Secret Spots and Hidden Gems of New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana is a popular tourist destination, but you can still find some secret spots and hidden gems if you look hard enough. Since New Orleans is also one of our favorite trips that we offer, we thought we’d share a few places that don’t show up on every guidebook and “must see” list. Here are some of our favorites:

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop941 Bourbon St.
Looking for a unique place to grab a drink in the French Quarter? Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop was built between 1722 and 1732 (and may or may not have actually been a blacksmith shop) and claims to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States. Plus it’s outside of the part of Bourbon Street where most tourists spend their time, so it’s usually much less crowded.

The Singing Oak

The Singing Oak1701 Wisner Blvd.
Hiding in plain sight in City Park, The Singing Oak (or Chime Tree) is a large oak tree that has been strung with a set of wind chimes that ring a pentatonic (five notes per octave) scale by Louisiana artist Jim Hart. You can sit underneath The Singing Oak and listen to the relaxing symphony while enjoying the shade on a hot sunny day.

Nicolas Cage's Pyramid Tomb

Photo By: Britt Reints

Nicolas Cage Pyramid Tomb425 Basin St.
Established in 1789, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans, with many of the above-ground burial sites now crumbling. Sitting amongst the crumbling mausoleums however is a brand-new looking, nine-foot-tall stone pyramid, with the Latin phrase “Omni Ab Uno” meaning “Everything From One” etched on the front. When he dies, this tomb will become the final resting place for Nicolas Cage, which makes it a popular tourist attraction for many visitors and fans of Nic Cage.

Bacchanal Courtyard

Bacchanal Courtyard600 Poland Ave.
While it looks like a store from the front, just walk through the Bacchanal Wine Shop into the courtyard within and you’ll find yourself in NOLA’s backyard party. Featuring live music seven days a week (weather permitting) Bacchanal is a great place to grab a bite, enjoy a drink, and listen to some of the best original jazz in New Orleans.

Brennan's Bananas Foster

Bananas Foster at Brennan’s417 Royal St.
Everyone knows about the beignets at Cafe Du Monde, but there’s another food item that was invented in New Orleans that gets much less publicity: Bananas Foster at Brennan’s Restaurant. Invented in 1951, this mixture of bananas, rum sauce, and vanilla ice cream is still the most popular item on Brennan’s menu, with many people stopping by just for a taste of the delicious desert.

Prytania Theatre

Prytania Theatre5339 Prytania St.
If you’re looking for a fun way to relax for a few hours, then stop in and catch a movie at The Prytania Theatre. This single-screen neighborhood theatre has been open for more than 100 years, and a step inside will instantly transport you back in time to Old Hollywood. (But retrofitted with state of the art projection and sound systems.)

City Putt New Orleans

City Putt8 Victory Dr.
City Putt is a 36-hole mini golf complex that’s located in City Park, with two courses to choose from: The Louisiana Course highlights cultural themes and cities from around the state, while the New Orleans Course showcases streets and iconic themes from around the city.

Hansen's Sno Bliz

Hansen’s Sno-Bliz4801 Tchoupitoulas St.
When Ernest Hansen invented the first ice shaving machine in 1939, Mary Hansen added her own flavored syrups and the snoball was born! Today you can still sample that historic treat, since Hansen’s makes its own flavors every day from Mary’s secret recipes, and creates snoballs from the original machine. The combination of fluffy ice and homemade syrups are made in layers – ice, syrup, ice, syrup, etc. – so that the final product is fully saturated, and is unlike any snow cone you’ve had before.

Ready to join us on one of our trips to New Orleans, LA? We can take you to all the secret spots and hidden gems, and make sure it’s a trip you never forget! To book your trip with WNC Travels, click here or give us a call at (828) 595-9691

8 Reasons You Should Travel By Motorcoach

Motorcoach Driving Into The Sunset

If you love to travel, and know that the journey can be just as much fun as the destination, then you should consider luxury motorcoach travel! America is a beautiful country, but if you just fly from place to place, you miss all of the amazing sights and experiences that you get when you travel by motorcoach. When you join us on a motorcoach trip, you get to see what makes America special, you get to experience what makes each city unique, and you get to actually see and enjoy the amazing landscapes that roll by your picturesque window. To help explain why we love it so much, here are eight reasons to consider motorcoach travel:

1. See The Sights – When you enjoy the view from the large panoramic windows that wrap around the motorcoach, you can actually appreciate the majestic mountains, scenic vistas, and wide open plains of this great country. When you’re sitting up high in a luxury motorcoach, your view of the scenery around you isn’t obstructed by other vehicles, giving you a new vantage point of the world around you. And when you leave the driving up to us, you can actually relax and enjoy the scenery, instead of keeping your eyes on the road and staring at the back of the car in front of you.

2. Save Money – Motorcoach travel is often the cheapest form of transportation, and significantly less than the cost of a plane ticket or road trip in a private vehicle. That’s because you’re sharing the cost of the luxury motorcoach with other travelers, which can make it surprisingly affordable! But that low price doesn’t mean you miss out on any of the luxuries, as motorcoach travel includes all of the bells and whistles that make your trip a memorable one.

3. Protect The Environment – Traveling around this beautiful country will make you want to ensure it’s preserved for future generations. Thankfully, on a per-passenger basis, motorcoach travel is one of the cleanest modes of transportation there is. Our motorcoaches are fuel efficient and environmentally friendly, so you can enjoy the sights without worrying that you’re destroying them in the process.

4. Travel Safely – Our drivers have excellent driving records, go through an extensive pre-employment drug screening and background check, and have lengthy commercial driving experience. All drivers go through a rigorous training program including one of the most extensive behind the wheel training programs in the industry, and all of our drivers are trained and certified in CPR and basic first aid. There’s no safer way to travel, so you can relax and enjoy the trip while we get you there safely.

5. Arrive Rested – With plenty of space in every row, and comfortable, luxurious reclining chairs that offer each passenger room to stretch out, you can catch some sleep while the miles roll by, so you arrive rested and ready to go when you reach your destination.

6. Make New Friends – One big advantage of motorcoach travel is that you can move around during the drive, so you can catch up with old friends, get lost in engaging conversations, play a card game, or even meet new friends that share your passion for traveling. You never know who you’ll run into!

7. Direct To Your Destination – Unlike many cities where the airport is miles outside of the city center, motorcoach travel allows you to get right into the heart of a city, and can often include door-to-door service that takes you directly to your hotel. That saves you travel time, but it also saves you the headache of trying to catch a cab, navigate a new city, or park a car.

8. Be Entertained – Our motorcoaches have satellite TV, DVD players, Wi-Fi, and other amenities to make your trip an enjoyable one. You can relax and catch up on a movie, or bring along your laptop or mobile device and catch up on work while you’re whisked along beautiful roads and through breathtaking cities.

To book your motorcoach trip with WNC Travels, click here or give us a call at (828) 595-9691

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