Are you looking to head to the Big Easy for marathon weekend 2017?
Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans is by far my favorite RnR event on the calendar each year. It was my second ever marathon in 2012 & I have run in 2015 & 2016 also. I love the city of New Orleans and I find any excuse to make down there. But other than the race what else does NOLA have to offer to keep you occupied for the weekend?
Well, of course, there is the race expo. Held each year in the New Orleans Memorial Convention Center Jam packed with vendors, race gear, foods, and area races from across the south. There are parking lots directly across from the convention center. (usually for about $15, I like to park in a lot directly behind the Westin hotel next to the Aquarium of the Americans. It’s a $25 charge for 2-4 hours & $35 fee for 4-8 hours) It’s easy to spend a few hours wandering up and down the expo hall and put a lot of extra steps in for the day. I always recommend venturing across race expos to take advantage of all of the deals and raffles that are going on, but be careful about time on your feet! Especially if the marathon or half distance is a relatively new adventure for you.
You can’t visit New Orleans without stopping into the French Quarter and taking in the sights, smells, sounds, and taste of cajun country. I always encourage people to stop in at Cafe Du Monde for the authentic beinget and coffee experience that New Orleans is known for. Then venture another block down to the French Market. Local artists and craftsmen line the shopping plaza with their work available for purchase. (You will run by this area during the race on Sunday morning, but the market is closed and the tables will be empty.)
While you’re in the area you can walk into Jackson Square and snap a few pictures in front of the St. Louis Cathedral. The square wins my vote for the #1 Rated NOLA Selfie Spot, during both tourism adventures and during the race on Sunday.
You may be lucky enough to catch a street performance across the street at the Washington Artillery Park. There is a troupe of comedic acrobatic performers that perform on a regular basis that I’ve watched several times (unfortunately I can’t recall their names). On a side note, this picture is not mine, it came from Trip Advisor. If you’re walking by and see this crew flipping in front of the crowd be sure to find a seat.
If you’re looking for lunch that captures the flavor of New Orleans while still working in your favor for race morning one of my favorite spots in town is called 801 Royal. Swing in and grab an alligator poboy or blackend chicken pasta, it’s worth the few blocks you have to walk to get there from the French Market.
What else is happening in New Orleans that weekend? If you’re looking for an entertaining way to spend the day but also will keep your legs fresh and well rested the Saenger Theatre is hosting the nationwide tour of Dancing With the Stars at 4:00 or 8:00pm. If you ain’t afraid of no ghosts (or being up late the night before the race) there are multiple options for Ghost Tours around the French Quarter after dark.
Above all, remember to enjoy the weekend. Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon puts on over 30 race weekends around the world. I’m sure each of them has it’s own exciting moments, but where better than New Orleans to experience art, culture, music, and food in addition to a well organized and exciting race weekend. 2017 will be my 4th time running Rock ‘n’ Roll NOLA.
Remember, Beale St. is a better idea post race rather than pre-race.
See you there!
Oh, and check these incredible race medals!