“It’s dirty.” “Really cool!” “Crowded.” “Too many tourists.” “Fun!” “Gross.”
Matthew and I had heard all of the above and more about New Orleans, but no matter what people told us, we wanted to find out for ourselves what this infamous place was really all about.
Once again, we booked a room on Airbnb – I strongly suggest using Airbnb for a cheap, more exciting experience, and I also strongly suggest staying where Matthew and I stayed. The “Cozy, Mid-City Shotgun” in Mid-City, New Orleans was just $35/night and just 2 blocks away from a trolley stop where you could get on a trolley for $1.25 to go anywhere in New Orleans. Not only was the placement of the house super convenient, but it was on a nice, quaint street and it was super homey inside. Although our host wasn’t there, she left a nice welcome note and was very accommodating, as she answered all of our questions via text.
Often times, when people are visiting New Orleans (or on any vacation, really), they tend to spend a lot of money, but Matthew and I were pretty thrifty during out stay. We bought drinks beforehand so we wouldn’t have to buy too much downtown + New Orleans allows you to drink on the street, so it was no problem carrying our drinks around.
To keep the trip cheap, I also researched for deals in NOLA. One deal that caught our eye was the free crawfish/shrimp broil at R-Bar & Inn on Royal Street every Friday @ 6:30PM.
After exploring the French Quarter and enjoying the famous beignets and Café au Lait from Café Du Monde, we went to R-Bar and were very pleased with our full, free meal of broiled shrimp.
Not gonna lie – at first, I was creeped out by the shrimp eyes, but after taking a bite, it was amazing. After our dinner, we were totally full as we explored the bars and clubs NOLA had to offer for the rest of the night before we took the trolley back home.
Trolley tip: If you’re ever visiting New Orleans, it’s definitely smart to ask the trolley driver if he is going to your street. We ended up getting on the wrong trolley our first night, and it took us 30+ more minutes to get home.
On Saturday, we found another fun, cheap adventure: the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Reserve. If you love the outdoors, you will love walking along the boardwalk that goes around the green, wet swamp area.
We explored the bayou for hours, and then went to City Park, home to the New Orleans Museum of Art (not free), and the sculpture garden, totally cool and totally free. In addition, there are so many trails, gardens, and lakes to see — you could spend hours in City Park.
We also found a Pinkberry close to City Park, and since I still had a birthday reward to use, I was able to get my free cup of froyo with unlimited mix-ins! — yum.
After City Park, lunch, and Pinkberry, we went to Magazine Street, which had a whole bunch of restaurants. If you want some great happy hour deals and a more local place to go than the French Quarter, I strongly suggest checking out Magazine Street.
That night, we explored the night scene, which is definitely something everyone should experience. I have never seen so many people on one street (Bourbon Street) in my life. Of course, you need to be careful and smart because there are people who will try to scam you and steal from you, but just be aware and you should be okay.
Overall, we thought New Orleans was a very cool place. There were a lot of abandoned buildings and homeless people, but there were also some nice parts with a lot of culture. We managed to get the full experience without spending much money at all and most importantly, we were able to decide for ourselves what we thought about the notorious city.