Planning a destination bachelor party in New Orleans? Bourbon Street itself makes it easy: booze and strippers can be found any night of the week, no planning required. If you’re less into that sort of thing, or just want to fill in the daytime hours, New Orleans has plenty of additional bonding activities for you and your bros to enjoy. Here are some ideas:
1. Get Up Close to Gators on a Swamp Tour
There are dozens of companies in the New Orleans area offering swamp tours of various kinds.
For an eco-focused tour company that offers hotel pickup and transportation, try Cajun Encounters (504-834-1770). If a fast trip on an airboat is more your speed, consider Airboat Adventures (888-467-9267).
2. Hire a Fishing Charter and Catch Your Own Dinner
Charter a boat to go fishing in Lake Pontchartrain or the Gulf of Mexico. Salty Dog Charters in Shell Beach (504-481-8216) is a good choice for larger groups, as they have four boats that can take up to five passengers each. Jean Lafitte Charters in Lafitte (504-452-1413) is a nice choice for a group of five or fewer.
3. Take in a Game -- Football, Basketball, Baseball, or Others
Depending on the season, you might catch the Saints at the Superdome or the Pelicans in the Smoothie King Center. We’ve also got the Zephyrs, a minor-league baseball team that plays in suburban Metairie; the Jesters, a soccer team that plays in City Park; and the Big Easy Rollergirls, who compete at the Human Performance Center on the UNO Campus.
New Orleans is home to hundreds of festivals and there’s live music somewhere in town every night of the year. Consider bringing the guys in for JazzFest, the Buku Music and Arts Project, the Voodoo Music Experience, or even Mardi Gras .
There are smaller festivals nearly every other weekend as well: check the New Orleans Festival Calendar to find one. As for live music, you can’t go wrong in any of the best New Orleans’ music venues, and if in doubt, you can always just stroll Frenchmen Street until you hear something that catches your ear.
5. Get Fancy With the Best Steaks in Town
You won’t have trouble satisfying your carnivorous urges anywhere in town, but for some old-school steak and bourbon, go for Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse in the French Quarter (504-522-2467). For something a bit more exotic, check out La Boca Argentinean Steakhouse in the Warehouse District (504-525-8205). For a wider variety of meats with a local angle, head out to Carrollton and try the charcuterie platter (and everything else) at Toups’ Meatery (504-252-4999).
6. Smoke Cigars and Sip Whiskey, As Men Do
Get your cigars on ice (as my good friend Beyoncé would say) at one of the French Quarter’s venerable cigar bars. The French 75 at Arnaud’s Restaurant (504-523-5433) is a classic, classy choice, and La Habana Hemingway (504-522-5007) is a bit more contemporary and bustling.
7. Check Out the Amazing Military Gear at the WWII Museum
Okay, museums aren’t necessarily the first go-to when you’re planning a bachelor party, but you’ve gotta do something during the day, and the spectacular WWII Museum is a great way to fill a few hours.
Dudes, they have a B-17 bomber (among other cool planes) suspended from the ceiling. Go see it.
8. Give Back With a Build Day for Habitat for Humanity
If you’re a service-minded group, New Orleans’ Habitat for Humanity (504-861-2077) is always in need of help, so get the group together to volunteer.
9. Get Your Race On at NOLA Motorsports Park
Want to watch an auto race? Want to drive a car really, really, really, ridiculously fast? Want to dress up like the characters from Mario Kart and have a go-kart showdown? (Please send me pictures if you do that last one.) The newly-built NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale offers all of these options and more and even has a party specialist on hand to help you plan.
10. Take a Lazy Tube Ride Down the Bogue Chitto
You don’t have to stay in the city itself for the whole trip.
11. See How Your Favorite Booze is Made
For the most established brewery tour in the burgeoning Louisiana beer scene, you’ll want to head out of town to Abita Springs for the Abita Brewery Tour. If you’d prefer to stay in the city and happen to be in town on Friday afternoon, you can take the free tour at NOLA Brewing. If spirits are more your thing, Old New Orleans Rum offers a cool distillery tour.
12. Get Competitive With a Round of Golf
Given the sheer quantity of lawyers in New Orleans, there are predictably many, many places to play golf. Visitors should look at the public course at Audubon Park and the City Park North Course: both nice courses where getting a tee time isn’t impossible for an out-of-towner.
12. Get Slightly Less Competitive With a Round of Not-So-Serious Golf
Not so much for the more expensive kind of golf? City Park also offers City Putt, a mini-golf course, as well as a free disc golf course.
13. Shoot At Stuff (or Each Other)
There are a number of both paintball courses and gun ranges in the greater New Orleans area, but Bayou Dragon in Marrero (on the West Bank, across the Mississippi River from New Orleans) offers both options.
14. Jump Out of an Airplane
What better way to celebrate your best friend’s upcoming nuptials than by leaping from a plane, right? As per usual, you have to get a bit out of town to go skydiving, but there are a few choices nearby: try Skydive Nawlins or Gold Coast Skydivers.
Part 2: Gambling, Grooming, and More!