One way to sneak in an extra destination is to coordinate your flights to have an extended layover in a new city. This is how we got to explore New Orleans, Louisiana two different times. You can either book a flight with a long layover, or book two separate plane tickets. In our case, the two separate plane tickets ended up being less expensive than a direct flight from our home to where we were headed (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic in this case.) This allowed us to leave the NOLA airport without stressing about making it back in time for the next flight. Both on our way to and from the DR, we got to stay the night in the popular French Quarter district.
To keep costs down and to experience the true French Quarter, we stayed in two hotels in historic buildings–the Inn on St. Peter, and the Inn on Ursulines. These two buildings were built in the 1700s and early 1800s. The rooms were tiny–my bedroom at home was larger than both of these rooms including the bathroom. I didn’t mind though–I was wanting this style and the price was exactly what I was looking for! The Inn on St. Peter has a great deck, which was fun to hang out on and people watch below. The staff were so wonderful at both places, and allowed us to store our luggage after checking out so we could explore the quarter before heading back to the airport.
We hit the classic Bourbon Street and felt very safe both during the day and late at night. What I loved most about the French Quarter was all the amazing little shops. I found some very unique gifts for family, and really enjoyed browsing the local goods. We bought some pralines from the New Orleans School of Cooking store. I had never had anything like this, and they were AMAZING!
On to Jackson Square. Here, you’ll find live music, dancing, street performers, horse carriage rides, ice cream, local art, and so much more! You can easily spend hours right on this block alone. This area is home to the big St. Louis Cathedral, which is still in use. The interior was just as gorgeous as the exterior, and is definitely a must see.
The Street Performers were truly something else! A new one for me was these guys painted like gold and silver statues. We watched for several minutes and, I’ll tell you, they did not move an inch! They work for tips, so please fill their cups when you see these guys!
We decided to take a horse and carriage ride around the neighborhood and learned a lot about the area. We saw celebrity owned homes, learned about former slave quarters and how buildings were designed to house them, and we stopped at Laffite’s Blacksmith Shop–the oldest bar in New Orleans! This dates back to the 1720s, and did not disappoint.
After the carriage returned us to Jackson Square, we took a short walk to the river. This muddy, brown water river was huge and pretty in it’s own, unique way. The restaurants and ferry boats added to the unique scenery.
Since we were only here on layovers, we did not explore the other districts of New Orleans. This amazing, historic city offers mansions, plantations, swamp tours, high end shopping, and so much more outside of this one neighborhood. What does that mean for us? It means we’ll have to coordinate another layover to see the rest!