The 22 things you can only do in New Orleans

Published On 07/09/2014 Published On 07/09/2014
New Orleans
Flickr/Kim Hill
Flickr/Phil Roeder
Flickr/Tulane Public Relations
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1. The Club Ms Mae's 4336 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

Ms. Mae's, on the corner of Magazine and Napoleon, is a New Orleans institution -- and not because it's open 24 hours or is one of the cheapest bars in town. Well, that might have something to do with it. Inside, you’ll find pool, air hockey, and foosball. You’ll find very cheap drinks served in plastic cups. You’ll find big groups and singles, older folks drinking during the day and college students at night. And you might even find that rare, bold, endangered animal attempting the Ms. Mae’s 24 challenge: finishing one drink per hour every hour for a full day.

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2. The National World War II Museum 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

Here's to the history buff in you -- err, or the part of you that just wants to see cool planes! Visit the numerous exhibits and attend a film screening or dinner lecture to brush up on your WWII knowledge.

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3. Sazerac Bar 130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA 70112 (Central Business District)

Inside the swanky, lost-in-time Sazerac Bar, you could find yourself looking at all kinds of historical wonders: WPA-era murals by Paul Ninas, the 1878 Ascot Cup, and a bullet hole that erroneous lore credits to an assassination attempt on then-Senator Huey P. Long, who liked to sip Ramos Gin Fizzes at the bar. While you’re sipping your expertly made cocktail in the dark, well-appointed room, consider what you are not seeing: tourists in cargo shorts sipping watery beer. Even if some of your comrades in drink are tossing back domestic swill instead of, say, the bar’s namesake, the historic decor buffers it. It’s hard to imagine a prettier bar in New Orleans.

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4. Arnaud's French 75 Bar 813 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (French Quarter)

Originally designated as a "gentlemen only area" in NOLA's early days, this cocktail bar located within Arnaud's Restaurant features drinks like the Pisco Derby (that's pisco, lavender honey syrup, lime, and grapefruit) and bar snacks like Oysters en Brochette (translation: oysters wrapped with bacon and deep fried). You'll feel extra fancy having those cocktails and snacks served to you by bartenders clad in white tuxedos. In addition to more inventive drinks, you can't go wrong with the killer Old Fashioned or Sidecar either.

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5. Preservation Hall 726 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

The weathered wooden walls of Preservation Hall's narrow showroom still look the same as they did more than 50 years ago, when a group of bohemian fans started hosting pass-the-hat traditional jazz concerts there featuring artists who were at least as old as the music itself. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, or one of its associated acts, still plays multiple sets nightly. During big local events like Jazz Fest, the Hall expands its purview to present late-night collaborations between the regular Hall band and featured special guests.

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6. Café Du Monde 800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

Originally established in 1862, Café Du Monde is the place to go for a quintessential New Orleans pick-me-up in the form of a beignet and cafe au lait. The patio, marked by a striped green-and-white awning, is a landmark in itself and the perfect place for people-watching in the French Quarter. The café gets busy during peak lunch and dinner hours, but its 24-seven schedule allows for plenty of opportunities to stop by, whether it's for a late-night sugar fix or an early-morning breakfast. Take-out orders can be placed through a quick-serve window, just be sure to take extra napkins -- those sugar-coated beignets are messy.

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7. Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery 14207 Chef Menteur Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70129

This eastern New Orleans Vietnamese standby might not amount to much from the outside -- with a mixed brick exterior and fading eggshell awning greeting diners -- but the signature bahn-mis here have drawn accolades from the country over. In addition to functioning as a casual full-service restaurant, the venue comes with a bakery that turns over equally excellent pastries like coconut rolls, egg tarts, and strawberry shortcake.

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8. Hansen's Sno-Bliz 4801 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

It wouldn't be summer in NOLA without a high chance of snow, and you -- and maybe your parents and grandparents -- have been finding it in one particular NOLA spot for the last 77 years. There might be plenty of places in the city to enjoy a sno-ball, that quintessential Crescent City shaved ice treat, but Hansen's is a classic for a reason: this place not only preserves the traditions of decades past -- including using the same patented ice-shaving device that sweet-toothed NOLA machinist Enerst Hansen developed in the 1930's -- it also caters to new millennium palates with high-quality, handmade syrups.