New Orleans is a city of legend, filled with a culture all its own, universally hailed food, and conventions galore. If you end up in the Big Easy for business, however, it's easy to miss out on some of the city's charm. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the real New Orleans, we're offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.
If you're given the chance to pick an eatery for dinner, or you're able to sneak out on your own for a meal, you shouldn't leave New Orleans without visiting the Acme Oyster House. It's planted squarely in the French Quarter, so the walk to its front door is just as enjoyable as the meal you'll have inside. It's a moderately priced seafood joint, serving up precisely the kind of grub you'd expect to find in the heart of Bayou Country. Seasoned shrimp and gigantic oysters flow like wine, and, while you could arguably find superior food for more money elsewhere, the communal atmosphere plays a huge part in the recommendation. For a few hours, you'll be a local.
If you're heading uptown, and you're interested in a slice of Paris without the annoyance of passing through Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, stop in at La Crepe Nanou. It's as close as you'll get to finding a Parisian bistro in New Orleans, and, if the food doesn't win you over, the ambiance will. This one's best enjoyed with a friend, but, if you're traveling solo, you can probably find someone to play the part. It's the friendly south, after all!
New Orleans is as defined by its surroundings as it is the heart of the city, which is why it's worth a trip to one (or more!) of the six sites within Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. You can get your bearings at the downtown headquarters at the French Quarter Visitor Center, and, if you've got a rental car, here's your opportunity to briefly escape the nightmare that is parking in New Orleans. The swamps and prairies that sit just a stone's throw from the city center provide an excellent backdrop, and they're as peaceful as they are unique.
If you're spending time near the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, you owe it to yourself to walk next door to The Southern Food & Beverage Museum. Particularly for those from areas that don't habitually place "sweet" in front of the word "tea," this museum is a real riot. You'll often find tastings going on, as well, which is guaranteed to please your belly (but likely not your dietician).
A visit to New Orleans just wouldn't be complete without a few tunes, which is why it's worth winding down one evening at the Bourbon Street Blues Company. Drinks are a little on the pricey side, but if you consider it a tax to hear legitimately great blues music, the sting isn't so bad.
This is a recurring feature exploring must-visit locales in a variety of cities. If you find yourself traveling to a place for business, why not venture out and enjoy your surroundings?