TRAVEL || NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

Not going to lie, I love being a tourist and seeing iconic sites- but I also love seeing the local side of a city. I’m fascinated by how other people live, so I like to get an insider’s look.

Here are a few touristy attractions with some cool local spots you can visit the next time you’re in Nola.

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Airboat Tours through the Swamps || There are several companies that offer airboat tours but the one we like is Airboat Adventures. They have good pricing, a prime location, the knowledge to answer all of your questions, and give you a great experience. When you arrive, they have a little souvenir shop. Inside, you can get up close and personal with an albino alligator! It really warms you up to seeing live gators and gets you excited for the adventure ahead. We reserved a boat that seats about 12 people with a tour guide. He takes you to several spots in the swamps and fills you with information about wildlife, nature, and history. Wild alligators will swim up to your boat in hopes of munching on marshmallows. Too cool! The swamps are a creepy yet beautiful place! I’ve grown up by lakes and beaches, but this is a one of a kind experience. I recommend wearing athliesure wear as rain or getting splashed by waves may occur. Packing a poncho in your backpack would be a smart idea, haha! See photo below for why that last sentence is funny..

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French Quarter || Facing the Mississippi River, the French quarter is an iconic spot to visit in New Orleans. Home to Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral, you can walk around admiring the architecture and park. In the center of it all is the statue of Andrew Jackson on his horse. You’ll also be entertained by street performers and local artists who create pieces right in front of your eyes and display them along the square’s intricate lily beautiful iron gates. Not to mention, Cafe du Monde (and their famous beignets) is located next door!

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WW2 Museum || I am so glad someone suggested going to this large and amazing museum. The detailed history and intricacy of their exhibits will leave you in awe. You can see in the first photo below how they recreate the environment to make you feel like you were there. When you first arrive at the museum, they give each person a different ‘dog tag’ of a soldier’s in the war. As you progress through the museum, you scan your tag at each station and get to hear that individual’s personal story unfold. You’ll definitely want to schedule yourself out several hours to walk through everything. Unfortunately, we didn’t check closing times and only had two hours to explore. It was not enough time. We were only able to get through one exhibit. I’m already planning my next trip to Nola so I can go back and see the rest!

 

Bourbon Street || Bourbon Street is about as touristy as you can get in this city. It is better known for it’s party atmosphere, especially during Mardi Gras in February. If that’s not your thing, I still advise taking a stroll to see all of the action. The street is lined with multistory buildings, each one having a balcony with flags, beads, or lights strung up. Music fills the air as live bands are around every corner. I’m talking, thirteen blocks of restaurants, bars, entertainment, architecture, and history.

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TRAVEL || THE GHOST TOWN OF JEROME

There is a small city built into the side of a mountain known as Jerome, Arizona. It is a very old, unique, interesting place that I would highly advise visiting! If you drive towards Cottonwood and see the large white “J” built into Cleopatra Hill, you know you’re going the right way.

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A little Jerome history… It was built back in 1876 to be a residency for the workers of the booming copper-mining industry. Due to its high volume of murders and deaths, Jerome was known as the “Wickedest Town in the West”. Not only were people dying while working in the mines, but almost 100 people were shot quarreling in the streets in a single month. At it’s peak in the 1920s, the town had about 15,000 residence. When the mines closed in the 1950s, only 50-100 people remained. Jerome has since then been restored into a tourist town with local artisans, restaurants, and haunted tours. It currently has about 450 residents.

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Now that you have little back story.. Here are all the best places to go and things to do!

After arrival, we went to Ghost Town Tours to reserve a spot on their walking tour. Side note: This company was very accommodating and easy to work with. Since the tour was not until later in the day, we got to explore the local shops and galleries. Taking advantage of dilapidated buildings, artists have erected 3-dimintional sculptures in the middle of the rubble. One even displayed a toilet as a wishing well. Talk about flushing your money down the toilet, HA!

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With a variety of restaurants to choose from, we chose the Haunted Hamburger for lunch. It was such a beautiful day, outdoor seating was a no brainer. Couldn’t get enough of that view! We liked their deep fried pickles, twice baked potato, BBQ burger and most importantly their mudslide- a milkshake that tastes like the inside of an Oreo had a baby with a chocolate frosty. SO. GOOD.

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Our walking tour guide was great! As a local born and raised, he really knew his town’s history. I recommend doing a tour, as each building has its own crazy story. Definitely worth the time and money! Jerome is one fascinating town!

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For dinner, we went to The Asylum, which is the restaurant in the old Grand Hotel. We got there at 5:30 when they opened for dinner, which worked well for us as we got to sit at one of the two window seats. They have the highest view in the city, and watching the sunset over the red rock mountains as you eat dinner is a once in a lifetime experience. Casual attire is welcomed at this fine dining establishment. Their soup was great! We also enjoyed the pork tenderloin.

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Ghost Town Tours also has haunted night tours in the old high school. Rumor has it they are scary and fun! I feel like we got a good scope of the town in one day; but if you want to get scared on the night tour, they have haunted hotels available for stay!

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