New Orleans

Where to Get New Orleans’ Most Iconic Icy Treat This Summer

Cool off with classic and creative snowballs.

Photo courtesy of Chance in Hell Snoballs
Photo courtesy of Chance in Hell Snoballs
Photo courtesy of Chance in Hell Snoballs

There’s nothing like the sweet refreshment of a cold snowball on a hot summer day. You won’t find icy snow cones here in New Orleans; our snowballs are so fluffy they’re almost unreal. We may not be able to agree on how it is spelled-some call it a “snoball” while others add a “w”-everyone has a favorite spot for this classic treat.

Situated in neighborhoods around the city, these stands are the stuff of childhood memories-sweet syrups and sticky fingers on a summer day-but snowballs are beloved by locals¬†of all ages (and hey, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little booze to one for an adult treat). All shops have the classic flavors, but some specialize in over-the-top creamy creations or inventive combos made with natural ingredients. Top yours with condensed milk or get it stuffed with ice cream and you’ve got an only-in-New Orleans taste of summer.

Photo courtesy of Casey's Snowballs
Photo courtesy of Casey’s Snowballs
Photo courtesy of Casey’s Snowballs

Casey’s Snowballs

Metairie
Casey’s is a no-frills snowball stand with classic flavors and specialty options like king cake and Bazooka. Alongside classic New Orleans snowballs is a list of cream flavors that includes the likes of tres leches, Frangelico, and pralines ‚Äėn cream, though the shop is famous for its chocolate cream. Other cool options include sundaes and monsoons (soft serve ice cream mixed with bits of sweet treats like Oreos or Reese’s Pieces mixed in).

Chance in Hell Snoballs

Bywater
Kitten LaRue and Lou Henry Hoover, the married burlesque and drag duo better known as Kitten N’ Lou, churn out snowballs from the porch of a Bywater home that have quickly become local favorites. The pop-up is typically open every weekend in the summer months, but check the business’ Instagram account to confirm when you can get a hold of their all-natural snowballs in rotating flavors like nectar cream, lemon ice box pie topped with graham cracker, and more.

Photo courtesy of Hansen's Sno-Bliz
Photo courtesy of Hansen’s Sno-Bliz
Photo courtesy of Hansen’s Sno-Bliz

Hansen’s Sno-Bliz

Uptown
Hansen’s boasts the city’s first electric ice shaving machine, built by Ernest Hansen and George Ortolano in 1939. The shop has been churning out fluffy snowballs with creative flavors ever since then-still in the Hansen family-earning a James Beard American Classics award in 2014. You’ll likely find a line stretching down the block, but it’s worth the wait for flavors like satsuma, passionfruit, or ginger-cayenne, and specialty toppings like charred peach syrup or Bananas Foster.

Ike’s Snowballs

Mid-City
Located across from Delgado in the same strip as MoPho, Ike’s is a solid option for snowballs near City Park. Traditional flavors include the usuals like green apple, strawberry, and cake batter, but for something a little different try wine cooler, Georgia peach, or mojito. Bring your pups-not only does Ike’s have a dog-friendly patio, but they also offer special chicken- or beef-flavored snowballs doggies are sure to love.

Photo courtesy of Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls
Photo courtesy of Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls
Photo courtesy of Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls

Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls

Uptown
This little spot on Magazine Street is known for inventive flavor combinations made with all-natural housemade syrups. Refreshing options include lemon basil, pineapple cilantro, and watermelon jalapeno. Or go for one of the cream flavors like cereal cream, Earl Grey, chicory coffee, or vanilla bean. For an extra special treat, top your snowball with marshmallow fluff or vanilla ice cream.

Photo courtesy of Nectar + Ice
Photo courtesy of Nectar + Ice
Photo courtesy of Nectar + Ice

Nectar + Ice

Metairie
One of the newest snowball shops in New Orleans is decidedly different from the competition. Nectar + Ice serves up sweet treats suitable for those who are vegan, halal, or have allergies. All the snowball bases are made in-house, and vegan substitutes like coconut condensed milk are available. Try a mochi-stuffed snowball or one of their signatures, like the Oreo cake, a wedding cake snowball stuffed with cheesecake and topped with white and dark chocolate and Oreo cookies.

Pandora’s Snowballs

Mid-City
Pandora’s is the spot for a refreshing pick-me-up after a stroll in City Park or along Bayou St. John. Lines can get long here, as fans seek out unique cream flavors like wedding cake, red velvet, cookie dough, grasshopper, and Bananas Foster. Classic flavors are on the menu too, as well as sugar free options.

Rodney’s Snowballs

Lake Forest
Snowball fans in the east head to Rodney’s in Lake Forest. The walk-up stand has all the classic flavors like nectar cream, cherry, passionfruit, and mango, plus options like margarita or cotton candy. Try a deluxe creation like the Pina Colada Cream topped with condensed milk. Rodney’s has other sweet treats like malts and sundaes as well as savory snacks like hot tamales and chili cheese nachos.

Photo courtesy of Sal's Sno-Balls
Photo courtesy of Sal’s Sno-Balls
Photo courtesy of Sal’s Sno-Balls

Sal’s Sno-Balls

Metairie
Sal’s in Old Metairie has been an old-school favorite since 1960. The menu is simple and classic, with traditional options plus additional signature flavors like Popeye (minty bubblegum), Purple Dawn (spearmint and strawberry), s’mores, and a variety of cream flavors. Sal’s has plenty of outdoor seating under shady trees, and they’re open until 10 pm for late-night snowball runs.

Sno-La Snowballs

Metairie
As if an ice cream-stuffed snowball wasn’t decadent enough, Sno-La took it further and introduced the cheesecake-stuffed snowball. This stand is where you go to indulge: Try signature options like the Chantilly Cake-a wedding cake cream and strawberry snowball stuffed with cheesecake, strawberries, and blueberries and topped with whipped cream-or the Pelican, a Bananas Foster and red velvet cream snowball stuffed with cheesecake and topped with condensed milk.

Williams Plum Street Snoballs

Uptown
This tiny, family-run neighborhood snowball stand has been in business since 1945. Plum Street offers more than 50 flavors, from spearmint and watermelon to orchid cream vanilla and nectar cream. Snowballs are served in Chinese takeout containers in varying sizes. Take your “pail” outside, where you’ll find a bench and a few chairs, or stroll the neighborhood while you enjoy your tasty treat.

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Gerrish Lopez is a Thrillist contributor.

New Orleans

Where to Go on a Perfect Date in New Orleans This Spring

Woo that special someone with sultry live music and inviting outdoor date ideas.

Photo courtesy of Louisiana Travel
Photo courtesy of Louisiana Travel
Photo courtesy of Louisiana Travel

Whether you’re searching for the perfect spot for a first date or looking to spend some time with your longtime love, you should have no problem planning a romantic outing in New Orleans. Our amazing restaurants and bars are classic settings for some quality time, but think outside the date night box and literally get outside. Spring is the most gorgeous time of year here, so you can score some serious romance points. From strolls in the park and outdoor music to cozy wine bars and sultry jazz nights, here are some can’t-miss ideas for the perfect date in New Orleans.

Spend an afternoon in City Park

Mid-City
One could spend hours strolling beneath City Park’s moss-drenched oaks, but combine this beautiful setting with the park’s other offerings and you’ve got yourself a date. Start with coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde to ease into things. Explore the collections at the New Orleans Museum of Art or stroll through the sculpture garden. Continue your romantic walk around the Big Lake, or rent a boat and paddle your way around. If things are going well, finish up with a well-earned drink and a bite at Ralph’s on the Park.

Grab bagels and bike on the Greenway

Mid-City
Bike the Lafitte Greenway and you’ll get moving while having plenty of time to connect. Fuel up at Flour Moon Bagels with coffee and stellar carbs before you hit the pavement. The Greenway’s linear path is 2.7 miles, but you can make it a longer ride by linking up with the Wisner Trail or the Norman C. Francis bike path. The Greenway goes all the way to the Quarter, but you can save that for another date. End up back where you started and cool down with a pint or two at Skeeta Hawk Brewing.

Create some Magazine Street magic

Uptown/Garden District
Magazine Street boasts six miles of unique, locally owned businesses. There are plenty of one-off date options along the street (like grabbing coffee and chocolate at Piety and Desire, having a romantic dinner at Coquette or Saffron, or ordering wine and small plates at Saba). But for a longer get-to-know-you date, the street is perfect for an all-day stroll. Browse esteemed art galleries and shops, have a well-made cocktail at Bouligny Tavern, stop for fresh oysters at Basin, taste a few wines at Spirit Wine, and admire the mix of architecture along the street. Why stop there? Shop for some vinyl at Peaches, grab a casual dinner at Picnic Provisions & Whiskey or Tito’s, then see who’s playing at Le Bon Temps.

Take in the West Bank nature and noodles

Marrero
Take the Crescent City Connection and head down to the Barataria Preserve to explore acres of secluded wetlands that’ll confirm you’re really in south Louisiana. A boardwalk winds through swampy land packed with all the best regional flora and fauna, including alligators. April is typically peak iris season, so check the bloom forecast. Before you head back across the river, stop by Tan Dinh or 9 Roses for excellent pho and other Vietnamese faves.

Nevbrown/Flickr
Nevbrown/Flickr
Nevbrown/Flickr

Go on a wine bar crawl

Various locations
A wine bar presents a perfect middle ground between grabbing casual beers and sipping superior cocktails. You’ve got chill environs, curated selections, and just enough nibbles to sustain your conversation. Second Vine Wines and Faubourg Wines are thoughtfully curated shops that serve wines by the glass, so you can start off with a couple of glasses then buy a bottle if the date moves to another location. Tell Me Bar and Pluck offer rotating selections of intriguing wines you’ll want to learn more about. And of course there’s Bacchanal, where you can enjoy wine, good vibes, and live music under the stars.

Cross the river by boat

Algiers Point
There’s something undeniably romantic about standing at the bow of a boat with wind blowing through your lover’s hair, so take the Algiers Ferry to behold the mighty Mississippi and gorgeous views of the city. Stroll charming Algiers Point, grab a drink with the locals at the Old Point Bar or Crown and Anchor, and then enjoy dinner at Tavolino, Tonti’s Hand, or Plume.

Saunter down St. Charles Ave

Uptown/French Quarter
The streetcar is an underrated date option-get to know each other while rolling past the majestic St. Charles Avenue mansions. Start with a late afternoon drink at The Chloe before hopping aboard. Once you’re in the Quarter, take a spin around the bar with a cocktail at Hotel Monteleone, take a stroll through Jackson Square, then pick from swoon-worthy dining options like St. John, Jewel of the South, Cane & Table, Doris Metropolitan, or MaMou.

Explore Lake Pontchartrain

Lakefront
Take a trip out to Lake Pontchartrain for some sun, fresh air, and seafood. Cruise Lakeshore Drive, check out the Mardi Gras Fountain, maybe take a roll down the levee to connect with your inner child, then sit and watch as the boats and birds go by. As the sun sets, head over to The Blue Crab for fresh seafood or JB’s Fuel Dock at West End Park for pizza and beers.

Photo courtesy of Three Keys NOLA
Photo courtesy of Three Keys NOLA
Photo courtesy of Three Keys NOLA

Let music and lounge vibes set the mood

Various locations
Let someone special know just how you feel by taking them out for a classy evening of fine cocktails and world-class jazz. Grab a prime spot to watch Jeremy Davenport do his thing at his namesake lounge at the Ritz-Carlton, listen to the smooth sounds of solo artists at the intimate Bayou Bar at the Pontchartrain Hotel, or pop into the Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta next time you do a French Quarter outing. For a new-school option, check out a performance at the Ace Hotel’s Three Keys.

Go the extra mile with a day trip

Covington/Abita Springs
Driving the Causeway’s 24 miles will give you plenty of time to go beyond small talk, making a nearby road trip the ideal activity for upping the ante on your relationship. Head to Covington to enjoy the boutiques and galleries of the quaint historic downtown before grabbing a bite at Lola or Tavi, or rent bikes and ride the Tammany Trace to the Abita Brewery where you can take a tour and sample some of the finest local beers. Even better, head over when the brewery is hosting one of its food truck roundups or live music.

Photo courtesy of Urban South Brewery
Photo courtesy of Urban South Brewery
Photo courtesy of Urban South Brewery

Peel crawfish and sip local beer

Various locations
Spring means crawfish boils, and the city is loaded with experts bringing their boil skills to some of the top local breweries. Crawfish and beer make a perfect pair, and what better way to gauge relationship potential than by observing peel technique and spice tolerance? Check their calendars, but breweries including Faubourg Brewing, Urban South, NOLA Brewing, Miel, and Parleaux usually host boils on weekends throughout the season.

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Gerrish Lopez is a Thrillist contributor.

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