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JLeslie's avatar

What do you think about vacationing in New Orleans for Thanksgiving?

Asked by JLeslie (54496points) May 31st, 2012

Will it be crazy busy downtown for Black Friday, or is most of the retail shopping in the suburbs? I don’t want to go if it will be annoyingly crowded that weekend. Busy is ok, I just don’t want to go if the crowds will be extreme. I assume all the restaurants will be open. I have no interest in Christmas shopping.

I’ll check to see if all the tourist sights I am interested in will be open of course, which brings me to the second part of my question, what do you recommend while there?

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18 Answers

josie's avatar

I am sure you will have a great time. It’s just that IMHO New Orleans is sort of a backwater. Why not New York or Chicago?

wundayatta's avatar

New Orleans is so small, it’s hard to imagine it could get crowded like New York. I’m guessing there will be no problem.

JLeslie's avatar

@josie I am already in NY 2 or 3 times a year. Chicago is already getting cold.

The main reason New Orleans is because I have never been there and I am thinking of taking the train, which used to be an amazing deal at $100 round trip, now it is $130 more or less, still a great price. Once I am there I don’t think I will need a car?

josie's avatar

@JLeslie Like I said, I am sure you will have a great time. Great music and food.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@JLeslie they have street cars in the tourist areas, and I think a car would be more liability than asset. Every adult should visit New Orleans at least once in their life, great music, better food, good bars.

There are also several day or night trips available. The concierge at your hotel should be able to hook you up with just about anything you want. Bonus: it will be less crowded in November than it would be during Mardi Gras or Spring Break.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What a grand idea! Have you not been to New Orleans before? It’s one of my favorite cities in the US.

I’ve been several times, but not during Thanksgiving. Here is a weather average by month. The drive down from where you live is easy, although the train would be fun. It just takes a lot longer.

From this map, you can see that the main tourist areas (French Quarter, Downtown, Garden District, Arts District) are not that large. It’s easy to get around on foot or by using their trolley system. I don’t recall seeing any major shopping areas in these districts. It’s mainly independent shops, other than the market.

There is plenty to do in New Orleans, and it just depends upon what interests you. Here is one of their tourism web sites. Personally, I like the architecture, the history/culture, the music (Dixieland Jazz), and the cemeteries. Bourbon Street will probably not interest you. It is a larger version of Beale Street and caters to the drinkers. The great food is worth the trip alone.

There are several tourist attractions outside of the main city area, but I’m pretty sure that if any of these hold an interest, the hotel will have connections for arranging the tours.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I was wondering if the main hang out area was a lot like Beale, which feels very sketchy to me, not quite our cup of tea really. I go down there, catch some music sometimes if guests are in town, but not often. I am kind of spoiled by having lived in Disneylike South, FL, and spending a lot of time in large cities like NY.

The train is 8 hours, I figure driving is 7? Or, do you drive there faster than that? Cost with trian compared to gas and having to pay for parking at a hotel I figure maybe it is a wash in travel expenses? What I like about the train is it is mindless, don’t have to be focused on driving, and we can watch a movie, eat, walk a little. The negative is there is only one train each day. The outbound to NOLA is 6:30 in the morning. So early.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Sounds awesome! When shall I pack my bags?

JLeslie's avatar

@SpatzieLover Will you come too? We could have a Jelly party? I wonder how many jellies would meet up?

By the way I will be in Elkhart Lake, WI in September for races again. I can’t wait, we had a great time last year. If you or your husband wants to come to the track it is free to come, see the races, the cars. You can come right into the Paddock area. I don’t remember what part of the state you are in.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Yeah, I’ve checked into taking the train as well. The one train trip a day is limiting and it’s really early on the outgoing part, but doable. If I drive alone, it takes about six hours, but I don’t go more than five miles over the speed limit. The times I have gone with others, time was shaved off.

Most of the hotels in the main districts charge for parking, so depending upon which hotel is chosen, that is something to take into consideration should you drive. It all depends upon which factors of the experience are important to you and then measure the costs involved.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer We don’t speed much either. 6 hours with or without stopping for a meal? That is faster than I thought. Taking the train has the added time of driving to the train station. So at least an hour to make sure plenty of time to get there, park, and settle onto the train. We do know someone who lives downtown that we might be able to crash there the night before, but I doubt we would.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie The six hours includes about two stops. I typically take my own snacks/drinks, but I tend to drink a lot while driving. At least one stop is for petrol, and another for a second bathroom break.

Personally, I would rather drive and do it at my own time/pace. Choosing the right hotel that meets my criteria (walking distance, clean room, free breakfast and WIFI, as well as potentially free parking), offsets the additional cost of driving my own car. OTOH, the train trip would be an adventure.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Yeah, I like the adventure part of the idea. We drive all over for my husband’s racing. However, the train can be more interesting in other parts of North America, more scenic in the mountains. The train isn’t very novel for me growing up outside of NY, and I take it between DC and NY still sometimes, but I very much enjoy train travel. I love the study of transportation, and trains are kind of the most interesting mode for me, aside from that I feel less confined than a plane or a bus, and again not having to pay attention like a car. My husband has had very limited train experience, mostly on vacations, never in daily life, so it is more novel for him. I do care that he enjoys the experience, because I would really like to do the train in Western Canada, supposed to be fabulous, and I don’t want him to be turned off to the train idea in general.

Sunny2's avatar

New Orleans is a great place! The one time I was there in November it was 80 degrees, so check the weather before you pack. You can take the trolley outside the Quarter and taxis. I don’t think a car is at all necessary. Tip: There is an A&P in the quarter where you can get a lot of the New Orleans food items at much lower prices. The Mardi Gras museum is fun. And look for the “hill” they put up in a park so kids could see what a “hill” is. The city itself is totally flat.

cazzie's avatar

I think ANYTIME is a great time for New Orleans.

wundayatta's avatar

@cazzie Even in August? I did that once. I was young. I was camping.

Never again!

In fact, I have not been back, since!

JLeslie's avatar

Yeah, not August.

cazzie's avatar

Well, maybe not August, but she said Thanksgiving, so I got enthusiastic for it.

We were there at the end of June last year and it was HOT. I am not used to hot at all. For example, yesterday, June 1st, we had snow and sleet where I live at 63 degrees North. We feel lucky when we get over 15 degrees C. When I got to the States on holiday, I always have to buy shorts and when I get home, they get packed away and I never see them again.

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