For the ultimate fling before the ring, not many destinations can match the charisma and spirit of New Orleans. The Big Easy is renowned for decadence: fabulous food, all-night bars, and its credo “Laissez les bon temps rouler” (Let the good times roll).
The possibilities for bachelorette escapades can get overwhelming. So, we gathered our personal favorite places to eat, drink, and play in the city. After all, she won’t be ready to head down the aisle until she swaggers and struts down Bourbon Street, right?
Get ready for a weekend of rare revelry, of bridal bashes and beignets. It’s time to grab the bride, corral the best friends, and hit the city until sunrise.
Where to Eat
Here’s where to fuel up for fun times ahead.
A favorite among locals and visitors for their famous breakfast and banana’s foster, Brennan’s Is also known for their Champagne happy hour and Champagne sabering In the courtyard on Fridays.
Treat the bride to a stunning, royal experience. Café Amelie is tucked in a gorgeous 150-year-old carriage house and lush courtyard that was once home to Alice Heine, America’s first Princess of Monaco. With a setting so beautiful, Café Amelie has won over the hearts of brides all over the country, and is a favorite wedding reception venue after-hours. Perfect for brunch before catching the flight home.
This Cajun gem is a headliner of NOLA’s culinary scene. On the menu: A showcase of Southern specialties, where you’ll find pork served in a variety of fashions – smoked, shredded, pressed and cured. Creole and Cajun influences abound and the tapas-sized portions make this an ideal choice for your girls getaway.
The locals agree: This is the place for hedonistic desserts. A bakery, café and bar, Bakery Bar riffs off the classic NOLA layer cake and serves up sweet treats with cheeky names. Think D Cups, their mini cakes, and Salty Balls, truffle cakes topped with sea salt. But the real treat is the collection of 35 flavors of the 8-layer doberge cake, including salted caramel.
Classy enough to pull on the heels and evening dress for, Galatoire’s serves up elegant French-Creole cuisine, like shrimp remoulade, crabmeat ravigotte and oysters en brouchette. Locals book this place way in advance, get in on this early if you’re planning to bring a big group.
Sure, it’s a cliché. But, there’s a reason this place is a legend. Don’t. Miss. It. With a bustling café scene, a warm cup of chickory coffee and platefuls of those infamous sugar-laced beignets, it’s as if the café was created just for bachelorettes. These beignets are the epitome of the New Orleans experience. One bite of the light, puffy pillows and you’ll see why. Best part: Open 24 hours a day for those late-night cravings.
What to Do
There’s more to a NOLA bachelorette weekend than the French Quarter and the bars of Bourbon Street. Venture out early for these daytime adventures:
Shop for Bachelorette Swag
First things first: Save room in your carry on luggage. Leave the bachelorette tiaras and feather boas at home. You’ll find gift shops all over the French Quarter with ample options and choices for party wear and gear. Don’t forget to load up on beads to throw from bar balconies.
Journey in old-world style in the oldest continuously operated street car in the world. You’ll all feel like Southern belles riding in rail cars boasting charming brass details, mahogany seats and exposed light bulbs. Pass by gorgeous antebellum mansions, Loyola and Tulane universities, the sweeping landscapes of the Audubon Zoological Gardens, and historic monuments.
Explore the Garden District
Leave the bustling and boisterous French Quarter behind and visit the oak-lined streets of the graceful Garden District. Accessible by the St. Charles Line Streetcar, the Garden District is a haven of plantation-style mansions, boutiques, antique stories and quaint street cafes.
Layette Cemetery No. 1
Don’t miss one of the most beautiful, and safest to visit, above-ground cemeteries in Louisiana. This is also one of the most filmed cemeteries, making guest appearances in NCIS: New Orleans, CW’s The Originals and the Ashley Judd movie, Double Jeopardy.
Cruise along New Orleans’ mysterious bayous, draped with Spanish moss and cypress trees. Explore flora and fauna you can’t find anywhere else in the country. Get (safely!) up close to a 10-foot alligator, as well as spot herons, bald eagles, turtles and minks. Feel a world away from the French Quarter. If your bachelorette party has more than 6 people, consider renting a private a boat tour (Bonus: you can bring your own drinks). Try Beyond the Bayou, Cajun Critters Swamp Tour or Cajun Style Tours. Want even faster thrills? Try a high-speed airboat in the swamps.
If your bride has an adventurous palate, discover the tips, tricks and techniques behind Louisiana’s signature cooking styles, Cajun and Creole. Create dishes using local ingredients, including crawfish, boudin blanc, crabs and cayenne pepper or regional hot sauce. Located right in the French Quarter, the New Orleans School of Cooking offers daily demo classes, as well as hands-on group classes.
Where to Party
A bachelorette weekend in New Orleans isn’t complete until you experience some signature sips in the city. Throw in some live music and dancing, and this will be the bride’s bash that she’ll never want to forget.
It’s little wonder that Channing Tatum’s provocative bar has become a French Quarter celebrity outpost, as well as a favorite of bachelorette parties. Spend the evening savoring New Orleans fare, seductive cocktails and dancing the night away surrounded by the decadent atmosphere that mimics the burlesque halls and bordellos of New Orleans’ Storyville.
The prime pick to keep things chic, classy and full of Big Easy charm. Sip cocktails in an intimate brick courtyard, then slip off the heels and dip your feet in the salt water pool. Surrounded by leafy foliage, wrought iron, plantation shutters, and twinkling gas lamps, this is the most charming spot to defy Bourbon Street’s debauchery.
Shake it in style at Bourbon Heat, where they play a mix of R&B, hip hop, and house music until the wee hours. Perfect for the bride who’s got the dance moves and isn’t afraid to flaunt them. Best part? Head to their 50-foot outdoor balcony for some awesome people-watching of Bourbon Street down below.
Wind down for great sips and good conversation at this intimate, Victorian-inspired bar, tucked away from the Bourbon Street chaos. Lauded as one of the best-kept secrets of the French Quarter, May Baily’s Place was once one of the most popular and successful bordellos in New Orleans’ red-light district. Its notorious history makes it a favorite stop for local ghost tours and history buffs. We like to think that the ghost of the famous Madam May Baily herself continues to look after all the patrons who pass through her doors.
A must for any New Orleans bachelorette party: Pat O’Briens is the most well-known watering hole on Bourbon Street and home of the famous Hurricane drink. Start your raucous and rocking evening singing along with dueling pianos.
For the chic bride-to-be who craves craft cocktails over gallon-sized daiquiris, introduce her to Bourbon O Bar. This up-market craft cocktail bar serves up sophisticated fun with whimsical drinks. Stop by any night of the week for live blues and jazz. Bourbon “O” has a special bachelorette party menu such with cocktails such as the Blushing Bride Martini. Then, once you’re ready to strut your stuff down Bourbon Street, grab the glitzy souvenir Midas Cup ‘go cup’ and get ready to attract coveted stares.