Girlfriend getaway: New Orleans
Gather your girlfriends and head to New Orleans, a city filled with charm and soul, for a fun escape. Here are 10 things to do in this historic city that is steeped in Southern hospitality, rich Cajun-influenced cuisine and, of course, decadent cocktails.
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From the Sazerac to absinthe, the cocktail culture is always kicking in NOLA, and it's the quintessential place to channel your inner mixologist. Embark on a spirits discovery, while sipping a variety of classic New Orleans cocktails, with a French Quarter cocktail tour offered by Gray Line.
New Orleans is synonymous with Creole and Cajun cuisine. So why not pick up some culinary skills to bring a bit of NOLA back home? Learn how to prepare classic dishes, such as a cassoulet with homemade sausage, bread pudding and andouille gumbo — just like a true New Orleanian. The Langlois Culinary Crossroads offers a variety of hands-on cooking classes from brunch to dinner.
Take a lunch break at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the oldest fine-arts museum in town and known for its collection of French and American art. Don't miss the five-acre sculpture garden featuring more than 60 sculptures gracing a stunning landscape.
Jazz is at the heart of New Orleans, but for some added spice, take in a burlesque show at Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse. Held on Friday evenings, the performance puts a modern spin on the classic striptease, evoking the 1960's-era Bourbon Street culture.
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No girlfriend getaway would be complete without shopping. The destination: Magazine Street. From flower shops to art galleries, the bustling street boasts a diverse array of shops to appeal to everyone from antique lovers to fashionistas to crafters. There are even cafés and wine bars for a midday shopping break.
For the ultimate girlfriend day, indulge in a spa day at the newly renovated Spa at Windsor Court. Unwind from Big Easy indulgence with a detoxifying body scrub or relaxing massage, relax in the steam room or take a swim in the stunning pool.
After an evening out, the day calls for brunch. Head to Café Amelie for shrimp and grits, crab cakes and Cajun poutine. Linger with coffee (or cocktails) and catch up over conversation in the stunning courtyard.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and take a history lesson at Plantation Country. A short drive from the city, the area boasts nine lavish estates set amid lush landscaping and mossy oak trees. Tour the homes' elaborate, antique-filled interiors and imagine the plantation owners that once lived there.
Start your day in true Big Easy style with fluffy beignets at Café Beignet. The 200-year-old cafe is world famous for its powdery beignets (pronounced: ben-yays) and perfect café au laits. Breakfast is served all day to satisfy your sweet-tooth cravings.
Toast to your girlfriend getaway at Swizzle Stick Bar with a traditional N'awlins cocktail, such as the Vesper, a gin, vodka and Lillet wine concoction noted in the James Bond novel, "Casino Royale," or Boulevardier, a bourbon, vermouth and Campari libation.