Explore New Orleans

Author Michael Murphy's Full-Day Itinerary in New Orleans

The guidebook author guides us around the Crescent City, with stops at his favorite shops, restaurants and late-night music clubs.

Where to go, what to do, who to see while in New Orleans? You've come to the right place.

WhereTraveler sought the advice of guidebook author and New Orleans concierge Michael Murphy. Murphy, a longtime lover of all things NOLA, was happy to share a few of his Crescent City favorites with interested travelers.

8:30 am: Morning calls
Breakfast at Elizabeth’s is best, but I prefer Pagoda Café. It’s convenient, affordable—$3 for a black currant scone with homemade lemon curd—and there’s often a sideshow; folk singers from Appalachia, bakers selling bread from the back of a truck, pop-up bike repair.

Pagoda Cafe in New Orleans, Louisiana
Tucked in a quiet corner off Esplanade Avenue, tiny Pagoda Café has a big local following. (©Shawn Fink)

10 am: Talking shop
Stop in at a few stores to chat with the owners, not buy things. Felix and Jonathan at F&F Botanica and Lisa at A Tisket A Tasket are my favorites.

Noon: Dive in
Casamento’s, with its all-white tile and fluorescent lighting, is the city’s least romantic restaurant but best lunch spot. Calvin Trillin described it as 'eating in a drained swimming pool.' But you go for the food; their gumbo has healing powers.

2 pm: Sittin’ and chattin’
My two favorite spots for lively conversations with strangers are in front of St. Louis Cathedral or on the St. Charles streetcar.

Jackson Square in New Orleans, Louisiana
Brass bands, artists, psychics, locals, visitors; you're sure to find someone interesting to chat up in front of St. Louis Cathedral. (©Jan Dahlqvist/Barberstock)

7 pm: Eat dis
We have more than 1,400 restaurants; my favorite restaurants change monthly.

Currently it’s Kin or The Franklin. Mondays Bacchanal wins, as much for Helen Gillet’s musical artistry as their absurdly good bacon-wrapped dates. Bayona and Pêche are on my permanent list.

11 pm: Sound advice
Late night music takes over. The Rebirth Brass Band starts playing around 11 pm on Tuesdays at the Maple Leaf; Fridays at midnight burlesque queen Trixie Minx performs at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse; and Saturdays at the Hi-Ho Lounge, DJ Soul Sister spins a mix of old R&B, Motown and techno-pop from 11 pm to 3 am.

Rebirth Brass Band performs live in New Orleans bar and music venue
The Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band's weekly Maple Leaf blowouts are a must-catch. (©Girlie Action)