If you're 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. Check out these ideas.
Get up Close to Gators on a Swamp Tour
Dozens of companies in the New Orleans area offer swamp tours of various kinds. For an eco-focused tour company that offers hotel pickup and transportation, try Cajun Encounters. If a fast trip on an airboat is more your speed, consider Airboat Adventures.
Charter a Fishing Boat
Charter a boat to go fishing in Lake Pontchartrain or the Gulf of Mexico. Salty Dog Charters in Shell Beach is a good choice for larger groups; they have four boats that can take up to five passengers each. Jean Lafitte Charters in Lafitte is a nice choice for a group of five or fewer.
Get Your Sports Fix
Depending on the season, you might catch the Saints at the Superdome or the Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. There are also 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 University of New Orleans campus. A road trip to Lafayette could get you to a Louisiana Ice Gators hockey game or an Acadiana Zydeco woman’s football game.
Get Down With Live Music
New Orleans is home to hundreds of festivals and there’s live music somewhere in town every night of the year. If the timing's right, bring the guys in for Jazz Fest, the Buku Music and Arts Project, the Voodoo Music Experience, or 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 at 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.
Chow Down on Steak and Bourbon
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. For something a bit more exotic, check out La Boca Argentinean Steakhouse in the Warehouse District. 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.
Class up at a Cigar Bar
Get your cigars on ice at one of the French Quarter’s venerable cigar bars. The French 75 at Arnaud's Restaurant is a classic, classy choice, and La Habana Hemingway is a bit more contemporary and bustling.
Learn Some History With Your Band of Brothers
Museums aren’t necessarily the first go-to when you’re planning a bachelor party, but the spectacular National World War II Museum is a great way to fill a few hours during the day. They have a B-17 bomber (among other cool planes) suspended from the ceiling. Go see it.
Get Your Heart Racing 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? NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale offers all of these options and more and even has a party specialist on hand to help you plan.
Jump Down From the Sky
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.
Chill out on the Water
There are actually lots of cool kayaking and canoeing options in and around New Orleans, so if getting into the outdoors is something your group likes to do, this should definitely be a consideration. If you’ve never kayaked before, companies like Kayak-iti-Yat offer lessons and tours for all ability levels.
Put on Your Poker Face
Take your party to the blackjack or poker tables at Harrah’s at any time of day or night. It’s located right at the foot of Canal Street adjacent to the French Quarter. Try not to spend the whole honeymoon fund.
Bowl With a Big Easy Twist
Sure, you can bowl anywhere, but New Orleans actually has a couple of pretty cool options, both of which offer packages for parties. Fulton Alley is an upscale bowling alley with craft cocktails and gourmet-ish twists on American comfort food. Mid-City Lanes/Rock ’n’ Bowl offers both bowling and outstanding live musical entertainment from regional and touring artists.
Pamper Yourselves With a Hot Towel Shave
They say there’s nothing quite like an old-school hot towel shave, and there are a few places you can get one in New Orleans. Aidan Gill is a traditional old-fashioned men’s salon with locations both uptown and downtown. The Magazine Street Barber Shop is a retro-chic spot that offers a variety of men’s grooming services.
Compete in a Food Challenge
Want to have your own man vs. food showdown with the guys? New Orleans offers lots of options. Oyster-lovers, try the 15-dozen challenge at Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, dig into the Tchoupitoulas Challenge at the Uptown Magazine Street location of the Creole Creamery (8 scoops of ice cream, plus toppings). If quantity isn’t your thing but you’ve got a tongue of steel, head uptown to Bayou Hot Wings and take on the Bayou Beast: Eat 10 of their hottest wings with no water, napkins, or other accouterments.
Party Like It's Mardi Gras
For a few hundred bucks, you can get your own balcony, and for a few hundred bucks more, you can get a giant box of beads. Does this require further explanation? It’s New Orleans, guys, you know how this works. Popular balcony rentals include those over The Swamp and Bourbon Cowboy, smack in the middle of the noisiest stretch of Bourbon, or if you’re looking for a slightly classier experience (indoors, at least), the Rue Bourbon Balconies.
Give Back With a Build Day for Habitat for Humanity
If you’re a service-minded group, New Orleans’ Habitat for Humanity is always in need of help, so get the group together to volunteer.
Take a Lazy Tube Ride Down the Bogue Chitto
You don’t have to stay in the city itself for the whole trip. Consider making a side jaunt to the beautiful Bogue Chitto State Park, where you can camp, hike, and tube down the river.
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.
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.
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.
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.