Nowhere but New Orleans has the beguiling mix of the islands and the French countryside, of prep and downhome, of style and comfort. It’s uniquely American yet completely foreign. And this time of year, it’s the perfect temperature to escape gloomy skies and embrace the sun. There is way more to do in New Orleans than can fit into 48 hours — or even a week — but we’d sure like to try. Here’s how we’d spend a weekend in the Crescent City, plus how we channel a little of that energy even when we’re staying home.

Bourbon Street gets the most press, but we recommend three other streets nearby: Royal, Frenchman, and Magazine. Spend the afternoon strolling down Royal Street for the best antique shops in town. Though only a street over from the boisterous Bourbon, it has a much calmer pace. Dine at one of Chef John Besh’s restaurants. We can personally recommend the whole roasted cauliflower at Domenica’s. Then hit up live music on Frenchman Street, known as the local’s Bourbon, and dance the night away. Catch some Zzz’s at the just-opened Ace Hotel in the art gallery heavy Warehouse district. After a morning exploring the galleries, head to the Garden District and shop the city’s top design shops along Magazine Street.

The dress code in New Orleans is all over the place — from tshirts to sequins — but comfort is important when you’re on your second round of beignets at Café du Monde. A layered bead necklace will evoke the city’s most famous souvenir. Sun protection is definitely required, so pack glasses and a hat keep you covered. If you’ll be staying home, get in the groove of the city with a recording from the annual Jazz Fest and whip up a Sazerec or two. Or more. There is no counting. This is New Orleans.

View the slideshow to see what we’d wear in New Orleans and how we’d bring the city home.