Our Experts’ Choice awards are are based on recommendations from leading travel media. Winners are determined by taking into account placement in published “best of 2018” lists, as well as the quantity and quality of reviews for hotels, restaurants and attractions. We’re pleased to announce that the winner of this year’s award for best North American destination is New Orleans.
“The most unique city in America”, proclaims Fodors, and our experts agree. The Big Easy is celebrating its 300th birthday this year, making a city already known for is festivals and celebrations an even more exciting destination in 2018. Dubbed the “ultimate melting pot” by The New York Times on its list of 52 Best Places to Go in 2018, NOLA is a vibrant and enchanting oasis of diverse culture, food, music, art, and nightlife in the American South.
Wrapping up its third century, the “jubilant city”, featured on Frommer’s Best Places to Go in 2018, is particularly festive this year, with over 160 dazzling festivals, each with a tricentennial theme. Beyond Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, the city’s most popular and well-known parties, New Orleans offers endless opportunities to soak up its unusual and fascinating charm.
Creole cuisine, with influences from “Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and indigenous peoples” is another enormous draw to New Orleans (The New York Times). Travel + Leisure calls food in NOLA a “daily celebration,” and with Big Easy delicacies like beignets and po’boys, it’s always time to celebrate.
This year, on it’s Go To List 2018, Fodors highlights “hot newcomers like N7 and Turkey and the Wolf” that are keeping gastronomy in New Orleans fresh and exciting, “alongside 100-year-old decadent Southern dining rooms and po’ boy stands.” Cochon 92 and Bayona 91, with TripExpert scores in the 90’s, are other outstanding options for Louisiana fare.
Visitors to New Orleans will never be short on entertainment in this city known for frivolity. Bourbon Street is, of course, a can’t-miss, but Travel + Leisure recommends venturing beyond the obvious for the real “cultural depth” of the city. The Bywater district, with “its galleries, clubs, and restaurants,” is a trendy neighborhood worth spending some time in, according to Frommer’s.
Tours of the French Quarter and the Garden District are a pleasant way to spend the day for “those who love to stroll, while Chalmette Battlefield (at theJean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve 75) and The National WWII Museum 93 pack in the amateur historians,” suggests US News & World Report.
New Orleans City Park 89, TripExpert’s top-rated NOLA attraction, and Audubon Nature Institute also make the cut on US News & World Report’s Best Things To Do in New Orleans. Audubon’s facility includes the Audubon Zoo 88, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas 87, and the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium 85. The North Rampart Street cable car line extension, new riverside parks, a burlesque opera, and Tango Fire, from the New Orleans Ballet Association are generating buzz this year. And don’t forget to sit back and enjoy some world-class jazz music, found just as often on street corners as in classy bars. As Lonely Planet explains, “Live music isn’t an event: it’s as crucial to the city soundscape as streetcar bells.”
New boutique hotels in New Orleans are recommended by Fodors for their “historic charm, modern comfort, and sense of place.” The Henry Howard, a beautifully restored mansion with Southern style, stands out for its friendly and cozy character, while The Quisby, located in central city, is a well-run hostel for the modern age. TripExpert recommends Windsor Court Hotel 94, Hotel Monteleone 92, and The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria hotel — our top three picks in New Orleans.
Last year, British Airways launched NOLA’s first direct connection to Europe in decades, making the Big Easy is even more accessible to visitors from abroad. With that “classic appeals like jazz, Mardi Gras, and Creole cuisine” that Fodors likes and up-and-coming restaurants, new hotels, and tricentennial events galore it’s no wonder that New Orleans is 2018’s Trip Experts’ Choice Best North American Destination.
Vogue sings New Orleans’ praises, and we couldn’t say it better ourselves: “the sultry, enchanting French-founded Crescent City feels like a mystical mix of tipsy euphoria and subtle seduction.” By “honoring the old and welcoming in the new and different,” NOLA has become a delightfully peculiar destination, a hub of culture and merriment ideal for a 2018 getaway.