Imagine strolling through a picturesque neighborhood in the Garden District complete with Euro architecture, iron fences and drooping oaks. You grasp the hand of your lover as you whisper to each other plans for the night ahead. Where will you go to make sure this night is one the both of you will remember forever?
New Orleans has something for everyone; this includes lovers young and old. If your love is the greener type, a stroll in Audubon Park capped off with a a few delicious scoops from Creole Creamery could be your calling. If you've done all the typical date stuff through the years, try riding the St. Charles Streetcar through an afternoon rain shower. It's an experience. If there's no rain in the forecast, the easy ride through the Garden District will provide plenty of visuals.
The city can cast a spell over people what with its historical beauty and culture. The French Quarter is the place to go for the type that likes to walk hand in hand, soaking up the sights, the stars and the moment. At Jackson Square, horse-draw carriages await, ready to take couples on a magical journey around town. This is a great experience on a cloudless night with a cool breeze carrying jazz through the air.
Peruse the list below, mixing and matching to create the perfect date night (or day) for yourself and that special someone.
10 Steamboat Natchez
The Steamboat Natchez is literally that, a steamboat. It floats its lunch/dinner guests down the Mississippi daily as they enjoy a menu of Creole favorites and soak in some sweet live jazz. The climate controlled dining area ensures the boat's casually dressed guests stay dry and warm regardless of weather occurrences. Their menu is the shallowest on this 10Best list, but nearly everything is worth trying, starting with the Creole Creamed Spinach, transitioning to the Paddlewheel Pork Loin (with Creole mustard) and ending with the tastefully sweet bread pudding. Besides eating while on-board the only working steamboat in New Orleans, bloody marys can be consumed while listening to the guide talk of the country's third largest port's rich history. (5045691401)
9 City Park
The largest green space in New Orleans, City Park boasts 1,300 acres featuring dozens of colorful original artworks, excellent sports facilities and beloved attractions, such as the New Orleans Botanical Garden and the New Orleans Museum of Art, all surrounded by picturesque lagoons and sprawling lawns. Little ones love the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, home to an antique carousel, and the whole family can enjoy boating, biking or picnicking under the Spanish moss-draped oak trees. The various lagoons and greens offer the romantics among us plenty of places to get lost and enjoy the company of one another. Park picnics are the simplest but one of the most enjoyable experiences New Orleans offers. (504-482-4888)
8 Creole Creamery
Avocado and cream, Mexican hot chocolate, SoCo and lime, red velvet, lavender honey: with fun flavors like these, your taste buds are guaranteed to celebrate a mini Mardi Gras in your mouth during a visit to Creole Creamery. This darling old-school eatery delights visitors with thick, homemade ice cream in an ever-changing variety of flavors, including regional specialties like chocolate praline, Creole cream cheese and "black and gold crunch" �- chicory ice cream with Oreo. Creole Creamery is on Prytania in the Uptown neighborhood of New Orleans. It is close by to Prytania Theater, another romantic option on this list. (504-894-8680)
7 New Orleans Streetcars
The New Orleans Streetcar is the preeminent mode of transportation in the Crescent City. Traveling through the middle of major streets such as St. Charles, Canal and Carrollton, the streetcar is an affordable method of transportation that allows you to soak in the sights as you move closer to your end destination. $1.25 gets you aboard, and if lucky, you'll have a street car operator that will act as a pseudo tour guide, pointing out important landmarks. The streetcar itself is of historical significance to the city. It is the oldest continually operating street railway system in the entire world, moving city-goers around since the 19th century. (504-827-7433)
6 Audubon Park
Locals and visitors alike adore afternoons spent amidst Audubon Park's breathtaking beauty. A local favorite, this gorgeous 340-acre urban oasis, home to the world-class Audubon Zoo, provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy NOLA nature, from tranquil lagoons to graceful wading birds nesting on Bird Island. The park features a popular 1.8-mile paved jogging path, a golf course, tennis courts, a seasonal pool and spectacular views of the Mississippi from Riverview Drive. The St. Charles streetcar passes right by park's opening, so feel free to ride in from the French Quarter. It can be the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city center. (504-581-4629, 504-212-5207)
5 Prytania Theatre
On a rainy afternoon in New Orleans, there's no better place to be than the balcony of the historic Prytania Theatre, delighting in old Hollywood romance with your real-life love interest. Opened in 1915, this charming theatre is the oldest in the city and the only single-screen left in Louisiana. Couples can share gelato during noontime favorites like "Casablanca" or cuddle up for midnight screenings of cult classics like "Jaws" and "Back to the Future." Besides the classics, Prytania is always showing the "hit" movie of the moment. If there is more than one blockbuster in the marketplace, the always err on the side of romance. (504-891-2787)
Sweeten your date night with creamy artisan chocolates and a glass of bubbly at Sucre, a sugary paradise set in New Orleans' Garden District. An adorable and inviting spot for after-dinner treats, the shop is brimming with lavish displays of colorful goodies. Pair the ever-romantic dark chocolate truffles with a complementary Cabernet or go a more adventurous route with coconut basil sorbet, chicory-infused chocolates, addictive fruit macaroons or rich drinking chocolate served with homemade marshmallows. The most popular Sucre is on Magazine Street closest to downtown. Come with a yearning for sweets and plan to schedule a dentist visit soon thereafter. (504-520-8311)
3 Jackson Square
Often called the heart of New Orleans, Jackson Square is full of energy and activity. Facing the Mississippi River and directly across from the St. Louis Cathedral. In the shadows of the Andrew Jackson statue, erected for his heroism during the Battle of New Orleans, you will find street artists painting during the day and jazz musicians by night. The gardens are great for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. This is the site of the French Quarter Festival in April, where local restaurants set up stands and dish out delicious cuisine. Lining the square are horse-drawn carriages ready to pull you under the starlit sky.
2 Garden District
Wrought iron fences, exquisite gardens and lush antebellum homes line the streets of the Garden District. The area, bordered by St. Charles Avenue and Magazine Street, as well as Jackson Avenue and Louisiana Avenue, is where the city's original aristocratic class settled. Highlights include the St. Charles Streetcar line, which offers affordable transit to the French Quarter, and Lafayette Cemetery. The Garden District is home to some famous names like novelist Anne Rice. The best way to enjoy the scenery is on foot, so you can view the intricate architectural detail of the mansions as well as the garden landscaping.
1 The Fly
The Fly is a secret among New Orleans locals; it's a strip of frontage along the Mississippi River behind Audubon Zoo. On weekends, people flock in droves for grilling, crawfish boils, sunning and to throw the frisbee. Set up camp feet from the Mississippi and watch the big boats maneuver through the currents. Numerous fields exist for kids and adults to enjoy their favorite ball games. If you don't come with enough to field a squad of your own, others will be glad to include you in their pickup games. Dusk is a great time to show up, as the sun sets right over the river, a truly spectacular sight. (xxx-xxx-xxxx)
About Kristopher Neild
Kris is a South Florida resident, living close to the coast in West Palm Beach. The area provides him with plenty of golf courses to hack up, restaurants to sample and beaches to surf and sun.
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