Guide to Livin’ Life NOLA Style
Looking for a place that dishes up unique culture, tons of entertainment and doesn’t require the study of a foreign language? When you go to New Orleans, you’ll feel as if you stepped into another country. Conveniently though, you haven’t. The city has been reborn in recent years and offers an incredible variety in entertainment, eats and more. If you’re traveling to the area, which I recommend you do, here are some local goodies to check out.
Let’s just provide a definition to the uninitiated; what does NOLA mean? Well, it simply means ‘New Orleans, Louisana’. Now, prepare your tastebuds and get your ‘going out’ clothes ready for a whistlestop run through the coolest, funkiest, tastiest, loudest establishments in New Orleans…say hola to NOLA.
The Rum House
If you’re looking for a laid back place to eat, The Rum House is a great bet. You can sip on something stronger than water and bid your troubles adieu. Located in the Garden District, The Rum House’s Caribbean-inspired menu includes lots of items from the sea as well as gluten-free and vegetarian options. If you’re in the mood for salad, personalize your plate with protein-rich add-ons like jerked chicken or grilled shrimp. It’s a fun place with great food!
The Mojo Lounge is nestled in the French Quarter and features a tasty, inexpensive menu. It’s a café-style place with simple eats like salads, wraps and paninis. You can get some great food for under $10. Even more, the staff is really nice too.
Ale on Oak
Ale is pretty fresh to the area, but people seem to love it. The atmosphere is great and there are 30 beers and 30 scotches to choose from. The place calls itself a “gastropub” and promises great food and great beer. The menu is comprised of bar foods with classy touches. If you’re craving some spicy lemongrass wings or super fresh pretzels, for example, this is the place to go.
Wednesdays at the Square
On Wednesday afternoons between March and May you can find free entertainment in Lafayette Square. Musical groups of all genres provide outdoor concerts on an elevated stage from 5:00 to about 7:30 in the evening, no admission fee required! Bring a blanket or some chairs to enjoy anything from jazz to pop, with even the most famous New Orleans brass bands making appearances.
Interested in indoor concerts and events? Tipitina’s musical guests vary in genre, so you can get a taste of something different every time. Recent performers have included Macy Gray and OK GO. The interior is sprawling and spacious, with big non-musical events often taking place inside. If a sit-down night of fun is what you crave, this might be the spot for you.
The Dungeon Club
This nightspot is located in the French Quarter. It opens at midnight, and the crowd gets crazy. There is a live DJ to serve your dancing needs, an outdoor area and pool tables to entertain. If you’re around during the wee hours of Friday morning, as in 1:00 to 4:00, you can enjoy three-for-the-price-of-one mixed drinks.
Rock ‘N Bowl – Mid City Lanes
Rock ‘N Bowl ranked #2 on TripAdvisor’s Best Nightlife in New Orleans list. You can dance, bowl, drink and eat yummy bar food. The energy is great and you can stay out late. It’s definitely a fun place to go. This alley also features live music from time to time, so bring your dancing shoes.
Maple Leaf Bar
At the Maple Leaf Bar in the Garden District, you can listen to live music nightly. This venue was a chess and music club once upon a time, and it maintains it’s classy and funky ambience. You can walk in during a poetry reading every now and then, and the spot serves up The Rebirth Brass Band on a regular basis. It’s a fun and unique spot to hang out.
Six blocks of the Lower French Quarter are overtaken with unique shops, eateries and entertainment venues. There’s a weekly farmers market that offers the best of local foods and a flea market where you can buy special NOLA treasures. Stroll down the riverside and shop the day away.
Magazine Street stretches on for six miles, bringing shoppers antiques, home furnishings, cigars and everything in between. “Lower Magazine” begins where Magazine intersects with Felicity, and this is where the real retail shopping starts. If you get hungry or thirsty during a long day of perusing the stores, the Magazine District houses numerous restaurants and coffee shops.
Royal Street runs through the French Quarter and hosts artsy boutiques as well as antique shops. Looking for an eclectic gift? Royal Street is the place to go. The district begins at Canal Street, and offers renowned street performances to entertain you as you shop your way through the district.
I could fill a book listing with all the special gems of the city, but I won’t. There’s really only one true way to experience life NOLA style, and that’s to come here and live it up in person.
Savannah Hemmings is a personal shopper and lifestyle blogger who had the privilege of living in New Orleans for six years. Check out her blog, SincerelySavannah