A romantic getaway in New Orleans just got sweeter with the return of COOLinary, a showcase of New Orleans’ finest dining establishments offering specially curated prix-fixe menus at unbeatable prices. Enjoy two-course lunches for $25 or less, and three-course dinners and brunches for $50 or less. More than 80 restaurants are participating in COOLinary, so you have plenty of options to suit every palate. We’ve paired some of our favorite romantic COOLinary spots with hotels and nearby activities to help you and your boo make the most of your August getaway.
Check into a New Orleans hotel
Start your mini vacation or staycation by checking into a New Orleans hotel. Browse different properties that are offering discounted packages and various deals, with perks like free parking, food vouchers, and welcome cocktails. Choose from accommodations like the Maison de la Luz and Hotel Fontenot, or landmarks like the Roosevelt. Perfect for a romantic getaway, these spots offer an urban oasis.
Chances are, your hotel will be located in or near the French Quarter. There are plenty of French Quarter area restaurants to kick off your COOLinary extravaganza, Try the Redfish Ceviche or Seafood Bouillabaisse from Broussard’s, the Gulf Oyster and Tasso Pappardelle from Tujague’s, or the craft cocktails and contemporary cuisine from Jewel of the South. Primed for a stroll around the Quarter, perhaps ending at the Riverfront, your vacation is off to a romantic start. After your stroll, check out the live music calendar to see who is playing nearby or get a post-dinner drink at a romantic French Quarter bar like Peychaud’s, Fives, or Arnaud’s French 75 Bar.
We especially love the COOLinary brunch options for those who want a taste of both breakfast and lunch. Hop on the streetcar and stop by Jack Rose at the Pontchartrain Hotel, where you can find Calabrian Chili and Fennel Sausage with pesto, Crab Cake Benedict, and lemon ice cream with watermelon-basil consommé for dessert. Or ride the streetcar a few blocks further to Washington Avenue, where you’ll two blocks over to brunch at Commander’s Palace. Here you’ll find many different options, including Creole Gumbo, Melon and Blue Crab Gazpacho, Cochon de Lait Eggs Benedict, crispy catfish, and Commander’s classic desserts like Bread Pudding Soufflé and Pecan Pie à la Mode.
Visit a museum or attraction
August in New Orleans not only means COOLinary deals, but it’s also Museum Month, where a membership at one participating museum gets you and a plus-one free entry into all other participating museums. And since memberships are available at many different price points across different museums, it’s a cost-effective way to visit some of the city’s best attractions (more than 22, to be exact). Book a date with your partner at Sazerac House, which takes you through the history of New Orleans’ cocktails and is a must-visit for every traveler. Or check out JAMNOLA, an Insta-worthy experimental pop-up dedicated to the art, music, and culture bearers of New Orleans. History buffs will love exploring the extensive collection at The National World War II Museum, or you can pop in and out of gorgeous house museums all across the French Quarter, including BK House, Hermann-Grima and Gallier houses, and more. We’re just scratching the surface; browse all participating attractions here.
Explore Contemporary New Orleans Cuisine for Dinner
We’ve hit on some classic spots already, so why not branch out and try some contemporary picks for dinner on your second night? Chef Nina Compton’s Bywater American Bistro is perfect for a date night, and the menu is always amazing. This year’s COOLinary dinner includes dishes like Beef Meatballs with whipped ricotta, Spicy Seafood Stew, Mushroom and Pea Risotto, and Sweet Potato Churros with Rum Caramel for dessert. Palm&Pine on the edge of the French Quarter features Latin/South American flavors, and dishes like Sticky Grilled Rib Tips, Shrimp Creole Captain, Duck Confit Pasta, and Caramelized Peach and Annato Ice Cream. The Chloe along St. Charles Avenue is another fantastic date night spot, with a menu that features Lemonfish Crudo, Slow-Cooked Beef Short Ribs with summer corn and peppers, and their world-famous Chloe ice cream sandwich to finish.
See Even More of the City
For your final morning, start off slow by sleeping in and then grabbing coffee and beignets from Café du Monde before heading out for the day. New Orleans has many romantic neighborhoods, but one hidden gem of the city is Esplanade Ridge. From the French Quarter to City Park, the district anchored by Esplanade Avenue is a tree-lined paradise dotted with small restaurants and cozy shops. Start your day with a neighborhood stroll, taking in exquisite architecture. You can also stop by the New Orleans Museum of Art or Pitot House for more Museum Month fun. Hungry for lunch? Nearby COOLinary restaurants participating in lunch and brunch include Toups Meatery, Ralph’s on the Park, and Café Degas. Hop on a blue bike to head back to your hotel for checkout, or take the City Park streetcar line back towards downtown to end your NOLA weekend with a one-of-a-kind, romantic twist.
Make plans to return to NOLA
There’s nothing wrong with extending your stay in NOLA, but if you must go, why not make plans to return? Stay in the loop of all the insider tips, neighborhood guides, and more with our Monthly Email Newsletter.