You can’t come to New Orleans without experiencing a Jazz Brunch! Arnaud’s in the French Quarter serves up fantastically delectable New Orleans brunch fare in a historic setting to the tune of live Dixieland Jazz.
Or if you’re ready to jump start your Uptown adventure, go ahead and hop on the St. Charles Streetcar, ride it up to Washington Avenue, then walk down Washington to Commander’s Palace. This iconic Garden District restaurant serves up a three-course Jazz Brunch that’s absolutely to die for. Make sure you try out one of their delicious daytime libations (they’re famous for their Creole Bloody Mary) – they’re too good to miss!
Take some time to explore the Garden District after your meal, then hop back on the Uptown-bound streetcar, and take in the scenery as you glide down St. Charles Avenue to Audubon Park. When you get to the park, step off the Streetcar, and take a stroll under the canopies of oak trees, heading around the park through along the track until you hit Magazine St.
Cross Magazine St. until you come to the entrance of Audubon Zoo and get ready to step into one of the nation’s top-ranked zoos.
The Audubon Zoo is a world of its own – see exotic animals, reptiles, elephants and more. Walk through The Louisiana Swamp exhibit, which is a re-creation of a 1930s swamp settlement equipped with a trapper’s cottage, Spanish moss, white alligators and cypress knees. Sometimes one of the best ways to rekindle a flame is to act like kids again, and nothing is quite as care-free as a trip to the zoo. Pose for pictures by the elephant fountain, or check out a show at the sea lion pavilion. You may even learn a thing or two at this state-of-the-art nature facility.
After you’ve seen your fill of wildlife, head back through Audubon Park until you hit St. Charles Ave. and hop on the streetcar back towards downtown. If you’re ready for a bite to eat, get off at Robert Street (about five blocks past Jefferson Avenue), and head towards Prytania Street to a little restaurant called La Crepe Nanou. This charming neighborhood bistro feels straight out of Paris with its dim, rich lighting, and cozy red banquettes. Share an order of fondue for two, or try out one of their deliciously savory crepes. The restaurant does fill up quickly, and doesn’t take reservations, so there may be a wait.
Also nearby? Upperline Restaurant. The menu is decadent and delicious – Creole contemporary at it’s best. The walls are dripping with artwork from local artists, and the hominess of the building itself creates a comfortably upscale ambience. Try the restaurant’s signature fried green tomatoes topped with shrimp remoulade, or opt for the opulently delectable roast duck.
Or if you’d prefer to stop for a pre-dinner cocktail before settling into a meal, forgo the Robert Street stop, and continue riding down St. Charles until you reach the Columns Hotel. This iconic New Orleans hotel, and the bar that spills from its lobby onto its expansive front porch, is a must-see for anyone visiting the city. The dark, Victorian lounge-y atmosphere of its interior lends itself to an almost scandalous sense of romance (after all, it was used as the bordello in the 1987 Brooke Shield’s flick “Pretty Baby”). Feel like getting some fresh air? Take a seat outside – where you can sip your cocktail while overlooking the beauty of St. Charles.
Another great pick for romantic pre- (or post-) dinner cocktails is The Delachaise, located just two blocks down from The Columns. Sit under the light-strung patio out front, or grab a table inside and enjoy their delightfully extensive list of wines, beers and fine liquor.
When it comes time for dinner, call a cab and head over to either Atchafalaya or Lilette. Atchafalaya serves up contemporary Creole cuisine in a quaint Uptown cottage located enough off the beaten path that you’ll feel like you’re an in the know local.
Lilette, on the other hand, is an upscale bistro that specializes in Italian-French fare. The space itself is sophisticated and sultry, with deep red walls, and creamy white banquettes. The restaurant can tend to get a little loud as the night goes on, but that’s all the more reason to lean in closer.
As your weekend winds down, you may want to return to the Quarter for one last late-night stroll, or grab a nightcap at one of our picks for the city’s most romantic bars. No matter how you choose to wrap up your romantic tryst in the Big Easy, one thing is certain; the memories you made in a weekend will last a lifetime. Now that’s amore.
© New Orleans Family Reunions 2017