Rathbone Mansions
Historic New Orleans Hotel, Steps From the French Quarter

Insiders Guide of things to do, eats and drinks in New Orleans

Rathbone Mansions Insiders Guide

With its unique, vibrant history, award winning chefs, craft cocktail bars, and party atmosphere, there's no wonder NOLA is consistently ranked one of the best cities to visit. We've got you covered with insiders' tips on the best places to visit, eat and drink during your stay. Click through our blog for suggestions, current events and truly experience New Orleans like a local.

New Orleans has a unique, vibrant history, award winning chefs, craft cocktails galore, and a low-key, Southern fun atmosphere. There's no wonder NOLA is consistently ranked one of the best US cities to visit.  We've got you covered with tips on locals' favorite spots to check out during your stay. Scroll through our blog for suggestions, current events and truly experience New Orleans like a local.



Planning for New Orleans



One thing to consider when you’re thinking about a visit to New Orleans is “the weather.” Remember, you’re going to the Deep South, so it’s a good idea to give this some thought. For example, it’s a 1,169-mile trip (or 1,881 km) from New York to New Orleans going straight down. In other words: it’s hot from May until late October. Our visit was in mid-September and, along with seeing all the sights we made regular dips in the outdoor pool at our hotel. Don’t forget: bring your swimsuit when you stay at the Rathbone Mansions. You’ll want to take a dip in our pool and hot tub.

Rathbone Mansions pool



Does New Orleans have a “dress code?” Not really. Overall, New Orleans is pretty casual. Jeans, shorts, T-shirts, tanks, cotton skirts and blouses should be fine for walking and sightseeing during the day. Jeans and heels will get you into almost all bars, clubs and lounges.


However, some of New Orleans fancier restaurants have a jackets-only policy for males. If in doubt, call ahead to check. If you arrive without a jacket, you will be given one by an employee at the restaurant. For men, it’s a good idea to pack a collared shirt and slacks. And for females, a summer dress or skirt and slacks with a suitable top will be fine.


The “dress code” is still in effect in places such as the Commander’s Palace where jackets, collared shirts and closed-toe shoes (no Teva sandals) are required for men. But shorts, flip-flops, T-shirts, sweatshirts, sweat pants or ripped jeans for either sex are a no-no.

      Commander’s Palace in New Orleans      

 Commander’s Palace in New Orleans

Now, lets talk about shoes. Remember this: New Orleans is a great walking town – just like New York – so be prepared. Heels look great at night with jeans or fancier duds, but if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing during the day pack a pair of flats, sneakers or walking shoes.




New Orleans is like New York in one respect. Both get rain showers and late afternoon thunderstorms in the summer. So it’s a good idea to bring a small folding umbrella or some form of rain gear.


But here’s the good news: the rain comes and goes quickly (not like Seattle where it rains for weeks at a time). It’s more like New York and Hawaii where the rain offers a break in the heat or humidity.


Even if it does rain, there are plenty of indoor things you can do, such as: browse in antique shops, art galleries, gift shops and jewelry stores on Royal Street, pop into the Audubon Aquarium, head for the Ogden Museum or visit Mardi Gras World to name a few fun places you’ll want to visit.

M.S. Rau Antiques on Royal Street

M.S. Rau Antiques on Royal Street



Here’s a three-day party you won’t want to miss! Every year Essence magazine (founded in 1970 – now has a circulation of over one million) sponsors a star-studded lineup of R&B, hip-hop, jazz and blues performances at the Superdome from July 5th to July 8th.

This is where the Essence Music Festival is held

This is where the Essence Music Festival is held

Since the early 1990s this festival has showcased the best performers and entertainers in the country. But that’s not all. It also offers a series of thought-provoking seminars that are created to empower African American men and women. 


In the past, the Festival has included artists such as Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey – this year the lineup will include: Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, Snoop Dogg, Backstreet, Kool Moe Dee and many more. CLICK HERE to see photos of the 52 artists who will be appearing this year.


Shaun Nelson-Henrick