New Orleans has a big city appeal with a small town feel, making it the perfect vacation destination for spring breakers and golden agers alike. For those who have outgrown the party scene and late night adventures but still seek an exciting and fulfilling New Orleans experience, explore this Empty-Nester’s Guide to New Orleans - perfect for mature travelers.
Just keep in mind that masks are currently mandatory in New Orleans, so be sure to add a few to your carry-on bag before heading out! For more information about the city’s Phased Reopening Plan, see here.
A day is only as good as the breakfast that gets it going. New Orleans is filled with down-home diners and quaint cafes that are sure to awake the nostalgia that lives within. Clover Grill, Betsy’s Pancake House and Camellia Grill are New Orleanian staple diners serving American breakfast classics. Stop in, stay a while, enjoy your meal and feel like family.
After breakfast, cruise the Mississippi River aboard the Steamboat Natchez, New Orleans’ only steamboat. The two-hour cruises are offered daily with midday and evening takeoffs. The Natchez features a casual lunch buffet, live musical performances, experienced narrators to guide you through the ride and a museum-quality steam engine room open to riders.
If you prefer to stay on land and bypass the river, there are plenty of activities and attractions throughout the city to check out.
One of many art museums in New Orleans, the Ogden is unique in that it holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art and focuses on a wide range of programming within that sphere. Exhibits feature a mix of disciplines from a diverse selection of artists to further tell the stories of the American South.
Visit the National WWII Museum and explore their expertly curated exhibits and galleries that pay homage to different aspects of World War II. Senior, military and WWII Veteran tickets are available at discounted rates. Have lunch at the museum’s restaurant, The American Sector, for modern twists on classic American favorites.
The New Orleans Jazz Museum celebrates the beloved, American music genre and the city where it was born. Its comprehensive collection of jazz artifacts includes sheet music, instruments, photographs, an exhibit dedicated to New Orleans’ own Louis Armstrong and much more. Just minutes from the world-renowned French Market, you can complete your afternoon with shopping and bites from local vendors.
Explore the architecture of the Garden District, the landmarks in historically African American Tremé or the history of the French Quarter with a walking, bike, bus or swamp tour. With options for accessibility, everyone can participate and learn more about New Orleans.
Hit the slots and try your luck at Harrah’s Casino. In addition to its convenient centralized location, Harrah’s is complete with their own hotel and signature steakhouse. A one-stop shop for lodging, dining and fun. Win big during your next visit.
A well-known French Quarter favorite, Brennan’s is a must on any empty nester’s itinerary. Whether you’re interested in their two-course breakfast specials or their critically-acclaimed dinner menu, you’re sure to find something that exceeds expectations.
Arguably the best fried chicken in New Orleans, Willie Mae’s is a long-standing eatery in the historic Treme neighborhood. For over 30 years their menu has offered simple yet savory Southern favorites like fried chicken, butter beans, macaroni, okra and more. Willie Mae’s has been the restaurant of choice for a host of A-list celebrities and VIP guests from actors to singers and even former presidents. Make your way there early to beat the rush.
Since 1932, this Mid City neighborhood restaurant has served old school Creole Italian dishes. Enjoy New Orleans classics like po-boys and oysters, or Italian specialties like veal and chicken parmesan spaghetti. They are open daily for lunch and dinner.
The bold, blue building will draw your attention, but it’s the delicious New Orleanian cuisine that will keep you there. Named one of the 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Past 40 Years, Commander’s Palace has solidified its place in the culinary hall of fame. Their entire menu is filled with Creole and Cajun favorites that can’t be found anywhere else. Stop in for their signature Jazz Brunch and enjoy your favorite midday meal with a show.
The oldest restaurant in the United States sits in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Order their signature dish, oysters Rockefeller, or eggs Sardou, which they also invented. The walls of the legendary establishment are lined with photos of celebrities and political figures that have dined there over the years. For some Mardi Gras history, explore their many side rooms that are adorned with various krewe's memorabilia and royalty.
*Editor’s Note: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, New Orleans is currently in a Phased Reopening plan. This includes some degree of restrictions on live music, clubs and festivals. While some festivals have been rescheduled for later in 2021, others are still pending. Please keep checking back for updated information before planning your trip. For more on our phased reopening plan, see here.
On just about any given weekend, you can expect a festival of some sort in New Orleans. We celebrate food, music, neighborhoods, streets, literature and just about anything else you can think of with a fest. These following festivals are perfect for setting up a chair, catching a breeze and enjoying the festivities that surround you.
While it’s arguably one of the most popular festivals in New Orleans’ jam-packed fest calendar, it’s beloved for a reason: there’s nothing else quite like it. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another festival that has hosted rock’n’roll legends such as The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and The Beach Boys alongside New Orleans’ greatest living blues, jazz, gospel and folk artists. While you can definitely expect crowds, find solace, seating and shade inside the Blues, Gospel and Jazz tents, and traditional Cajun dancing at the fais do do stage. Here you’ll also find some of the city’s best culinary offerings, making the lines 100% worth the wait.
Typically held at Lafayette Square Park, the Crescent City Blues + BBQ Festival highlights amazing local BBQ and talent. The smells of the smoke pit are free - grab an actual bite for just a few bucks!
In honor of the legendary American playwright, the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival welcomes a host of the country’s best authors, playwrights, and speakers to sit in on 30+ panels, workshops and theatrical performances. The four-day festival takes place each spring featuring a number of events, contests and guest speakers.
Beat the New Orleans heat with gallery hopping, art shopping and fine foods and drinks at the Whitney White Linen Night. Explore the Arts + Warehouse District’s miles-long stretch of fine art galleries, dining, bars, and museums. Dress in your best white attire as you stroll down Julia Street.