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Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Empty-Nester Itinerary

Since less is more, empty nesters have more fun!

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.

Starting Your Day Off

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 Orleans staples serving American breakfast classics. Stop in, stay a while, enjoy your meal, and feel like family. 

Activities + Attractions 

Riverboat City of New Orleans

After breakfast, cruise the Mississippi River aboard the Riverboat City of New Orleans. Enjoy jazz lunch, Sunday brunch, and jazz dinner cruises, each complete with live music and a vast selection of New Orleans food. Kick back and enjoy scenic views of the French Quarter and panoramic views of the Mississippi River.

If you prefer to stay on land and bypass the river, there are plenty of activities and attractions throughout the city to check out. 

Ogden Museum of Southern Art

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. 

Backstreet Cultural Museum 

Stepping into the Backstreet Cultural Museum takes you straight to the heart and soul of New Orleans. Flanked with hand-sewn Mardi Gras Indian suits of every color, the museum was the dream of the late Sylvester “Hawk” Francis. The museum chronicles the history of Black New Orleanians in life and death, from the great Mardi Gras Indian tradition to social aid & pleasure clubs to the tradition of a jazz funeral. Located in the historically Black Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans, Backstreet is off the beaten path but well worth the visit. 

National WWII Museum

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. 

Zack Smith, NOTMC
National World War II Museum

New Orleans Jazz Museum

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 steps from the world-renowned French Market, you can complete your afternoon with shopping and bites from local vendors.

Vue Orleans 

Vue Orleans is a one-of-a-kind indoor and outdoor observatory and cultural experience, featuring the only 360-degree panoramic riverfront views of New Orleans. Located on the 33rd floor of Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans at the foot of Canal Street, you'll experience educational and cultural exhibits on the music and history of New Orleans before ascending via elevator to the observatory decks. See why New Orleans is truly called the Crescent City atop Vue Orleans.

Hear some live music 

New Orleans is full of opportunities for hearing live music. You’re bound to catch a show just walking around the French Quarter, but here are a few recommendations. Preservation Hall is open nightly with concerts beginning in the early evening. Frenchmen Street is lined with jazz clubs including legendary venues Snug Harbor, Blue Nile, and d.b.a. Craving a more formal performance? The Orpheum Theater is home base for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, with frequent performances during their season (September – May). 

Take a neighborhood tour

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.

Harrah’s Casino

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. It's a one-stop shop for lodging, dining, and fun. Win big during your next visit.

Rebecca Todd
Brennan's Restaurant

Dining Experiences 


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. 

Dooky Chase’s Restaurant 

Famed for serving presidents and leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, Dooky Chase’s is as much a place for a meal as it is for a history lesson. The restaurant itself is known for knocking it out of the park when it comes to NOLA comfort food–think bowls of expertly prepared gumbo, red beans, shrimp Clemenceau, and fried chicken. Perhaps one of the most coveted seats of all is at Dooky’s on Holy Thursday, the one day of the year when their legendary gumbo z’herbes is served.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House

*Editor’s Note: Willie Mae’s is temporarily closed due to a fire. 
Arguably the best fried chicken in New Orleans, Willie Mae’s is a long-standing eatery in the historic Tremé neighborhood. For over 30 years their menu has offered simple yet savory Southern favorites like fried chicken, butter beans, macaroni, and okra. 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. 

Commander's Palace

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 New Orleans’ own French Quarter. 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. 

For more on New Orleans’ most iconic dining experiences, see here