Every woman knows that great girlfriends keep us sane as life becomes more and more crazy. That’s why we need to make time to nurture our friendships by getting away from it all with our favorite ladies. There is no better place to let your hair down than the Crescent City, so we put together some ideas for your next girl’s getaway in New Orleans. As a bonus, many of the businesses we recommend are owned or run by women.
Whether it’s food, art, or music you love, there is a festival almost every weekend in New Orleans. FestiGals is an annual festival that inspires, connects and celebrates women, featuring inspirational speakers, a second line parade, and fun activities such as the Bodacious Bra challenge (bid on dazzling, hand-decorated bras; all proceeds go to charity!). ESSENCE Festival is another fun festival to anchor a New Orleans girl’s getaway. As America’s premier festival celebrating contemporary black music and culture, Essence features A-list musicians and motivational speakers.
Starting your day with a leisurely meal feels like the ultimate luxury. Indulge in jazz brunch on the weekends at Commander’s Palace or enjoy courtyard dining at Café Amelie. For cheaper (but no less delicious) options, try Ruby Slipper or Elizabeth’s. If healthy eating is more your style, check out Satsuma, with locations Uptown and in the Bywater.
If you’re “ladies who lunch,” don’t skip out on Dooky Chase, owned by the renowned Leah Chase, “Queen of Creole Cuisine.” Another non-brunch option is high tea at the Windsor Court Hotel, which happens Fridays at 2 p.m. or on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Whether you plan to come home from your trip with arms full of shopping bags, or you’re more of a window shopper, New Orleans has a lot to offer in the retail therapy department. Check out the funky boutiques on Magazine Street and The Shops at Canal Place for great clothing and shoes. Stroll down Royal Street for art and antiques, and check out the French Market in the French Quarter for affordable souvenirs and gifts.
Every woman deserves a treat every now and then, so sneak in a little relaxation during your trip with a group visit to a local spa. Go full-on fancy at The Spa at the Ritz Carlton or treat yourself to something more modestly priced but no less luxurious at Belladonna, Buff Beauty Bar, or Spa Isbell Uptown, or The Woodhouse in Mid-City. Make sure to reserve your spa treatments in advance to ensure your whole group can be together.
Between daytime and nighttime activities, there’s happy hour! And New Orleans has some of the best drink specials out there for ladies out on the town. Check out rooftop bars like Catahoula Hotel bar or Monkey Board for the perfect sunset photo op. In the French Quarter, try the drink and small plate specials at SoBou or Tableau. If craft cocktails are your thing, head to Cure or Bar Tonique, and if you’re more of a wine drinker, try Pearl Wine Co., Bacchanal, or Oak Wine Bar.
Work It Out
If your group of ladies likes to sweat, schedule a run or fitness class with The Sweat Social, rent bikes or book a bike tour, get zen at yoga classes offered in the historic Cabildo, or schedule a private dance class. Your girlfriend’s group can try burlesque or bounce fitness for a unique and fun New Orleans experience. Grammy-nominated singer Robin Barnes has even developed her own fitness classes that incorporate bounce, hip hop, and yoga — “Move Ya Brass” now, and reward yourself with beignets later.
With so many restaurants in New Orleans, you can choose based on what vibe works best for you and the gals. For a classic New Orleans dining experience, try Galatoire’s for a fancy evening or Acme Oyster House for a more casual option. Herbsaint and Café Degas are big on ambience and suited to smaller groups. Channel serious girl power at female-run spots like Compere Lapin (Chef Nina Compton), Willa Jean (Chef Kelly Fields), or Rosedale (the newest restaurant from Chef Susan Spicer, a James Beard winner and inductee to the Culinary Hall of Fame). If your group has trouble deciding on just one type of cuisine, head to St. Roch Market, where each member of your group can order from one of many dining options and then eat together in a beautiful common space.
Remember that talk about letting your hair down? Yep, now’s the time to do it. Check out Lucy’s in the Warehouse District or Molly’s at the Market for late-night bar fun (and frozen Irish coffees). If you want to dance, try The Gold Mine in the French Quarter or just take a stroll down Bourbon Street. For live music and even more dancing, head over to Frenchmen Street. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, head over to Kajun’s Pub on Saint Claude Avenue for karaoke.
Bonus Girl’s Getaway Ideas
For history buffs, take a tour of the French Quarter, visit a historic home, or check out the National World War II Museum. Art lovers will enjoy the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum, and the Contemporary Arts Center. Or, get the lowdown on that cocktail you’re sipping with a Drink & Learn tour from Elizabeth Pearce.