Photo by Ashton Pittman.
by Chloe Clutter
When you go to New Orleans, the top destinations on your list are always the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, and The Audubon Zoo, right? Well, if you want to be in on the city’s best kept secrets, you have come to the right place. After twenty years of navigating my way through uneven streets and swimming through crowds of tourists, I’ve compiled a list of diamonds in the rough that you simply have to see. Whether you’re a party animal, looking for a family outing, a romantic date, or an adventure with friends, there’s something here for everyone. You know what they say, outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens. So go ahead, enjoy everything the city has to offer. You can thank me later.
The next time you go for drinks, go to Barrel Proof. You’ll dig the aesthetic before you even get inside. With its rough and tough atmosphere, rustic decor, and warm lighting, you’ll wanna sit down and stay a while. Barrel Proof is perfect for any occasion: dates, drinks with the guys, ladies night, or a drink after work. If you’re looking for a laid-back night out, Barrel Proof is your place.
Located in beautiful Mid-City, Wakin’ Bakin’ is the answer to your #hangovercure prayers. They have a hearty menu of breakfast and brunch for a bargain. Not a thing on the menu is over ten bucks.
3. Outskirts of City Park (Wildflower Garden)
If you drive around City Park you can’t miss this little gem. I came across it when I was taking senior pictures in New Orleans. While City Park is beautiful itself, this little patch of wildflowers is gorgeous and secluded. It’s a great spot for picnics, a place to explore with kids, or just some great photo ops.
4. City Diner
One Question. Do you want a pizza-sized pancake? Of course you do. Open 24/7, and not to mention you get a real bang for your buck. They serve comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; what more could you want?
This dive bar in New Orleans has live music on the regular and a hardcore aesthetic. It’s described by many as “the place you want to be.” Red walls and red decor make this place literally stand out. If you’re looking for a night to remember (or forget), check it out.
Right down the street, but out of the hustle and bustle of the french quarter, is where you will find the coolest spot to chill in NOLA. Humidity is packed full of rad skate gear, shoes, decks, hats, and clothing; and they rep Defend New Orleans merchandise, hard. The shop’s Instagram is a great resource for their 90’s vibe, grungy style and only the cool kids know about it. If you’re lucky you might even get a free donut.
Finally, time to talk about my personal favorite spot for a pie in the city, Pizza Delicious. Or better known as “Pizza D.” This place offers an extremely unique twist on a pizza parlor; originally housed in an warehouse in the Bywater, two college roommates turned the space into the perfect combination of inviting and exciting while still having a casual outdoor setting complete with string lights. This gem is perfect for any kind of night out with friends and family.
8. Lilly’s Cafe
In a little hole in the wall in the Lower Garden District is where you’ll find Lilly’s Cafe. They have the best Vietnamese food you will probably ever have in your life, phô real. If you are a picky eater like me, trust me when I say “go for it” here and just (egg)roll with it. Formal apology for those puns.
The “Before I Die” wall is an art instillation created by Candy Chang that welcomes tourists and locals alike. Over 125 feet long, it simply inspires passersby to scribble down a dream they hope to accomplish before they die. The anonymous submissions are silly, heartfelt, sincere, and maybe even dangerous, but the project has brought a community together in a beautiful way. Take a trip downtown and squeeze in your own contribution.