Experience The Best Of New Orleans In 48 Hours
Whether you have two days or two weeks to travel, our New Orleans city guide covers the must see sites, local food recommendations, where to stay, how much the city will cost, an example itinerary, and how to get around the city - including how to get to and from the airport.
New Orleans (or NOLA) is located in southeastern Louisiana, and occupies both sides of the Mississippi River. The heart of the city and its French Quarter is on the river's north side. The city is known for its distinct French and Spanish Creole architecture, as well as its cross-cultural and multilingual heritage. New Orleans is famous for its cuisine, music (particularly as the birthplace of jazz) and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The city is often referred to as the "most unique" in the United States. Tourism is a staple of the city's economy. Perhaps more visible than any other sector, New Orleans' tourist and convention industry is a $7.5 billion industry. In 2017, the hospitality industry employed 85,000 people, making it the city's top economic sector as measured by employment. New Orleans has many visitor attractions, from the world-renowned French Quarter to St. Charles Avenue, to Magazine Street with its boutique stores and antique shops. According to current travel guides, New Orleans is one of the top ten most-visited cities in the United States; 10.6 million visitors came to New Orleans in 2017. There is always something to do in NOLA and is a city that has something to offer any and everyone.
Getting To & From The Airport
There are 3 ways to get into the city from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport:
1. Taxi (This is the fastest option). Taxicab booths are located on the first level of the Terminal outside of Baggage Claim Belts 1 and 14.
Cost: $36.00 from the airport to the Central Business District, or French Quarter for up to two 2 passengers.
For three 3 or more passengers, the fare will be $15.00 per passenger. Taxis accept credit card payments.
2. Greyhound Bus: Greyhound offers daily service from the Airport to the locations below through routes to Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Greyhound also offers service from their Downtown Bus Station
Cost: For information on fares visit www.greyhound.com
3. Mass Transit (These are the cheapest options):
1) JET (Jefferson Transit Authority) - The Airport-Downtown Express (E2) Bus operated by JET is $2.00. The fare boxes will accept $1, $5, $10, $20 dollar bills and all U.S. coins. The Airport-Downtown Express (E2) provides service from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in Kenner, down Airline Drive into New Orleans, which takes approximately fifty minutes. For more information on public transit in the area, visit the Jefferson Transit website,www.jeffersontransit.org
2) RTA (Regional Transportation Authority) - The RTA provides the Airport Express (202) Bus with service to and from the Airport into New Orleans. Pick up locations for the Airport Express (202) Bus in New Orleans can be found at Elk Place at Cleveland and the Union Passenger Terminal Bus Bay 2. The fare for this route is $1.50. For bus schedule information, pick up locations, and route information, please click here.
First Things First - Where To Eat?
You can't come to New Orleans without knowing about its world-famous food. The indigenous cuisine is distinctive and influential. New Orleans food combined local Creole, Haute Creole and New Orleans French cuisines combine to produce a truly unique and easily recognizable New Orleans flavor. You can spend anywhere from $1 - $100 on a meal in this spectacularly diverse city.
Must-See's Of New Orleans
New Orleans is a thriving metropolis, but with the right plan, the city can be explored and mastered in 48 hours. Here are the must see sights of NOLA that you can explore and conquer in 48 hours. There are 6 must see attractions in the city that have come to define the city's wide spread popularity. From the iconic Bourbon & Magazine Streets, the huge and haunted cemeteries, the breathtaking history in the WWII Museum, to the hidden side streets filled with mouthwatering food, Voodoo shops and some of the greatest Jazz you will ever hear - it's all broken down below.
Exploring New Orleans On Public Transportation
New Orleans is a well structured and connected city. Thus their public transportation is easy to use and affordable. When sightseeing, we recommend hopping on any of the options below to reach your desired destination. All options are reasonably affordable and will take you anywhere in the city.
Streetcars - When sightseeing in New Orleans, we recommend hopping on the streetcars. Standard one-way fare on a streetcar costs only $1.25. The RTA operates four streetcar lines: the St. Charles line, the Canal Street line (covering the Cemeteries and City Park), the Riverfront line, and the Rampart line. All lines either run along or intersect with Canal Street in the area between the French Quarter and the Central Business District (CBD).
For a map, click here.
OPERATION HOURS: All three of New Orleans' streetcar lines provide service 24-hours a day with frequent service during the day and hourly appearances from midnight to 6 a.m.
New Orleans Loves Nightlife!
"New Orleans likes to stay up late. The city that is the birthplace of jazz and cocktails and hosts Mardi Gras every year is no sleepy head. While music is the local language any time of the day or night, come sundown in New Orleans, opportunities to listen and dance to live music and catch cabaret shows are in every nook and cranny. The city comes alive at night, keeping a syncopated beat that is irresistible and is still going strong when the sun comes up. Everything you need to know about NOLA night" - click here!
Where We Stay
There are tons of accommodation options in New Orleans, from hostels, Airbnb, bed & breakfasts, or many five-star hotels.
We choose to stay at the most popular hostel in NOLA called Madame Isabelle’s House in New Orleans. Built in 1831, Madame Isabelle’s family moved onto the property at the turn of the century, in 1900. The house is tastefully ornamented and furnished, staying faithful to the architectural characteristics typical of old New Orleans houses in this area. Once you venture out the house, a vibrant neighborhood welcomes you. Delicious restaurants and local bars share the streets with Creole cottages and shotgun houses. Though set in a quiet area, thriving nightlife is easily accessible from Madame Isabelle’s House: Frenchmen Street is only five minutes away by foot, Bourbon Street is within ten minutes walking distance, and Canal Street, which connects you to Mid-City and Uptown, fifteen minutes away by foot. If you would like to explore more than the downtown area without heading all the way to Canal Street, there is a bus stop conveniently located at the corner of the street that can transport you to any of the city’s many renowned tourist destinations. Dormitory rooms as well as private rooms are available. There are two and three person private rooms in the house. Almost all of our private rooms are equipped with a cable TV, a refrigerator, and a private bathroom. All beds are equipped with new, 8-inch mattresses and brand-new linens; however, you may not want to stay in your room long because the hidden courtyard garden awaits you, replete with an outdoor deck and a Jacuzzi hot tub.
($34/night for a 7 bed mixed dorm or $119.00/night for a private double room).
Travel Tips & Helpful Hints
Do I need a visa? Check and see here if your country is eligible for a free 90-day visa.
What is the power voltage? The USA has a national voltage of 110V.
What about smoking weed or drinking in the streets? Believe it or not, weed is illegal. Not only will you get a large fine, you face possible jail time if caught with more than an ounce on your person. As far as drinking goes, it is permissible to drink in public - go wild!
Is prostitution legal? I mean, it is NOLA after all, right? Wrong! Prostitution is illegal in 49 out of the 50 US states. The only place you can find legal hookers is Sin City - Las Vegas. Prostitution is taken seriously in NOLA with the first offense carrying a $500 fine or jail for 6 months.
48 hours in New Orleans Example Itinerary:
Hungover? That will happen. It is NOLA after all.
Chug some water, eat a mint and grab a Po Boy and slushie!
Hop on the streetcar and head to Jacksons Square. Sit in the sun for a while, enjoy the live Jazz, beautiful paintings and street performers. Once you're bored, head to the river near the French Market - it's a 5 minute walk!
Grab a beer at the French Market and start exploring. We recommend grabbing a plate of raw oysters from inside!
Head to Magazine street and get in your last minute shopping.
While walking around Magazine street, stop inside any of the numerous Creole Seafood restaurants for dinner!
Ready, Set, Drink! Enjoy your last night on Bourbon Street! Make sure to stop into some of the famous bars, strip clubs, and jazz bars to ensure you see a little bit of everything!
End your last night with a midnight Voodoo tour if your so inclined!
First things first, grab some breakfast and head to the WWII Museum. This is a great first activity, as it may take several hours, and is certainly not something you want to do hungover tomorrow morning. Explore for 2-4 hours.
Upon leaving the WWII Museum, you will see a streetcar near the front entrance. Hop on the streetcar and head to the French Quarter to grab a Po Boy for lunch!
After munching down your Po Boy (and beer) we recommend heading to Saint Louis Cemetery for a creepy tour of the oldest graveyard in NOLA.
After scaring yourself in the graveyard, head back to your hotel or hostel and get ready for a wild night out!
Looking fresh? Good! Head to Muriel's Bistro for dinner and enjoy some delicious local Creole food.
Now it's time to party. Head to Bourbon Street, grab a Big Ass Beer and start your evening!
So What's It Going To Cost?
Here is how much we spent, and what we spent it on, in 48 hours.
Food: Breakfast: We spent an average of $5 USD each morning at local cheap breakfast restaurants.
Lunch: We spent an average of $10 USD each day at local restaurants.
Dinner: We spent an average of $15 USD each evening, usually trying all the "best" Creole restaurants.
Total for Food = $30 USD each/per day.
Beer/Alcohol: It's NOLA. You'll drink a lot. Enough said.
Total for Beer/Alcohol = $40 USD each/per day.
Accommodation: Madame Isabelle’s House in New Orleans Hostel is one of the best rated hostels in town.
For 2 people to stay 2 nights, we spent $136 (total).
Transportation (Including getting to and from the airport): We took a taxi to and from the airport which cost $36.00, each way. In order to get around the city, we mainly used the $1.25 streetcars and would also walk as the city is fun to explore by foot.
Total for Transportation = $40 USD each (total).
Activities: We basically walked around a bunch and found the free activities to do: like exploring a local French market, watching the sunset near Jackson Square, people watched on Bourbon Street and Magazine Street, and taking a free voodoo tour (only had to tip - we gave $10 each). All other activities were eating and drinking (therefore that has been allocated to the food & beer budgets). The only activity we spent money on was the WWII Museum, which is completely worth the money. It is quite possibly the best WWII Museum ($27) we have ever been to, anywhere in the world.
Total for Activities = $37 USD each.
So, What Did We Spend In 48 Hours?
$570 USD for 2 people. That's about $142.50 USD per person, per day.