside. Plus, it’s always happy hour when it’s raining, so there’s never a bad time to visit.
The Drifter Hotel
Our other favorite place to splash around is the Drifter Hotel. This vibrant oasis takes you back to the ‘70s with a retro vibe and a glittery disco ball above the pool. Plenty of pop-up vendors sell delicious food right by the pool, meaning you won’t have to go far to fill up. Check out The Drifter’s website to see what events they have coming up.
One of our favorite pastimes is venturing to Lakeshore Drive, laying out a blanket and relaxing with a beautiful view of Lake Pontchartrain. The Lake is also home to many of the city’s sailboats, which can often be seen gliding across the lake and complementing the area’s natural beauty. It should also be noted that the Lakefront has some of the best seafood restaurants in the city, with fresh fish brought in daily. One of our top restaurant picks is Blue Crab Restaurant. For more on what to see and do at the Lakefront, check out our GoNOLA video below.
Make your way Uptown to Audubon Park for a beautiful 1.8 mile walking trail lined with towering hundred-year-old oak trees. The trail is the perfect place for a walk, run, bike ride, or to roller skate. Audubon boasts an 18-hole golf course and is flanked by Tulane University and Audubon Zoo.
Grab a bike at Bike NOLA or a BlueBike and ride to beautiful Crescent Park. This urban oasis is filled with a beautiful native flora and overlooks the Mississippi River, granting a breathtaking view of the city skyline. For the creatives, bring your sketch pad and try your hand at drawing the iconic rainbow bridge.
One of the most relaxing ways to spend a day in the city is reading a book on a French Quarter balcony. While many of the balconies in the Quarter are privately owned, bars like Good Friends are not usually crowded during the day. Settling in with a great book surrounded by the beauty of the French Quarter feels just like a European getaway.
Head to Mid-City and take a tour through the bayou for a little R&R. You can rent a paddleboard from NOLA paddleboards in Bayou St. John, and if you’ve never paddleboarded before, not to worry—you’ll get the hang of it within your first five minutes. As you paddle your way up the bayou, enjoy an amazing view of City Park and some of the most interesting architecture in the city.
Grab a po-boy from nearby Parkway Tavern. Our two favorite sandwiches there are the fried catfish and the homecooked roast beef with gravy. Insider’s tip: If you’re visiting New Orleans in November, be sure to try their famous Thanksgiving po-boy.
Arguably one of the best ways to relax in the city is to have a picnic at The Fly, a riverside extension of Audubon Park. The Fly is a sprawling greenspace where locals can be found playing frisbee, hammocking, and just hanging out. It’s also a great spot to watch barges float down the Mississippi River and catch a beautiful sunset over the city. For a perfect picnic, stop by Langenstein’s for a selection of wine, cheese and prepared foods beforehand.
Get your mat out for yoga at the Cabildo, which offers yoga classes in one of the city’s oldest buildings at 8:15 a.m. on Saturdays. Classes are $20 and can be booked here. Some of our other favorite studios are Swan River, FreeToBe, and Church of Yoga.
At New Orleans City Park, there’s no shortage of options for rest and renewal. This historic site spans 1,300 acres and is home to stunning botanical gardens, a sculpture garden, te New Orleans Museum of Art, and more than 800 species of local fauna. The expansive greenspace is perfect for a picnic or playing games with friends, while on-site rentals allow you to enjoy the scenery by bike or boat. One of our favorite Sunday afternoon activities is playing a round of Louisiana and New Orleans-themed putt-putt at City Putt. Check out the park’s complete list of offerings here.