New Orleans: Two Hours in the French Quarter

New Orleans, LA

While the French Quarter of New Orleans has so much to offer, it is possible to see many of the major highlights in just one afternoon!

We passed through Louisiana on the way to Texas for the holidays and decided to swing down to New Orleans for brunch along the way. It only added 20 minutes to our drive!

Jackson Square in the center of the French Quarter.

We knew we needed more than an hour, but we were surprised when we made it back to our car that it had only been just a few minutes over two hours.

During this time we had brunch at Stanley New Orleans, walked a few blocks down Bourbon Street, grabbed a couple of postcards in a souvenir shop, took some photos inside Jackson Square, and finished up our adventure at Cafe du Monde with coffee and beignets.

Brunch at Stanley

We started off brunch with some coffee and mimosas while we waited for our food, which came out pretty quickly! Had it taken longer, it would have been well worth the wait.

I had the eggs benedict po’boy and my husband had a shrimp po’boy. Both were extremely difficult to eat by hand, but absolutely delicious.

With both outside and inside seating available, we chose to sit right on the corner of the sidewalk for the front seat view of Jackson Square.

We soaked up the full ambience of New Orleans – complete with the sound of a street performer serenading the French quarter with his jazz trumpet, a tarot card reader, and some of the best people watching opportunities!

Cafe Du Monde

The famous Cafe Du Monde has been a New Orleans staple since 1862. The original market stand is open 24 hours a day seven days a week, and is only closed for Christmas day and the occasional hurricane that passes through.

If you’ve never had a beignet straight from the French Quarter, you’re missing out! I had this place on my bucket list for years and the experience did not disappoint.

Beignet (ben-yay)

A beignet is a French donut that tastes a little bit like a funnel cake from a state fair, only a thousand times more delicious. If you’re on a diet, these are worth breaking it for temporarily. I’m a pretty clean eater and a flexitarian (80/20 vegan) and I made this a cheat treat with no regrets!

Bourbon Street

I can’t wait to visit New Orleans again and experience Bourbon Street after the sun goes down! Better known for it’s night life, it doesn’t quite live up to the hype during the middle of the day. However, the unique architecture is one of my favorite things about the French Quarter and there is plenty of it on Bourbon Street.

Just be aware that it’s hard to stop and admire the buildings without bumping into someone on the sidewalk. It can be quite crowded during the day as well. Good luck taking photos without random people in them!

Standing on the corner of Bourbon Street.

Note: Always keep your belongings close to you and as out of sight as possible for your safety and always know your surroundings. Beware of pick-pockets and people passing out beads as a distraction. If you want beads, buying them in shop is safer.

Horse drawn carriages in front of Jackson Square.

In the heart of the French Quarter, it’s hard to miss the facade of the gorgeous St. Louis Cathedral that heralds over Jackson Square. You can even sight-see on a horse drawn carriage if you need a break from walking!

Parking in the French Quarter

I’m going to be straight with you. Parking was very expensive, even just for two hours. We found a spot near the railroad tracks right next to the river and while it was very close to Jackson Square, it was about $30 if I remember correctly.

I should have researched parking beforehand and if we had more time we would have looked around a little more. But to make the most of our time, we took the first spot we found.

Love locks on the riverboat docks.

You can see so much of New Orleans in such a short time! The French Quarter is very walkable with many shops and attractions close together. It’s a city that’s worth a weekend getaway at the very least, but if you are only passing through you can still get a great taste of the city and culture.

Selfie with hubby in Jackson Square.
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