New Orleans is one of the most beloved travel destinations in the USA. When Travel + Leisure magazine published their 2022 rankings of the Top 15 Cities in the United States, The Big Easy ranked second1, in large part because there are so many different kinds of things to do there. Its warm Southern climate and unique combination of cultural influence, music, nightlife and food make it an appealing and adaptable location for many different types of traveller.
For sports fans – the type of traveller that we are most interested in – there are a lot of options for your itinerary. So we decided to make a priority checklist of experiences depending on the duration of your trip: A Day Or Two, Up To A Week, and Longer Than That.
Here’s what we came up with:
If you’re in NOLA for A Day Or Two
If you’re heading to NOLA for a short stop, there’s A LOT of good stuff to pack into those one or two days. But fear not, we’ve got you covered.
Watch the Saints play at Caesar’s Superdome
New Orleans is unmistakably a football city. From September through to January, you can catch the New Orleans Saints play at the ‘dome. It’s a climate-controlled stadium with a roof – a luxury not all sporting venues in the States have. So you can comfortably join the crowd as they chant “who dat!” without having to worry about the elements.
One of the coolest things about an indoor venue is how atmospheric it is. The noise gets trapped inside and reverberates around the ‘dome making it such an electrifying experience!
The food options at the venue are also worth highlighting. Of course there’s your traditional US sports-type options: nachos, chilli dogs, giant pretzels. But if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s some unique offerings too. Alligator sausage anyone?
After the game, make sure you hit up the vibrant Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. It’s an historic street laced with jazz bars, clubs and people looking for a good time. Open alcohol is allowed, which is a novelty for us Aussies! It takes about 20 minutes to walk from Caesar’s Superdome. One of our favourite spots was Fritzel’s, a charming and authentic jazz bar. Throw on some colourful beads, grab a go cup and soak up the vibe of this special, nocturnal street.
Bonus tip: Also worth visiting Frenchman Street, which has a similar vibe to Bourbon Street, but less…hectic. We loved The Spotted Cat.
Beignets at Cafe du Monde
Like most of New Orleans, a beignet is something you need to experience for yourself to truly appreciate it. In simple terms, it’s a square piece of dough which is deep fried and covered with powdered (icing) sugar. We stopped at Cafe du Monde for coffee and a (ok three) beignets.
One consistent theme you will notice as you travel through this incredible place is that the people are so happy and friendly. Not only is New Orleans a fun and culturally abundant place, it’s the people that make you feel the warm and fuzzies.
Which might make you want to stay for longer than a weekend…
If you’re in NOLA for Up To A Week
Watch an LSU Tigers football game at “Death Valley”
Attending a college game feels like such an authentic and uniquely American experience, and Tiger Stadium is one of the best college experiences in the country. If you’re staying in New Orleans, it’s definitely worth hiring a car and road-tripping about an hour to Baton Rouge to watch the LSU Tigers. If not for the travel time from NOLA, this experience would be up there in the top section, as many sports fans travel to New Orleans specifically for an LSU game on their list.
See it for yourself: Tailgate before the game, visit the merch store and throw on some purple and yellow and embrace your inner college kid.
Note: The college football season runs from August ‘til December.
Catch a Pelicans Game at Smoothie King Center
Pelicans games have always been a “good value option” – something else to add to your New Orleans trip, with tickets less expensive than in many other US cities. But with a young and ridiculously exciting squad – watching a New Orleans Pelicans game is now its own vibe at “the SKC“. There’s great music, atmosphere and entertainment throughout. Flock up!
Gliding through swampy alligator-infested waters sounds run, right? A local tour of the swamplands is a great way to experience the historical wetlands. Alligator sightings are common and if you are to believe an old legend, you may even encounter Rougaruou, the Legendary Cajun Swamp Monster.
If you’re in NOLA for Longer Than That
Tulane Green Wave football at Yulman Stadium
With a seating capacity of approximately 30,000, Yulman Stadium does not have the same sense of scale and awe as LSU’s Tiger Stadium an hour or so up the road. But the Tulane Green Wave were a top 20-ranked team in the country in 2022, Yulman Stadium is a much closer journey from where you’d probably be staying in New Orleans, and it is its own type of experience at a boutique College venue. You’ll be able to move around the stadium more easily than other events amongst locals cheering on the Green Wave.
Road trip to Houston?
Look, it’s not the most scenic drive, and it’s probably going to take you up to 8 hours to do it. But at the end of that drive is a chance to add multiple extra professional and college teams to your list of travel experiences… Even if, aside from the MLB’s Astros, Houston teams aren’t travelling so well at the moment.
What do you think?
Did we get the order right, or did we miss something?
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