One of the most coveted perks at Travelzoo is the Travelzoo Experience, in which Deal Experts and other employees take advantage of the same travel, entertainment and local deals we publish to our subscribers and report back on their experience.
New Orleans is a city that has always intrigued me but never presented a good reason to visit. So when a Travelzoo Newsflash hit with a fare from San Francisco for $199 roundtrip, I jumped on the chance and embarked on my first trip to a destination that boasts good food, music, southern charm and history.
On the first morning of my December trip, I was excited about exploring the French Quarter, which is so much more than just Bourbon Street. Royal Street and Chartres Street offered a better flavor of the district. The streets are flanked by old buildings, but it is also dotted by charming antique shops and galleries. It’ll take you by many historic buildings like the Bank of Louisiana (now the police station of Vieux Carre), Brennan’s Restaurant (famous for brunch and the original Bananas Foster), St. Louis Cathedral, Pirates Alley, and the old U.S. Mint. Jackson Square was delightful with its street musicians, tarot card readers and horse-drawn carriages.
On the second day, I ventured to the Garden District via the lovely St. Charles Street Car. I grabbed a window seat and enjoyed the city sights for just $1.25 each way -- an excellent value! These cars take exact change ($1 bills accepted). And here’s a tip: Make sure you deposit your change one coin at a time to make sure they drop through. I made the mistake of throwing my handful of coins in the collection box and jammed it up. The driver had to attempt to either pull them out or jam them through. This caused a long line of people behind me, which was quite embarrassing.
I signed up for a two-hour walking tour of the Garden District and wanted to precede it with an early lunch at the prestigious Commander’s Palace Restaurant. I’m glad I took the recommendation of the hotel’s concierge to make a reservation, even though I was a party of one.
On my last day, I went on a stroll on the scenic Moon Walk -- a boardwalk along the Mississippi River. One of only two steam-powered sternwheelers left still in operation, the Natchez was docked and ready to take its next group of tourists on a jazz cruise.
Overall, New Orleans certainly did not disappoint in its food, and I will return based on that alone. Because this was my first trip, there were a few hits and misses. Food highlights include:
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