Sometimes, a Friday through Sunday weekend getaway just isn’t enough to do, see and experience everything on your New Orleans wishlist. A few extra days can go a long way, so we’ve created this special itinerary to help LGBTQ travelers make the most of an extended weekend. Follow this itinerary as-is, or mix and match our suggestions based on your needs and schedule. Either way, the delicious cuisine, craft cocktails, relaxing poolside afternoons, and lively nightlife ensure there’s something here for everyone to enjoy, from the second you arrive to the time you say your (temporary) goodbyes.
There’s no better way to unwind after a day of travel–or to kick off your New Orleans adventures–than with classic Creole fare. Court of Two Sisters hosts the only daily jazz brunch in the city, and its historic courtyard offers stunning views of French Quarter architecture while you enjoy live music and a buffet.
After lunch, hop on the St. Charles Streetcar and marvel at the magnificent mansions and hundreds of towering live oaks as you make your way Uptown. Tickets for the streetcar will only cost $1.25 each way and can be purchased onboard. You can also purchase a 1-day Jazzy Pass for $3 or a 3-day pass for $8, which will give you unlimited rides for even more sightseeing.
Catch a Jazz Show at Preservation Hall – a very special venue preserving jazz music and culture. On Thursdays, show times are 5:00, 6:15, 7:30 and 8:45. The venue recommends purchasing tickets online to guarantee your spot, and take our word for it–this is an authentic experience you don’t want to miss.
Enjoy another unforgettable meal at Compére Lapin – a chic restaurant serving Caribbean and European-inspired cuisine located inside the Old 77 Hotel. The menu is crafted by legendary chef Nina Compton, which means everything on the menu is infused with passion, creativity and incredible flavors.
Finally, top off your evening with one of the city’s many LGBTQ bars and clubs. These vibrant locales are the perfect way to end any night, and there’s something for every kind of mood or atmosphere. Good Friends is a local favorite for a laid-back hangout, and Bourbon Pub’s dance floor is a great place for high-energy celebration and revelry.
Start your morning with breakfast at Elizabeth’s. This quaint Bywater spot is open early for a hearty breakfast where classic Southern ingredients like fried green tomatoes, boudin, and Gulf seafood are the star of the show.
While you’re in the neighborhood, lounge like the locals at the Country Club, a poolside spot where you can cool off in the water with a drink in your hand. There is a small fee to enter the pool, but it’s certainly worth it for a day in this Bywater oasis.
New Orleans is also steeped in LGBTQ history, and no visit is complete without learning about the many ways our community has shaped and influenced city culture. Once you’re feeling relaxed and renewed from your time in the pool, LGBTQ tours like NOLA Secrets and NOLA Drag Tours will introduce you to notable landmarks and locations like Carousel Bar, where Tennessee Williams was a frequent patron.
All that walking is sure to work up your appetite, so it’s time for dinner at Lüke – a Creole-inspired restaurant in the CBD with a menu of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The fresh Gulf shrimp and crawfish etouffee melts in your mouth and is as close as you’ll get to New Orleans on a plate.
Sip cocktails at the Roosevelt Hotel – their Sazerac and Gin Fizz are a must-try. Not only is the Sazerac a delicious spirit made with rye, bitters and absinthe, but it’s also a taste of history, as the world-renowned cocktail was allegedly first invented in New Orleans before the Civil War.
Slather on your sunscreen and explore the bayou on a world-famous Jean Lafitte Swamp & Airboat Tour, accessible by a quick 30-minute shuttle or rideshare to the West Bank. This tour will bring you face-to-face with Louisiana’s wildlife and flora, promising both thrills and education along the way.
Or, if you want to enjoy the outdoors without leaving the city limits, head over to Bayou St. John for an afternoon of paddle boarding or kayaking. Rentals are available from Bayou Paddlesports, and one-hour lessons are offered every Saturday morning from 9-11. Just be sure to book your class no later than the Friday before.
Once you’ve soaked up the sun, it’s time to clean up and treat yourself to dinner and drinks at Bijou, a tapas-style restaurant and bar located just a stone’s throw from Armstrong Park. The savory squid ink spaghetti is topped with fresh Gulf shrimp, but make sure to leave room for the café au lait pot a crème for dessert.
This is also a great area to check out some local queer talent. Catch a show at the Allways Lounge, an eclectic venue with a calendar full of drag performances, burlesque shows, live music and out-of-the-box, ingenious theatrics.
No New Orleans weekend is complete with at least one meal at Cane and Table, where Chef Alfredo Nogueira’s seasonal menus blend culinary traditions and cultures for bites and drinks you won’t find anywhere else. We highly recommend their take on the piña colada, which is less creamy (and much more refreshing) than its traditional counterpart.
A few blocks over is the New Orleans Jazz Museum, where you can experience the history and tradition of jazz that started right here in New Orleans. The museum’s historical programming and dynamic, interactive exhibits are attractive enough on their own, but visitors will find added value in knowing that their admission fees are contributing to music education throughout the city.
Finally, take a short walk to the nearby Crescent Park and cross the “Rusty Rainbow” bridge. Here, you can enjoy a great view of the city and the Mississippi River in a vibrant and relaxing greenspace. This is a picture-perfect way to cap off what we hope has been an exciting and inspiring trip–until we see you next time, of course.