The possibilities in this city are endless, but we’ve picked a few things to highlight for a visitor with a little extra time before or after the con.
Places to eat
Café du Monde has to top the list of places to eat in New Orleans. Open since 1862, it is the original French Market coffee stand. Serving cafe au lait and beignets 24 hours daily.
The Camellia Grill is another absolute must for anyone visiting New Orleans. The diner-style eatery opened in 1946 and is an old-fashioned, landmark restaurant in the city. The counter seating, happy servers, and vintage uniforms inspire a retro feeling among guests who dine on quality, southern diner food.
For something fancier on the weekend, head to the Public Service Restaurant for jazz brunch, where the brunch menu features genuine southern cuisine by Executive Chef Arthur Batiste and the jazz is classic, and performed by local artists. Takes place every Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm. Reservations required.
Opened in 1990, Emeril’s is Chef Emeril Lagasse’s acclaimed flagship restaurant located in the Warehouse District of New Orleans. Helmed by Chef E.J. Lagasse, the menu is built on a refined and elegant approach to Louisiana cooking, rooted in Chef Emeril’s signature bold flavors. Reservations required.
With a “bean to bar to bonbon and beyond” tagline, Piety and Desire chocolate cafe was founded by New Orleans native Christopher Nobles.
Above, Cafe du Monde; below, Piety and Desire Chocolates
Places to see
The St. Louis Cathedral (below) is one of New Orleans' most notable landmarks. This venerable building, its triple steeples towering above its historic neighbors, the Cabildo and the Presbytere. From the cathedral, it’s an easy walk to explore the Square with its street artists and vendors. You can see the statue of General Andrew Jackson on his bronze horse and the block-long Pontalba Buildings with their lacy ironwork galleries.
Anyone with an eye for architecture will want to check out Madame John’s Legacy. It is one of the finest 18th-century building complexes in Louisiana and one of the best examples of French colonial architecture in North America.
You can also get the feeling of Mardi Gras year-round: Visit Mardi Gras World, the largest float designing and building facility in the world, where more than 80% of the Carnival floats in New Orleans are designed and built. Here, you can try on authentic Mardi Gras costumes and tour enormous warehouses filled with floats. And for a taste of Mardi Gras, king cake and piping hot New Orleans coffee are served.
Museums to visit
There are so many museums in New Orleans that we can’t list them all! We picked a few highlights, and provided links to additional options that might be of interest.
The Backstreet Cultural Museum contains exhibits that specialize in New Orleans Black street cultures including jazz funerals, Mardi Gras Indians, and Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs' second line parades.
Louisiana played an active role in the American civil rights movement. In 2021, New Orleans launched the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail to memorialize the courage and determination of the people who fought for change. Now the Louisiana Civil Rights Museum offers another way to learn about the past and be inspired to create a better future.
For those who are interested in the darker side, the Museum of Death might just be the place for you. With its exhibits of body bags and coffins, a skull collection, the Theatre of Death, antique mortician apparatuses, and true crime information on infamous serial murderers, this museum is not for the faint of heart. Intended for mature audiences.
Also, you could check out some of these:
Explore the Garden District, ride the streetcar or a steamboat to get a feel for the city. You can also take a bike tour, ghost tour, or (and?) swamp tour to see what you find. Learn about how the sausage was made—literally—on the Andouille Trail.
While the con is in New Orleans, the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival will be presenting Romeo and Juliet. Founded in 1993 by several Tulane Faculty members, the festival has become one of the most significant theater companies in the Gulf South.
There’s also the Shard Shop, which specializes in a unique glass-on-canvas art they call ShardWorx – in their classes, you can make your own masterpiece!
PLACES TO SHOP
The opportunities are endless, but we suggest a custom blend from Bourbon French Parfums, where the custom blend specialists will create a unique fragrance just for you. Or if glass is your style, the Rosetree Blown Glass Studio and Gallery specializes in blown art glass in the Venetian style.
OUTSIDE OF TOWN
Whitney Plantation is a non-profit museum dedicated to the history of slavery, situated on a historical sugar, indigo, and rice plantation which operated from 1752-1975. The museum preserves over a dozen historical structures, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Whitney Plantation Historic District.