A romantic getaway in New Orleans just got sweeter with the launch of COOLinary, a six-week long celebration of New Orleans cuisine with price-fixed brunch, lunch and dinner options. Over 70 participating restaurants have curated special menus for the occasion, and this year, dining in isn’t your only choice.

Whether you choose to dine in or order takeout, these deals are so good that we created an itinerary around it. Attractions are open with new safety precautions, allowing for distance and time from one visitor to the next. Scoop up a hotel deal and plan to stay awhile during COOLinary, which runs August 1 to September 13.

Be sure to mask up when exploring New Orleans. For more information on the city’s reopening plan, see here. Plan you COOLinary itinerary in advance as some specials are not available on certain days and dining in requires a reservation.

Day One:

Check into a New Orleans hotel

Start your mini vacation or staycation by checking into a New Orleans hotel. Over 50 downtown and Garden District hotels are offering discounted packages and various deals, with perks like free parking, food vouchers and complimentary high-speed internet. Choose from new 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. 

Photographer Zack Smith
Exchange Place Dining- Romantic

Kick off your stay with a COOLinary dinner

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, but please remember to wear a mask upon arrival or if you’re moving about the restaurant, and remain socially distant from others. Try the Cajun corn dogs from Bourbon House, curry dumplings from Cane & Table, or beef tenderloin from Court of Two Sisters. Primed for a stroll around the Quarter, perhaps ending at the Riverfront, your vacation is off to a romantic start.

Day Two:

Enjoy a COOLinary brunch

We especially love the COOLinary brunch options for those who want a taste of both breakfast and lunch. Check out Bacchanal, the contemporary Bywater wine shop that offers a relaxing outdoor dining space. Also in the neighborhood is The Elysian Bar which offers a COOLinary brunch of salad, mimosa, and Gulf shrimp and grits or Eggs in Purgatory.

Justen Williams
Sazerac House

Visit a museum or attraction

Now with timed entry tickets and social distancing, visiting a New Orleans attraction has never been a more personal experience. 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. The latest New Orleans attraction to open is JAMNOLA, an Insta-worthy experimental pop-up dedicated to the art, music and culture bearers of New Orleans. We’re just scratching the surface; browse more open attractions here.

Enjoy COOLinary from your hotel room

The best part about this year’s COOLinary is that the program has expanded to include take-out and delivery orders, which means you don’t even have to leave your room to get in on these delicious deals. Maybe you’ll go for the barbecue from Central City BBQ, a delicious vegetarian meal from Carmo, or pasta from Bywater American Bistro, but there are plenty of options to choose from.

Rebecca Todd
Esplanade Ridge

Day Three:

Explore Esplanade Ridge

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 the exquisite architecture and stopping along the way for a morning coffee. For a daytime date idea that will leave you with a souvenir, book a private painting session at Artist Journey Allen Gallery & Painting Studio.

Have a COOLinary picnic

COOLinary takeout makes for an ideal NOLA picnic, and there are plenty of picnic spots around town to choose from. The five-course brunch from Backatown provides for the perfect picnicking opportunity (check out their signature BBQ crawfish and grits and sweet potato pie) due to its proximity to Armstrong Park. Another delicious COOLinary-picnic combo is the Acorn Café located in beautiful City Park, which includes a menu of shrimp tacos and BBQ cauliflower “wings.” Picnic Provisions & Whiskey, with their signature Crawfish boil hot fried chicken sandwich, is a seven-minute jaunt away from Audubon Park.

Justen Williams
Backatown Coffee

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.