By The Reed & Laura Rutledge

Any city known for its nightlife or a single event like Mardi Gras is sure to be churned into a cliché by some. Sure, there are parts of NOLA that live up to the stereotype of drunken tourists regaled in Mardi Gras beads ordering Hurricanes at Bourbon Street bars—but with just a little strategy, that aspect of The Crescent City is almost completely avoidable leaving the vast majority of one of the most unique and sensual cities in the country on offer. It's easy to discover the unique flavor of New Orleans almost anywhere—in the sound of a jazz trombone in a hole-in-the-wall club on Frenchmen Street or Bacchanal, a milk punch at Cane & Table, morning biscuits at Soniat House, a run through Audubon Park, a Muffaletta from Cochon Butcher, a po boy from Domilise's, coffee, window shopping, and a fresh pastry on Magazine Street, a sazerac, another inevitable sazerac, and all those perfect pairings of southern tradition with new twists. The mixture of cultures from all over the world and generations bygone and present dance together in a way that can only be defined as: New Orleans. Our picks of what to drink, eat, see, smell, do, and hear are below. 


[Guide created August 2015]