Heading to New Orleans soon and hoping to make some souvenir (and/or gift) shopping part of your trip?
We love bringing bits and pieces of different destinations home with us, and NOLA is no exception–especially when it comes to delicious foodie souvenirs from New Orleans!
If you’re curious about what to add to your NOLA shopping list, we’ve rounded up exactly what to buy in New Orleans here, from hot sauce to Mardi Gras trinkets and beyond.
Here are the best New Orleans souvenirs to consider picking up on your next trip to the Big Easy!
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The Best Foodie Souvenirs to Buy in New Orleans
With a cuisine as detailed and unique as NOLA’s, is it any surprise that this souvenir roundup runs heavily to food?
Whether you’re looking for distinctive gifts from New Orleans to bring home to loved ones or you just want to stock your pantry with a stash of Creole and Cajun flavors, these foodie souvenirs have you covered.
The ultimate New Orleans souvenir is as obvious as it is delicious: hot sauce.
Options include everything from mass-produced staple brands (locals will heartily recommend Crystal for this) to niche, small-batch products sold in local shops and markets–and yes, taste-testing before you buy is often an option.
Whatever your exact taste in hot sauce is, there’s a flavor for you available in NOLA!
Like hot sauce, cajun seasoning is a classic NOLA souvenir option that will allow you to bring local flavors into your kitchen long after your trip ends.
And, also like hot sauce, options abound from mass-produced staples to niche products.
Cajun seasoning is an absolute staple in our kitchen, and we keep it stocked year-round.
We use it most frequently by shaking generous helpings over chicken and fish, but the options are endless!
The muffuletta is one of New Orleans’ most famous sandwiches for very good reason!
Hearty, delicious, and meant to be shared (seriously: don’t plan on eating a full muffuletta from Central Grocery by yourself… at least in one sitting), they’re a must-eat for us every time we’re in the city.
Want to bring the flavor of muffulettas home with you?
Consider picking up a few jars of olive salad to add to your sandwiches at home!
One of the most popular souvenirs from New Orleans is easily a container of beignet mix from Cafe du Monde or Cafe Beignet–it’s so popular that you can even pick it up at the airport!
That being said, this is one souvenir option we haven’t been tempted to try ourselves.
Part of the charm of beignets for us is the setting, and we’re happy to keep enjoying them as a New Orleans-specific treat–but there’s no denying that beignet mix is one of the top things to buy in New Orleans as far as visitors are concerned.
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting New Orleans during Carnival season–or perhaps a bit before, as some places do like to get a jump on things–add a King Cake to your NOLA shopping list!
This classic New Orleans treat is not only a sugary, cinnamony delight, but it’s also the origin of one of the Big Easy’s most famous traditions: the King Cake baby.
Hidden inside each King Cake is a plastic baby–and whoever finds it in their slice is responsible for keeping the merriment of the season going, typically by either providing the next King Cake or throwing a Carnival party.
Part cookie, part candy (or maybe it’s more accurate to say a cookie-shaped candy), pralines are a traditional sweet in New Orleans (and Savannah).
They’re also very easy to transport home with you!
Traditional pralines are made with milk, butter, sugar, and pecans, though can find versions with all kinds of twists and unique flavors around the city.
It’s also worth adding that while you should bring some pralines home as a souvenir (and they make excellent NOLA-themed gifts, too), nothing beats a still-warm, freshly-made praline, so be sure to sample at least one fresh praline when visiting New Orleans!
New Orleans Cookbook
Want to bring not only a few treats or ingredients but the ability to replicate NOLA’s unique flavors home with you?
Consider picking up a Creole or Cajun cookbook as a souvenir from New Orleans!
If you want to get the lay of the land before trying the recipes out yourself, the popular cooking demonstrations at the New Orleans School of Cooking (complete with an included multi-course meal) are a fun way to up your skills before heading home.
Decor + Collectibles to Buy in NOLA
Does your idea of the perfect gift or souvenir run more toward home decor than anything else?
If so, these souvenirs from New Orleans might be right for you!
Mardi Gras Mask
Perhaps the most ubiquitous of any New Orleans souvenir out there, Mardi Gras masks aren’t just for Carnival season in NOLA: you can buy them year-round!
Prices and quality vary dramatically, from inexpensive souvenir masks all the way up to one-of-a-kind art pieces.
Suffice it to say that the most inexpensive masks are far from unique–I swear I’ve seen many identical masks for sale in both New Orleans and across the ocean in Venice over the years–but they do make a fun photo prop during a night out!
New Orleans is a city that thrives on art of all mediums, and bringing a piece of local art home is a fantastic way to commemorate a trip to the Big Easy.
Royal Street in the French Quarter is famous for its seemingly endless rows of galleries (Chartres Street has its share, too), and even if you don’t plan to splurge, window shopping is a fun addition to any walking tour of the neighborhood.
From flea markets to ritzy, glamorous shops in the French Quarter, browsing antiques (or even just enjoying some general vintage and second-hand shopping) is a fantastic way to pick up a truly unique souvenir from New Orleans!
Miscellaneous Things to Buy in New Orleans
New Orleans has a long history of inspiring artists of all kinds–including writers!
The Big Easy is one of my favorite cities in the world to read about, and whether you’re looking for a novel set in NOLA, a dense history book, or something else, there’s an option for you.
Our detailed guide to literary New Orleans covers both the best books about the city and the best bookstores in town to find them in!
New Orleans and music go hand-in-hand, so why not bring some of it home with you?
Whether you’re perusing music shops for classic jazz records or CDs or clicking “download” on a local artist’s album after hearing them play live, music is a wonderful way to bring the sounds of New Orleans home with you.
Virtually every busker and performer in NOLA will direct you to their social media these days–albums will be easy to find!
Fleur de Lis-Themed Items
As the symbol of New Orleans, you’ll find fleur de lis’ just about everywhere throughout the city: carefully topping wrought iron fences, printed onto flags, incorporated into Mardi Gras decor, and much more.
Whether you’d like to purchase a fleur de lis-shaped baked good, piece of jewelry, cookie cutter, baking dish, or just about anything else you can imagine, there’s an option available somewhere in NOLA!
Voodoo and Occult Items
For some of the most unique New Orleans souvenirs possible, head to one of the many local occult shops, where voodoo remains a living practice, and not simply an offering to tourists.
Charms, dolls, gris gris bags, and much, much more are available in a voodoo shop–and for a gift that indisputably screams New Orleans, it’s hard to imagine a more memorable place to look.
Inexpensive (But Fun) New Orleans Souvenirs
Looking for something small, affordable, and easy to transport that you can bring home from NOLA?
These easy-to-find items might belong on your New Orleans shopping list!
A ubiquitous souvenir choice all over the world, NOLA-themed magnets are inexpensive, extremely easy to find, and very simple to pack on your way home.
There is a huge variety of magnets for sale in gift shops around the city, so if you’d like to buy one, I’d recommend waiting until you see one that sticks out to you.
Like magnets, mugs are a favorite souvenir from around the world: inexpensive, personal, and something that is easily incorporated into your daily life back home.
What better way is there to reminisce about your vacation than to be reminded of it every time you go to make a hot drink and pull your mug from New Orleans out of the cabinet?
… but while mugs are cozy and lovely, NOLA is a nightlife city at the end of the day.
Looking to reminisce with a different kind of drink?
Shot glasses are cheap souvenirs that are both easy to find and easy to transport.
Novelty T-shirts in just about every style imaginable are easy to find when shopping in New Orleans, and make very popular souvenirs!
Postcards are the ultimate combination of inexpensive, easy to pack, and easily personalized, making them one of the best budget souvenirs from New Orleans!
For extra personalization, consider filling it out with vacation memories during your trip and sending it home to yourself!
Christmas ornaments from around the world are one of our favorite souvenirs to collect, and you’ll find beautiful options in New Orleans year-round!
Mardi Gras Beads
Like masks, Mardi Gras beads aren’t just for Carnival season in New Orleans–at least as far as the visitors are concerned.
If you’d like to bring some home with you, you’ll be able to find them in just about any souvenir shop or market around the city.
The traditional option would include opting for purple (representing justice), green (representing faith), and gold (representing power) beads.
Tips for Souvenir Shopping in New Orleans
Don’t overlook basic grocery stores for foodie souvenirs.
Simple foodie souvenirs like hot sauce and cajun seasoning don’t necessarily need to be purchased at a kitschy gift shop in the French Quarter!
Stop into any standard grocery store in the New Orleans area, and you’ll be able to load up to your heart’s content–at good prices.
For example, Slap Ya Mama cajun seasoning is a staple in our house, but we’d never buy it in a gift shop (though we have been known to order it online from the company website if we run out when across the country–another valid option for NOLA souvenir shopping).
Have a plan for what to buy in NOLA before starting your trip.
You won’t need to stick to your plan exactly, of course–shopping spontaneously can be part of the fun of travel–but having a general idea of what you want to look for when shopping in New Orleans can help add structure to your browsing.
In some cases, it can also help limit indecisiveness (for me, anyway)!
Shop around before purchasing simple souvenirs.
When it comes to small, cheap items that are a dime a dozen in the French Quarter, like inexpensive Mardi Gras masks and beads, magnets, T-shirts, etc., be sure to visit a few shops before deciding what to buy in NOLA!
Many of these simple souvenirs are sold all over the place, but prices can vary–it’s worth checking out at least a few shops to be sure you’re getting a reasonable deal.
Note the trip and date of purchase on your New Orleans souvenirs.
You may find it easy to remember when and where you purchased your beautiful souvenirs from New Orleans now–but give it a decade or three, and you may be very glad you noted the place and year of purchase with the item!
We tend to write the info on the bottom of all the home decor pieces or Christmas ornaments we purchase around the world and love the tradition of it.
It’s also a great way to help bring old memories to the surface when decorating our Christmas tree each year!
Read More About Visiting New Orleans (+ the South)
Planning a trip to the Big Easy soon and want to keep reading?
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