Earlier this month, we shared the first half of our list of a New Orleans event planner’s favorite things to do in the city this spring. The weather is slowly starting to warm up, so we suggest getting out there while you still can! Read on for the rest of our top spring activities in the magical town we call home.
Sample a snoball at The Fly
Snoball season may not ‘technically’ be until the summer, but snoball stands across the city begin to open as early as March. Nowhere else in the world can you get a true New Orleans snoball: a sweet, sticky, colorful combination of syrup and finely shaved ice. It’s the perfect refreshing treat for the New Orleans heat.
Make no mistake — every local has an opinion on what snoball stand (and flavor) is the best. But we’ll stick with the tried and true: Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, a family-owned mainstay with homemade syrups and one-of-a-kind flavors. A huge plus of Hansen’s is that your snoball won’t melt by the time you make it to The Fly, a riverfront park near Uptown’s Audubon Zoo. Enjoy the Mississippi River winds while you relish your icy treat. It doesn’t get much more NOLA than that.
Devote a day to the splendor of City Park
We’re convinced that City Park is one of the greatest parks in the world. This 1300-acre oasis is as magical as New Orleans itself. Amidst Spanish moss and massive Oaks, you’ll find yourself a much-needed respite from the chaos of the French Quarter. A quick drive down the tree-lined Esplanade Avenue brings you straight to the park.
You could spend a full day in City Park, and you still wouldn’t scratch the surface. But every essential City Park visit includes a trip to the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, a round of coffee and beignets at Café Du Monde, a few hours in the New Orleans Museum of Art and a walk around the Botanical Garden. For families, we also suggest a boat rental in the Big Lake, a detour to the brand new Louisiana Children’s Museum and a New Orleans-themed round of putt putt at City Putt, the city’s only course.
Catch some live music on Frenchmen Street
It’s been a while since we’ve been able to dance to a live band, but things are finally starting to open up again around town. While we may not be able to dance just yet, live music in New Orleans is back. And there’s no better place to catch it than on Frenchmen Street, a thoroughfare in the Marigny lined with music clubs, restaurants and stores. We suggest starting on Esplanade at Dragon’s Den or The Yard and popping in and out of clubs until you get to Snug Harbor, one of the most historic venues for jazz in the city.
A few of our other favorite clubs are The Maison, 30/90, Blue Nile and d.b.a. Wherever you go, you’re bound to hear some of the region’s best talent. Just make sure to finish the evening off with a late-night trip to Dat Dog for gourmet hot dogs and fries on their balcony overlooking the hustle and bustle of Frenchmen.
If you’re looking for a more local experience, reserve some time for a visit to The Maple Leaf on Oak Street. Due to current COVID regulations, they’re not hosting regular shows, but check their Instagram for some of the best late-notice live music you’ll ever see.
Have a bottle (or three) of wine at Bacchanal
Bacchanal, a spacious wine garden at the edge of the Bywater, combines everything we’ve discussed above. A lush back patio? Live jazz from some of the city’s best musicians? Gourmet bites + the best charcuterie board in the city? An overflowing wine list? Bacchanal has got it all.
This is the best place to go for a jazzy night under the stars. And if you loved your experience, make sure to try their sister restaurant in a converted church, The Elysian. They offer courtyard dining, church dining and a trendy cocktail list. The design of the bar is unlike any other in the city.
Take a ferry ride to the Westbank
The Westbank is not often discussed when it comes to tourist recommendations, but there are ample reasons to check out the other side of the river this spring. For a scenic ride, bring your car onto the Algiers Point-Canal Street Ferry, which leaves from the end of Canal Street in Downtown New Orleans. When you arrive at Algiers Point, take in the city’s skyline and the neighborhood’s quaint architecture.
From there, drive until you can’t anymore. Then, you’ll be at Jean Lafitte National Park where you can visit the Barataria Preserve to explore a true Louisiana swamp. Keep your eyes peeled for gators, snakes and birds.
After your trip to the wetlands, you’ll have worked up an appetite. Lucky for you, the Westbank has some of the best ethnic cuisine in New Orleans. For authentic Vietnamese food, try Tan Dinh, a no-frills spot with a devoted fanbase. If you’re looking for Thai cuisine, follow the Eastbank locals who make weekly pilgrimages to Banana Blossom, a restaurant that features a wide variety of Thai specials. The best Indian food in the area? Look no further than Turmeric Indian Cuisine, a buffet that also has lots of a-la-carte options as well. Whatever you choose, you won’t leave hungry.
And to round out your springtime in New Orleans, check out Part 1 of this list — brought to you by the New Orleans event planning experts at Clandestine Events + Experiences.