Having two back to back trips to New Orleans was definitely an experience, especially when one was so very different than the other. Sure, the first one was much longer and had 3 kids in-tow but this one was some how trickier. Who would have guessed? Aside from being greeted by the threat of a hurricane on the day we landed, we only got a couple of days of sporadic sunshine during our whirlwind girl's-trip to New Orleans. But, all things considered it was kind of amazing and shined a light on the things you absolutely have to do once you touchdown in The Big Easy...

Everything we did, saw and ate during our trip- amazing! A clear no-brainer that you cannot leave the city without doing nearly everything on the list. Otherwise, you better believe you're going to end up at home booking another trip to satisfy your FOMO. 
Let's get started, shall we? 
The Stuff You Absolutely Must See and Do In New Orleans

The OG bike tour company of the city has all the dirty little secrets, oooh's and ahh's you could ask for all while on an 8-mile bike ride/workout. We got lucky and managed to squeeze our ride in on the only sunny day of our trip and it did not disappoint. This was my second time on the tour and I have to say it's easily my favorite thing to do on a sunny New Orleans day. You cover so much ground, the guides are so friendly and knowledgable, they make you feel like you're part of their family. There are plenty of bike tours but I will only recommend the family-owned, FreeWheelin' Bike Tours to anyone who asks.

(P.S. Laura and Teddy are my favorite guides)

I know we talked about the Hop on, Hop Off a little bit on my previous trip and we didn't get to fully enjoy it this time around courtesy of the hurricane. But if you're heading to New Orleans you absolutely have to book the 3-day pass and make your way across the city. 

If you love ghost stories and haunts, New Orleans is the best place to take a Ghost Tour. Jackie, Gita and I took Ghost City Tour's Killers and Thrillers Tour on an eerie calm-before-the-storm night and it was amazing. Did the hairs raise on my skin? Did I have chills? Absolutely.  If you love all the true crime, haunted and unexplained mysteries, this is the tour for you. Our guide was phenomenal and I can say that without a doubt that she was the reason I binged the entire season of American Horror Story coven after introducing us to the infamous LaLaurie Mansion.
Skip Bourbon, Opt For Frenchman Street
If you're a spring breaker, sure Bourbon Street is the place for you. But if you're looking for the real, grown-up version of the New Orleans experience, Frenchman is where it's at. THIS is where you go for the music.

Wander Around The Garden District 
Lush greenery, boutique shopping and delicious restaurants. Wander, check out the houses and make your way into Lafayette Cemetery. 

The French Market
Yes, you better shop local-owned businesses during your trip and The French Market is where to do it. The oldest of it's kind in the United States, The French Market District flea market has over 200 vendors with eateries, produce, baked goods and more. Skip the usual tourist-y tees and opt for something way more unique. 

Where You Absolutely Have To EAT and Drink While In New Orleans
You can't take a trip to New Orleans without stopping by the iconic Brennan's for a bite. The birth place of Banana's Foster, Brennan's not only serves the most incredible brunch but the decor is an absolute treat. 

What To Order: 
Bloody Mary, Egg Hussard and of course, Bananas Foster. 
Effervescence 
A sparkling wine lounge in the middle of The French Quarter? Yes, please. Enjoy sparkling wine (they have it on tap!) in a fun, vibrant environment with delicious bites in the upscale casual spot just off Rampart. 

What To Order:
 The Bubbly Flight, Spicy Tuna and Panisse
The Gumbo Shop 
Again, you've seen this The Gumbo Shop mentioned here before. You HAVE to order the Créole Dinner with Gumbo. I'm sold on the Crawfish Étouffée, Jambalaya and The Shrimp Créole. If you're a frozen drink lover, I highly recommend the Honey Dew Daquiri.

What To Order:
Gumbo, Créole Dinner with Crawfish Étouffée, Jambalaya and The Shrimp Créole
Delicious libations with incomparable downtown views from the top of an historic hotel in the middle of the Garden District. What more can one ask for when choosing a bar in New Orleans? The eclectic, airy decor sold me the second I set foot out of the elevator. It's one of those unique spots you have to see for yourself.

What To Order:
Hurricane, French 75, and Pink Panther

This one is more or less self-explanitory because you can't go to New Orleans and not get coffee and beignets from Cafe Du Monde.

What To Order:
Beignets and Cafe Au Lait.

Cochon
Give me all of the Cajun and Southern Cooking, please. While I'm definitely more of a Créole food lover, I will never pass up cajun flavors and Cochon does not disappoint. 

What To Order:
Fried Alligator & Smoked Pork Ribs with Watermelon Pickle

Located directly across from Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District, Commander's Palace is a New Orleans landmark. It's a truly unique whimsical dining experience that has to be done at least once.

What To Order:
Pecan Roasted Gulf Fish and Bread Pudding Soufflé
There you have it - what to do, eat, and see in New Orleans! 

Be sure to hop over and see what Jackie thought of her first time in The Big Easy!