A Perfect New Orleans in One Day Itinerary 2024 1
| |

A Perfect New Orleans in One Day Itinerary 2024

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Greetings Internet Stranger! I’m Stella Jane, author of the travel guide Get Lost, and welcome to a perfect New Orleans in one day itinerary! Any visitor to New Orleans is bound to be familiar with the French Quarter.

If you’re French, you call it The Vieux Carre. My mother, a native New Orleanian, called it just The Quarter. But no matter what you call it, the French Quarter is the epicenter of the Big Easy.

If you haven’t been to the French Quarter, you probably haven’t been to New Orleans. The bad news is that there’s no way you can visit it all in a New Orleans in one day itinerary.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: New Orleans in One Day Itinerary

#1 TOP PICK

A Perfect New Orleans in One Day Itinerary 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
FRENCH QUARTER FOOD TOUR
✔️ New Orleans has the best food
✔️ Amazing bang for your buck

#2 PICK

A Perfect New Orleans in One Day Itinerary 2024 3

AIRBOAT SWAMP TOUR
✔️ Unique experience
✔️ Airboats are cool

#3 PICK

A Perfect New Orleans in One Day Itinerary 2024 4

ALL OTHER NEW ORLEANS TOURS
✔️ Choose your favorite tour
✔️ Find the best deals

The good news is that there’s no way you can visit the whole French Quarter in a New Orleans in one day itinerary, so you have a good excuse for coming back to New Orleans real soon.

This itinerary will show you the best food, the coolest tunes, and the most interesting history in New Orleans’ most famous neighborhood. On the way, we will probably meet a psychic perfume lady. Let’s go!

new orleans in one day itinerary

Morning: French Quarter Food Tour

Food tours are literally the greatest thing ever invented by humans. I don’t even need to take food tours in New Orleans because my mom is from here, and I know about New Orleans cuisine already. Still, it is my pleasure to take a good food tour and meet some fine folk and enjoy tasty vittles, even in a city I know well.

The food tour of the French Quarter was a great introduction to some of New Orleans’ most famous foods. And it’s a great place to start your New Orleans in one day itinerary.

Check tour rates and availability for yourself by heading here.

However, since the tour doesn’t start until later in the morning, you’ll want to get a light breakfast before the tour begins. I can help you out there!

new orleans in one day itinerary
24 Hour Treat

There can only be one choice for your first breakfast on your New Orleans in One Day itinerary: the legendary Cafe du Monde. It is actually illegal to come to New Orleans and not get beignets at Cafe du Monde. They’ll lock you up with the ghost of pirate Jean Lafitte. (We’ll learn more about Mr. Lafitte later today, in the days before he was a ghost.)

New Orleans beignets are squares of deep fried dough covered in powdered sugar. You have to drink them with a cafe au lait made with chicory coffee. (I don’t recommend getting chicory coffee black because it’s a little bitter.) These cost next to nothing and even come with a free glass of water.

24 hour Tip

Just show up at like 8:30 before all the tourists are awake and there will probably be plenty of space for a table.  Also DO NOT wear black. You’ll get powdered sugar all over y’self.

Now that you’re nourished with sugar and lard, it’s time on your New Orleans in one day itinerary for your food tour! I don’t want to spoil the whole thing, so I’ll just start your mouth watering with…

Approximately top 5: food tour

one day in new orleans itinerary
1) Praline

The first stop on the food tour isn’t really a stop. It’s more of a welcome cookie. A lot of people come to the food tour hungry, as they should, so the guide comes prepared with a little snack so people don’t gnaw their own fingers off.

In this case, the snack was some locally made cookies stuffed with pralines. Pralines are THE New Orleans candy, and we’ll talk about them later on the tour. The nice thing about these cookies is that if you already ate, you can save them easily for later. They make a tasty breakfast the next morning.

one day in new orleans itinerary
2) Boudin

Our next stop is at the French Market for some truly authentic Cajun food: a boudin sausage. Trust me, this sausage tastes better than it looks. There are two kinds of boudin sausage: black and white.

I think you need to be more adventurous to eat the black boudin sausage, personally, because it has the blood of animals in it. But there’s no blood in the white boudin, cher!

new orleans in one day itinerary
24 Hour Treasure

As I may have mentioned earlier on this blog, I collect earrings and Oscar of New Orleans in the French Market sells my favorite inexpensive earrings in the city.

They’re so shiny you can see them from space. I went at Christmas, so I bought some red Christmas ornaments. If you go at a different time of year, you can get something fun like a crawfish playing the saxophone.

one day in new orleans itinerary
3) Po’ Boy

Here we come to another classic New Orleans treat: the po’ boy. Like the boudin, it doesn’t look great, but it sure tastes gorgeous.

This sandwich was invented in the 1920s for striking streetcar workers–the po’ boys. A po’ boy can have meat or seafood in it, but it has to be served on soft French bread made by the Leidenheimer bakery.

In New Orleans, people will ask if you want your po’ boy dressed. This doesn’t mean do you want to put a little skirt and blouse on it. They just want to know if you want mayo, lettuce, and tomato. (I always say yes.)

one day in new orleans itinerary

If you want a hard drink, you can get one, though it’s extra. I suggest the Louisiana Lemonade, which is a dangerous sip because you can’t really taste the alcohol. It’s basically the NOLA equivalent of a Long Island Iced Tea.

one day in new orleans itinerary
4) New Orleans Greatest Culinary Hits

Our next stop was for three of New Orleans’s greatest foods: the charbroiled oyster, jambalaya, and gumbo. Charbroiled oysters, topped with cheese, are a specialty of the classic New Orleans restaurant Drago’s.

We didn’t eat these at Drago’s, but they were tasty enough to make you forget any rules about mixing cheese and seafood.

one day in new orleans itinerary

Next we had jambalaya, a spicy rice dish that’s a little like Spanish paella. There’s many variations on jambalaya, but our guide told us that we were having Creole jambalaya because it had tomatoes in it.

Creole cooking is the fancier version of Cajun cooking, but both were based on French cuisine. Apparently tomatoes were too high-falutin’ for the simple Cajun folk.

one day in new orleans itinerary

And here is the famous gumbo, a stew made with seafood, chicken, sausage…etc. To be real gumbo, it needs to use a thickener: either file powder or okra.

This gumbo has file powder because some non-New Orleanians think okra is slimy. (I personally love okra, but I realize that I cannot convince all Internet Strangers of okra’s charms. So don’t worry because this tour is okra free)

one day in new orleans itinerary
5) Sugar time!

OK, I promised that we would have pralines, and indeed, the praline was the last food stop on the tour. As you can see from the package, the ingredients in a praline are just sugar, pecans, butter, milk, and vanilla.

They are based on a traditional French candy that is made with almonds. However, in New Orleans they had pecans instead of almonds, and thus a new American candy was born!

24 Hour Tip

Those are all the secrets of the food tour that I can share with you for now! You’ll have to book the tour for yourself to find out the rest!

Check tour rates and availability for yourself by checking here.

new orleans in one day itinerary

Afternoon: The Cabildo

No New Orleans in one day itinerary is complete without a little history. And we’ll get all the history you could want at the Cabildo. The Cabildo is the Louisiana History Museum on the left side of the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter.

The Cabildo is not only a museum of history, it is a historical artifact itself because it used to be the seat of government when New Orleans was a Spanish colony, and it remained so when Louisiana became a French colony.

It was also the site of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase. But what would any exploration of a site of historical interest on this blog be without:

THREE historical FACTS from THE CABILDO

new orleans in one day itinerary
1) Didn’t new orleans belong to spain?

That’s right! I am embarrassed to say that I had no idea New Orleans was ever anything but French. There’s a really cool section of the museum where they show all the flags from each of the various governments that have used the Cabildo as a seat of government.

one day in new orleans itinerary

It was like Six Flags Over New Orleans, if you replace the number six with “about a jillion”. Everybody wants a piece of NOLA!

one day in new orleans itinerary
2) What’s the Best Thing About New Orleans?

Such a tough question! There’s actually a new-ish exhibit at the Cabildo that tries to answer that question. (It was put in place to celebrate the city’s tricentennial.) I think you can see the gentlemen who made that “hat” above would say it was the New Orleans Saints.

one day in new orleans itinerary

Others might say it was the music. I appreciate that the Cabildo features many local musicians, not just the extremely famous ones like Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino.

Look up and you can see a poster of the late Ernie K-Doe, a true Louisianan who had a massive Number One hit in the 1960s with a song called “Mother-in-Law”. (“Satan should be her name…”)

one day in new orleans itinerary
3) What’s the oddest object in the museum?

I think it’s probably this bust of Andrew Jackson. Anyone who wants to learn about the history of New Orleans needs to understand why Andrew Jackson gets a big old statue in the center of the French Quarter. It’s not because he was President; it’s because before he was President, he was the hero of the Battle of New Orleans.

The Battle of New Orleans was fought at the end of the War of 1812, aka the forgotten war between the US and Great Britain. New Orleanians were very proud of the fact that their ragtag group of ruffians, including an actual pirate named Jean Lafitte, were able to beat the strongest army in the world.

This battle even inspired a hit song that is not about a mother-in-law. (Sample lyrics: “In 1814, we took a little trip/Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip”) At the Cabildo, you can check out a little movie about the battle, narrated by New Orleans native and former Mad Men star Bryan Batt. (Hi, Sal!)

new orleans in one day itinerary
24 Hour Treasure

My favorite section of the museum is the section about different ethnic groups that settled in New Orleans and how they shaped the city. Since I am fortunate enough to be Irish and unfortunate enough to be an egomaniac, I made a beeline straight for the section on Irish immigrants.

This display also told a sad tale, though one I’ve heard before. A sad tale of potato famine, poverty, desperation, canal digging, and malaria. Also apparently Irish immigrants had a reputation for drunkenness. Who knew?

new orleans in one day itinerary

As you are leaving the Cabildo, don’t miss the famous Pontalba buildings that surround Jackson Square in the French Quarter. They are especially lovely when decorated for a holiday!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: New Orleans in One Day Itinerary

#1 TOP PICK

A Perfect New Orleans in One Day Itinerary 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
FRENCH QUARTER FOOD TOUR
✔️ New Orleans has the best food
✔️ Amazing bang for your buck

#2 PICK

A Perfect New Orleans in One Day Itinerary 2024 3

AIRBOAT SWAMP TOUR
✔️ Unique experience
✔️ Airboats are cool

#3 PICK

A Perfect New Orleans in One Day Itinerary 2024 4

ALL OTHER NEW ORLEANS TOURS
✔️ Choose your favorite tour
✔️ Find the best deals

new orleans in one day itinerary

Evening: Jazz and a Late Dinner

Of course, no New Orleans in one day itinerary is complete without jazz. Preservation Hall is my favorite place to hear jazz in the French Quarter. The band is world class, and they play both standards and their own compositions.

In keeping with the spooky theme we’ve got going on, I recommend their ode to the New Orleans cemetery, Rattlin’ Bones. Just keep in mind that you can’t take pictures inside.

Also, the band takes requests if you give them a five or a ten, but there is a sign warning you that it costs 20 dollars to play “When the Saints Go Marching In”. I bet there are plenty of rabid Saints fans who’d be happy to pony up that cash, so maybe you’ll luck out and one of them will request it.

new orleans in one day itinerary
24 Hour Tip

Unless you are really broke, I strongly recommend buying a ticket online in advance. You are guaranteed entry and you are guaranteed a seat. Instead of wasting your New Orleans in one day itinerary standing on line, you can have fun exploring haunted mansions and meeting vampire pirate ghosts.

No New Orleans in one day itinerary is complete without a delicious dinner, so let’s pop into Sylvain. Sylvain is a gastropub, routinely ranked one of the best restaurants in the French Quarter.

You can get anything there from a fried chicken sandwich to–no joke–champagne and French fries. It is a great place to get a late dinner after seeing Preservation Hall. Make your reservation for at least 15 minutes after the show ends and you should be fine.

new orleans in one day itinerary

I began with an appetizer of Buffalo-style veal sweetbreads. I love Buffalo sauce. I’ve had it on tempeh, and now I was eating it on baby cow glands. This dish is witty in its combination of the high-brow veal glands and the lowly Buffalo wing, but more importantly it is delicious.

new orleans in one day itinerary

And up next, we have the amazing Sylvain fried chicken sandwich. It’s spicy and messy and the perfect dish for soaking up a few New Orleans cocktails.

new orleans in one day itinerary

After a day of eating beignets, a full food tour’s worth of food, veal glands, and fried chicken, you will naturally still be hungry. I recommend finishing with Sylvain’s version of the classic New Orleans fried pie known as a Hubig’s pie. They change the filling depending on the season–mine were apple.

Then you can just roll yourself back to your hotel room in the French Quarter for the end of your New Orleans in one day itinerary.

new orleans guided tour day

Where to Stay?

New Orleans is the kind of city where you want to splurge a little on your hotel. After all, the motto is “laissez les bons temps rouler”, and nothing makes the good times roll faster than a little luxury. Plus it’s easier to take advantage of the New Orleans nightlife if you’re in a centrally located hotel, and those are a bit pricey.

I recommend the Bourbon Orleans Hotel. It’s located right in the French Quarter, but it’s not crazy expensive. The rooms are comfortable and beautiful. Plus, the hotel is haunted! What more could you want for a New Orleans guided tour day

If you want something a little less expensive, on the north end of the French Quarter, try the Homewood Suites by Hilton French Quarter. This hotel is a little bit more of a walk from the main attractions in the French Quarter, but the rooms are massive and comfy, and the price is definitely right.

Finally, I recommend the Le Pavilion Hotel. It’s got an amazing location in the Central Business District which is within walking distance of the French Quarter, but not as noisy. It’s in a gorgeous historic building. Plus they have a free peanut butter and jelly spread every night. What more could you want?

If you’d rather find great deals for tons of other hotels in New Orleans, go here.

This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay during your time in New Orleans. With hundreds of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

new orleans in one day itinerary

That’s a Perfect New Orleans in One Day Itinerary!

What would you do on a New Orleans in one day itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in New Orleans right now? Would it ever occur to you to put buffalo sauce on cow glands? And would you ever pay 20 dollars just to listen to one song? Email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY see a New Orleans in one day itinerary.

And if you’d rather add a New Orleans in one day itinerary with the historic Treme neighborhood, add what to do in Treme New Orleans LA. I also have an excellent New Orleans guided tour day if you want to see the city with a local.

You can try a day in New Orleans Louisiana City Park. You can also try the best food in the French Quarter New Orleans. Fall for the best New Orleans food walking tours.

On top of that, we have a day of New Orleans fun things to do. Go for the best walking tour of Garden District New Orleans. Get on the best New Orleans swamp and plantation tours. How about trying 24 hours in New Orleans? And you can even follow the New Orleans schedule Saints travel tips.

A Perfect New Orleans in One Day Itinerary 2024 8

Similar Posts