My birthday celebrations in New Orleans!

Birthdays, if you ask me, are best celebrated with best friends or in New Orleans. I was lucky to celebrate my 35th birthday in New Orleans with my husband and I had a blast. The only thing that could have made it better was to have my best friends come along with us. 

New Orleans, also lovingly referred to as 'The Big Easy', is a very charming and colorful place full of life, music and creativity and I absolutely loved it. It was a city I have wanted to visit for a while and I am so glad I did it for my birthday. It is full of talented artists where every street corner comes alive with the sounds of drum beats and guitar strings. The place is magical and inspiring. Even if you are not into music, you can't but play to its beat. You can't but stop and admire the energy and creativity that is flowing all around you. I would easily rank it among the top 3 cities in the US one must visit alongside New York and Washington DC.

Reminiscing memorable birthday celebrations:

I still vividly remember my 23rd birthday that I celebrated with my best friends in Bangalore. We spent the whole day together, simply walking down the busy streets of MG Road in Bangalore visiting cafes, bookshops, buying earrings from the street vendors (that I still wear today, more than a decade later) and getting charcoal portraits together from the photo booths that were then popular. It was one of the most spontaneous and memorable days of my life and I enjoyed every minute of it. I then went home to a decadent chocolate cake that my roommate brought. There couldn't have been a better way to end a great day! 

Another memorable birthday was the one I spent with my husband in a lovely log cabin in Greer. Greer is a beautiful, quiet rustic mountain valley located in the White Mountains in Arizona and we luckily landed in one of the most beautiful log cabins there. I had a fantastic time hiking in the snow with my husband and when I came home that evening, my brother-in-law invited few very close friends of ours and threw a surprise party. Once again, it ended with my favorite Chocolate Ganache cake and I couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate my 30th birthday.

Where we went in New Orleans:

We went to the Bourbon street and the Frenchman street for the music performances, Jackson Square for the art and street performances, Garden District to check out the pretty houses in a posh neighborhood, French Market and Magazine Street to see what the locals do. 

Bourbon street is electrifying, especially at night, overflowing with the music and the crowds. It is filthy, yes, but it is so full of life, energy and music that the filth did not bother me. We had so much fun hopping in and out of the bars while listening to various bands and simply walking up and down the street soaking in the energy and the vibes. We particularly enjoyed the bands at the 'Famous Door' bar, the piano duel at 'Pat O' Brien' and the karaoke at 'Cats Meow'.

Then there is the Frenchman street for more elegant performances which we thoroughly enjoyed as well.  

During the day, the street artists at the Jackson Square awed us with their group performances, stunts and jokes while a fusion band called Buku Broux was playing excellent kora on one side and there were artists bringing their creativity to the canvas through excellent painting on the other side. The Jackson Square is as lively during the day as Bourbon street is during the night. You can easily spend several hours just sitting on the steps near the Square with a coffee in hand and feeling thoroughly inspired and entertained at the end of the day.

Jackson Square

Street performances

Playing Kora

In addition to all the above, there are parades happening all across the French Quarter with brides celebrating their bachelorette parties, couples celebrating their engagement parties and many more.

We also took a 30-minute horse carriage tour of the French Quarter. While you can always walk around and enjoy the sights, we thought it would be good to hear some local stories from a place that is considered a historic city in the US.

We also explored the bustling French Market located between Chartres St & N Peters St. While they do sell a lot of touristy stuff, they also host Farmer's market on certain days and overall, it has the feel of a flea market. While I rarely shop on vacations, I did end up buying something from here :)

We also spent a couple of hours strolling around the posh neighborhood of Garden District checking out the pretty houses there (including Sandra Bullock's huge mansion!).

We stayed in an Airbnb near Magazine Street and loved exploring the area on bike. We signed up for 'Blue Bikes' membership on Day 1 and enjoyed biking in the city for the next couple of days. We biked on the Magazine street from the French Quarter to the Audubon park and admired the cute & colorful houses as well as the local shops & restaurants along the way. With the Blue Bikes available in most of the downtown area on a pay-as-you-go basis, it is a great way to explore the city. And if you are tired, there are streetcars that originate in downtown and take you to different parts of the city.

If you ever feel like getting away from the chaos of the city for a few quiet moments, Mississippi river is right around the corner. 

With all its music and art scene, New Orleans is a treat to the eyes and the ears. But it doesn't stop there. It has excellent food to go with it, making it a sought-after destination. For details on our favorite eats in New Orleans, check out this blog post dedicated to that.

Ready to pack your bags and head out to New Orleans? Have fun in the 'Big Easy' :)


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