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How to Spend the Perfect 3 Day Weekend in New Orleans

How to Spend the Perfect 3 Day Weekend in New Orleans

If it’s your first trip to New Orleans or you’ve been many times – 3 days in New Orleans is the perfect amount of time in the ‘Big Easy’. We’ve put together the perfect 3-day itinerary in New Orleans to ensure an amazing trip.

Use this guide for help planning the perfect trip to New Orleans, whether you are traveling during the weekend or visiting mid-week.

Jump to info on a weekend in New Orleans:

Where To Stay in New Orleans

We suggest staying in the French Quarter, as it’s within walking distance to most of the things to do in New Orleans, tons of great restaurants, and there is something for all budgets.

We recently stayed at the Le Meridien, which is located in the Central Business District next to the French Quarter. It was the perfect location for us! We could walk to Jackson Square and Bourbon Street and easily catch the streetcar. Everything was within a 15-minute walk. It was also key that we were able to get a good night’s rest.

We visited in June, so it was super convenient to be able to walk back to the hotel/take an Uber a few times to cool down and relax for a few minutes in between sightseeing in New Orleans.  They also have a fun bar with great drinks. It’s a good spot to grab a drink before heading out for the night.

If you plan on spending most of your time on Bourbon Street, we suggest staying on Royal Street or Chartres Street. There are several small boutique hotels with not only a great location for all the action but are full of character and charm.

There are some hotels right on Bourbon Street. If you like to party all night and don’t mind the noise, this is an option too. 

If you’re on a budget, consider not visiting New Orleans on a weekend. Hotel rates are much cheaper during weekdays, or you could do 3 days in New Orleans with only one night on the weekend.

Things To Do In New Orleans

New Orleans cemetery on a weekend in New Orleans

1. Cemetery Tour

If you only have time for one tour in New Orleans, go on a cemetery tour. Yes, it sounds weird, but it’s a must. The most famous cemetery in New Orleans is St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, which you can only enter with a tour guide.

It’s best to book a tour online here in advance. Tours do sell out on the weekends and high season, we suggest booking online here.

New Orleans physic Cari Roy

2. Visit  A Medium

One of the coolest things we did in New Orleans was meet with Cari Roy, who is New Orleans’s most famous medium. We had our reading at Muriel’s in Jackson Square which is often referred to as one of the most haunted places in New Orleans.

Cari brought up people in our lives that we have never talked about or mentioned on our website. We had an amazing experience, and now we are definitely believers.

Click here to learn more about Cari Roy and how to book a reading with her. Her rates are $100 for 30 minutes or $150 for an hour. Walking around the French Quarter, you’ll also see several people with tables set up to read tarot cards or a physics reading.

girl kayaking on a weekend in New Orleans

3. Go Kayaking

If you’re looking for a peaceful afternoon or something adventurous to do in New Orleans, head out on a kayak. We really enjoyed our kayak tour. Our kayak guide was full of knowledge and history about New Orleans.

Kayak tours are available daily at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. We went out at 6 p.m., and the weather was gorgeous. Click here to view kayak tour times and options.

Brass band playing on Frenchmen Street on the weekends in New Orleans

4. Visit Frenchmen Street

If you love live music and are looking for some good Jazz music, head to Frenchmen Street. This is our favorite spot for New Orleans nightlife. It’s way tamer than Bourbon Street, but it’s still a great time.

It’s common to run into brass bands right out on the street. We did it on a random Wednesday night. They were amazing! They ended up getting such a crowd that traffic was blocked until they finished.

5. Ride the Streetcar

The New Orleans streetcars are a super easy and cheap way to get to many of the attractions in New Orleans. If you don’t end up riding the streetcar, head to St. Charles to get a great photo of one with the oak trees lining the track.

If you’re spending a weekend in New Orleans, consider getting a daily pass for $3. It’s good for 24 hours.

6. See The Floats At Mardi Gras World

If you don’t visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras, you can still see the floats. Visit Mardi Gras World and learn about all the planning that goes into Mardi Gras each year and see some of the best Mardi Gras floats.

If you’re looking for things to do in New Orleans with kids, this is a great activity.

The oldest bar in the USA Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop in New Orleans

7. Have A Drink At Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop

Lafitte’s was built in 1722 and is the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States. It’s located on Bourbon Street near the end, so it’s a little quieter. It’s also considered one of the most haunted places in New Orleans.

Jackson Square New Orleans drone photo

8. Wander Around Jackson Square

You’ll find yourself in Jackson Square multiple times when spending a weekend in New Orleans. Jackson Square is located in the French Quarter and right across the street from Cafe du Monde, the famous place for beignets in New Orleans.

The Andrew Jackson statue and the gorgeous St. Louis Cathedral are in Jackson Square. On the weekends in New Orleans, Jackson Square is full of artists selling their artwork and goods, during the weekend there are still some vendors.

Natchez Steamboat on the Mississippi River in New Orleans

9. Take A Ride On The Steamboat Natchez  Down The Mississippi River

Ride down the Mississippi River on one of the last remaining steamboats in New Orleans. Cruises are two hours long and go by the French Quarter and the city’s shoreline.

There are several different cruises available, and the most popular are the dinner cruises and jazz cruises. We recommend booking the jazz brunch cruise, click here to book online. 

10. People Watch On Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street is a great place to start the night, stay all night, or end the night. There is always something going on, no matter what time of year you visit.

Grab a drink and walk down the street, or sit in a window seat and watch the world go by.

Where To Eat In New Orleans

New Orleans is a foodie destination. Leave your diet at home because you won’t want to miss out.

It can be overwhelming when picking where to eat in New Orleans, so we put together our favorites that should be included on all 3 days in the New Orleans itinerary.

Girl having coffee & beignets at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans

Cafe du Monde

New Orleans’ most famous restaurant is Cafe du Monde serving up fresh beignets and their signature coffee with chicory. Established in 1862 this coffee stand is open 24 hours a day, it’s always a good time for a beignet in New Orleans.

There is often a long line for a table, so if you happen to be in Jackson Square and don’t see a line, head over. If the line is really long, go to the backside and order at the to-go window, get some beignets, and enjoy them in Jackson Square.

An order of beignets is actually three beignets, so consider splitting an order. Located in the French Quarter. CASH ONLY

Royal House Oyster Bar

As the name suggests, the Royal House Oyster Bar specializes in Oysters.  Their oysters Rockefeller are a must! They also feature an oyster duo which features oysters on the half shell and oysters Rockefeller.

The menu has all the New Orleans favorites: crawfish etouffee, shrimp & grits, Po-Boys, redfish, and more. Located in the French Quarter.

Crab claws at Tableau restaurant in New Orleans


They feature an all-week brunch menu and endless mimosas. We highly suggest the truffled crab claws, turtle soup, and their eggs benedict with a New Orleans twist (Poached eggs, fried oysters, ham, English muffin, and sauce Hollandaise). Tableau is located in the French Quarter.

Outside of Elizabeth's Restaurant in New Orleans


Every local we asked raved about Elizabeth’s, as well as our Instagram followers, Uber drivers, and hotel staff. If you’re spending the weekend in New Orleans, this is the spot for Saturday breakfast. We visited for dinner and didn’t have to wait as most people don’t realize they also serve dinner Tuesday-Saturday.

Everything on the menu was amazing! We ordered way too much, but the whole menu sounded tasty. A few must items to order: praline bacon and deep-fried blue cheese oysters.  Located in the Bywater area of New Orleans.

The Joint BBQ the perfect lunch spot when spending 3 days in New Orleans

The Joint

Another recommendation for locals is The Joint, which serves up the best BBQ in New Orleans. We opted to split a plate of their brisket with their housemade BBQ sauce, which was vinegar-based and way different (in a good way) than another BBQ sauce we’ve had. Portions are large, so consider sharing.

St Roch Market Bywater New Orleans

St Roch Market

If you’re like us and want to try a little of everything head to St Roch Market. It’s an 1875 building turned into a cool market hall with several local restaurants serving up some of the best food in New Orleans. It’s great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

We went on a Saturday morning, grabbed a coffee at Coast Roast Coffee, and ordered some trash grits from Fete au Fete, which is often referred to as having the best shrimp and grits in New Orleans. The trash grits are cheese grits with smoked pulled pork, grilled onions, smoked gouda, sriracha sauce, and a poached egg. Yeah, it’s a perfect hangover cure in case you had a wild weekend in New Orleans.

Where To Go Out In New Orleans

Frenchmen Street

Our favorite place to go out in New Orleans is Frenchmen Street. This is the best place in New Orleans for live music, and some of the best Jazz music in the city can be found any night of the week.

If you’re lucky, you’ll also run into a brass band playing right on Frenchmen Street. If you’re looking for great nightlife in New Orleans but want something way tamer than Bourbon Street, then Frenchmen Street is for you.

Bourbon Street New Orleans Weekend

Bourbon Street

We’re not going to tell you not to go to Bourbon because that would just be silly. A visit to New Orleans wouldn’t be complete without visiting Bourbon Street. We suggest having a few drinks and snapping a few photos when all the neon lights on Bourbon Street turn on. 

No matter what time of year or what day of the week, the nightlife on Bourbon Street is always going on. If you’re spending a weekend in New Orleans, Bourbon Street will be crazy busy with bachelor and bachelorette parties, which are very popular in New Orleans.

Bourbon Street is a great place for people watching. We love catching a table in a window and watching everyone walk by. We highly suggest visiting places beyond Bourbon Street while in New Orleans– if the only thing you see when spending a weekend in New Orleans is Bourbon Street, that is a big mistake.

There is so much more to New Orleans than Bourbon Street, hence why we recommend 3 days in New Orleans so you can explore more of the city.

Getting Around New Orleans

If you are planning on staying in New Orleans and not venturing outside the city, we don’t suggest renting a car. Parking rates at hotels in New Orleans are often $30-50 a night.


We find Uber in New Orleans or Lyft is super easy – always there in less than 5 minutes and super cheap. On our last trip, 3 days in New Orleans, we took 20 Uber trips and only spent $173.22.

Please note we visited in June and it was super hot, so we took Ubers for anything over a mile and we went all over the city. Uber and Lyft seemed to be about the same price when we compared them. We just typically use Uber so we stuck with that.

New Orleans Streetcar

The New Orleans Streetcar is super easy and affordable. A 24-hour pass is only $3, and you can ride as many rides as you want and see many different neighborhoods in New Orleans.


The only way we would take a taxi in New Orleans was if our phone died and we couldn’t order an Uber. You never know how much it’s going to be, and you need to know where you want to go.

No matter how you spend a weekend in New Orleans, you’ll have an amazing time. For more resources on things to do in New Orleans, where to stay in New Orleans, or general New Orleans tips make sure to check out Visit New Orleans.

Pinterest pin Bourbon street for Weekend in New Orleans

Our trip to New Orleans was in partnership with New Orleans & Company. All opinions are our own.


Wednesday 5th of February 2020

I'll be in New Orleans in May, so I'm so glad I found this! I have to check Elizabeth's out, it sounds like!

I've been to NOLA only once before and the only thing I'd add to this is the WW2 museum - it is INCREDIBLE! They've done a fantastic job on it.

Hannah Lukaszewicz

Friday 7th of February 2020

Thanks for the add, we'll have to check out the WW2 museum next time were in New Orleans.

Sarah Schumacher

Sunday 12th of August 2018

Hi! What a great blog! First one that had gotten me truly jacked up for my first visit to NO this Oct. My husband and I are planning 3 full days and are trying to find active activities other than just walking around shopping and eating/drinking (we definitely will be eating/drinking at night though!). I liked your kayaking tour suggestion....can you think of anything else off the top of your head?


Wednesday 15th of August 2018

We enjoyed walking around some of the city parks like Audubon along the St. Charles line. Less physically active, but fun, you could take an airboat ride, these are usually a short ride outside the city.

Conrad Kania

Friday 27th of July 2018

Just go if you live in the States. Literally find flights 80-140 non stop from Chicago all the time. I've been six times in the past 18 months and i'm not even rich.


Sunday 29th of July 2018

New Orleans is always a fun time!

Clare Speak

Sunday 15th of July 2018

Wow, I love your photos! New Orleans sounds incredible - especially the food! I'd love to visit one day.

Hannah Lukaszewicz

Sunday 15th of July 2018

Since you're a foodie you'll love New Orleans!

Kelly Mongan

Saturday 14th of July 2018

New Orleans is so high on our bucket list! We're hoping to get there this year, so I'll definitely be saving this. Great guide!


Saturday 14th of July 2018

I think going in the fall would be the best weather, the summers there can get hot. We visited the first week of June and it was hot! Make sure to bring your appetite the food is amazing so many flavors.