The Combined Sections Meeting is heading down to the Bayou State!
I’m pumped that my home town, New Orleans, is hosting CSM this year. For one, it makes traveling much easier for me. Secondly, CSM is an awesome event that draws thousands of PTs and PT students from around the nation. It’s my favorite PT event of the year.
If you have plans to attend this year, it’s likely that you’re already thinking of partying on Bourbon Street, drinking hurricanes, and eating amazing food. While these are typical tourist activities, there is so much more to explore and do in this amazing city.
Here’s a list of some awesome and unique things to do while visiting New Orleans, straight from a local PT!
See the white alligator at the Audubon Aquarium
Take an afternoon and explore the aquarium. It’s located just outside of the French Quarter, along the Mississippi River. It has great exhibits, and is well worth the visit.
One of my favorite animals to see is the white alligator. The aquarium added its current alligator in 2015 to replace their first white alligator which lived to be 28 years old!
Address: 1 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Ride the streetcar through the city
One of the most iconic features of New Orleans is our streetcars. The streetcar system connects most major parts of town. Taking a ride is great way to see the city and explore new areas outside of the French Quarter.
Two trip ideas could be to take the streetcar from the French Quarter to City Park where you can visit the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Sculpture Garden (see below for more info).
Or take the streetcar from the French Quarter down St. Charles Ave. The sites along this route are great. From historic homes, parks, and shopping centers, this route has it all.
See Bror Anders Wikstrom’s Mardi Gras designs at the New Orleans Museum of Art
New Orleans Museum of Art (“NOMA” by locals) is one of the oldest museums in New Orleans: it first opened in 1911. It currently houses over 40,000 items in the collection.
Current notable exhibits at NOMA include the work of Bror Anders Wikstrom, a 19th-century Swedish designer who brought Mardi Gras to fantastical heights with his parade float designs. Opening just in time for CSM, “A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes” is an exhibit of experimental and avant-garde fashion from designers like Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garçons, and many more.
The museum is located in City Park, a 1300 acre park. Right next to the museum is the 5 acre sculpture garden, which includes more than 60 sculptures by artists including Rene Magritte and Deborah Butterfield. One really cool way to check out the sculpture garden is to kayak the lagoon that runs through it (see below!).
Address: 1 Palm Dr, New Orleans, LA 70124
Explore City Park by kayak
There is a small network of lakes, ponds, and lagoons running through the park.
You can rent kayaks, pedal boats, and bikes in City Park. It’s a great way to be active and explore!
Enjoy live music on Frenchmen Street
New Orleans is home to legendary Jazz and live music venues. Frenchmen Street is a popular spot to catch a show.
My wife and I recently saw Kermit Ruffins at The Little Gem Saloon. It was an awesome venue show. The venue will give you a taste of a classic New Orleans jazz club.
WWOZ (a local jazz station) has a great list of local shows the week of the conference.
Eat the best po’boy in town at Parkway Bakery and Tavern
I don’t need to explain any further. The po’boy at Parkway Bakery and Tavern is the best one in the city.
This is my favorite place in the city. Call me a little obsessed, but my wife and I go here every Friday.
Pro tip: when you go, sit and order at the bar! You’ll get your food much faster and won’t have to wait in line. Also, order a shrimp po’boy fully dressed and get a Mid City Streetcar to drink. Then find me at CSM and thank me for telling you about the best po’boy around.
Address: 538 Hagan Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119
Drink local beers at Urban South Brewery + Port Orleans Brewery + NOLA Brewery
We’ve got some great local beers down here. The three most popular breweries are all on the same street and not too far from the conference.
Urban South Brewery
Address: 1645 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Favorite beer: Holy Roller IPA
Port Orleans Brewery
Address: 4124 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70115
Favorite beer: Sean Payton’s Blonde Ale
Address: 3001 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70115
Favorite Beer: Rebirth Pale Ale
Free Tour Fridays at 2pm, one free beer is included 🙂
Take in the sights at Mardi Gras World
Dang—the conference is two weeks after Mardi Gras. Even though you’ll miss Mardi Gras, you can still take a tour at Mardi Gras World.
Mardi Gras World is where the famous Mardi Gras floats are made year round. On the tour you’ll get to see the float making process, meet the artists, and learn about the history of Mardi Gras.
Address: 1380 Port of New Orleans Pl, New Orleans, LA 70130
Go shopping on Magazine Street
Magazine Street is great place to spend an afternoon. From boutiques to restaurants, cafes, and bars, Magazine Street has something for everyone.
There are a ton of popular restaurants on Magazine, but here a few of my favorites: Dat Dog, La Petite Grocery, Pizza Domenica, and Ruby Slipper (very popular for brunch).
Walk the French Quarter
How could you make a trip to New Orleans without going to the French Quarter?
There is a ton to do in the quarter. Free walking tours, street performers, art galleries, bars, and some of our most famous restaurants are all in the quarter.
- Bring Cash – some restaurants, bars, and merchants are cash only.
- When out late, try to only walk down well lit streets. There are a lot of dark side streets in the quarter, try to avoid these and use the main streets to get around. Walking back to your hotel in a group is also helpful if you’re out late.
Royal Street is one of my favorite streets to walk down in the quarter. It is the “epicenter of local art.” Grab your favorite beer and stroll down this street and check out the local galleries.
Bourbon Street is awesome for obvious reasons, so I don’t think I need to explain.
Frenchmen Street is a bit of local hang out. You’ll find jazz clubs and other great live music down this street.
In New Orleans for CSM 2018, you’ll be networking and engaging with your new and old friends, colleagues, and fellow PTs. Whatever else you choose to do while you’re in New Orleans, you’re going to have a great time.