What's there to do in New Orleans super early on weekday mornings?
August 10, 2017 6:23 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to be in NOLA and will be up and about at 5:30AM. How can I make the most of the city at such an early hour? What's open?

So I'll be in NOLA for a Thursday and Friday and will not have access to a car. Will be staying close to, but not in, the French Quarter.

If I'm out the door at 5:30AM/6AM is there anything to do? I love food and seafood, cycling (no bicycle rental places are open that early), architecture, history, animals, music, parks...I actually like a lot of things just not alcohol or bars.

Other suggestions (for when things actually start to open) for the rest of the day are welcome too!
posted by bluelight to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Beignets at Cafe du Monde! So touristy, but I have fond memories and they're open 24 hours/day.
posted by aniola at 6:37 PM on August 10, 2017 [16 favorites]

Best answer: And if you do that, you can climb the steps to the adjacent Washington Artillery Park. You can watch the sun rise across the river and if you turn around you'll get a beautiful view of Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral.
posted by Night_owl at 6:56 PM on August 10, 2017 [8 favorites]

Best answer: City Park is one of my favorite places in New Orleans. It's open 24/7 and also has Morning Call (24/7), which has superior beignets compared to Café du Monde (I will fight anyone on this) as well as other food.

It's a huge park, not crazy touristy, has lots of interesting architecture and sculptures, animals and trails, and makes for a great walk.
posted by Karaage at 6:59 PM on August 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

You could visit any number of churches for mass at that hour.
posted by Miko at 7:33 PM on August 10, 2017

Street cars start running at 5.
posted by at at 7:52 PM on August 10, 2017

However this is a terrible time to go to New Orleans - they are having big floods. If your plans were to be there soon I would change them.
posted by leslies at 5:34 AM on August 11, 2017

If you are able to pick up a bike the night/ day before, The American Bicycle Rental Company allows self-returns, even when the store is not open.

I did this a few years ago and it was very easy to return the bike very early in the morning before the shop was open.

posted by JennyJupiter at 5:54 AM on August 11, 2017

Best answer: I would like to say something like, "just be aware of your surroundings if you go out walking at 5:30 AM" but honestly it's "just be aware of your surroundings here at all times" because that's just the way it is. I will tell you that if someone says they bet they can tell you where you got them shoes you just say "on my feet" and keep walking.

I will second or third or whatever the Moonwalk at that time of morning, as well as beignets from Cafe du Monde. If you're staying on the CBD side of the FQ then you can get to the river as early as Canal St. If you're staying on the other side in the Marigny / Bywater then I'd suggest checking out Crescent Park which opens at 6AM.

If you like the architectures then you owe it to yourself to hop on the green streetcar and head down St. Charles. Just have a dollar and a quarter handy for every time you want to board. If you get on at 5:30 and head to the end that could take up a big chunk of your morning. You could even catch breakfast at Camellia Grill down on Carrollton in the Riverbend. Then you can ride the streetcar back towards the Quarter, hop off around Washington, explore the Garden District on foot, and so on.

"However this is a terrible time to go to New Orleans - they are having big floods."

C'mon now. We had a flood. Sometimes that happens when it rains. I know there's been a lot made of it because it was an historic event in terms of A.) the amount of water that fell from the sky onto a small portion of the city and B.) the lying and incompetence of the SWBNO, but it's not like it's happening every day. If you want to warn someone away from New Orleans because it might rain hard and flood some neighborhood at the drop of a hat, well, then you have to warn them away for the entirety of every spring and summer ever, as well as the occasional fall and winter. It's not like a wildfire in California or something where it's still burning - there aren't parts of the city that are still underwater, or a flood slowly creeping across the city from neighborhood to neighborhood and never receding.
posted by komara at 9:05 AM on August 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Komara, the governor declared a state of emergency yesterday, calling it a precautionary measure due to ongoing pump malfunction concerns. If the OP wasn't aware, they should be.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:55 AM on August 11, 2017

A.) I live here. My neighborhood and my car flooded last Saturday. I am very tuned in to what is happening in my city. I couldn't avoid this kind of news even if I wanted to.

B.) OP doesn't even specify when they are coming in to visit. Could be a month from now. There might be floods then too.

C.) I'm sorry I even picked up on the flooding derail. To compensate I'll say that if seafood is on the menu then you're definitely going to want to get a seat at Peche because theirs is second-to-none. You don't win a James Beard award for nothing. If you want just a good fried shrimp po-boy then take the red streetcar up to the intersection of Canal and Jeff Davis and walk over to Parkway. From there you could take a short stroll along Bayou St. John and see the New Orleans Museum of Art - their outdoor sculpture garden is free to visit.
posted by komara at 12:17 PM on August 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

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