First Look at HI USA New Orleans

A few days ago I spent the day exploring a place I had never been…

The Big Easy – New Orleans!

Angie got to go a few years ago, and I was always jealous of her trip. So on my very long car ride from Texas to Orlando, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to stop in NOLA.

And I’m so glad I did!

I squeezed in a few activities before I got drenched by rain. In a place with so much history, I know I didn’t even scratch the surface. So, if you’re ever popping into New Orleans for a super fast visit, check out these QUICK, must-do activities.

Ride the streetcar

Do this early! The cars can get pretty full around 11 a.m. I rode all the way down St. Charles alone, but on the way back it was packed. It’s a leisurely two hour trip, full of historic mansions and smiling Southerners.

Exploring New Orleans

Exploring New Orleans

Exploring New Orleans

Bring a water bottle and enjoy the ride. It’s $3 all day, so you save money by replacing any Uber rides with the streetcar. Make sure you have exact change though. Don’t roll up with a $20 like I did. #Awkward #Tourist

Café du Monde

Did you really visit New Orleans if you didn’t eat a beignet? Café du Monde is a must-do restaurant in NOLA.

Exploring New Orleans

Exploring New Orleans

A beignet is a square piece of fried dough sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar. YUM!
Established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market, the cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week – so you can always satisfy your sweet tooth. If you sit down and eat, they don’t accept cards so bring cash. A 3-piece plate is $2.73, and that was more than enough for me.

Jackson Square

After stuffing my face with fried dough, I sat in Jackson Square and people watched. There was a nice cool breeze coming from the Mississippi River, music playing from the streets and the smell of beignets coming from Cafe du Monde. I could have stayed there all day.Exploring New Orleans

Exploring New Orleans

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street was poppin’, even at 1 p.m. I can see why so many people celebrate their bachelor and bachelorette parties here. There are tons of restaurants, gift shops, bars and it’s the oldest street in New Orleans.

Exploring New Orleans

Exploring New Orleans

Beams and Brews

Every month the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans holds an event called Beams and Brews at a building under renovation. Their mission is to promote the preservation, restoration and revitalization of New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods.

I attended this month’s Beams and Brews happy hour series at the soon-to-be HI USA hostel. The 4-story, 122-bed, 24-suite hostel will welcome travelers from around the globe toward the end of 2018.

Hostelling International USA is America’s leading hostel brand. They believe in making travel accessible for everyone through travel scholarships, free stays for those who volunteer in the community and unique programming.

Their goal is to bring people together… and we can use all of the unity we can get right now, right?

Exploring New Orleans

Exploring New Orleans

Angie and I will be back soon to stay in the HI USA hostel and explore NOLA a bit more. Congrats HI USA on your new space, save a room for us!

Have you been to New Orleans? What should we do on our return visit?

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