College Football Playoff at the ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, January 1st 8:45 p.m. ET
Alabama vs. Clemson
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the Big Easy for New Year’s, you’re lucky enough. Make sure you pack your walking shoes and expandable pants for this one. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on Bourbon Street if you don’t want to — New Orleans offers plenty to do, see and eat. Of course, if you want to spend a lot of time on Bourbon Street, there’s no harm in that.
(Click on the bolded names of places we suggest below to visit their sites)
Royal Sonesta New Orleans offers a truly unique experience, right in the heart of the Crescent City. The hotel was recently renovated and during the holidays, its impeccably decorated lobby makes for perfect Instagram photo-ops. Room options range from views of the interior courtyard to luxurious balcony suites overlooking Bourbon Street. If the idea of sleeping amongst the revelers seems cringe worthy, the suites are surprisingly well insulated and offer complimentary earplugs.
The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans on Canal Street is at the edge of the French Quarter in the historic 1908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building. It has the grace and Southern charm of an antebellum mansion and only a block from Bourbon Street. The spa offers an 80 minute “VooDoo Ritual” providing ultimate relaxation in a city that, let’s be honest, doesn’t sleep much.
Hotel Monteleone is about as old school New Orleans luxury as it gets. Everything about it is beautiful, and there is just enough distance between you and the mayhem of Bourbon Street. Since 1886, five generations of Monteleones have owned and operated the hotel, making it one of the last great testaments to the city’s–and this country’s–legacy of family-owned businesses.
Inside Hotel Monteleone is a bar where if you imbibe even the slightest it’ll feel the room is spinning…because it is. The Carousel Bar & Lounge, a New Orleans’s staple and the city’s only revolving bar, is constructed of an old, yet working carousel, and has been spinning happy patrons in slow circles for 65 years. You don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy the bar, although seats do fill up quickly, so make sure to snag yours early and hold on. Steps away from the Carousel is Criollo (the Spanish word for Creole), which offers Chef Joseph Maynard’s divine take on traditional local fare. Basically, you could plant yourself at Hotel Monteleone and never leave.
Without a doubt, you’ll end up eating beignets at Cafe du Monde during the course of your trip, so this is its obligatory mention.
The beauty and tradition of New Orleans is showcased in its oldest restaurants, where the service is so professional and timeless, you’ll wonder what year it is. Antoine’s on Royal Street has been around for 175 years, and there’s a reason for that. They’re the oldest French-Creole fine dining restaurant in the city, and the oldest family-run restaurant in the country.
Also in the vicinity, on Bienville Street is GW Fins which is in comparison to Antoine’s is “new to the game” (it opened in 2001), but shouldn’t be overlooked. Their philosophy is “Nature writes our menu,” which means you’re going to get a whole lot of seasonally fresh seafood that the chefs prepare on a specially created refrigerated table.
Commander’s Palace is another classic, 19th century New Orleans restaurant. Located in the Garden District, it’s a quick trolley ride away from the French Quarter.
There are a lot of family friendly things to do in New Orleans. The National WWII Museum is an absolute must-visit. If you want to get deep into history, the city is also known for its extensive ghost tours and is one of the “most haunted” places in America. The Voodoo Bone Lady offers several packages depending on your fright – cemeteries, voodoo, ghosts, witches and even pirates, and Nawlins Theatrical Tours offers, of course, a drunken experience.
The French Market offers six blocks of shopping and is open daily.
For a complete listing of this year’s bowl games and full TV schedule, visit www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/page/cfpbowls2017/2017-18-college-football-playoff-bowl-schedule.
Check out these links for the rest of our College Football Bowl Game Travel Guide 2017: