New Orleans is rich in culture and history and begging to be explored. From street food to local music and beautiful views, NOLA has it all. If you’re planning a New Orleans weekend getaway, you may be wondering what to see in New Orleans in two days. We’ve got you covered with a 2-day trip that’s not only fun but sustainable, too.
Sustainable travel and responsible tourism are about more than supporting eco-conscious establishments. The concept and practice reaches into culture as well, encouraging tourism that doesn’t hurt local cultures or disrespect native communities.
New Orleans Itinerary | 2 Days in NOLA
It’s tough to fit an action-packed itinerary into New Orleans in just two days. This city is brimming with activity. To save time it’s important to know what you want to do and what area you want to stay. The French Quarter is the most popular area to stay in New Orleans, but there’s also plenty to see in surrounding areas Mid-City, Uptown and Marigny.
Here’s our guide on how to see the best of the best during your limited stay, focusing on activities and locations that fit into the sustainable tourism model. You can mix up the locations to suit your ideal road trip fantasy, but try to fit in as many of these enticing spots on your itinerary as you can.
Day 1: Morning | NOLA City Park
The New Orleans City Park is a wonderful place to start your morning off right with some fresh air, a brisk walk, and an abundance of beautiful scenery. With over 1000 acres, this urban park is even larger than Central Park in New York. Expect towering trees, manicured lawns, and tons of joggers at this fun urban park.
This is the perfect spot for a picnic if you fancy a brunch in the park. The grounds are also home to the New Orleans Botanical Garden, which features over 2000 plants from around the globe.
Roam the gardens, appreciate the lush greenery, and when you’re done, you can sit down for a brunch picnic on the grass.
Day 1: Afternoon | Visit the Historic French Quarter
Welcome to the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans. The historic French Quarter (also known as the Vieux Carré) is the epicenter of the city’s nightlife. But it’s also humming with city noises and brimming with life in the afternoon.
The French Quarter is a cornerstone of New Orleans’ history and is rich with gorgeous Spanish architecture, a vibey atmosphere, and delectable local street food.
If you want to learn more about New Orleans’ original city, you can take the French Quarter Walking Tour. You’ll get to weave through the neighborhood in a fun two-hour expedition of the many stores, local fare stalls, and live music on display in the cool French Quarter streets.
Day 1: Night | Dinner at Cochon
After a day exploring NOLA, you’re probably dying to sit down for a hearty meal and toast to an excellent first day. After all, New Orleans is the food capital of the south, and you can’t visit this city without trying some Cajun food.
Cochon is one of the best restaurants in NOLA, lauded for its impeccable Cajun cuisine, served the sustainable way. Everything at Cochon is farm-to-table, and they serve ethically sourced seafood and fresh local produce. If you want authentic Southern dishes, this spot is for you.
Day 2: Morning | Stunning Views at Crescent Park
Take a stroll or ride your bike in Crescent Park, the gorgeous urban park that connects the city to the riverfront. You’ll see loads of indigenous plants, a fabulous view, and the city skyline beyond the water from the mile-long park trail.
This is a great way to see the city from afar and appreciate its beauty- without increasing your carbon footprint, of course.
Day 2: Afternoon | Visit NOLA’s Museums
One of the tenets of sustainable travel is supporting local economies. Enquire about locally-owned businesses in the area and offer your support! One way to do this is by visiting the NOLA museums as a means of preserving local culture.
Try the Backstreet Cultural Museum in the Tremé neighborhood. They have exhibitions on African American and Mardi Gras Indian culture. You can also see some priceless artifacts and rare photographs on display.
Another option is the National WWII Musuem if you’re looking for more things to do in New Orleans. You’ll not only learn about “the war that changed the world” but also experience the museum’s virtual field trips, multimedia exhibits, immersive exhibits, and artifact displays.
It’s always good to learn about the city you’re visiting, to pay your respects, in a way, and to understand the contextual background of your destination.
If museums aren’t your thing, try the Voodoo French Quarter Tour. This way, you can learn about the fascinating history of voodoo while touring the gorgeous NOLA streets. What better way is there to make a history lesson fun?
Day 2: Night | Scenic Sunset at ‘The Fly’
What would a trip to New Orleans be without admiring the Mississippi River? Many people opt to explore the river on a cruise, but we’re well aware of the negative impact cruise liners have on the environment. So, how else can tourists appreciate the river?
Head to Audubon Riverview Park (or ‘The Fly’ as locals call it) for a spectacular view of the sun dipping behind the water. The orange and pink sunset hues reflect beautifully off the ripples in the river, making for a picturesque send-off on your last day in NOLA.
Enjoy Two Days in New Orleans
Next time you’re planning a New Orleans weekend trip, you’ll know exactly where to go. If you’re still hungry for more sustainable travel ideas, glean some tips and tricks from our posts on responsible tourism. New Orleans is abundant with cool spots to try out, many of which are locally-owned with a focus on sustainability.
Whether you’re dining out at a farm-to-table restaurant or taking it easy in a local park, there are plenty of options out there for you to choose from.
Have an excellent weekend in New Orleans. You’re in for a real treat!