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After spending several years in social services, Nicole has finally followed her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. In addition to her work for The Hudsucker, Nicole is also a staff writer for Womanista. An avid comic book fan, BBQ aficionado, professional makeup artist and first-time mom, Nicole can be found exploring Kansas City rich history when she's not blogging about suburban life at Suburban Flamingo.

Travel Guide: New Orleans

New Orleans is one of those cities that brings to mind one thing, but in reality is so much richer than its reputation. When most people think of New Orleans, they might think of Bourbon Street and partying, or the devastation left behind from Hurricane Katrina — both of those impressions are very much a part of the Big Easy. However, New Orleans is a vivid and more dynamic city than one would expect.

If you are planning a trip to the Big Easy this season, check out eight not-to-be-missed destinations in Nola to help take you deeper into the city than what you expect.

Morning Call Coffee Stand

Address: City Park Casino, New Orleans, LA

Everyone who travels to New Orleans is encouraged to try the beignets, the incredible doughnuts that are served fried and dusted in powder sugar and are as iconic as the city itself. However, most people go to the more famous Cafe du Monde located in the French Quarter and miss out on the truly incredible beignets at the locals’ favorite Morning Call. There are two locations in the New Orleans area, but a great hidden gem of the city is the Morning Call stand located in City Park. Outdoor seating in the goregous park pairs brilliantly with those delicious beignets and the iconic chicory coffee cafe au lait to create an experience that is as New Orleans as it is delicious. It’s a treat that’s great any time of day.

Stanley

Address: 547 Saint Ann St, New Orleans, LA

There is no shortage of great food in New Orleans. This is a fact, but there are few better breakfasts in the city than at Stanley. Located in the French Quarter, Stanley serves incredible American fare with a Southern twist, but it’s more than just a great restaurant: Stanley was the first restaurant in the city to serve made-to-order food in the days following Hurricane Katrina. Be sure to try the Stanley Classic breakfast (the bacon is to die for) or if you really feel like treating yourself, order the bacon and cheese grits. Your very soul will thank you and not just for the excellent food. Stanley sits right on the corner by St. Louis Cathedral. The view is as amazing as the meal.

Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop

Address: 631 N Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA

New Orleans is a literary town, but if you’re not there to be inspired to write you can definitely be inspired to read! Tubby & Coo’s is a geeky, quirky treasure located in Mid-City. Easily accessible from the streetcar, the store carries a good selection of science fiction and fantasy books as well as children’s books and games. You can also get books by local authors in the shop and they also host a variety of fun events. Be sure to check out their board game night while you’re in town. You can even stay connected after you leave the city, as the shop has a weekly podcast as well. Get your geek on!

#midcity #tubbyandcoos

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St. Charles Streetcar

Address: St. Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA

While not exactly a specific destination the St. Charles Streetcar is not to be missed. The St. Charles line is the oldest, continuously running streetcar line in the world having been in operation since 1835. Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2014, the line still operates the vintage green streetcars from the 1920s. The cars are no frills — which means no air conditioning — but are still an excellent way to see the city. Hop on one near the French Quarter and it will take you through a lot of the city, including through the beautiful Garden District. It’s a relaxing and wonderful way to relax and enjoy the beauty of New Orleans.

A streetcar named St. Charles Line #Throwback #ScoutNOLA 📸: @twheat

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New Orleans City Park

Address: 1 Palm Dr, New Orleans, LA

You could spend a whole vacation just exploring City Park. The 1300 acre park is one of the oldest urban parks in the nation and is the home to a wide variety of attractions. You can enjoy flowers in the Botanical Garden, take a reflective break to see some art at the New Orleans Museum of Art, stroll the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, or even enjoy a unique wooden carousel in the Garousel Gardens Amusement Park. One attraction not to be missed in the park? The Singing Oak near the park’s Big Lake. A large oak tree siting by the lake and strung with huge wind chimes, the Singing Oak is the perfect place to relax, maybe even with some of those beignets you picked up at Morning Call, also in the park.

#citypark #windchimetree #neworleans

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Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

Address: 1416-1498 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA

There really aren’t words that fully describe this particular location. Lafayette Cemetery is one of those places that is a well-known part of the city, yet for all of the immortalization in film and literature a place completely unique once you are standing in front of it. Fans of Anne Rice’s Mayfair witches will find the cemetery to be a must-see place (the fictional Mayfair family tomb was imagined there,) but even casual tourists will find something fascinating by the architecture of the tombs. It’s a great place to get a bit of city history as you explore the Garden District.

Hanging w the dead 💀 #LafayetteCemetery #NOLA #GardenDistrict

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French Quarter

Address: Decatur St, New Orleans, LA

Yes, the French Quarter is a huge tourist attraction. Bourbon Street is located in the French Quarter which makes the area party and music central, but there is so much more to the eclectic neighborhood of the French Quarter than just parties and good times. A wide variety of restaurants are available to feed your body while the colorful, beautiful buildings, museums, and galleries can feed your soul. Jackson Square is one must-experience locations located within the French Quarter and the vibrant streets make for a perfect morning stroll. Looking for something a bit more adventurous? Check out some of the various tours offered or hit up some of that famous nightlife. You simply can’t go to New Orleans without experiencing this vibrant part of the city.

Shaya

Address: 4213 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA

There is so much good food in New Orleans. It can’t be understated. However, even in a city full of incredible food there has to be a top and in New Orleans, Shaya is the best. The restaurant, named Best New Restaurant in the country for the 2016 James Beard Awards, combines the bounty of locally-sourced ingredients with the diversity of Israeli cuisine. Make sure to get reservations for this in-demand dining destination, but that extra step is worth it to get a taste of the food that is both completely unique and yet, somehow, very New Orleans. Try the shakshouka. You’ll be obsessed.

In heaven at #shayaneworleans

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Do you live in New Orleans or visit often? What are some of your favorite sights in and around the city? Let us know in the comments below. To plan your trip to New Orleans, LA this season, check out GoNOLA!

Featured image: Vintagraph.com
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