One of the reasons we make New Year’s resolutions is to better ourselves, and one of the most fun to put into action is traveling more. Sure, we’re just getting back on track post-holidays—you know, not sleeping till 10am and donning pajamas for the better part of the day—but we can’t help dreaming about where we’ll go this year, from quick jaunts to bucket-list vacations. One buzz-worthy location we’re obsessed with for 2017 is New Orleans. An upsurge in hip spots beyond Bourbon Street means the historical city is full of incredible food, coffee shops, bars and boutiques that rival those in New York and LA, and are right up a fashion girl’s alley. It’s the perfect weekend destination for a trip with the girls or a romantic escapade. Here, a few of our favorite places to eat, drink and shop in the Big Easy.
Ace Hotel New Orleans: Bunk at the Ace Hotel in the Central Business District (CBD) for a charming yet very chic stay. With a host of on-property spots for food, drinks and entertainment, everyone from locals to visitors flock to the bustling area. We suggest grabbing drinks at the lobby-adjacent Josephine Estelle restaurant, perking up with a coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters (enjoy it the über-cool lobby lounge), and imbibing some cocktails poolside at rooftop spot Alto. Don't miss dinner at Seaworthy, a few doors down, then catch some jazz at music venue Three Keys for the perfect nightcap.
Images courtesy of Juley Le for Drip Affogato Bar, Allie Catalanotto for Drip Affogato Bar, Okay Bar
Drip Affogato Bar: Also in the heart of New Orleans' CBD (and one block away from the Ace), this ice cream and coffee bar is an insanely Instagrammable stop. We suggest trying an affogato flight or a Vietnamese coffee (truly, the photo ops are endless).
Okay Bar: Situated in the hip Bywater neighborhood, this delightfully low-key hipster bar is tops for cheap beer and uncomplicated but delicious cocktails. Bonus: Goldfish crackers are served as a bar snack, plus they offer fresh tacos and sandwiches for more substantial noshing.
Willa Jean: Boasting fresh, local ingredients and a retro-chic ambiance, this is the ultimate brunch stop. Dishes you can't pass up: homemade pastries and the signature frozen rosé wine slushie, aptly named Frosé Y'all.
Shaya: Looking for a place to pop in after strolling along Magazine Street all day? Try Shaya, which strikes the perfect balance between innovative recipes and tradition. The menu is modern Israeli, and it's to die for. Between the colorful dishes, enchanting dining room and industrial-chic patio, it's another highly Instagrammable location not to be missed.
N7: Famed for its low-key profile and "can-to-table" menu, this hidden French bar and restaurant is a Bywater gem. It's known as one of the most romantic restaurants outside of Paris, and for good reason: Strings of light illuminate the cozy cottage-style dining room that opens up to bistro tables in the backyard. Très chic!
Pilot and Powell: The ultimate fashion girl stop in the Big Easy, this luxury concept store is a haven on Magazine Street. It offers a freshly edited range of classic designers, as well as cool contemporary apparel and accessories that sit next to cosmetics, fragrances, gifts and books. Warning: You'll want to buy literally everything in the store.
Sunday Shop: Modern Suzy Homemakers will be smitten with this carefully curated lifestyle shop. It exudes the feeling of a perfect Sunday: calm, sunny and clean. You'll find everything from contemporary furniture and worldly home accessories to cult luxury beauty products.