The last few weeks have been rather eventful - a tour of the south beginning in Nashville, a few days in New Orleans and topping it all off in our favorite city Austin, Texas. This was just a small taste of what our life will be like for the next four months. Rambling around our beautiful country, figuring out what it’s like to be with each other 24/7, and navigating life on the road (on a budget, that is).
If you haven’t caught wind of our latest announcement, Brent and I will be taking some time off to travel across the United States and Canada for the next several months. Though this trip was a bit of a last hoorah before cracking down on planning and moving out of our apartment, we figured out how to enjoy the best of each city while not breaking the bank - of course with a few splurges in between.
1. Live music on the Frenchman Hotel rooftop
It’s no secret that Frenchmen Street is a better alternative to Bourbon (think the mature sibling who has their shit slightly more together, but still kicks back with a frozen daiquiri on the weekend). We accidentally stumbled through Bourbon Street on our first night in New Orleans on our way back from dinner, and that was plenty to tide me over for the week.
We were recommended many places on Frenchmen, such as Spotted Cat and Igor’s Checkpoint Charlie’s (both worth the trip), but it wasn’t until we were about to jump in an Uber home that we found our favorite stop of the night.
The Frenchmen Hotel is a hidden gem on Frenchmen Street, with live music on their rooftop every night of the week. Waking through the narrow corridors, passing by the courtyard swimming pool and finding our way to the rooftop - it felt like we had found a hidden escape from the bustling Frenchmen Street. We were surprised to find that we were only among a few others who also managed to discover this gem, and enjoyed the rest of the evening with what felt like a private concert from Evan Oberla & The Tasty Sapiens, one of the best bands we came across in New Orleans.
2. Frenchman Street Art Market
While you’re on Frenchmen Street, be sure to stop at the outdoor Frenchmen Art Market. Whether you’re looking for a unique souvenir or just to take a stroll under the twinkle lights, the market will provide a refreshing alternative to the shops you will find in the French Quarter. We had so much fun talking to the vendors and getting to know the local artisan scene. We left with three prints from TYPFY Art that immediately caught our eye, the perfect souvenir from New Orleans that we can hang in our next home.
3. Bike ride to Sculpture Garden
There are many ways to get around New Orleans including the famous street cars, but our favorite was biking. If you’re staying in a hotel, check to see if they have complimentary bike rentals. Otherwise you can use Blue Bikes, the New Orleans bike share system. The stations are located all over the city, which makes it very convenient for picking up and dropping off bikes wherever you are headed.
We started the day in powdered sugar heaven at Cafe du Monde (it just happened to be #nationaldonutday), walked around Jackson Square and then continued to Willie Mae’s Scotch House for lunch. I was skeptical, but it was absolutely worth the hour wait in the unforgiving heat of a New Orleans summer day.
After lunch, we biked to the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The garden is open 7 days a week with FREE admission. Wander through the five acres of pines, magnolias and live oaks in City Park scattered with over 60 sculptures by renowned artists from around the world.
Tip: Catch some much needed AC in the NOMA cafe and snap a few photos with the colorful walls outside of the museum store.
4. 25 cent martinis at Commander's Palace and walking tour of the Garden District
Commander’s Palace has been featured on every respected food travel show for decades, and given that Brent is a Food Network junkie, it was a must try on our New Orleans itinerary. The kicker? 25 cent martinis at lunch. Yes, you read that correctly. The only catch is that you must order an entree from the lunch menu, and they’ll cut you off at three martinis (because that’s all you need).
Take the St. Charles streetcar, where you’ll pass through the historic homes of the Garden District. After lunch, ask the host for their self guided walking tour map, which highlights the historic homes and landmarks in the neighborhood. We made an afternoon of it and checked out all of the stops on their map, including the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 and the Benjamin Button House, before we hopped back on the streetcar.