I’m a lover of the world and far off places who is so excited that you’re here. Looking forward to sharing more of my world with you and all the things I love. I hope this site really does feel like a wellness oasis right here on the internet.
In April, I visited New Orleans for the second time and came to explore the intersections between wellness and culture within this beautiful southern city. When I travel I love getting a feel for what wellness looks like throughout the world and love using movement as a vehicle to explore a new place. I was lucky enough to walk, jog and run through New Orleans. I visited several spots throughout the city and I also had the chance to run the Crescent City Classic which gave me the opportunity to explore a handful of neighborhoods I hadn’t visited on my last trip. There are so many amazing things to do, see, and experience in NOLA so here are a few recommendations to keep top of mind as you think about planning your own trip to this great city.
You may think of indulgence when you first think of New Orleans and you’re not wrong. This is absolutely a place to indulge in some amazing food, music, and culture. However, there is so much to experience and I loved that my trip really integrated so many aspects of the city. I found that my trip balanced culture and wellness in a really cool way!
There is so much to experience when it comes to history, and culture so I looked to movement as a way of processing all that I was learning. I loved walking through the city’s various neighborhoods and getting to run through some of them as well. I enjoyed experiencing this destination beyond Bourbon Street. Some of the wellness offerings and art activations may not be the first things to come to mind as you plan, but I’m excited to share with you why these should be top of mind.
I visited New Orleans for the Crescent City Classic, one of the country’s oldest 10k races. It was first held in 1979! This annual race is put on by the Crescent City Foundation, a non-profit that works to promote a fit lifestyle for the residents of New Orleans. The Crescent City Foundation also sponsors other races throughout the year, and I love races as a way to get to know a city. It’s such a unique way to explore different neighborhoods. I loved experiencing some of NOLA’s historic districts on the Crescent City Classic route, like Tremé/Lafitte and Bayou St. John.
The race is nicknamed “The Original Party Race” because of the famous post-race festival. We had tons of fun, and I discovered I love jambalaya! Michelob Ultra sponsored the festival and truly gave us a taste of New Orleans cuisine and music! There were great artists, excellent food, and refreshments to enjoy. Loved being able to get an IV post-race from the team at IV Lounge Nola. They’ve got a wellness oasis I’d highly recommend visiting while in town. It was also great to connect with some local businesses at the race expo! I would highly recommend this 10k for anyone wanting to experience the wellness community and culture of New Orleans.
I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton on Canal Street. This property is centrally located, and the team was super welcoming! This is a luxury hotel set in a Beaux-Arts-style building with a beautiful courtyard perfect for dining or just enjoying a glass of wine. The property also has an amazing gym that includes cardio and weight lifting rooms and a pool. So if you’re looking for a place to rest and recover post-race, this is PERFECT! I loved being able to work on mobility before the race here as well. The flowers in the middle of the lobby made me smile as we entered each day.
The spa at the Ritz-Carlton NOLA is the largest in New Orleans, and there is so much space to relax outside of just the fantastic treatment rooms. I enjoyed a massage the day after the race, and it was an amazing way to recover. After staying at the Ritz-Carlton Maldives earlier this year, I was curious to see how these spaces compared. Of course, these are totally different properties, but I loved having a variety of treatments available at both, and the massage therapists that I had in both locations were SO knowledgeable.
I loved staying in a so centrally located property because I love to walk. It’s one way that I practice mindful movement and another way to get to know a new city. There are lots of activities near the hotel’s location in the French Quarter. The Ritz-Carlton is only a block and a half from Bourbon Street, the heart of the French Quarter. There are museums, shops, and plenty of local restaurants within walking distance. Loved this for a luxury stay in New Orleans.
Part of the post-race festival after the Crescent City Classic is live music. There were featured up-and-coming local artists performing in the city park where the festival was held. Music is huge in New Orleans because it is the birthplace of jazz. Live music is a must when you visit!
We also attended a concert at Preservation Hall, one of New Orlean’s most famous music venues. The Preservation Legacy Band performed with Will Smith in the heart of the French Quarter. For years, this venue has had nightly live jazz performances from some of the best musicians in NOLA. I would highly recommend a concert here!
We visited Studio BE to see some local art during our stay. I would highly recommend making time to visit during your trip. This studio was founded by Brandan “BMike” Odums, a NOLA native who creates multimedia installations that speak on movements like Black American activism and self-care.
These pieces really made me think, and I loved being able to talk through the installations with my fiance. As someone who was deeply impacted by the discussions around race in 2020, it was really interesting to see pieces that expressed many of the things I felt during that time. The pieces expressed such great commentary on modern society.
The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is one of New Orleans’ oldest art museums; it originally opened in 1911. Their features include French and American art, as well as African and Japanese pieces. There’s also a 12-acrea sculpture garden that is open 7 days a week. We got to see the featured gallery Queen Nefertari’s Egypt, a collection of jewelry, papyrus, tools, and other items that highlighted the roles of powerful women in ancient Egypt.
A highlight of the museums in New Orleans is the African American Museum. Their exhibits include historic houses, local art, and pieces of the African Diaspora. I especially love that their mission is to preserve the incredible contributions that African Americans have made to history and art.
There are tons of places to eat and drink in New Orleans, but these are a few that I visited and really enjoyed. You can find a ton of variety in New Orleans; like any city, there is formal sit-down dining, but there are also lots of casual options for a quick bite as well.
Dooky Chase’s started as a sandwich shop in 1939 and evolved into a lively bar and later a family restaurant that became a meeting place for civil rights, music, and culture. So there’s a lot of civil rights history at this spot. Their menu features authentic Creole recipes that have been enjoyed by presidents, politicians, musicians, artists, and more. It can be challenging to get a reservation here, so I recommend calling an hour before lunch or dinner service starts to be able to speak with someone on the phone. Dooky Chase’s can sometimes accommodate walk-ins, but it is usually a challenge on the weekends.
We did brunch at Peche and thought it was terrific. Great options for someone with an egg allergy which is always important to me when seeking brunch options. This restaurant sustainably sources its seafood from local fishermen, making everything on the menu super fresh and delicious!
@bykwest PERFECTION 👌🏾 #Totinos425 #nolarestaurants #neworleansfoodspots #neworleansfoodies #neworleansfood ♬ original sound – Hope Schwing
I tried the grilled chicken stuffed beignet and Oreo stuffed beignet, and they were to die for! Stuph’d is Black-owned and has been featured on Cheat Day USA with Chef Irvine. Stuph’d had many options without eggs and tons of sweet and savory options. We met the owner’s mom, and she shared their story with us, which made it all even better! A fantastic local spot to try beignets with a twist.
I’m all about balance and enjoying the foods that a city is known for, but I also LOVE a good salad, so I was really excited to try The Daily Beet. So if you’re looking for an amazing salad or some great avocado toast, I’d recommend The Daily Beet. They have salads, bowls, and tons of veggie-forward opinions that we really enjoyed!
We loved the location of Bywater American Bistro as it was in one of New Orleans’ most interesting neighborhoods. This neighborhood has really come back to life over the past several years post hurricane and there are so many really cool things to explore. I This restaurant staff was extremely hospitable and the food was inspired by the personal experiences and cultures that are represented in New Orleans. The Bywater neighborhood has great food and is filled with art and creativity.
Two Award-winning chefs created this New Orleans restaurant where Italian recipes are blended with Southern flavors to create signature dishes. This one is a must if you’re in NOLA!
@bykwest Grab dinner with me at Josephine Estelle in New Orleans. So good and honestly I ordered for both of us because I wanted to try everything. Underrated perks of marriage? I’m into it! #nolarestaurants #neworleansfoodspots #neworleansfoodies ♬ original sound – JP
There is no shortage of wellness and fitness studios in New Orleans! So whether you are looking for intense training or relaxation and meditation, there are some unique options for anyone’s wellness goals.
Uncle Joe’s is an excellent option for pilates in NOLA. They have private and mat classes, and all of their instructors are classically trained in Romana’s Pilates. The space is welcoming, and you can tell that the instructors are very experienced!
Spyre is a great wellness destination in New Orleans, offering many healing treatments and classes. They offer yoga, Pilates, cycling, infrared sauna, hydrotherapy, etc. I love that you can use Classpass here, as well! Classpass is a life-saver for me when traveling and staying on track with my wellness goals. It saves so much time not having to do a ton of paperwork when you’re trying to schedule You can use my link to save on Classpass. I highly recommend it if you will visit a new city soon.
The IV Lounge NOLA was great for post-race recovery. I was able to get an IV after the race, which really helped me recover since I’m not used to running in such humid and hot temperatures. They offer 13 different drips for various benefits, from immune system support to migraine relief to hydration. The team was wonderful, and they truly made the IV tent at the post-race festival feel like a part of the party!
Magnolia is New Orleans’ first Black-owned yoga studio! They have daily classes and also offer private 1:1 and group classes.
CCPO Fitness is a Black-owned fitness studio founded by Brandon Diggins, a New Orleans native. At CCPO, you can book personal training sessions, 2-on-one sessions, and group classes.
Vivify is a Black-owned fitness studio created to help women reach their wellness goals. Personal training can be male-dominated, but this studio has a welcoming atmosphere with quality workouts that help women live active lives and reach their personal fitness goals.
New Orleans has so much to offer, whether you want to experience the city’s party atmosphere or explore the history and culture. There are also so many fantastic wellness spots that make NOLA a great destination for those who love to travel while still working towards their fitness goals. I personally loved staying in the French Quarter, but some other historic neighborhoods would be amazing to explore the next time I visit. Each district has something unique to offer, so I’d recommend researching different areas to find the best place to stay and explore for your visit. I truly can’t wait to spend more time in NOLA! If you’ve visited New Orleans, let me know your favorite stops in the comments.