I'm convinced that one of the best way to explore New Orleans is by bike, but there is no arguing that it is especially true in Uptown, New Orleans. On the few weekends per year when nothing else is going on, biking around is my favorite way to spend the day. Over the past few years, I've made a solid list of essential stops to make a great ride. Here's the destinations and routes that are always worth the trip:
LAUREL STREET // CONSTANCE STREET - THE BEST UPTOWN BIKE ROUTE
While it is very tempting to kick back and relax with an easy ride down historic Magazine street, it is usually anything by relaxing. The tiny street has a heavy stream of cars (especially on the weekends) and very little room for freedom on the road. Scoot on down a block or two towards the river, into the neighborhood streets. The one-way streets Laurel and Constance are of my favorites (depending on your route direction). With limited stop signs, one-way slow traffic and classically New Orleans homes to oogle over, it makes a great ride.
I have said it before and I will say it again - Hansen's is the best snoball in New Orleans. That's it. Case is closed. Don't @ me. Nothing gives picturesque New Orleans neighborhood bike ride vibes like a trip out for a snoball and with it's location right in the middle of uptown, it's always on the way. As an added bonus, biking with a snoball in my cupholder is my favorite way to travel.
There is no better way to start a weekend than with a great bagel. Stiens has never disappointed in this department. After biking a mile or so down to them, I always feel very deserving of the generously giant dollop of delicious roasted garlic cream cheese. If the bagel doesn't sound quite right, treat yo self to one of their incredible classic sandwiches. Once, I saw a chef recommend Stien's as the best sandwiches in New Orleans during an interview at his own sandwich place - if that isn't a glowing recommendation, I don't know what is.
THE TCHOUP YARD
This place is like a giant back yard turned neighborhood bar - a great recipe for an ideal biking destination. Park the bike in their giant (read: luxurious) bike rack and stop in for a drink. It can get a little crowded at night, but afternoons are a sweet spot at this place (especially when paired with a little corn hole and a frozen margarita). Ample bike parking is a nice added plus.
OTHER NOTABLE UPTOWN BAR STOP MENTIONS: PORT ORLEANS BREWING COMPANY, NOLA BREWING & URBAN SOUTH BREWERY
THE FLY // AUDUBON PARK
Quaintly positioned at the end of Magazine Street, these two offer a little something for everyone. Want to chill and watch the river go by? The river side of Audubon park behind the zoo, aka "the fly", is for you. Want to bask in the history of one of the oldest parks in the country in a beautiful loop surrounded by hundred year old oak trees, some fancy ducks and an antique fountain? See you at the main Audubon park. Also, it's even got the perfect spot if just you want to hang with some giraffes and a 300 year old live oak known as the Tree of Life.
This is the definition of an Uptown institution and a worthwhile stop for any day out on your bike. It's a tiny little place, open since 1924 and just being there will make you happy to be part of it all. You can't be open for that long and not make a great poboy, that just isn't how New Orleans works. Plus, you get to drop the french bread guilt since you're ~eXerCisINg~.
THE FRENCH QUARTER
Look, I get it, this is not an uptown destination. However, one of the best parts about biking uptown is that it is so close to downtown! The French Quarter is a cool little 30 minute ride and half of the way the city treats you to dedicated bike lanes! Also, it adds to the adventure of it all. I'm not headed there every day, but if I'm going all the way to the quarter, I might as well make an event out of it. Also notable is getting to skip uber surge pricing for festivals and events (read: basically every weekend). Here's our usual route: take Constance Street towards downtown. Take a left on Jackson Ave. Take a right on Camp. Head straight under the interstate into downtown, keep going straight across poydras and canal - and bam, you're there.
Looking for more? See all the bike routes in New Orleans here.
Did I miss your favorite stop? Share in the comments!
Safe travels, y'all!
Seriously, wear a helmet and make good choices. (:
There is no contest - Pat O'Brien's is, hands down, my all time favorite bar in New Orleans. With a dominance as one of the most popular bars in the city since it's opening in 1933, it's obvious that I'm not the only one that feels this way. Despite it's appeal to tourists, multiple chain locations and Bourbon Street entrance, the central truth to the New Orleans location of this bar is that is also powered by the deep love of a dedicated local crowd. In a city and culture that is designed around celebrating every day, it is the perfect pair.
The history of the 1791 building at 718 St. Peter's street is palpable, especially in the dark piano bar. Originally home to the first French Theater Company in New Orleans, it feels like you're part of one of the longest running parties in the country. Dying to be a part of the tradition, I was waiting at the gate with ID in hand at 12:00 am on my 21st birthday and It's been a whirlwind romance ever since.
The dueling piano bar is one of the most popular draws of Pat O'Briens (as it has been since it's start as a new idea in the 1940's). Spending so much time in the piano bar has taught me a lot about what makes a great song request. Here's my advice - when you put your dollars inside a napkin and pass it to the pianist, make it worthwhile.
Here's my hints for the best, high-quality requests you can make -
Average Requests you can make that someone else is probably already requesting:
(Note: You can do better.)
Do us all a favor and don't request any of this:
In the immortal guiding words of this establishment: HAVE FUN!
Also, don't forget to celebrate Mr. Alvin like the national treasure he is.
Did I miss your top request? Share in the Comments below.
Red Dress Run is one of the most Nola events in Nola. Only in this beautiful city do thousands of people wake up on what is guaranteed to be the hottest afternoons of the year, put on red dresses and spend the day celebrating life on Bourbon street. Organized by the New Orleans Hash House Harriers, Red Dress Run is officially a charity run benefiting small non-profits. Unofficially, it's a great excuse to just spend the day in the quarter with mostly locals. However, a great afternoon is quickly ruined by realizing that you've chosen the wrong dress.
Throughout the years of dressing Daniel for this occasion, I've learned a lot of essential lessons for choosing the perfect men's dress for Red Dress Run. Here's my tips for optimal dress selection:
1. COMMIT TO THE DRESS - THE TACKIER THE BETTER
You have already committed to wearing a dress, you might as well make it a good one. A simple dress is a boring dress. Look for something with a little pizzaz - some sequins, a good fringe, a pearl broach. Be your best self - the flamingo in a crowd full of pigeons.
2. FOCUS ON THE FABRIC
The best dress is a dress that breathes. 100% cotton is ideal, but the most stylish dresses will rarely have this asset so you will have to compromise. Be smart - as perfect as a silky red number will seem in the store, I guarantee that it will not stand up to the test of 90+ degree weather and excruciating humidity. Silk acts an insulator and will trap all of that delicious August Nola glisten on your skin. If your dress comes with a lining, cut it out.
3. SHOW SOME SKIN
So, your dress doesn't exactly zip. Have no fear, it doesn't matter. Look for dresses that show some skin, the less fabric, the better. Make sure you're flashing just enough spice to keep everything nice - A side cut out is a beautiful thing when it's 95 degrees out.
4. TUTUS ARE CHEATING
I'm a firm believer in this one. Tutus are for quitters, especially if you are wearing them with shorts. If that guy over there can have a great time in a prom dress, so can you. The fun of this event lies in the IDGAF attitude it is known for. The tutu is a sad in-between that comes off as a lack of reverence for the holiday. Even if you wait until the last minute to find a dress, there will still be a sad red number hanging at the platos closet/goodwill/forever21 that everyone else was too scared to commit to. Embrace it.
5. ACCESSORIZE - COMPLETE THE ENSEMBLE
Nothing brings an outfit to its peek potential like a great headpiece. Find yourself a sequin headband, hair bow or Sunday hat. I'll warn you now that a wig is a lot to commit to in August, but I'll celebrate the effort all the same. It's also a good idea to consider how you'll carry your belongings without the pockets that you are accustomed to.
Here is a sneak peak at the dress that Daniel will be debuting this year:
May the red dress shopping odds ever be in your favor.
Found a killer dress for this year's RDR? Share in the comments!
Somehow, Daniel and I went over a year in Uptown, New Orleans without bikes. When we finally got them, it felt like every weekend could be a new adventure. We're lucky enough to live near the dead middle of Magazine street, just 2.5 miles away from the Audubon Zoo. I get it, 2.5 miles sounds like a lot - but it ain't so bad when I'm just oogling at all the houses along the way.
Last Christmas, Daniel got a two person hammock that ties to two trees. At the time, I thought this was the worst gift ever as it seems highly unlikely to be able to find two trees close enough together to make this work on a regular basis. I will admit it - i was wrong. It turns out the straps are pretty long.
Lately, we've been packing up the hammock and biking down to the zoo to hang out with my new BFFs - THE GIRAFFES! Have you ever napped in a hammock next to a giraffe? Because I have.
It turns out, the Audubon Zoo giraffe encounter backs right up to a nicely tree-full area in Audubon Park. It's the perfect place to set up with a kindle and watch the giraffes eat the trees. If you catch it at the perfect time, you can even hear the handlers call the giraffes by name to feed them dinner. They come when they are called - which was an adorable sight to see.
Here we are posted up in the hammock waiting on the giraffes to walk by:
As it's on the way, I would also highly advise stopping by Hansen's Sno-Bliz for a snowball on the way (read more about my obsession here). It definitely enhanced the experience.
We're big lovers of Audubon Park, but this was a big discovery for us. Have you ever hung out with the giraffes here? What's your favorite part of the park? Share below!