The city has a few personalities you’ll learn to love over a single weekend. I’m Rocío Mora, a proud Half Mexican and Half Honduran New Orleanian Latina, and I just love finding hidden surprises in the Crescent City that have strong ties to my Hispanic Roots. I’m here to show you how I spend a long three-day weekend in New Orleans when I have friends or family visiting so come follow along!
Wake a little bit before 8 a.m. and head to Jackson Square. The roads of the French Quarter can be found freshly rinsed and you’ll hear the faint sounds of the riverfront streetcar rolling on its tracks across from Jackson Square just before the bustling vendors and street performers make their presence known. It’s relaxing and almost therapeutic. After having a Zen moment, head over to Café Du Monde to have an essential New Orleans breakfast - beignets and café au lait.
Next, walk off those beignets and cafecito alongside the Mississippi River. It’s always nice to catch the steamboats and tugboats making their way across the water. Then make your way over to the French Market to see what the local vendors have in store for the city. Take your time looking through anything from jewelry to music and other kinds of souvenirs, there’s always something exciting to find!
After snagging a few gifts from the market, make your way to Royal Street. Peak your head into the various art shops, taking a minute or so enjoying the different courtyards, architecture, and listening to the many street musicians on nearly every corner!
Once you’ve taken in the Spanish architecture grab some lunch at one of the best hidden gems in the French Quarter, Napoleon House. Be sure to order their famous Pimm’s Cup, a classic New Orleans cocktail and some classic dishes like Shrimp Po-Boy, Jambalaya, Boudin or a Muffuletta.
*Writer’s note: You've got to stop to make conversation with Mario, one of the bartenders that’s been there the longest! He’s also Latino so he’s considered a Tío after all of my visits to Napoleon House now, he just doesn’t know it!
To pay homage to my Hispanic roots, I like to hop on the Canal Street streetcar and head to the Simon Bolivar and Benito Juarez memorials. Simon Bolivar, Venezuelan and Latin American hero statue sits on the corner of Basin and Canal. Then make your way down Basin Street and you’ll spot the ever-familiar Mexican face – Benito Juarez! He can be found on the corner of Conti and Basin. The longtime Mexican President escaped captivity and fled to the French Quarter of New Orleans.
For dinner, meet up with your friends at Manolito for dinner. It’s a Cuban restaurant in the heart of the French Quarter that gives off some serious La Floridita vibes. The place is decorated with flags of Cuba and Louisiana, Café Bustelo cans, and enough rum to make the walls shout “Cuba Libre!” Sitting in the restaurant with mojito in hand can make you feel like you’re in Havana.
After dinner, go to Frenchmen Street for a bit of live music. But before you dive into the live music, head over to the Palace Art Market for more unique local shopping and then head to my favorite part of Frenchmen St – Latin night! You can find Latin night every Friday night at Maison, just come ready to dance to lots of salsa! I felt like this was the perfect way to end a day filled with exploring the city through a New Orleanian Latina’s eyes. After dancing the night away, grab a quick late-night bite at Dat Dog, go big and get a side of the cheddar bacon ranch fries – YUM!
Spend your second day in Mid-City! First stop: breakfast at Ruby Slipper for my usual Tex-Mex eggs and chorizo Migas plate with a side of Poinsettia. Cranberry Juice and Champagne counts as a side, right?
Afterwards, make your way over to the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). Be sure to explore the outside as well, it’s equally beautiful. Take a walk throughout City Park, especially the Sculpture Garden, which is free! You should check out Colombian artist, Fernando Botero’s sculpture if you’re interested in finding more Latin American surprises in New Orleans!
Close to NOMA is Parkway Bakery & Tavern, one of the best places to grab another classic New Orleans dish – a po-boy. The line to get your hands on one of these tasty sandwiches could be as long as 30 minutes, but they are WORTH IT! You can eat your po-boy in Parkway but here’s a local tip - take your po-boy two blocks up and find a place to sit along Bayou St. John. You may just spot a few kayakers, paddle boarders, makeshift “party rafts” or even a baby alligator!
Cool off along Bayou St. John with a snoball. Just down the street is Pandora’s Snowballs. My favorite flavor is Medium Pineapple snoball with gummy bear toppings. Don’t judge me. The kid in me is doing backflips.
Get ready drinks and dinner… one of the best places for cocktails in Mid-City is at Revel Café and Bar. After a drink or two, make your way over to Neyow’s for dinner. If you’re looking for traditional Creole cuisine, this is the place to be. Chargrilled oysters, gumbo, shrimp Creole, and delicious pasta on the bayou.
What’s dinner without some dessert after? In New Orleans, you’ll have to learn to make room for dessert! Whenever you’re in Mid-City, you have to make it to Angelo Brocato’s for cannoli and freshly made gelato. Your visit to Mid-City would be incomplete without this classic spot.
Who doesn’t love brunch? One of the best places to go Uptown is Surrey’s. They are known for their bananas foster French toast, and it will satisfy any sweet tooth! Their crabmeat omelette is also heavenly and has plenty of fresh lump crab meat. After brunch, make your way over to Magazine Street to shop till you drop! This six-mile stretch has an array of boutiques to choose from – clothing, home décor, wine shops, New Orleans themed gifts, art galleries, and more!
Before you know it, it’s time for lunch. Baru Bistro and Tapas is one of the best Latin Restaurants in the city and can be found a little further up Magazine St. If you have a serious craving for Mazorcas, you need to go here.
Head over to Hot Tin for pre-dinner cocktails and the absolute best view of the city. It’s the only rooftop bar that has an entire view of the New Orleans skyline because it’s the only rooftop bar that isn’t downtown. You get spectacular sights of the city right at sunset with serious Instagrammable moments!
Grab dinner at Mais Arepas. Order their Maiz de la Rueda - it’s the restaurant’s star player. Grilled corn on the cob with their spicy butter, aioli and cotija cheese. Other favorites – chuzos, yucca frita, aborrajados. My favorite arepa their Carnicera – grilled skirt steak with pork belly cranberry beans, avocado and ripe platanos. Here’s the only place I can get a Mora Margarita with the meal (Mora is blackberry in Spanish).
Make your way Downtown to the Howlin’ Wolf for some live music or even a comedy show. I am a big fan of brass bands and hearing them live reminds me all over again why I love this city.
Rocio Mora is the content creator and social media influencer behind RisasRizos. Her YouTube channel highlights the importance of embracing naturally curly hair and focuses on proper curl care for multiple generations. Her bilingual platforms have gained rapid recognition and reached more than 100,000 subscribers in the last year. She has recently been featured in Latina.com as one of the top 10 Natural Hair Bloggers You Should Be Following, NBC Latino as one of the 10 Latina Bloggers You Should Be Watching This Year and IZEA as one of the top 25 Latino Influencers on Social Media.