NADA 100 is just under a month away and it’s time to start putting together an agenda. Your schedule will likely be jam-packed with meetings and workshops to attend… and miles of walking from point A to point B. However, if you can find time in your busy schedules to fit in some additional activities, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in New Orleans.
Here’s a list of 10 events, places, and activities to get you started. Sure, TripAdvisor has some great recommendations as well, but why not check out some recommendations from regular NADA attendees who have juggled this fun, yet hectic schedule in previous years.
1. Party till the break of dawn
NADA is notorious for having some pretty impressive parties in town. The challenge is always deciding which parties to attend! This year, to celebrate their 100th year anniversary as a company, NADA is throwing a massive carnival at Mardi Gras World for dealer attendees with live music from Foreigner.
2. Stop by the NADA Lifestyle Experience pavilions
Got some downtime in-between sessions? NADA will have three different pavilions set up on the expo floor – “excite,” “explore,” and “relax.” Get a new headshot taken for your LinkedIn profile or grab a much-needed foot massage after walking the long halls of the convention center.
Bourbon Street is one of the most well-known streets in New Orleans, located in the French Quarter district. As you walk down Bourbon Street, there’s music playing in every direction from some of the most iconic bars in the city. This street tends to attract tourists… for a very good reason. It’s a great destination with a happening nightlife. You’re bound to find something you like on Bourbon Street! Make sure you grab a Hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s where the famous New Orleans cocktail originated and stop for a drink at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States.
4. Experience top-notch live music on Frenchmen St.
Frenchmen Street, referred to as the local’s Bourbon Street, is another great location for catching some of New Orleans’ best live music just on the edge of the French Quarter. If you’d prefer to skip some of the flashier night clubs and experience more authentic New Orleans live entertainment, this is the place to be. Jazz at the Spotted Cat and Snug Harbor, brass bands and reggae at the Blue Nile and D.B.A., among a number of other live music nightspots, will quickly uncover why the locals call Frenchmen Street “the live music capital of New Orleans and the universe!”
If you plan on visiting Bourbon Street or Frenchmen Street, you will likely land on Royal Street at some point, as it runs parallel to Bourbon and perpendicular to Frenchmen. However, Royal Street is a much different atmosphere than the other two, primarily consisting of antique shops, art galleries, fine jewelry stores, boutiques, historic architecture and world-class restaurants. If you are looking to get away from the madness of NADA and the nightlife that follows, this is a great location to pick out a couple souvenirs and grab a bite to eat.
Who doesn’t like late night binge eating, especially after a night of partying? You are in luck. Quite a few restaurants and bars in New Orleans offer a late night menu, most of which are conveniently in the French Quarter next to all the live entertainment. There is also a number of late-night eating options right near the convention district if you’d prefer not to venture out too far. Here’s a detailed list of options to choose from via neworleansonline.com
Curious about other daytime and evening dining options? Here are a few places we really enjoyed in previous visits to New Orleans.
Domenica – Amazing Italian food, located in The Roosevelt hotel
Cafe Du Monde – Great place to grab beignets, a french pastry brought to New Orleans in the 18th century. There are 2 locations.
Bourbon House – Awesome seafood dishes and drink selection on Bourbon St.
7. Grab some New Orleans brunch
If you miscalculated the Gale force winds of a few Hurricanes the night before and are having a tough time making your way to the convention center, what better way to start off your morning early afternoon with some New Orleans brunch? Eater.com has identified over 20 restaurants offering brunch on the weekends, with brief descriptions of each place. Bounce back from a night of partying with some Crab Cake Benedict from Two Chicks Café or Shrimp and Grits from Ruby Slipper.
8. Have a drink with us
Shameless plug… DataOne would love to grab a drink with you (on us) and talk about some of your latest/most exciting products and upcoming vehicle data needs. We realize there are many places to be and a limited amount of time, however, a handful of us will be floating around throughout the conference and can meet you halfway.
9. Cruise the Mississippi River
Heading to New Orleans early or staying an extra day or two after the convention? Take a tour of the Mississippi river on one of the famous NOLA boat cruises. Hop aboard the Steamboat Natchez or Creole Queen for an authentic paddlewheel riverboat adventure and enjoy a nice Creole meal with some live jazz music. Both boats offer multiple daily cruises to accommodate your schedule.
10. Visit the “Cities of the Dead” above ground tombs
Again, if you plan on staying a little longer than the 4-day conference, here’s another great site seeing option. New Orleans has the largest percentage of above ground burials, since the city was built on a swamp. There are dozens of these “Cities of the Dead” scattered across New Orleans, but if you had to pick one or two to visit, the St. Louis Cemetery #1 (French Quarter) and Lafayette Cemetery (Garden District) are the most popular.