Is New Orleans Worth Visiting? An Honest Opinion

Image of metal musician sculptures in Louis Armstrong Park surrounded by green foliage - Honest Review of New Orleans

My Honest Review of New Orleans:

New Orleans is a very impressive city in a way that’s just not for me. The city has architectural beauty, incredible history, and offers a gorgeous and unique environment. However, I found that to be countered by extremely dirty streets, rude people, and complete craziness. If you’ve never been down Bourbon Street on a Friday or Saturday night, you have to check it out at least once. The shear number of people who gather in the street is incredible, let alone the venders, people with snakes, and tarot card readers. If it’s your cup of tea, I guarantee you’ll be going back time and time again. Once was plenty for me. 

Honest Review of New Orleans - Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street around 9pm on a Saturday night

Where to Stay in New Orleans

My husband Sam and I spent 4 nights, 5 days in New Orleans in April 2022. We stayed at Q&C Hotel and Bar New Orleans, Autograph Collection. I appreciated the unique qualities of the hotel – it was formerly the headquarters of the Queen and Crescent Railroad and had been restored into a hotel, keeping the historic qualities of the building. However, the rooms were tiny and there was a speaker that blasted music from about 12pm until at least 10pm on weeknights. I did work each day I was there and the wifi was excellent which was a huge bonus.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in New Orleans you won’t have any trouble finding a spot to meet your budget – unless you are trying to go during Mardi Gras. There are hotels all over the city from you to choose. I’d personally recommend staying a little bit away from Bourbon Street if you want to get sleep at night, but if you are in New Orleans for the party, that just might be your spot.

For hotels and lodging, I recommend checking Hotels.com, VRBO and Airbnb. The latter two are your best bet if you want to stay in a private property, perhaps with a kitchen or yard.

What to Do in New Orleans

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my five-day trip there and am so glad I got to explore so much of the city. However, after the first night, my husband Sam and I both agreed 2-3 nights would have been plenty. It’s just a lot for two people who don’t like seafood, loud music, or the thought of voodoo. 

Just like any city though, New Orleans is so much more than Bourbon Street, bars, and blaring music. Walking through New Orleans City Park makes you forget that just a couple miles away are people overindulging in alcoholic beverages. The park is made up of around 1,300 acres filled with gorgeous live oaks, walking trails, a botanical garden, mini golf, an amusement park, fishing lakes, and so much more. It’s a fun spot for kids and adults and you could easily spend the whole day here exploring. 

Honest Review of New Orleans - City Park
New Orleans City Park – Pond
Honest Review of New Orleans - City Park 2
New Orleans City Park – Grove of Oaks

The Warehouse District was my favorite area for grabbing dinner and drinks. It’s a very trendy area known for old warehouse buildings converted into modern museums, restaurants, and shops. The World War II Museum is also located in this area of the city. The streets were much calmer and with less going on around me I felt a lot more relaxed. The food is also delicious! Tommy’s Cuisine has delicious Italian entrees and is most certainly worth the visit. Sam also found a sports bar that he really enjoyed. 

Another unique area was the Garden District. The homes were gorgeous and had so much character. It was so much fun to walk the blocks and enjoy the beautiful homes and gardens, especially with the yards at home still mostly snow-covered. However, the beauty of the Garden District was overtaken by the tour groups blocking the sidewalks and the bars on the outskirts of the neighborhood. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but for me personally, it took away from the experience. 

Honest Review of New Orleans - Garden District
Beautiful House in the Garden District
Honest Review of New Orleans - Garden District Streetview
View of the street in the Garden District

Perhaps my favorite part of our New Orleans trip was the visit to Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve. The park was quiet, nearly empty (probably due to the excessive heat and humidity), and stunning. It was so lush and green, had beautiful hiking trails, and I even made friends with a gator – okay, maybe a one-sided friendship. The park is about 30 minutes from downtown NOLA, but you feel like you’re in an entirely different part of the state. In my opinion, this park alone makes a visit to New Orleans worth it.

Honest Review of New Orleans - Jean Lafitte Gator
Alligator on the left under the boardwalk
Honest Review of New Orleans - Jean Lafitte
Trail view in Jean Lafitte

Final Thoughts on New Orleans

In the end, I really enjoyed my trip to New Orleans and Sam and I had a great time exploring all the city has to offer. Am I in a hurry to go back? No. However, there is so much history and tradition in this city, I truly believe everyone should experience it at least once. Even if you’re like me and find downtown NOLA and Bourbon Street to be too much for you, I guarantee you’ll find something else to love about New Orleans. Whether it’s the parades, tours, gardens, or architecture, New Orleans truly does offer a lot to impress with.

Happy Exploring!

-Lily

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7 thoughts on “Is New Orleans Worth Visiting? An Honest Opinion”

  1. I laughed so hard when you said “it’s just a lot for two people who don’t like seafood, loud music, or the thought of voodoo” because that’s me to a T, and I also found that my trip of 4 days was more than enough!!

  2. Thank you for this sharing your honest opinion. I am thinking of stopping in New Orleans for a night when my family and I make a 10-hour trip across the South. I love nature preserves and was told by my dad’s family that I am related to Jean LaFitte, so I definitely want to check that out.

  3. Hosting a military reunion in New Orleans this year. Our site tour was amazing!! We have decided to use Machu Picchu Tours for getting around town (site seeing) and for parking. After speaking with several companies in the area we found Angel has given our group the right combination of information and attention that will work best for our group.

    Our group site tour lasted 3 days. Day one was arrival and check-in. I worked with the Higgins Hotel as our group will visit the WWII museum. The hotel has a roof top view and a 1st floor lounge area (also a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch). Rosie’s is the rooftop bar area that also serves food up until 10 pm.

    There is so much to see in the area. The riverwalk (mall) area provides views of the NOLA waterfront and is within walking distance of the hotel. There are also several other hotels in this area, I believe it is referred to as the Warehouse District, it is about 10 minutes away from the garden district.

    Also, getting around… the Trolley car is $3.00 a day, using the Jazzy Pass (great inside tip!!) also good for bus transfer… Next up… Hop on Hop off bus tour… a guided tour of the city, runs from 9 am to 5 pm (roughly) and is $53.00. A great way to get info about the areas around NOLA…

    There’s lots more that could be said here… Canal Street has lots to see and do.. band “shout outs” are common and there is shopping and dining. I wouldnt recommend driving anywhere as paying to park ($10.00 an hour on average) adds up quick. The streets are tight and the parking fills up quick….. Lastly, Uber and Lyft services are available, but they are about double the cost of what was expected… great for quick trips, but expensive to use all day…..

    Also not mentioned here…. great place to catch a western Caribbean cruise… Carnival Cruise ship docks here.

    Thanks for your review.. .Just thought I would mention some smaller considerations that add to your great writeup.

    1. Thanks so much for your suggestions! These are great tips and ideas of things to do! I agree, there are lots of activities in NOLA.

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