January 2021. It’s the time of year to celebrate my birthday. I was clueless on what I wanted to do. After the “fun” of 2020, I knew I wanted to do something actually fun to celebrate. I was also exhausted and didn’t want to put too much effort into planning and logistics. Then it dawned on me – I live in New Orleans, the perfect place to have a staycation and try something different. So I planned the most amazing 48 hour staycation in New Orleans.
Friday Night: Hotel Check-In, Food, and Libations
New Orleans Hotel Check-In
The goal of this birthday celebration was to have fun, but make it an easy staycation in New Orleans. Therefore, I wanted to stay in the middle of the “action.” I was lucky to partner with The Higgins Hotel, the official hotel of the WWII Museum located in The Warehouse District. Being within walking distance of some of my favorite attractions and restaurants was extremely convenient and stress-free. But honestly, I could’ve stayed in the hotel for all 48 hours!
The hotel opened just one year ago, in December 2019. Because it’s so new, everything is in pristine condition. The decor is so well done – it gives you the feel of the World War II era, with a modern New Orleans twist. Plus the rooms and suites are super spacious, making it perfect for a family staycation, mamacation, baecation, or anything in between.
As a Hilton property, they take the utmost care regarding sanitation. Hilton has partnered with the Mayo Clinic to identify the fourteen most touched items within a hotel room. Housekeeping pays special attention to ensuring the sanitation of those items. In fact, they have collaborated with Lysol to offer the Hilton Clean Stay seal on the door of the hotel room to confirm the room has been freshly disinfected before your arrival.
New Orleans Food and Libations
Tasty food and libations are a must-have for a good vacation. This makes New Orleans the perfect place for a staycation. The hardest part of Friday night was deciding where I was going to get takeout as there are so many amazing restaurants within walking distance of The Higgins Hotel.
I decided on Meril’s, an Emeril restaurant. And man, it did not disappoint. The comfort of sitting on the couch with a delicious spicy sausage flatbread pizza and a cocktail from Rosie’s on the Roof, the hotel’s rooftop bar, was the perfect start to my birthday staycation.
Contrary to popular belief, New Orleans is filled with yummy vegan restaurants, including some traditionally popular restaurants offering vegan options.
Saturday Morning: Sleeping In and Breakfast In Bed
As a mama, the opportunity to sleep in and wake up on your own schedule is an opportunity that comes few and far between. And you can bet I took FULL advantage of the moment. I stayed in the comfort of bed for a while before finally ordering a hot breakfast via a delivery service as the hotel only offers market-like breakfast. Personally, I believe a Saturday birthday is deserving of a decadent breakfast, and that’s exactly what I had.
I enjoyed every morsel of buttermilk pancakes and a savory omelet from the comfort of bed while watching one of my favorite shows. Honestly, could the day start off any better?
Saturday: Self-Care and Family Time
The beautiful part of doing a staycation is that it allows you to easily interchange the individuals who you spend your time with. On this birthday I wanted to have the best of all worlds – time to myself, time with my family, and time for just my husband and me.
Saturday: Self-Care Momcation
The epitome of a momcation is taking time for self-care, pampering yourself a bit, and relaxing. Personally, nothing is more relaxing with extended benefits than getting a pedicure. I lucked out and found an amazing black-owned nail shop only two blocks from the hotel, M.A.D Nails. It was so nice to end my momcation with a little pampering and relaxation before my family joined me at the hotel and the “fun” went to the next level.
Saturday: Family Staycation
The birthday party was in FULL EFFECT once my husband and twin two-year-old boys arrived at the hotel. These boys ran through the halls of the hotel with pure joy and glee, truly living their best lives. To witness the smiles on their face brought joy to my heart, which was the ultimate birthday present.
The fun continued throughout the day as we walked the streets of New Orleans’ Warehouse District. We decided to stop at one of our favorite restaurants, Cochon Butcher. They have the absolute best varieties of sandwiches and decadent dishes. Not to mention that their brussel sprouts and mac n’ cheese are pretty amazing. We continued the fun and indulgence back at the hotel with King cake (it’s Mardi Gras season) and a snowball fight. Let’s just say this mama did not hold any mercy on the littles. Every man was for himself in this fight! You can find similar “snowballs” here.
Sunday: Attractions and Fun For All
After a pretty relaxing Saturday, Sunday was designated to explore some of the top attractions in New Orleans.
Family Staycation Fun
With staying at The Higgins Hotel, the official WWII Museum Hotel, we just had to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the museum. Now if I’m being honest, I’m not a history buff nor knew if/how the boys would enjoy the experience. Well, my uncertainty disappeared immediately. Upon entering the museum, an enormous plane that covers most of the ceiling is suspended in the air. The boys’ faces immediately lit up with excitement! I’m not sure if they were more impressed by the airplane or the war vehicles displayed throughout the lobby.
This excitement did not dissipate throughout our time there. From the interactive train which we could board and learn about the various soldiers to the 4D Beyond All Boundaries Film which made you feel like you were on the battlefield, to the various interactive exhibits that brought history and learning to life, the boys were always entertained and learning at the same time. In fact, we have to return as the museum consists of five different buildings filled with a plethora of exhibits and interactive attractions. No wonder the World War II Museum is New Orleans’s #1 attraction.
Staycation Turns Baecation
The most amazing part about doing a staycation is that it can easily turn into baecation by dropping off the kids with a relative or babysitter for a few hours or overnight.
The hubs and I took full advantage of the flexibility of a New Orleans staycation. We dropped the kids off and headed to The Sazerac House, a cocktail museum that offers complimentary tours, interactive exhibits, and free tastings.
This museum is seriously amazing. It gives you the history of some of the most well-known liquors and cocktail additives with history in New Orleans – from Peychaud’s bitters, including details on how they make bitters, to the history of absinthe and its substitute Herbsaint, to how they make Sazerac Rye in-house. I learned so much and enjoyed myself to the fullest that I could’ve stayed there all day. Plus, we got free samples all without spending one dollar. Now that’s an attraction worth trying!
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New Orleans Staycation Safety Precautions
With any outing during the pandemic, it’s important to choose activities that take the utmost care in sanitation and do their part to stop the spread of the virus. I’m proud to say that all of the places I visited during my staycation took their responsibility seriously.
Masks are required in all public locations in New Orleans – from the hotel, to the restaurants, to the museums. Wearing a mask is non-negotiable in Orleans parish.
Hand Sanitation and Social Distancing
I was thoroughly impressed in how both the World War II Museum and Sazerac House executed hand sanitation and social distancing. Both venues provided stylus pens to interact with the exhibits to avoid people touching the exhibits with their hands. Sazerac House also provided gloves for everyone to wear in addition to the stylus pen.
In regards to social distancing, both venues are beyond spacious and have markers and signs to encourage adequate spacing between individuals. To take this precaution to the next level, the World War II Museum only allowed people within the same party in enclosed exhibits like the train and limited occupancy for the others. The Sazerac House tours only consisted of individuals from your party. Therefore, you were only around people you knew and the tour guide. In fact, while we were there we didn’t see any other individuals besides the employees.
From the hotel to both attractions, and the restaurants and nail shop in between, the highest level of precautions were taken. And for that, I’m grateful and was able to enjoy my 48-hour New Orleans Staycation.