Do you like food, live music and nightlife? Then New Orleans is a dream destination. It’s filled with attractions and activities, and the city’s invigorating energy and cultural diversity leave an equally lasting impression.
And the Big Easy is now easy to reach from Pittsburgh International Airport:
Breeze Airways will launch nonstop service to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport starting on Feb. 3. So from what to do to where to stay to which mouth-watering eats to savor, get ready to let the good times roll on a weekend getaway to New Orleans.
The French Quarter
No trip to New Orleans is complete without exploring the one-of-a-kind French Quarter. Soak in old-world architecture with its ornate wrought iron. This historic district’s vibrant street life and bohemian charm should be savored slowly, so allow unstructured time to be swept away by the sound of a spontaneous sidewalk zydeco trio and the scent of sugar-dusted beignets from Café du Monde wafting in the air.
The French Quarter loves to party, and its cocktail culture is robust. The potent Sazerac was invented here in 1838 and it remains the city’s official cocktail. Try one at Jewel of the South, located in a vintage Creole cottage with a leafy courtyard.
Known as the Crown Jewel of New Orleans, the French Quarter is one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods. (Image courtesy of New Orleans and Company)
Part of the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden’s three-dimensional works are displayed in the open air for a harmonious blend of art and nature. View imaginative creations as you walk along shady footpaths fringed by a canopy of live oaks and floral beds bursting with fragrant magnolias. It’s adjacent to City Park, a sprawling metropolitan oasis with a botanical garden and boating on the lake.
Explore the magnitude of the American experience during World War II at the immersive National World War II Museum. Ride a replica Union Pacific train, just as a young recruit would have on the way to boot camp. Artifacts, including dented helmets and a treasure trove of handwritten letters, highlight deeply personal stories.
The Besthoff Sculpture Garden is the latest cultural destination for visitors to New Orleans and provides a unique opportunity for visitors who treasure the arts. (Image courtesy of New Orleans Museum of Art)
New Orleans is synonymous with music, especially jazz. Two of the city’s best jazz venues are Preservation Hall and the revolving Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. Seasonal outdoor concerts on Wednesdays in Lafayette Square and Thursdays in Louis Armstrong Park are free.
Synonymous with music, New Orleans features a wide range of outdoor music and seasonal concerts. (Photo by Zack Smith)
Few towns know how to party like the Big Easy. Attending winter’s annual Mardi Gras is a bucket-list experience for many, but the city hosts festivals all year, including French Quarter Festival in spring and the National Fried Chicken Festival in fall.
The Eliza Jane sits in the heart of the trendy Arts District. Sophisticated guest rooms are individually appointed with eclectic furniture and jewel-tone accents.
Located on Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter, the Royal Sonesta enjoys a gracious vibe. A rooftop swimming pool is a welcome respite when the city gets steamy.
The one-of-a-kind Eliza Jane Hotel is a thoughtful blend of elegance, combined with just the right mix of fancy and funky. (Image courtesy of Eliza Jane Hotel)
Nowhere is New Orleans’ mix of cultures more obvious than at its dining table. Creole, Cajun, French, Spanish and soul food elements mingle to create one of the most recognizable regional cuisines in America. Galatoire’s has been serving traditional favorites like shrimp Creole, seafood gumbo, and bananas Foster since 1905.
For something more modern, Maypop offers a playful fusion menu that’s Southeast Louisiana meets Southeast Asia. Lao sausage adds zest to dirty rice and turmeric-dusted pickles take favorites like mac-and-cheese to the next level.
Founded in 1905, Galatoire’s started with recipes and traditions brought from France by Jean Galatoire with its original menu and ambience still present today. (Photo by Todd Coleman)