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Nights to Next Level:
Experience the city from Omni Royal Orleans, which boasts convenient access to the French Quarter as well as other buzzing neighborhoods like Treme-Lafitte. Housed on St. Louis at Royal, our New Orleans property is situated near everything from world-class bites (including the hotel’s Zagat-rated Rib Room and the famous Café du Monde) to the live music that made the Big Easy famous. If you’re looking for a weekend or vacation guide for exploring the best of what the Crescent City has to offer, read on for our two-day itinerary.
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Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Royal House on Royal Street. This restaurant features some of the best seafood in the Big Easy. On the menu you’ll find selections like chargrilled oysters, chicken and Andouille gumbo and Alaskan snow crab. The restaurant itself has a colorful past worth digging into—it was once the residence of the historical Tortorici family of New Orleans and formerly an Italian restaurant that drew superstars like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Since its renovation in 2008, however, the focus has shifted to seafood—but the food is still just as terrific.
If you’re in search of lighter fare, however, try out Café Amelie, which has vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options like a beet and goat cheese salad and Brussels sprouts a la planca.
Once you’ve had your fill, soak in some history. Head to the National World War II Museum, recently voted as one of the city’s top attractions. Sitting on six acres, it covers everything from industrial efforts at home to the experience of American soldiers abroad.
Or take a steamboat tour, another popular attraction in New Orleans. Steamboat Natchez does three tours daily from Toulouse Street Wharf and winds its way around the lower Mississippi. Noted as New Orleans’ ‘only steamboat,’ the tour operator also offers special jazz and dinner cruises.
Book a table at the Rib Room for dinner (located within the Omni Royal Orleans). Entrees are prepared on giant French rotisseries and mesquite grills and run the gamut from St. Louis rib eye to slow-roasted duck breast. There’s a reason this eatery is a winner of the prestigious Zagat Award. Indulge with a drink at the bar—standouts include the Royal Manhattan and lemon drop.
For a gastropub experience, you might also try Sylvain on Chartres Street. This eatery features the ultimate in comfort food, boasting everything from sweetbreads smothered in buffalo sauce to roasted Texas quail.
Round out your evening by visiting one of the French Quarter’s numerous music venues. Preservation Hall is nearby and an absolute must for jazz lovers. Also within walking distance is 21st Amendment at La Louisiane, another hot spot for jazz, as well as cocktails. Try the brandy Manhattan or Moscow mule as you listen to some of the best musicians in New Orleans.
Grab breakfast at Brennan’s, a New Orleans institution. The soft shell crab and eggs is the ultimate in decadent brunch fare. Other musts are the corned duck hash, eggs Benedict glazed in wine and French toast.
If you want breakfast on the go, head to Envie Espresso Bar & Café. Iced coffee is a great choice during the summer months and you can’t go wrong with their egg and cheese breakfast sandwich.
Afterward, do some more sightseeing. St. Louis Cathedral is an iconic landmark and even has its own museum. It’s located in Jackson Square, which also provides access to other historical buildings like the Presbytere and Cabildo, as well as some of the oldest apartment buildings in the country: the Pontalba Apartments, which have their own shops, galleries and eateries. Artists also congregate at the square and display their work in the open air. In the same square, you might also visit the statue of its namesake, Andrew Jackson.
Or head to the 1850 House, another New Orleans museum that offers guests the chance to see what life was like 150 years ago. It’s full of décor and art from the period and shows what life was like for a typical middle class family at the time.
Nearby Stanley Restaurant is a natural choice for lunch. Expect modernized Louisiana bites on the menu at this bright, sunny café. Another convenient choice is Muriel’s Jackson Square, which is housed in a 19th-century building. When it comes to the menu, think classic Creole cuisine.
Continue sightseeing along Royal Street, which is full of great art galleries—Tresor Gallery, Gallery Orange and Pennington Fine Art are all within walking distance of each other.
Or, explore another thing New Orleans is known for—voodoo. There are a score of shops in the Big Easy committed to selling talismans, spell kits and psychic readings, all in the name of honoring New Orleans’ heritage. Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo is near Jackson Square and named after the queen of voodoo herself.
Grab dinner at SoBou, which combines classic Southern dishes with unique fare like yellow fish tuna tacos and fried redfish with aioli. Angeline is another French Quarter option with Southern style dishes like coffee-rubbed lamb, braised pork cheeks with grits and more.
No need to search for a nightcap. Touché Bar at Omni Royal Orleans offers homegrown cocktails inspired by the region, including a Peach Palmer, Key Lime Collins, Basil Peach Gimlet and White Whiskey Berry Sour. If you’re still hungry, snack all small bites like stuffed potato skins and oyster po’boys.
Finish off by a night of exploring Frenchmen Street, which has dozens of jazz clubs and serves as a throwback to how the iconic Bourbon Street used to feel. Otherwise, take a dip in the Omni Royal Orleans pool, which is open until 10 p.m., heated and offers some of the best views of the French Quarter and Mississippi River around.
If the kids loved the aquarium and insectarium, head over to Audubon Park, the home of the Audubon Zoo, which boasts 15,000 species. You might also stop at nearby Tulane University, which has a historical campus dating back to the 1890s.
The Omni Royal Orleans concierge team contributed to this article.