How to Spend 4 Days in New Orleans (NOLA)

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how to spend 4 days in new orleans

I recently went to New Orleans for a bachelorette party and it was an experience quite unlike anything else. The locals were incredibly welcoming (one Uber driver even started giving us real marriage advice and drove an extra block so he could share some more), the food was savory and rich, and the drinks were never ending because this is New Orleans. We had a good mix of activities during the day and enjoying NOLA’s nightlife scene. Here is my itinerary for our 4 days in NOLA:

Day 1

We landed in NOLA at 5am from our redeye in San Francisco. Once we landed, we checked into our vrbo. I typically use Airbnb when traveling to different cities, but the pickings for homes that could accommodate 10 people were slim on their site. This is the home that we chose, it was huge and we never really had any issues with the bathrooms. There were also two cats who made our stoop their home. I would say it was a nice home but it would’ve been great to be closer to downtown. They also had a servant’s room on the second floor for those that wanted to have some alone time. The house was also huge enough that even with 10 people, it was hard to find each other sometimes. Though some did say it was haunted…

Once we napped for a few hours, we hit up the Country Club for some lunch. We ended up ordering wayy too much food and were full before entrees but it was all pretty delicious. It was what you would expect from Southern food – fried, flavorful, salty, and rich.

Then we went back home to get ready for an airboat swamp tour. I originally found this option on groupon and ended up booking with them directly (for the same price of $75pp) because our group was large and they offered charter bus transportation to and from the swamp. Our driver was awesome and even let us make a pit stop at the local grocery store chain Rouses to pick up beer and snacks. The swamp tour was one of the highlights from the trip. We got to see gators (they loved the marshmellows – it turns out that they’re attracted to the white color) and learn more about their environment and how they’ve survived since the dinosaur age.

After gator watch we went back to the house to get ready for dinner at Cafe Sbisa. This is located close to Bourbon Street so it was easy to go out after (much to the chagrin of the locals who steadily recommended against Bourbon Street). And honestly, after going, I can see why the locals recommended against it. It was dirty and you see people yacking on the street and therefore the smell of puke was constant. In the New Orleans humidity, it was not great. It was basically a grown up version of a frat party. But not going to Bourbon Street in NOLA would be like going to Orlando without checking out Disneyworld.

My favorite part of Bourbon Street would definitely be Pat O’Brien’s for dueling piano bar.

Day 2

For our second day, we ventured to Saint Cecilia’s for brunch and bottomless mimosas. The food was delicious, affordable, and our mimosa glasses were never empty for too long. After stuffing ourselves with french toast, chicken and waffles, and po’boys, we decided to burn some of it off by walking around the French Marketplace, which is conveniently located right across the street.

things to do in NOLA

Oyster po’boy from Saint Cecilia’s

The marketplace had everything you could want as a tourist, selling knick knacks such as candles, customized hot sauces, and of course, more drinks. As a big fan of Harry Potter, I knew I had to get this hot sauce:

things to do in NOLA

After doing some shopping, we headed over to the world famous Cafe du Monde to get a taste of their beignets and coffee. Honestly, I thought it was overrated and pretty expensive for what is essentially fried dough. But just like Bourbon Street, gotta try it at least once while you’re in NOLA!

things to do in new orleans

After reviving ourselves with some iced coffee and some drinks, we headed over to our New Orleans Ghost tour. Out of all the tours we did, it was my least favorite and I would actually recommend against it. Our guide talked too fast, seemed far too scripted, did not really engage with his audience, and then at the end of the tour, waited for a tip for a job mediocrely done. He took us around the French Quarter, which was nice, but we could’ve done that on our own.

For dinner, we ordered a bunch of seafood from Cajun Seafood for an at-home crawfish boil. We ordered 25 lbs of crawfish, 10 lbs of shrimp, 5 lbs of crab, 3 cajun fries, 1 shrimp fried rice, 1 order of potatoes, a bunch of corn, and chicken wings…all for 10 girls. And this is AFTER we talked down the original amount…so yes, we definitely overordered. It was insanely cheap though, it came out to be around $35pp.

things to do in New orleans

For night festivities, we went out to Frenchman Street because it was the spot that ALL the locals recommended. And they were right because it was so much fun and so much more chill than Bourbon Street. Every place we went to had good music, good drinks, and good food. Shoutout to Dat Dog for having bomb hot dogs and for being my knight in shining armor when I had a dire case of the drunchies.

what to do in new orleans

Face of pure bliss

Day 3

For our last full day, we went to a burlesque brunch at SoBou. The brunch is set up such that all of their entrees come with an appetizer and a dessert. They also have a “brunch hooch punch” that comes in a giant flask – a concoction that was described as an “alcoholic fruity beverage” to us. The burlesque dancer Bella Blue definitely made brunch more entertaining and I’m sure she made some men happier too. Here she is getting very up close and personal with my friend’s sunglasses.

how to spend 4 days in new orleans

They are located in the French Quarter, which makes it easy to walk around, explore, and go shopping afterwards. The French Quarter has cool shops that sell everything from antiques like a $10 million dollar ring (which my friend tried on) to New Age crystals and voodoo dolls.

After shopping, we checked out a distillery tour at Seven Three Distilling. Our tour guide was friendly, knowledgeable, and obviously loved what she did. She taught us about the history of the distillery, gave us background on NOLA (did you know there used to be an official red light district?), and of course, gave us lots of booze to try. I really enjoyed this tour because we got to learn and also drink.

After the tour, we chilled for the rest of the day until dinner at Cochon, which ended up being my favorite restaurant in NOLA. It was served family style for us as we were a large group, but that is definitely not mandatory. Some highlights were the mac n cheese, pork shoulder, and the bread and butter (because I love carbs). It was also very affordable for the quality of the food. If you only go to one of the restaurants I recommend in this post, go to this one.

Day 4

And that’s a wrap! We had an early morning flight so we said our goodbyes to NOLA and went back home to the Bay Area.


  • Bring bug spray because humidity + hot weather = mosquitoes. We used this one.
  • Bring sunscreen for same reasons as above
  • Tarot card readings are very popular in NOLA as is voodoo magic. If you want to get a reading, make sure you book early as they tend to run out of appointments day of.
  • We didn’t have time to check out the Garden District, but the homes look beautiful and it looks lovely to walk around.
  • There is public transportation available, but we ended up Lyfting everywhere because it was more convenient. Out of Uber and Lyft, Lyft was the cheaper option for us.

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