Image source: Arnaud's Restaurant
While most people have heard about New Orleans’ wild Bourbon Street, the city also has a very romantic side. Filled with historic architecture, Creole cottages, live jazz music and traditional restaurants, there’s an idyllic air at every turn. To help you plan a trip to New Orleans with your special someone, here is RoamRight’s guide to NOLA for couples.
New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, as the genre was born in Louis Armstrong Park’s Congo Square. It was here that slaves would meet on Sundays in the 1800s to practice their culture, and it was from their drum circles -- in New Orleans slaves were allowed to own drums -- that musicians were inspired to create jazz. Take a stroll around Louis Armstrong Park and admire the public art, pop into the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts or have a lakeside picnic. To further explore the romance of jazz music, enjoy a jazz performance at one of NOLA’s many live music venues. For a truly ambient experience, Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse in the Sonesta Hotel hosts local jazz talent each night at 8pm in a refined setting.
Image source: Arnaud's Restaurant
For a romantic activity that’s also active, spend some time kayaking the Bayou St. John. Choose to rent your own kayaks or take a tour with Kayak-iti-Yat to gain some background knowledge on the many neighborhoods you pass as well as the local wildlife. While swamp, oak trees, birds and bridges enhance the ambiance, the real draw is the architecture, which ranges from historic West Indies-style structures to Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired designs. Bonus: As the bayou is located across from City Park, you can continue your date with a stroll through the Botanic or Sculpture Gardens, visit to the New Orleans Museum of Art, or ride on the Ferris wheel.
For a truly romantic experience in New Orleans, explore the city by boat aboard the Steamboat Natchez. New Orleans’ only steamboat, you’ll take a trip back in time as you admire historical furnishings like a copper and steel whistle, copper bell and 25-ton white oak wheel. You and your special someone will also hear interesting commentary and admire views of NOLA and its landscapes and neighborhoods from the water, taking in the city from a point of view not all get to experience. While you sail, have a drink, dance to live jazz on the top deck and enjoy a delicious Creole lunch with dishes like Louisiana-style fried fish, shrimp Creole, and red beans and rice.
One way to bond with your loved one in New Orleans is by learning something new together, for example, how to cook up spicy Creole and Cajun cuisine. A cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking-- which offers cooking demonstrations, hands-on classes and private instruction -- allows you to learn how to make dishes like shrimp remoulade, chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, shrimp Creole, crawfish etouffee, and traditional bread pudding. Each class includes the creation of an appetizer, soup, entree and dessert, as well as drinks.
One thing New Orleans has no shortage of is historical and ambient restaurants. Spend an evening savoring a meal at Arnaud’s Restaurant, open since 1918 with a menu that features a mix of modern dishes as well as listings that have been offered since the beginning, like the Shrimp Arnaud, turtle soup and trout meuniere amandine. Choose your preferred dining atmosphere from a number of rooms, for example, the Main Dining Room with its crystal chandeliers and Italian mosaic tile floor; the Jazz Bistro where fine dining is paired with live music; and French 75 for cocktails and small plates in a once-Gentleman Only club adorned with a vintage bar, low settees and monkey lamps. Another romantic and historical restaurant in New Orleans is Antoine’s Restaurant, open since 1840. The venue serves up French-Creole cuisine throughout 14 dining rooms. Antoine’s also has a decadent dessert menu with options like cinnamon and raisin bread pudding topped with rum sauce; rich chocolate layer cake steeped in raspberry; and vanilla ice cream gowned in sweet dark cherries flambéed in brandy, adding a sweet ending to your date. Image source: Arnaud's Restaurant
Do you have any tips for couples to see or do while in New Orleans?
Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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