Work and play go hand-in-hand when visiting New Orleans, so it’s no surprise that many who come on business stay for leisure. Whether you’re tagging along on someone’s business trip or you’re the one interested in adding some exploring to your agenda, here are the must-see places in New Orleans for "bleisure" travelers.
The Ernst N. Morial Convention Center is conveniently located in downtown New Orleans, right outside of the historic French Quarter. For breakfast, check out Two Chicks Café or Bearcat. For lunch, there’s St. James Cheese Company, Mother’s Restaurant, and Cochon Butcher. And for dinner, snag a seat at one of the nearby Warehouse District hot spots helmed by local, award-winning top chefs, including Pêche (Gulf seafood from Chef Donald Link), Compère Lapin (Caribbean fusion from Chef Nina Compton), or Meril (modern casual cuisine from Chef Emeril Lagasse). For more on where to eat near the Convention Center, see here.
Visiting New Orleans for a conference? There’s a good chance you’ll be staying in the downtown/ Convention Center District. Get into the New Orleans spirit with food and drink happy hours nearby. Vyoone’s offers $5 specialty cocktails, select glasses of wine, $3 local beers, and $5 appetizers from 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday. Seaworthy has happy hour every day from 4-6 p.m. plus a late-night happy hour on the weekends with drink specials. For more of the best happy hours in downtown and beyond, see here.
The French Quarter is just footsteps from the Convention Center, but not before passing the Riverfront. Shop to your heart’s content at The Outlet Collections at Riverwalk or further down at Canal Place. Vue Orleans atop the Four Seasons Hotel offers stunning 360-degree views of New Orleans. The Audubon Aquarium and Audubon Insectarium are two attractions perfect for families if you have little ones joining you before or after your meetings.
Also nearby the Convention Center, visit the award-winning National WWII Museum and have a drink at Rosie’s on the Roof. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art features exhibits and monthly live music performances, and the Contemporary Arts Center is a hub for both the fine and performing arts. For a little New Orleans cocktail history, visit Sazerac House which boasts free admission.
On a first-time visit to New Orleans, there’s so much to see and do. Beignets at Café du Monde, tours of the Cabildo, craft cocktails and traditional food, streetcar rides and ferry cruises, plus a trip to the park are just a few of the highlights we have picked out for first-time travelers. Dining solo? Check out our guide to solo dining here. From legendary restaurants to where to hear live music seven nights a week, check out our guide here.
Looking to get some work done remotely? These coworking spaces offer everything a traveler could want, from daily rates to locations all over the city. Prefer to post up at a local coffee shop? Check out these coffee shops by neighborhood and enjoy the cozy atmosphere.