So You’re Coming to New Orleans For Taylor Swift :: A Local’s Tips and Insight
So you just happen to be one of the lucky ones that got tickets to one of Taylor Swift’s New Orleans shows despite the nightmare that is Ticketmaster. Congratulations! New Orleans is such a fun, vibrant place to visit (yes, New Orleans is fun with kids!) and even better when it’s for live music. I attended her last concert in the Superdome and you are in for such a treat – it’s going to be amazing! If you have never visited the Crescent City, let us be the first to welcome you to our little corner of the world! We have compiled all the info we feel like you need to know to have the best weekend ever because we love Taylor so much that we wish she were our nanny (and here’s why).
First things first, if you are not already in THIS dedicated New Orleans Taylor Swift Facebook group, please join! It is well run and very helpful.
What To Pack When You Visit New Orleans
New Orleans weather can be unpredictable, especially in October! It could be 80 and humid or it could be 50 and windy, and it could be both in one day! Obviously besides your outfit that I know you have planned for a year, make sure that you pack some essentials if you are going to be exploring New Orleans. A jacket, comfortable walking shoes, a poncho, sunblock, a crossbody/fanny pack, portable charger, electrolyte packs (trust me), and pain relievers. It can rain here out of the blue, so be prepared for the scenario (yes, even if the weather apps predict no rain). We also strongly recommend NOT carrying a traditonal purse in downtown New Orleans; something close to the body is best for site seeing. If you need a clear purse for the Dome, check out local New Orleans Mom Rosie Jean Designs for a custom clear bag! Pro Tip: When you get to your lodging, take advantage of a delivery service like Instacart or walk to one of the local corner stores. Stocking your room with drinks and snacks at the start of the trip is the best (and you avoid paying $5 for bottles of water, which can be so tempting)
Arriving In New Orleans
Since tons of Swifties will be coming from out of state, get familiar with MSY – New Orleans International Airport. It was just renovated and is absolutely beautiful! There are a ton of great restaurants that you can grab a bite to eat at (either before your flight home or after you land, and if you forget last minute souvenirs stop at one of the shops like Fleurty Girl. In fact, you may even be wise to wait until your flight home to shop for local items as the airport shopping is really pretty decent! You can find more about MSY specifically here and if you will be flying with little ones also here.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have TSA Pre-Check, I suggest looking into it. This will allow you to get through security quicker because the airport is going to be crazy busy. The cost is $78 for 5 years and children under 17 can fly with their registered parent for free.
How To Get Around
Whether you are flying or driving in, you will have to find your way around once you get here. The airport is a solid 25 minutes from downtown New Orleans. If you are choosing to rent a car or drive in, make sure you find out what the parking situation is at your hotel as the hotel parking fees and valet here can add up FAST. Budget this into your trip and your schedule; with hotels at capacity it will take time to get your vehicle since they are often parked on a different block. Even when staying at a house, many times there will only be on street parking. If we get a vote we’d suggest you NOT rent a car, but of course that’s up to you. We have a lot of one way streets, U-turns and crazy potholes to avoid and quite frankly it is not that friendly of a city to navigate if you are not familiar! Ubers are plentiful in New Orleans; from the airport to downtown is typically $30 plus. If you are staying downtown, I highly suggest skipping a car and taking advantage of our pedi-cabs, streetcars and walking! If you are staying in Algiers or the Westbank, the ferry (a boat that crosses the Mississippi River) is a great way to get across the river and into downtown as well. Krewe Car is a locally owned service that offers the flexibility of ride sharing, as well as car seats, but they MUST be scheduled in advance. Their drivers are all stringently vetted, and they also can provide boosters or other items if you are visiting New Orleans with the kids.
Where to Stay
The Superdome is conveniently located in the heart of downtown New Orleans, which gives you lots of options for lodging. October is always a super busy time in the city, and adding five plus days of Swifties flooding the city is sure to put us over capacity. If you haven’t started looking for lodging, do not wait any longer. When I looked on Booking.com there are not many places available and the prices are very high for that week from NOLA to Baton Rouge.
Pro Tip: If you are worried about if the area you have chosen is safe, you can take a look at our local crime maps. New Orleans is like any other major city and has its fair share of incidents BUT if you talk to most locals they will tell you that you’re fine. Be aware of your surroundings. Stay in well lit areas, don’t venture down vacant side streets, and always walk in groups. It’s always great to be vigilant but you will find the nicest people in NOLA!
Where To Eat in New Orleans (this could go on for days)
New Orleans is known for its delectable Cajun cuisine, and we have so many amazing restaurants to try. It’s a daily topic of conversation in the group Where NOLA Eats (join if y’all want!) If you are looking for a great brunch spot, check out this list of some of our favorites! Bringing the kids to show? This is a great compilation of all the best places in the city to celebrate (I mean you got Taylor Swift tickets, we know you will be celebrating!) with your little Swifties. Day after the show and need to heal your hangover? Check out some of the best burgers that NOLA has to offer. Are you a Swiftie and a football fan? There are so many great family friendly spots to watch the game in New Orleans. A few specific places that I suggest you try that weekend…
Muriel’s – My favorite French Quarter spot, this casual fine dining restaurant overlooks historic Jackson Square and has one of the best balconies in the city to eat dinner on! Serving up the most delectable Creole food, they host a jazz brunch every Sunday that is such a good time. It is a piece of New Orleans history, having been there since the 1700s – there is even said to be a ghost!
Rock N’ Sake – This trendy sushi restaurant offers delicious rolls, unique Japanese dishes, and the upbeat vibes are absolutely on point for a fun concert weekend. They’re only open for lunch on Thursdays and Fridays so make sure you look at their website and book a reservation.
Mister Oso – One of New Orleans hottest new spots, this vibrant Peruvian inspired eatery brings colorful decor and an outstanding menu. With things like tacos, ceviche, and an agave spirits cocktail bar, Mister Oso is sure to get the party started right. Definitely book ahead for a delish dining experience! Pro Tip: Ohm Lounge is located right next door and is a fabulous little night club that opens on Fridays & Saturdays at 4pm till.
Lula Distillery – This Garden District micro-distillery has not only a top notch menu all day long, but their drink menu is on point. Pop in for happy hour which is everyday from 4-7pm for $5 classic drinks and dine on delicious bites like sugarcane pork skewers, crawfish mac and cheese, or blackberry glazed ribs. It’s perfect if you are with a large group and in a beautiful part of the city. Make a reservation online or give them a call if you have more than 8 people.
Copper Vine – This wine gastropub located in downtown New Orleans is close to the Superdome, perfect for eating before the concert (just make sure you make a reservation!) With an extensive cellar list, small plates for sharing, and a lush patio area this is one of my fav spots to eat in the city. Pro Tip: The party that will be going on in Champions Square is just a short 5 minute walk away! Make sure you check their schedule of events because I can guarantee they will have something going on before the shows.
The Peacock Room – Located inside the Kimpton Hotel Fontenot in the CBD, this luxurious restaurant and cocktail bar offers not only an amazing brunch (find the full review here) but lots of shareable plates and snacks. This is a great place to pop into for a quick bite to eat and a fun cocktail.
Where To Shop
New Orleans has tons of great places to shop, so if you are looking for any last minute items for the best night of your life, don’t fret! Here are some of the places we recommend hitting for all the fashion you need:
Magazine Street – Located in Uptown New Orleans, Magazine Street is worth taking a stroll down even if just to window shop! There are so many great boutiques, consignment stores, galleries, and restaurants to discover. You’ll find local favorite Fleurty Girl here, along with other shops like Hemline, Buffalo Exchange, and Trashy Diva that will definitely have Eras appropriate outfits. Looking for budget friendly accessories? Stop in Trendz and be prepared to go nuts.
The Riverwalk Outlets – Located along the Mississippi, the Riverwalk Collection is a huge indoor shopping center with stores like Nordstrom Rack, Steve Madden, Francesca’s, and Guess. They have loads of accessory and perfume stores & carts, along with a food court if you need to grab a quick bite to eat.
Decatur Street – Located in the French Quarter, you will find a large array of places to shop on Decatur Street. From big names like H&M to Sephora, along with vintage stores and funky little boutiques like Dollz & Dames. Pro Tip: If you follow the street all the way down you will also run into the French Market which is filled with unique finds and tons of opportunities to find some great souvenirs!
Metairie Road – Located 15 minutes outside of the city, Metairie Road is known for having some of the best boutiques and high end stores in the area. Metairie Road runs throughout the gorgeous Old Metairie neighborhood, so this is more akin to residential / suburban shopping areas. Find luxe pieces to add to your wardrobe at Dolce, Em’s Boutique, and Phina. There is a handful of great spas located in this area as well if you are looking to get primped and pampered as well!
Places to Get Pampered
Speaking of getting pampered, if you are looking for some razzle dazzle while in town, book an appointment and let someone else get you all decked out. Here is just an example of some great places to get glam in the city:
Blo Blow Dry Bar – With a variety of hair styling services, blow dry bars are meant to be a convenient & relaxing experience. You can browse their website and select a style before you go and they even offer things like root coverup! Blo also offers makeup services as well, contact them for a price and see what looks they have online.
BLEU, a Blow Dry Bar – BLEU is a locally owned blow dry bar that offers other services and treatments (including make up) as well! This is located in Old Metairie.
Southern Swings Nail Bar – With it’s unique southern vibe and wooden swings suspended from the ceiling, you can find a variety of specialized pedicures and manicures at this uptown spot. It’s the perfect spot to get your nails done, especially if your with younger girls.
Katie Malone Makeup Studio – This studio on Metairie Road is your one stop shop for all things beauty; they offer air brush tanning, makeup, and hair services. They have a special package for teens and also offer on site bookings as well! Make sure to book an appointment early on for any glam, spots are sure to fill up.
Things To Do While You Are Here
The concert is just one night, so what will you do with the rest of your time in New Orleans? We are a family friendly city, so if you have brought the kids with you make sure you check out our calendar and also our guide for things to do in NOLA. And we know you spent a pretty penny on the concert so if your looking for activities that won’t break the bank, we have you covered with this list of inexpensive things to do!
There are so many things to do, but there are some things that are must dos while you are here, New Orleans is rich with culture and unique activities to do:
Take a Swamp Tour – Louisiana can sometimes feel like another world to people that aren’t from here (I am a transplant) and that includes our lush bayous that we are surrounded by. Taking a swamp tour is an experience like none other and there are so many great companies that offer them. Take a boat, or if you’re really adventurous, a ride on an air boat! I have gone on these many times and still enjoy them every single time, you are sure to see a few alligators.
The National WWII Museum – We have tons of spectacular museums in New Orleans, but you cannot miss the iconic lit up plane that sits about the interstate in our Warehouse District. The National WWII Museum is phenomenal and is truly a site to be seen. With four different buildings filled with interactive exhibits, oral exhibits, and stunning war relics it is heart touching and special to experience. They also have the Expressions of America show which is a nigh time light and music show that is one of a kind.
Audubon Aquarium & Zoo – Both our aquarium and zoo are definitely worth checking out while you are in town! With the aquarium just having undergone a huge renovation, the state or the art facility is absolutely stunning. Find our full review here and check their website for all the special shows and things they offer (backstage with penguins anyone?). The Audubon Zoo is ranked 6th in the nation, and has so much to offer! It has lots of shade from the beautiful oak trees, we have excellent exhibits, and you will have to check out Monkey Hill which is the highest elevation in New Orleans outside of the levee system. Pro Tip: That weekend in October is typically an event called “Boo At The Zoo”, so make sure you check their website if you are planning on going. If you are coming in town with your kids, it may be an event that you want to check out another night. It’s absolutely fabulous trick or treating!
Hop on a Streetcar to Uptown – The dark green streetcar adorned with a 954 is the oldest running streetcar in the city and has been rumbling down St. Charles Avenue for 150 years. For only $1.25 for adults and .50 for kids, this is an inexpensive and fun way to see the beauty of New Orleans. Check out the amazing campuses of Loyola and Tulane, admire the architecture of the historic mansions, and stroll through Audubon Park under the giant oak trees.
Stroll the Riverfront – No trip to NOLA would be complete without taking a stroll down the mighty Mississippi River and our river front area is beautiful! Starting by the aquarium, you can walk all the way down through Woldenberg Park. There are tons of great restaurants around, so grab some food and have a picnic! Watching all the different boats pass down the river is so cool.
Make sure you save the link to this article! I will be updating it until the show with things like events, parties, and all the information you will need for an amazing concert weekend.