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The Forecast is Summersalt’s global content hub for all things travel, packing, style, and discovery, packed with informative and inspirational pieces for (and featuring!) women who are going places.

The Best Spots in New Orleans, According to a Local

Ashley O’Neill, has big love for the Big Easy. When she’s not doing the boss babe thing as the Integrated Communications Manager at KREWE, known for its super stylish small batch eyewear, she’s being a tourist in her own city. Considering she grew up in NOLA, we were elated to chat with Ashley about the can’t-miss gems in this rich, cultural hub. Keep reading to discover all the must-visit spots, what tourist activity is totally worth it, and where the food is so good, it may even make you shed a tear. (True story.)

Just like Bob Dylan said, “There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better.”

How long do you recommending visiting for?

The interesting thing about New Orleans is that you can come for 1 day or 1 week and it’s never enough. I know people that come down for 3 days, “miss their flight,” next thing you know, they move here within two months.  

Favorite neighborhood:

Our offices just moved to the Lower Garden District and I’m loving it over here! So many cute restaurants, coffee shops and stores popping up — plus, the houses and foliage make it a beautiful place to explore.

Tell us something only a local would know:

Buying wine to-go from Bacchanal is $5, and you can make your own little picnic at this great little-known park called The Fly! Also, if you’re going to go out dancing in the French Quarter, stay off Bourbon and go to Goldmine.

A street musician in the French Quarter.

Any must-know tips for getting around?

While New Orleans is bigger than it seems, you don’t need a car to sightsee! I would choose one neighborhood per day to explore so you’re not going back and forth. Also, the streetcar is my favorite way to see the city while getting from point A to B.

What’s a totally worth-it tourist activity?

Swamp boat tours are actually very mind blowing and beautiful.

Tell us about something worth the splurge:

Mosquito Supper Club – if you go all in! This dinner club meets on Thursday – Saturday evenings in a little house Uptown. The chef and founder, Melissa Martin, cooks a 5 course cajun, family style meal that you share with 24 strangers who soon become friends. Go early for oysters and cocktails and stay late for the conversation.

As a local, what do you hope people visiting this city discover about it?

There is endless, rich history and interesting people here. It’s so more than just Bourbon St. or a place to come party for a weekend.

Name a restaurant nobody knows about but they should, and one that’s worth the hype:

No one knows: Cafe Degas. My friend cried because her food was so good.
Worth the hype: Sylvain, Bacchanal or Turkey and the Wolf!

Best place to have a moment of peace:

The New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park.

Best place to get a nightcap:

Cane & Table

Best photo op spot:

Outside: anywhere in the French Quarter. Inside: Catahoula or the Pontchartrain Hotel!

What’s your favorite memory growing up in New Orleans?

 The first that comes to mind: One Saturday afternoon after a tech rehearsal (I was very involved in the local theatre community from a young age) the cast went to one of the member’s apartments, located on Royal St. in the French Quarter. We went up to the third story, listened to old records, drank some wine and chatted for a while. I remember looking outside a small window overlooking the French Quarter and thinking how lucky I was to be able to have these experiences at a young age with such a diverse and wonderful group of people, in the most magical city in the country.

What keeps you coming back?

I’ve been a lot of places but nowhere matches the culture, kindness, rhythm, celebration, scrappiness and drive that the people of New Orleans embody.