A Sporty Day in New Orleans: An Itinerary

An editor's guide to physical fun around the Crescent City.

Sure, New Orleans is famed for its fried foods, carry-with-you cocktails and overall overindulgence, but it's not all about beignets and Bourbon Street balconies. The city also embraces Louisiana’s “Sportsman’s Paradise” moniker with a wide range of activites that encourage vistiors to get out and get physical.  

8 am: Breakfast of Champions

Fortify yourself for the day ahead with breakfast at Wink’s, adding on a couple of buttermilk drops for a good, indulgent measure. Vegans will find what they are after at Meals From the Heart, in the form of blueberry pancakes and spiced apple patties.

9 am: Off and running

Set off on a New Orleans Jogging Tour, which helps you burn off calories while chewing on local history. Or tour the town on a two-wheel rental from Crescent City Bike Tours or A Bicycle Named Desire


New Orleans bicyclers
New Orleans ranks among the Top 10 bike-friendly cities in the U.S. (©Shawn Fink)

12:30 pm: Veg in

Lunch at Café Carmo (try one of tropical fruit juices) or City Greens. Both offer great veggie fare and easy access to the nearby Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, where you’ll bag big bargains at PUMA and New Balance and the Shops at Canal Place, where lululemon athletica lets you work up a sweat in style. Or delve deep into the Audubon Aquarium’s Maya Dive Experience, which allows you scuba or snorkel with the fishes.

2 pm: Get revved up

Go full throttle at the NOLA Motorsports Park, where you can live out NASCAR fantasies on a world-class track, which hosts the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana in April 2015. Or take a spin around City Park’s Big Lake on a pedal boat from Wheel Fun Rentals. Kayaks are also offered, as are guided kayak excursions along adjacent Bayou St. John through the friendly folks at Kayak-iti-yat.

Kayak-iti-yat offers outdoor adventure through scenic Mid-City. (©Shawn Fink)

7 pm: Beef bowl

Beef up at Chophouse New OrleansDickie Brennan’s Steakhouse or Doris Metropolitan, where the aged cuts are showcased like fine art on marble-topped pedestals. Or dig into serious small plates (order the fried Brussels sprouts with pepper jelly) and craft cocktails while bowling a few rounds at Fulton Alley. Like to dance in your bowling shoes? You’ll strike it rich at Rock ’n’ Bowl, where live acts perform Tuesdays-Saturdays.

11 pm: Night lights

Cap the day with the nightly light show outside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home the New Orleans Saints, and the adjacent Smoothie King Center, where the city’s NBA team, the Pelicans, roost.

Mercedes-Benz Superdome
The Superdome wows with nightly LED light shows. (©Mercedes-Benz Superdome)