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By Maria Mora

New Orleans vacations are all about music and dining. With incrediblelive music every night and an amazing variety of fresh foods, it’s impossible to visit New Orleans without getting caught up in the celebratory atmosphere. Skip all inclusive vacations and put together your own agenda, starting with the new New Orleans hotels for checking out the local nightlife and music.

New Orleans music
Before you book your room, find out where the locals go. The Spotted Cat Music Club and d.b.a. across the street are guaranteed to bring you a night’s worth of incredible music by famous locals. At’ll find greatbeers like Nola Blonda Ale and Rogue Dead Guy on tap. At The Spotted Cat Music Club, celebrities like Amanda Shaw turn up to join local bands on stage. Check out the websites for the music schedules, but expect the crowds to really pick up around 10 pm.

Fall in love with the French Quarter at Bienville House Hotel.

New Orleans foodWhen you eat in New Orleans, budget for a variety of cuisines. Do a night of fine dining but be sure to sample some cheaper local favorites too. Cochon is a must-see — a nuanced restaurant that approaches Cajun food from a gourmet perspective, with treats like rabbit liver and fresh oysters. For lunch, get a fresh authentic po’ boy from Domilise’s, where you can stuff the sandwich with hot fried catfish or oysters. When you’re booking New Orleans vacations, be sure to make reservations for restaurants when you book your hotels.

New Orleans hotels
It’s easy to find transportation in New Orleans, whether you’re taking a cab or walking at night. Don’t stress out about where your hotel is. Focus on finding New Orleans hotels that fit in with your personal style. No matter where you stay, bring along a pair of earplugs. Many of the main streets stay loud late into the night, and as much as you mightappreciate the live music, it isn’t exactly lullaby material. Your best bet is to select New Orleans hotels depending on the size of your party, whether you’re traveling with kids and what your budget is.

Four recommended hotels

Maria Mora is a memoir blogger and wannabe photographer. She travels extensively throughout Florida and the Caribbean with her two young sons.

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