New Orleans is mostly associated with Mardi Gras, women flashing their breasts for beads, and drunken debauchery. It was founded by the French before being ruled by the Spanish for 40 years. The U.S. purchased it in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. New Orleans has a rich history. It is because of this rich history that New Orleans has so much to offer, such as museums, cruises on the Mississippi River, nearby plantations, and distilleries. A few years ago, we had a second honeymoon in New Orleans, as part of an extended road trip. Join us as we recap our 4 days in the wondrous city of New Orleans for couples.
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Day 1 Arrival in Romantic New Orleans for Couples
New Orleans Museum of Art
Initially, we arrived in New Orleans too early to check into our hotel. Instead, we found the New Orleans Museum of Art through New Orleans offers on Trip Advisor. The museum is located in the Orleans city park. We were starving so we had a picnic lunch on the lawn of the city park. Afterwards we took our time perusing several floors of art work. It wasn’t crowded, so we didn’t feel rushed.
Then we headed out back to admire the sculpture garden. Winding paths lead through a garden of bizarre and unique sculptures such as a giant safety pin or a person made from letters. If you are looking for relaxing things to do in New Orleans for couples, this is it.
After indulging in some culture and our relaxing picnic we headed for our hotel. We checked into the Royal St. Charles Hotel at 135 St. Charles Avenue. Then we left our car with the valet. With the exception of a day trip to local plantations, we wouldn’t be needing it. New Orleans is easy to get around on foot or by taking the trolley. Subsequently, we booked a comfortable queen size room for a reasonable price through Groupon. We chose this hotel due to the location in the heart of the crescent city. While it didn’t have a pool, we didn’t care because we came for the sights.
While in New Orleans for a Couple’s Weekend, Take a River Cruise
After freshening up, we checked our phones for directions and walked to Jackson Square. If you are looking for romantic things to do in New Orleans at night, try a riverboat cruise. We reserved spots on a 7pm cruise aboard the Steamboat Nachez. To begin, we ordered some drinks from the bar and proceeded to find cozy seats on deck. As we watched the sun set over the Mississippi River we listened to the energetic music of a jazz band. What can be a more romantic thing than spending an evening floating along the river, on deck of a steamboat, sipping cocktails, and listening to jazz?
Then we even got to take a tour of the engine room to learn the workings of the ship. Who knew there all of this history?
Now it was time to eat. We found the romantic table for two assigned to us in the dining room. Then we enjoyed a buffet dinner with all the fixings along with a Sazerac, a traditional drink in New Orleans. In addition, the crew sang to us for our anniversary and dessert, which made a grand finale to the evening.
Incidentally, this would be a romantic place in New Orleans to propose. The staff was so accommodating for our anniversary, it seems like they welcome making a production out of special occasions.
Day 2 Plantations in New Orleans for Couples to Visit
Destrehan Manor House
We woke up early and walked to Central Grocery to order a famous muffaletta. In case you haven’t heard of this, its a large round sandwich layered with olive salad, salami, ham, Swiss cheese, provolone, and mortadella. Then we ordered our car from the valet and embarked on our journey to River Road.
Travel along River Road to find numerous plantations. You will have to choose carefully, as you can’t see them all. Our first stop was the Destrehan Manor House. Here we toured the Blacksmith Shop, smokehouse, and the kitchen house. If you would like to get a feeling for what life was like during this time, I recommend reading The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. It is historical fiction, but tells a story of what went on behind the scenes often at these plantations. It is a riveting read, detailing some of the more vulgar happenings on southern plantations.
Oak Alley Plantation, a Must See in New Orleans for Couples
Oak Alley Plantation makes for a romantic date in New Orleans. With its rolling lawns, opulent rooms, and guides in period dress, you will feel like you stepped back in time. Our guide shared his knowledge of the the plantation life of the slaves and really honored the men and women who did the majority of the work to built up this country. We toured slave quarters as well as the inside of the plantation. Outside again, we bought some refreshing mint juleps and found a cozy picnic spot. Then we unpacked our muffaletta and enjoyed our romantic lunch.
San Francisco Plantation
After lunch, we drove to our final destination, the San Francisco Plantation. I chose this plantation because I heard that it was decorated with a lot of hand painted art work. It did not disappoint. Numerous cypress fireplaces were painted to look like marble. Also, the ceilings and door panels were all hand painted with cherubs and items from nature. In addition, a clothing chest on display had the ability to fold up into a trunk for traveling. This plantation even housed a state of the art flushing chamber pot! Plan on taking plenty of pictures.
Bourbon Street, the Obvious Choice to Visit in New Orleans for Couples or Anyone
We returned to our hotel and handed our car back to the valet. After a shower and a short nap, we struck out looking for fun things to do in New Orleans for adults. Of course, this means the acclaimed Bourbon Street. There are many popular bars and clubs here along with trendy frozen concoctions. However, we chose some more classic venues.
A must see is the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. There are many seating options in this bar, but we opted to wait for a seat at the carousel. The bar is made to mimic a carnival carousel and makes a complete rotation every 15 minutes. I highly recommend the wait for a seat. It is bucket list worthy when visiting New Orleans for couples.
After that, we found a dive bar called Sing Sing where we were able to sip our drinks up close to the live bands. The best things to do while traveling are often the ones off the beaten path. So instead of choosing the most popular bar, find one tucked away. You are more likely to meet locals on a side street, and you will end up with a more authentic experience instead of just hanging out with other vacationers. Especially if you are visiting New Orleans for couples, you don’t want to be stuck in the crowd the whole trip. Smaller venues provide a more romantic ambiance.
Day 3 French Market, Rum, and Ghosts of New Orleans
French Market, a Great Place in New Orleans for Couples to Explore
You can’t visit Orleans city without checking out the French Market. This morning we walked there as our first stop of the day. We skipped the famous beignets in favor of indulging in shrimp po boys later. We are not much for sweets so this was an easy choice for us. However, if you have a hankering for tasty treats, feel free to indulge. After all food is part of the culture.
While we waited for our ride to the rum distillery we browsed the market. This proved to be a great place to buy souvenirs. This market houses everything from clothing to homemade food products. To sum up, I bought a strappy dress, some coasters, and a few other kitschy souvenirs.
The Old New Orleans Rum Distillery
For fun things for couples to do in New Orleans, visit the rum distillery. Since the distillery is located on the outskirts of town, our tour guide arrived in a van to drive us to the distillery. After arriving, we sipped rum cocktails while waiting for the other tour participants. Once the tour began, our guide taught us the history of the distillery and how rum is made. Nothing says love more than sampling different types of rum together. And that is exactly what we did at the end of the tour. Of course, we bought some to take home with us. This is a great activity to do with friends as well.
The French Quarter and Ghosts
Once back in the French Quarter, we walked to the Royal Sonesta Hotel where we entered the Desire Oyster Bar. Eating oysters should definitely be on your list of top couple activities in New Orleans. We had purchased a Groupon for a dozen oysters and drinks for two. Finding deals makes travel affordable.
After indulging on the best grilled oysters we ever had and tasty drinks, we went to explore the French Quarter. In short, we stumbled upon the Museum of Death. This museum houses a collection of serial killer artwork, crime scene photos, mortician and coroner instruments, and Manson family memorabilia. This is a self-guided tour which takes approximately 45 minutes.
After eating our po boys, we located the real estate office that doubled as the office for French Quarter History and Ghost Busters. A ghost tour is a fun date night idea in New Orleans. We then embarked with a group of others on a walking tour of New Orleans. During the tour we learned the creepy history of New Orleans and the infamous pirate, Jean Lafitte. The tour ended at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, the oldest bar in New Orleans, built between 1722 and 1732. As a result, we had to try the famous Voodoo drink, a frozen purple concoction. However, I was not impressed. I am not one for these pre-made drinks from a mix. Give me some good old Bourbon any time.
Day 4 The Garden District
Mardi Gras World
Today we spent the morning at Mardi Gras World. Finally, we had mastered the Streetcar system here, because this was too far to walk. Here is where they make all of the displays for parade floats around the country. The artists fuse layers of Styrofoam together for the base of these sculptures. Sometimes they add layers of plywood to give the forms strength. Then they paint the sculptures to make them 3 dimensional. The parade floats themselves are several stories high and contain bathrooms, because the parade participants are often on the floats for many hours.
Prior to our tour of the facility we watched a quick film telling the history of the floats. Did you know there is a hierarchy involved in being granted the privilege of entering a float in a parade? We even got to try on some of the costumes. Parades are a New Orleans tradition. Mardi Gras is the most widely known celebration, but smaller parades are found in New Orleans daily. Since we did not come during Mardi Gras, we didn’t participate in the crazy things to do in New Orleans like flashing my breasts for beads. But in my opinion, experiencing the Mardi Gras museum was a better choice on a romantic getaway.
Another tradition is that of the King Cake. King cakes are used during celebrations in New Orleans. The baker hides a plastic baby in the cake. If you get the piece with the baby, then you are responsible for buying the cake for the next celebration. Weird, huh?
After that, we hopped the street car again and traveled to the Garden District. Famous for its beautiful 19th century homes, the Garden District was originally part of the Livaudais Plantation. New Orleans incorporated the plantation in 1852 and it is now considered a historic landmark. Stroll down the well known Magazine Street and stop in the shops. Some of the more popular restaurants fill quickly and waits can be long. I challenge you to walk a little further and find a less popular alternative. We like to sit at the bar and chat with the bartender. Usually, you get insider information about the area which consequently leads to a much better experience.
Of course, a visit to the Garden District isn’t complete without a trip to Lafayette Cemetery. While visiting a cemetery doesn’t seem like it would be a fun couple thing to do in New Orleans, it actually is. Don’t forget to book a tour ahead of time. Here many of the tombs date back to the 1800s. Due to New Orleans actually being below sea level, these tombs are all built above the ground. Because of the heat in New Orleans, the tombs act as kilns, therefore cremating the bodies. This allows families to use the same tombs over and over again.
After we took the street car back to the French Quarter, we walked to Jackson Square for the evening. We started by shopping for souvenirs in the many shops lining the streets. Then we found Voodoo Authentica, a traditional voodoo shop. Visiting a voodoo shop is a must in New Orleans. Here we browsed collections of voodoo dolls, potion oils, and gris gris bags. Eventually we chose to buy some candles. The shop also offers readings.
We ended the evening with dinner at Jax Brewery. We sat at the bar which had an open area facing the street. While we were eating, a random parade went by. I don’t mean some rinky dink parade either. Included were floats from Busch Gardens, Disney, Sea World, and the Smurfs, to name a few. All of them threw beads and candy to observers. I ran out to grab some beads. Typically, this is an every day occurrence here.
Sadly it was time to say good bye to this magical city. Time to finish our road trip and head home.
We did not discover all of the secrets of New Orleans. We will have to come back again to see National WWII Museum, the New Orleans Botanical Garden, and take a romantic carriage ride. Jusqu’ a la prochaine fois!https://www.pinterest.com/pin/622622717234016926/sent/?invite_code=b4b90c23c8bd46f2b96ec57f3d0a4286&sender=622622854642649163&sfo=1