Any city, from Dubuque to Dallas, has its charms and quirks. And then there’s New Orleans, who sees those charms and quirks and thinks, "Aww, bless their hearts." Whether you view it as a third-world country, a Northern Annexation of Haiti, or Joe Francis Mardi Gras Town, you’re going to have an opinion or two about how best to live it up in the Crescent City. These are 101 of our favorites. If you’ve got more, share in the comments!
1. Buy a house here and live in it. Don’t rent it on Airbnb and collect your cash from Schenectady or California or wherever. Just no.
2. Get to know your neighbors. The people who live in your 'hood are both a valuable resource and, most likely, also really fun.
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3. View Bayou Boogaloo from the water.
4. Eat EVERYTHING at Jazz Fest. You have two long weekends. No excuses!
5. Watch the boats on the river at Crescent Park while eating a slice from Pizza D.
6. Anything and everything at Kebab, and then pinball.
6.5 Consume your weight in pita at Shaya. The hummus and ikra and lutenitsa are lovely, but really, that bread, mein gott in himmel...
7. If you’re not from here, move to a neighborhood other than the Marigny/Bywater/French Quarter. You may be surprised how great Mid-City, Carrollton/University, and the Riverbend are, amongst other cool places.
8. Bike to work -- while wearing a helmet, sporting appropriate lights, and not talking on your cell phone, natch. The more of us who do it, the better NOLA will be at protecting bike culture, which helps us create a city we really, really want to live in.
9. Don’t be a dick to people who are biking to work. Duh.
10. Go to the Hong Kong Market in Gretna and buy at least one grocery item with which you are completely unfamiliar. Then learn how to cook it. Looking squarely (and scaredly) at you, durian.
11. Commute via streetcar, if possible. Or just ride the streetcar. Because the streetcars kick ass and we love them.
12. DO NOT CRASH YOUR AUTOMOBILE INTO A STREETCAR. (This happens more than you might think, mostly because of distracted idiots on cell phones, and it holds up traffic on major lines for basically forever.)
14. Drink beer at a kids’ sporting event or birthday party. Because you can totally do that here. Legally, and without judgment.
15. Try every single flavor combination at New Orleans Original Daiquiris (it can and has been done).
16. Learn to make red beans from scratch. It’s not hard, and everyone loves red beans and rice.
17. Pick ONE Saints player that will, to the end of your days, be your personal "Patron Saint." Drew Brees is an easy one, as is Archie, but we’re partial to Rickey Jackson, Deuce, Willie Roaf, and Steve Gleason.
18. For that matter, go to "church" and see a game in the Dome already.
22. Share a cheeseburger from Port of Call (which is harder than you might think, but less so when you also get the loaded baked potato).
23. Join the stage, at least once -- and this can be done badly -- with any of the following musicians: George Porter Jr, Johnny V, Trombone Shorty, Kermit Ruffins, any Neville brother (or sister), Deacon John, John Boutté... and we’ll let you fill in the rest.
24. Navigate the OMV successfully, like an adult. (Harder than sharing a Port of Call cheeseburger, by leaps and bounds.)
25. Learn who the muses were in Greek mythology, and how to pronounce their names in NOLA fashion. (Note: CAL-ee-ope. MEL-poe-meen. TERP-suh-core, etc.)
26. Obtain at least one shoe from the Krewe of Muses.
27. Successfully and politely give proper directions to a tourist or tourist group.
28. Get buried above ground.
29. LEAVE. Not forever, God forbid, but at least for a couple of weeks. FYI, the summer produce in Alabama is both nearby and totally off-the-chain.
30. Jaywalk with a strut.
31. Attend a Sunday Second Line from beginning to finish, and make at least four BFFs along the way.
32. Drink a Hurricane in the courtyard at Pat O’Brien’s.
33. Drink a Hand Grenade at Tropical Isle. (Or a Shark Attack. "Nine Dollas.")
34. Dance. This cannot be reiterated enough: dance, dance, dance!
35. Find the perfect pair of shrimp boots... and glitter them to perfection.
36. Be gracious to newbies... you were probably one of them once. And if your family has been here for generations, you know to do so by pure instinct.
37. Eat at least 5lbs of boiled crawfish, with sausage, corn, and potatoes, in a single sitting during spring. AT LEAST 5lbs. Bonus for garlic.
38. Spend an evening drinking wine with friends and enjoying the majesty that is Bacchanal.
39. Have a really great costume, a memorable one. Someone (who may or may not be related to this writer) crafted his own "OPP" orange jumpsuit, and wears it every year. The local police are the ones who tend to get the biggest kick out of it.
40. Drink a Vieux Carre while revolving around the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone.
41. Attend a live local comedy show. There are some great ones, and you owe it to yourself to check them out.
42. Tell an impromptu story at Bring Your Own. It’s only mostly terrifying, we promise.
43. Speaking of local nerdery, meet Jack Hopke, the WWNO radio host. He’s fantastic.
44. ...and also meet Spud McConnell, who is also completely fantastic, and couldn’t be any more different from Jack Hopke. FYI, the sculpture of Ignatius Reilly on Canal St is based on Spud’s likeness. The More You Know!
45. Attend at least one seminar at Tales of the Cocktail. So worth it.
46. Go to Yuki Izakaya for the food. Yes, the music is great (and loud), but it’s still one of the best Japanese spots in town.
48. Buy one really great seersucker or white-linen suit (or dress). Shoes to match, clearly.
49. Eat a stick of Roman Chewing Candy. Probably not the best taffy in the world, but it’s one of a kind, and if you don’t try it before you die, you’ll be missing out.
50. Wait in line at Hansen’s Sno-Bliz on a blistering summer day and then order something unconscionably large and bursting with ridiculous toppings (Satsuma bubblegum spearmint with condensed milk, crushed cherries, and chocolate sprinkles? Yup). Yeah, that wait sucks all kinds of donkey scrotums, but hell if it isn’t worth it.
51. See a nutria in the wild. At least once.
52. ... and eat a nutria. (Or just part of one. We’re not picky which part).
53. Go see the NOLA Zephyrs play before they wind up with some new, inevitably crappy corporate name. (We love you, Z’s!)
54. Experience the inimitable combination of a Pimm’s Cup and a muffaletta at the Napoleon House. In the Courtyard, while listening to classical music and opera.
55. Plant rosemary (for remembrance) at any of our beautiful, historical cemeteries.
56. Hunt, then cook, your dinner.
57. Fish, then cook, your dinner.
58. Shuck your own oysters without stabbing yourself, and for the love of all that’s holy, know how to mix a proper cocktail sauce.
59. Pin a dollar to your shirt on your birthday. See what happens.
60. Bring back some killer cannoli for the family from Brocato in Mid-City (and maybe a lemon ice for yourself while you wait).
61. Eat Dong Phuong bread at the Dong Phuong Bakery hot right out of the oven. Preferably in banh mi form.
62. See Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf on a Tuesday night, attend at least one bounce rap show (especially Katey Red and, naturally, Big Freedia), and catch some live, local funk a la Galactic at Tipitina’s.
63. Do amazing things in your home kitchen during the summer when it’s blueberry and Creole tomato season, and in the winter when it’s strawberry season. Best still...
64. Buy some local produce from Mr. Okra’s truck. Whatever he has, just buy it. "I have mirliton. I have bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers... "
65. See an indie movie at the Prytania or Broad Theater.
66. Make the trek to Banana Blossom for Thai. It really is worth it.
67. Have a cheeseburger for breakfast at Camellia Grill.
68. Drink iced coffee (slow-brewed, of course) all day during summer.
69. Listen to the barges sound their horns from a bar on the Irish Channel.
70. Catch a cabbage in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade... and then cook it. (Preferably with corned beef, of course.)
71. Go on down to the Audubon Zoo and have dem aww axe fo’ you. And even inquire about ya!
72. Attend at least one stuffy, boring, probably very expensive charity event, mostly so that you’re reminded of how boring and stuffy and expensive those things are, and how much better it is to just to see a band when you can wear a T-shirt and jeans.
73. Attend a super NOT stuffy and boring charity event, like Hogs for the Cause. Better still, participate!
74. Catch the 610 Stompers auditions in the summer. Holy hell, is that a fun show!
75. Attend a boucherie.
76. Make it to Blackpot Festival... with a black pot and something really tasty to cook in it.
77. Drive to Mosca’s for a garlic-tastic night of garlic and more garlic... preferably without getting lost this time.
78. Drive to Pass Manchac for the thin-fried catfish at Middendorf’s. Better still, BOAT UP to Pass Manchac for the catfish at Middendorf’s, like the boss you are.
79. Get married in New Orleans. Yeah, it sounds corny, but there’s nothing like it. And who doesn’t want to go to a wedding in NOLA? Nobody you’d want at your wedding, that’s for sure.
80. Keep a running list of NOLA restaurants and events for your visiting friends. This will prove INSANELY helpful, since if you live here -- born and bred or FOB -- you’re going to be asked for recs on a daily basis.
81. Walk. Yeah, it’s hot. And yeah, most of us drive. But if you’re not taking a walk around this city every now and again to really soak up its grandeur -- which ranges from the olfactory to the architectural -- you might as well be living in Atlanta. Grab something cold to drink, and take in this city for all it’s worth, why doncha?
84. Have breakfast at Elizabeth’s. Seriously, guys, PRALINE BACON.
85. Smell the following smells: night-blooming jasmine, magnolia flowers, angel's trumpets, and sweet olive. There is no New Orleans without these aromas, god bless ‘em.
86. Throw a Mardi Gras bead into the mouth of the King Kong float during Bacchus, and HAVE IT STICK THERE.
87. That slow-roasted duck po-boy at Jacques-Imo’s. I mean...
88. Be an upstanding neighbor. This can never be more highly appreciated anywhere than in New Orleans. Talk to your neighbors, talk to the local beat cops, talk to the local criminals... hell, talk to EVERYONE. It’s not just being friendly or sociable, it’s being neighborly that matters most.
89. Bring a big honking bag of Popeyes to a Saints game at a friend's house. This is doubly important if that friend is convalescing from an illness. Popeyes is basically New Orleans penicillin.
90. Dine in the Garden Room at Commander’s Palace, and for God’s sake, make sure to wear a jacket and long pants.
91. Survive swarms of Formosan termites in the spring like the person you really want to be, and not a terrified child still scarred from the insect scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
92. Finish your drink after plucking a Formosan termite from it, because those things aren’t free, and it’s just some extra protein. (OK, so even we admit that that’s... gross. Not untrue, but gross. Still, finish your drink.)
93. Host some friends for Mardi Gras who clearly have no idea what they’re doing, and make sure they have the best time of their damned lives. Also, make sure to have a costume box for their perusal.
94. Go to estate sales at absolutely insanely overpriced Garden District mansions just to get a good look inside those places. Sheeeit, I now own a completely great cutting board from the house/former church that Beyoncé now supposedly lives in.
95. Stroll thoughtfully through the major NOLA art museums, particularly NOMA, the Contemporary Arts Center, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Especially during late summer, when there are few tourists... it’s hot as Hades, and these museums are deliciously air-conditioned.
96. Live in NOLA long enough to know someone who owns a sailboat, and have them take you out to race on a summer regatta. Fun times, right there.
97. Drink iced tea or mint juleps on the porch/stoop in the dead of summer with your neighbors. Not #squadgoals, #lifegoals.
98. Adopt a NOLA rescue dog, particularly from the LA-SPCA, and then name him/her something like "Peychaud" or "Laveau," or something else stupidly local, because you can, and that dog won’t love you any less for it.
99. Be a mentor. God knows, we need more now than ever, and you’ll get all kinds of good karma, and maybe make the world a better place and help turn out a decent human being?
100. Give your Morris Bart-obsessed child a Morris Bart-themed birthday party. Only in NOLA...
101. Watch Anthony Davis and his inimitable unibrow DOMINATE at the Arena.
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