Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?
Welcome to my New Orleans Travel Guide. I’ve been to this city nine times now, and each time I find something new to love. It’s one of my favorite places to visit and talk about and I enjoy helping people discover New Orleans for the first time.
My Guide will take you through the obligatory, the unexpected, and my favorite things about this historic, unique, and memorable city.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
(Let The Good Times Roll!)
The Best Time To Visit New Orleans
When you visit will greatly depend on your personal preferences. There are two factors I consider when planning a visit: weather and events.
Weather: Because it’s located in the southern half of the United States, New Orleans is going to have swampy hot summers and early fall with mild winters and springs. I personally cannot handle the summer in the south so I opt for more mild and sometimes rainy springtime for my visits.
Events: There are many events happening throughout the year in New Orleans. Two of the more popular events bookend the year with Mardi Gras which spans from January to as late as early March and Voodoo Fest in October. These events book the city up quickly which can make hotels hard to find and more expensive. There are also going to be special concerts and industry conferences that will impact availability. Keep these things in mind when planning.
Are you thinking about visiting during Mardi Gras? I highly recommend it! It was one of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had and I can’t believe it took nine visits to finally experience it.
Check out my post on Your First Visit to Mardi Gras In New Orleans (what to know, How To Plan, and What To Do) for more details on what to expect for your first Mardi Gras from a fellow first-timer.
New Orleans Travel Guide
My New Orleans Travel Guide: Where To Stay
My Favorite New Orleans Eats
Food is one of the best things about travel and New Orleans has some of the best food out there.
Cajun & Creole
If you’re a foodie, or just appreciate a good meal, you’re going to love eating your way through New Orleans. From the Cajun and Creole staples like Red Beans & Rice, Gumbo, and Jambalaya, to other NOLA creations like Po’boys, Muffulettas, Boudin, Dirty Rice, Éttouffée, Maque Choux, and more.
With A Punch
Hurricanes, Vieux Carré, Ramos Gin Fizz, Sazerac, Absinthe, French 75, Pimms Cup, and even the silly novelty drinks like Hand Grenades and more were all invented in New Orleans. There is a drink for every tastebud out there. But be careful, some of these cocktails pack a punch you might not be used to.
Beignets For Days
Powdered Sugar Goodness
Beignets, a poofy pastry with mounds of powdered sugar atop, is a treat you won’t soon forget. However, it’s not the only treat New Orlean’s is known for. There are Bananas Foster, King Cakes, Pralines, Sno-Ball, and more. You can definitely entertain your sweet tooth while in town.
New and Classic New Orleans Restaurants
There are a lot of amazing restaurants in New Orleans, some that have been institutions since the late 1700s, while others are far more modern. One thing they have in common is they all represent an amazing culinary experience that is purely New Orleans. Below is our ever-growing list of restaurants we’ve been to (emphasized), and others that are on our must-visit list for future trips. These should get you started on your to-visit New Orleans restaurant list.
Classic (started in the late 1700s to mid-1900s): Tujague’s, Napoleon House, Galatoire’s, Arnaud’s, Commander’s Palace, Central Grocery & Deli, Mother’s Restaurant, The Court of Two Sisters, The Original Pierre Maspero’s, Dooky Chase’s, Port of Call, Brennan’s, Pat O’Brien’s, Willie Mae’s Scotch House.
New (started in the early 2000s to today): Willa Jean, Shaya, Domenica, Molly’s Rise & Shine, Turkey & the Wolf, Cochon, Toups Meatery, Herbsaint, Dat Dog, La Boulangerie, Cane and Table, Toast, Cuńada, Justine, Tartine, St. James Cheese Company, Cafe Degas, District Donut
BRING A LITTLE PIECE OF NEW ORLEANS HOME
Check out these great items to read, decorate or use in the kitchen. As an FYI, these four items are affiliate links. If you click an image and make a purchase, I may receive a small part of that purchase at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!
I own this book
Beautifully illustrated book on all things New Orleans makes it fun to learn about this awesome city.
On my wishlist
Homesick’s New Orleans small-batch candle with smells reminiscent of gardenia flowers and king cakes.
“There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better” – Bob Dylan
New Orleans Travel Guide
New Orleans Travel Guide:
The French Quarter, AKA Vieux Carré
The French Quarter, otherwise known as Vieux Carré, has a history as old as New Orleans itself. Founded in 1718, New Orleans was built around the Quarter and has the largest amount of extant historical buildings from the time under Spanish rule in the late 1800s to after achieving statehood in the early 19th century. The entire area is a National Historic Landmark and a major tourist destination.
3 Places In New Orleans French Quarter You Must-See
You’re probably going to spend a lot of time in the French Quarter. You’ll experience the calm and chaos of Bourbon Street, the beauty of Jackson Square, and the serene and curious above-ground tombs of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Three key areas I encourage every first-timer to check out and branch out from.
Wild & Free
Historic & Beautiful
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
qUIET & uNEXPECTED
New Orleans Travel Guide
It’s gritty, it’s chaotic, it’s iconic, it’s Bourbon Street. A place every visitor should experience at least once. If you aren’t into crowds, I recommend visiting during the daylight hours which are almost always less congested. As soon as night falls, chaos reigns.
Bourbon Street spans 13 city blocks from Canal Street (known as upper Bourbon) to Esplanade Avenue (known as lower Bourbon). Upper Bourbon is the neon sign, novelty drink slinging tourist section that is the more commonly known part of Bourbon.
What To Do On & Near Bourbon Street
A New Orleans Travel Guide must is to talk about Bourbon Street. Here are some of our favorite spots to hang out while on Bourbon Street as well as favorites that are just a few steps away around the corner or down a side street worth mentioning.
Karaoke with Friends at The Cat’s Meow
You can get weird in front of a bunch of strangers and sing your favorite tunes at the popular karaoke bar Cat’s Meow. Keep an eye out for the live webcams at the entrance of the building and inside so you can wave to your friends back home who would wish they were there with you!
Visit | 701 Bourbon Street, New Orleans
Have a Hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s
Pat O’Brien’s is a must-visit spot when in New Orleans known for its beautiful outdoor courtyard with a fire fountain, piano bar, and red, fruity cocktail called The Hurricane.
I also recommend getting their trio of Red Beans & Rice, Jambalaya, and Gumbo sides to get a little taste of the three popular New Orleans dishes.
Visit | 624 Bourbon Street, New Orleans
Sip On a Frozen Daiquiri at Mango Mango or Fat Tuesday and People Watch
Mango Mango and Fat Tuesday are just two of many frozen daiquiri shops you’ll find on almost every corner of Bourbon Street. This is the perfect drink to have as you leisurely stroll along this chaotic street. It will take you a while to finish (who wants a brain freeze?), and it allows you plenty of time to people watch. From musicians, and performers, to even a wedding parade, you never know what you will see on Bourbon Street.
Eat Delicious Mexican Food at Cuñada
We discovered Cuñada, a tasty destination nearby one of our go-to hotels in the Quarter, a moody and festive decorated joint with some tasty Mexican dishes. Loved the street corn.
Visit | 833 Conti Street, New Orleans
Indulge in Beignets & Breakfast at Café Beignet
My New Orleans Travel Guide would be incomplete if I didn’t mention one of my favorite restaurants. There’s a Cafe Beignet location on Bourbon Street, however, I prefer the charm of the Royal Street location (pictured). We love getting their Cajun Hash Browns and getting an order of Beignets. Yum.
Visit | 311 Bourbon St, 343 Royal St. (+ other locations), New Orleans
Sit at a Bar That Spins at The Carousel Bar & Lounge in Hotel Monteleone
Just a few steps away from Bourbon Street is the Carousel Bar & Lounge, one of two spinning carousel bars in the US. There’s a novelty to sitting at the bar and experiencing it spin around, however, I found it more fun to sit on the side so you can see it spin instead. Known for their popular drink, Vieux Carre.
Visit | 214 Royal Street, New Orleans
Drink Like The Locals Do In New Orleans
My New Orleans Travel Guide would be incomplete without mentioning the classic cocktails of New Orleans. No shame in drinking the fruity novelty drinks, but if you’re looking for a more authentic experience, try one of these popular New Orleans cocktails. I’ll list the most popular destination to find one, but note that many bars create these classic cocktails.
The Hurricane is a popular fruity, rum-based cocktail. Find the best and most popular bright red version at Pat O’Brien’s 718 St Peter
Sazerac is a rye whiskey-based drink that uses bitters named after the Creole apothecary who developed them, Antione Peychaud, in his Royal Street shop. Find one at The Carousel Bar in Hotel Monteleone 214 Royal Street
Absinthe Frappe is a mint-flavored cocktail invented in the late 1800s. Find yours at the Old Absinthe House 240 Bourbon Street
Ramos Gin Fizz is a frothy cocktail that uses a mix of citrus, heavy cream, powdered sugar, egg white, and gin. Get yours at The Sazerac Restaurant in The Roosevelt Hotel 130 Roosevelt Way
Vieux Carré A Sazerac Rye whiskey-based drink popular at The Carousel Bar within Hotel Monteleone 214 Royal Street
Pimm’s Cup is a refreshing, low alcohol gin and lemon-based cocktail invented in London but given a New Orleans twist in the 1940s. Find yours at Napoleon House 500 Chartres Street
Mint Julep Enjoyed throughout the south, this minty bourbon-based cocktail can be found at The Carousel Bar within Hotel Monteleone 214 Royal Street
Brandy Milk Punch Often associated with the holidays, but many enjoy them year long is this brandy and milk-based cocktail. Try one where it was perfected at Brennan’s 417 Royal Street
Awesome New Orleans Cocktail Books & Mixes
Want to make New Orleans-themed cocktails at home? Check out these books and mixes. As an FYI, these four items are affiliate links. If you click an image and make a purchase, I may receive a small part of that purchase at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!
I’ve used this
The perfect flavoring to add to your rum of choice to replicate a Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane!
Gallery and Antique Shop On Royal Street
Just a short walk away from Bourbon Street is the much more chilled-out Royal Street known for its rows of local art galleries and antique shops. The perfect way to get away from the chaotic energy of Bourbon Street and enjoy some art and antiques. I loved Lejardin Art Gallery and bought an amazing print by New Orleans artist Stuart South of Jackson Square with a UFO flying over it titled “New Orleans is UFO Country”. It’s weird, I love it.
Sip On A Hand Grenade From Tropical Aisle
You’ll see this cup everywhere on Bourbon street and if you’re going to indulge in a fruity novelty cocktail, make it the Hand Grenade from Tropical Aisle. While it’s an expensive, tourist-like drink, I had to include it in my New Orleans Travel Guide.
Recognized for its bright, neon green tube-shaped container formed to look like a little grenade at the bottom, this drink is a mix of fruity flavors and cheap grain alcohol and it can pack a punch you might not be used to. Try the frozen slush version, I think it’s better than the non-frozen.
Visit | 721 Bourbon Street, New Orleans & other locations
Go Ahead and Drink Like A Tourist (I won’t judge)
It’s okay to indulge in a silly novelty drink you will pay way too much for. It’s part of the experience and I certainly can’t judge considering I’ve brought some of my drink containers home in the past. Here is a list of some of the better novelty drinks we’ve had on our trips into town so you know where to find them and what to look for.
Hand Grenade neon green tube with a smiling hand grenade shape at the bottom and a small plastic grenade floating at the top. Find yours at Tropical Aisle 721 Bourbon Street and other locations.
The Fishbowl is a 64-ounce plastic fishbowl complete with a lanyard to hang on your neck for hands-free drinking. If you come back with the bowl, refills are often discounted. Find yours at Fais Deaux Deaux 327 Bourbon Street.
The Resurrection a clear skull-shaped mug with a blue blinking light in the base made popular by being featured on Bar Rescue by John Taffer. Find yours at Spirits 615 Bourbon Street.
The Big Easy is a tall, colorful Fleur-de-Lis-shaped container filled with your choice of a frozen daiquiri. Find yours at Big Easy Daiquiris 216 Bourbon Street and other locations.
Huge Ass Beers are giant cups of beer Find yours at Big Ass Beers 333 Bourbon Street and other locations.
Or don’t drink. I’ve mentioned drinking a lot in the Bourbon Street portion of My New Orleans Travel Guide. I just wanted to make sure to call out that you can have fun in New Orleans without drinking alcohol! I promise! There are just many iconic drinks I felt were worth mentioning in this guide.
Take A Photo Of The Iconic LaBranche House
One of the most frequently photographed residences in New Orleans is The LaBranche House on Royal Street. Known for its iconic and beautifully detailed cast iron gallery wrapping around the building with details of oak leaves and acorns.
New Orleans Travel Guide
What Else To Do On & Near Bourbon Street
Marie Laveau’s House Of Voodoo
A shop named after a famous New Orleans Voodoo queen with voodoo dolls, talismans, books & more.
Visit | 628 Bourbon Street
Vieux Carre Pizza
Some of the best late-night pizzas. Just a few steps away from Bourbon Street and the perfect way to end a night of drinking.
Visit | 733 Saint Louis Street
A no-frills, all-ages jazz club with the intent to protect, preserve, and perpetuate the spirit of traditional New Orleans jazz.
Visit | 726 St Peter Street
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar
Made in the early 1700s and is the oldest structure used for a bar in the US. This bar has a fascinating history you can read about on their site.
Visit | 941 Bourbon Street
Dark and gritty dive bar known for its late (or early) hours, rock and roll, and unique atmosphere.
Visit | 738 Toulouse Street
Bourbon Street Advice
My advice, tips, and facts about Bourbon Street you need to know to stay safe and have a great time.
- You can drink on the streets and in select bars 24/7*, but be sure to bring your ID as you may get carded regardless of how old you look. Also, don’t try to take that glass bottle out on the street, ask for a plastic “Go-Cup” if you want to leave. But don’t assume this tolerance for round-the-clock drinking and partying means you can get wasted and be awful, drinking in your car, or taking that drink in an area that isn’t zoned for drinking.
- Those fruity novelty drinks pack a punch you might not be ready for. Aliens, hand grenades, Fleur de Lis, blinking skulls, and other designs make for a fun-looking drink, but those fruity flavors do a great job at masking a large amount of cheap alcohol. Before you know it, you’ve drunk too much and that is never good.
- Tip the street performers if you watch their performance. People gotta make a living, and if you enjoyed their show, toss them a tip.
- Don’t wear beads outside of Carnival season. I mean, you do you, but the goal is not to scream “I’m a tourist”. Also, most locals find flashing for beads tacky. And that leads me to…
- Do not treat the street like your personal trash can. Just because everyone is partying and it’s chaotic, there are still garbage cans.
- Act like a local. When you’re in such a highly touristed city, there are going to be people trying to take advantage of you with some popular tourist scams. Did someone bet you they could tell you where you got your shoes? Keep walking, wave them off and say “No thanks I’m local” firmly and confidently. If you engage in a bet or something like it, be prepared to lose and be hounded for payment.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. Yes, New Orleans is known as a city with a high crime rate. A lot of this is not happening where tourists spend time, but like any major city, it can happen anywhere. On Bourbon Street, you are most likely going to encounter pickpockets. I recommend bringing as few personal belongings with you as necessary and keeping them in a front pocket or a small purse or bag you can keep towards your front.
- Use common sense and street smarts. Don’t walk so far away from tourists that you end up on a dark street or walk down a dark alley by yourself. Avoid drinking so much that you are unable to be aware of what is happening around you, or at least make sure to designate someone to keep an eye on you or your group.
*Note: My last visit to New Orleans was in February 2020 during Mardi Gras right before the pandemic hit. I am unsure how this has affected the operating hours of businesses so keep that in mind as you plan your visit.
New Orleans Travel Guide
I consider Jackson Square to be the epicenter of the French Quarter. Just a short walk from Bourbon Street, you’ll find so much to do and see surrounding this area. Jackson Square’s famous view consists of the St. Louis Cathedral bookended by incredible museums full of New Orleans history. The Cabildo to the left and The Presbytère to the right. The manicured lawn in front of these buildings is the actual Jackson Square, a park where you can find artists selling their wares and sometimes performance artists doing their thing. Across the street is the Mighty Mississippi River, the famous Cafe du Monde, and much more.
What To Do In and Around Jackson Square
There is a lot to do in this iconic city center from history-rich museums, shopping, antiques and galleries, and the mighty Mississippi. Below are some places I feel you must see and do when in the area.
Find Local Art You’ll Want To Take Home at Jackson Square
There is a large colony of artists who set up along the iron fence in Jackson Square. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to witness them creating their art live. While you’ll find artists here daily, the weekends will have the most artist set up.
Visit | 751 Decatur Street, New Orleans
Visit the Presbytère Museum
On the right of St Louis Cathedral is one of two identical buildings that houses The Presbetère, a Louisiana State Museum dedicated to the history of Hurricane Katrina and Mardi Gras. The exhibit on Hurricane Katrine is humbling while the history of Mardi Gras is fascinating, a great place to spend a couple of hours. The other identical building on the left is The Cabildo, another museum dedicated to Louisiana and New Orleans history showing artifacts, furniture, and art. If I had to choose one due to time, I’d go with the Presbytère.
The Presbytère | 751 Chartres Street, New Orleans
Induldge Your Sweet Tooth at Cafe du Monde
Across the street from Jackson Square is Cafe Du Monde, the iconic coffee shop known for its chicory coffee and beignets, square-shaped puffy French pastries covered in a generous amount of powdered sugar. There are several locations, however, I would argue this location at the French Market with the green and white striped awning is the most iconic. This is a popular destination so it may be hard to get a seat even though there is ample indoor and outdoor seating. I always recommend grabbing a bag of beignets and your drink of choice to go at the window they have in the back of the outdoor seating area. Pro tip: make sure you have cash on hand. It’s no fun waiting in that line only to find out its cash only when you get to the front.
Visit | 800 Decatur Street, New Orleans
Listen To The Steamboats On The Mississippi River
After you get your bag of beignets to go from Cafe Du Monde, I recommend taking a stroll along the Moonwalk Riverfront Park just a short walk from the cafe. Take a moment to relax, admire the wide expanse of the mighty Mississippi River and listen to steamboats toot a happy tune in the distance while you try not to cover yourself in powdered sugar.
Tour The Pharmacy Museum
I loved looking through the old products and the tour guide made it so interesting. We walked in shortly after the tour had begun and was able to pay at the end and I’m so glad we decided to stay. The museum is two floors worth of old-fashioned soda fountains, medical supplies, drugs, cosmetics, and beyond. In the back was a beautiful courtyard where they had a Tintype photographer set up. Such an awesome experience.
Visit | 514 Chartres Street, New Orleans
Find Beautiful Gem Stones at French Quarter Gem & Lapidary
A Gem store near Jackson Square is full of beautiful stones and jewelry. I try to shop each time I’m in town.
Visit | 527 St. Philip Street, New Orleans
Eat Jambalaya & Sip On a Pimm’s Cup at Napoleon House
The Napoleon House is a 200-year-old landmark known for the building’s first occupant, New Orleans Mayor in the early 1800s, providing Napoleon refuge during his exile in 1821. Now, its rustic, autographed walls and historic decor is a popular destination in the French Quarter known for its Pimm’s Cup. I also highly recommend a plate of their Jambalaya, it’s inexpensive but quite delicious.
Visit | 500 Chartres Street, New Orleans
New Orleans Travel Guide
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
One of the more incredible things you’ll experience in New Orleans is the cemeteries. Due to the city being below sea level, they have to bury their dead above ground resulting in one of the more unique cemeteries you’ll ever visit.
Bordering the French Quarter, this cemetery is a few walkable blocks from Bourbon Street or a quick drive. The cemetery is no longer open to the public and you must book a tour to visit. St. Louis No. 1 is known for being the home of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and the future pyramid-shaped tomb of very much alive actor Nicolas Cage.
Visit | 425 Basin Street
Explore The Colorful St. Lous Cemetery No. 2
Just three blocks from St. Louis No. 1 is St. Louis Cemetery No. 2, a cemetery that was consecrated in 1823 and about 3 times as large as No. 1. There are several notable people from the 19th & 20th centuries buried here from jazz musicians, various war veterans, and civilians. Flooded during Hurricane Katrina, some tombs still show a brown waterline but otherwise were not affected. A prime example of why New Orleans buries their dead in above-ground tombs.
Visit | 300 N Claiborne Ave, New Orleans
Note: At the time of this post, both St Louis. #1 and #2 are locked and tours are suspended due to vandalism (ugh). Please be sure to double-check the status of things before you plan to visit as in my experience this status has been off and on in the past. If you do get to visit, remember this is people’s final resting place. Please be respectful.
“There is no place on Earth even remotely like New Orleans. Don’t even try to compare it to anywhere else”
– Anthony Bourdain
New Orleans Travel Guide
WANT A TASTE OF NEW ORLEANS AT HOME?
Here are four books I want on my cookbook shelf that you may like, too. As an FYI, these four items are affiliate links. If you click an image and make a purchase, I may receive a small part of that purchase at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!
On my wishlist
Another beautifully illustrated book on New Orleans, but this one is focused on cuisine.
On my wishlist
Love making King Cakes during Carnival season and learning about this interesting dessert.
New Orleans Travel Guide
The Garden District
Uptown is a huge neighborhood that encompasses several smaller neighborhoods with one of the most notable being The Garden District. Known for its manicured lawns and majestic mansions, the Garden District is one of the more beautiful places to visit. There is so much to do from popular restaurants, endless shopping on Magazine Street, parks, museums, and more. Be sure to ride the historic St. Charles Street Car to take it all in and have a fun experience.
What To Do In Uptown & The Garden District
Sharing some of my favorite things to do, see, and experience in this large and beautiful neighborhood.
Eat at Molly’s Rise and Shine
This kitschy-decorated restaurant serves up a mighty good breakfast. Be sure to walk around and visit the restroom. Every decorative detail has been considered here, a feast for the eyes.
Visit | 2368 Magazine Street
Ride The St. Charles Streetcar Line
A charming and delightful way to travel in New Orleans is by streetcar. You’ll recognize the St Charles Streetcar by its dark green exterior as it takes passengers through the Uptown neighborhoods in the middle of St. Charles, or, as the locals refer to this as the “neutral ground”. Watch the beautiful scenery flash by as you sit in your vintage wooden seat with the window down for a cool breeze. See Live Oaks, majestic antebellum mansions, historic universities, restaurants, shops, and the beautiful Audubon Park.
At the time of this post, the street car cost $1.25 in exact change, or you can buy a Jazzy Pass at different price points.
Stroll the Audubon Park and Admire the Live Oak Trees
A beautiful park spanning roughly 350 acres across the Uptown neighborhood. A great recreational park with athletic facilities an almost 2-mile jogging path, lagoon, playground, cafe, and more. Notable for its incredible Live Oak trees with wide sweeping branches that droop and gnarl. A perfect way to spend some time away from the chaos of the French Quarter.
Visit | 6500 Magazine Street
Window Shop on Magazine Street
Magazine Street is one of New Orleans’s major thoroughfares. It follows the crescent formed by the Mississippi River from the edge of The French Quarter and spans all the way through Uptown. This is a popular shopping destination with restaurants, galleries, local boutiques, and national chain stores that don’t have a lot of brick & mortar presence. Visit the website of the street to see more shops, restaurants, and things to do here.
New Orleans Travel Guide
What Else To Do in Uptown & The Garden District
Visit Hansen’s Sno-Bliz
Serving up the finest shaved ice “sno-balls” in town. Perfect for a hot and humid southern day.
Visit | 4801 Tchoupitoulas St
Walk through Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Another famous historic New Orleans cemetery with above-ground graves.
Visit | 1498 Washington Avenue
See Anne Rice’s Former Home
The late queen of vampire stories St. Charles Avenue home is a photo-op for fans.
Visit | 1314 Napoleon Avenue
Eat at The Commander’s Place
Recognized for its iconic blue & white striped facade and Creole dishes. Be sure to check the dress code before visiting.
Visit | 1403 Washington Avenue
Experience Mardi Gras World
A perfect museum to get a taste of Mardi Gras parades up close.
Visit | 1380 Port of New Orleans Place
New Orleans Travel Guide
The Faubourg Marigny neighborhood (pronounced “FOH-burg MAR-in-ee”, often just called The Marigny), sits just east of the French Quarter. Once described as the locals’ escape from tourists on Bourbon Street, it has now become a popular destination for travelers seeking a more authentic New Orleans experience. This neighborhood is definitely worth a visit while in town.
What To Do In and Around The Marigny
This is an artsy neighborhood with a bustling nightlife. There are restaurants, parks, art-focused markets, and more. I’ll also include a few gems that are just around the corner and worth a visit when in the area.
Get Weird at Igor’s Checkpoint Charlies
Gritty dive bar in The Marigny where you can see live music or even karaoke with friends. Rumor has it you can get your laundry done as there are some washing machines in the back.
Visit | 501 Esplanade Avenue
Enjoy Late Night Art at the Frenchmen Art Bazaar
If you are a night owl and love art this is your place. Find several local vendors selling jewelry, decor, art, and more. Perfect place to find a souvenir.
Visit | 619 Frenchmen Street
Find Something Weird at David’s Found Objects
Technically this shop is just at the border of the French Quarter, but close enough to me. It’s a spot I enjoy visiting right before heading into The Marigny by foot. You’ll find so many interesting and odd objects here along with cool antique furniture and much more.
Eat a Burger at Port of Call
Boasting New Orleans’s best burger (and it’s pretty darn good) is the restaurant Port of Call. Another spot that hugs the border of The French Quarter but is close enough to The Marigny that I consider it there. Their burgers are topped with shredded cheddar and come with a baked potato on the side. Yum,
Visit | 838 Esplanade Avenue
Listen to Live Jazz at The Maison
We love the neon-lit environment inside The Maison, with live music playing on its stage and a menu of tasty but simple eats, it’s a great spot to go in and enjoy the music you hear on Frenchmen Street.
Visit | 508 Frenchmen Street
Have A Jambalaya Pizza from Louisiana Pizza Kitchen
On the east end of the French Market in the French Quarter is a small pizza shop called Louisiana Pizza Kitchen. It’s so close to The Marigny that I felt it worth a mention. We loved their unique Jambalaya Pizza.
Visit | 95 French Market Place
New Orleans Travel Guide
The Central Business District
The Central Business District is the downtown area of New Orleans. While not as historic a feeling as The French Quarter, there are still cool vintage touches all throughout the town. Often referred to as the CBD, you’ll find great restaurants, hotels, and the hustle and bustle of a major city downtown.
What To Do In Downtown & Central Business District
There is a lot to do in the CBD from shopping at local and regional department stores and boutiques to eating at some of the most popular New Orleans restaurants, entertainment, and some the coolest hotels in town.
Eat Breakfast at Mother’s Restaurant
We discovered Mother’s Restaurant on a list of top New Orleans restaurants and it did not disappoint. There are no reservations so expect a line. You can read through the extensive menu while you wait so you’re ready to go when your turn is up. We got an order of Debris with grits and eggs and an order of pancakes with eggs and one of Mother’s Famous Buttermilk Biscuits. Yum!
Visit | 401 Poydras
Stroll down Canal Street
Canal Street is one of the more popular streets in the Central Business District and a primary retail destination for New Orleans residents and tourists alike. A walk down the street feels energized with sidewalks full of people, the Canal Streetcar, traffic driving by, and seeing an assortment of vintage department stores and shops.
Admire The Vintage Buildings & Signage
If you’re a designer like myself or just appreciate vintage lettering and signage then you’ll be in for a treat in the Central Business District. Beautiful scripts, modular squared-off letters, and some modern contenders.
Go Ahead and Eat The Cookie Dough At Willa Jean
A new kid on the block having opened in 2015, Willa Jean serves up southern-inspired dishes that taste like a piece of home. I highly recommend getting an order of cookies + milk, warm chocolate chip cookies, vanilla-flavored milk, and some cookie dough served right off the beater, just like at home. They keep the menu seasonally updated but the cookies + milk is one of their iconic treats.
Visit | 611 O’Keefe Avenue
“New Orleans is like a giant flashing yellow light. Proceed with caution… but proceed.”
– Mathew McConaughey
New Orleans Travel Guide
New Orleans Travel Guide
New Orleans and Nature
My New Orleans Travel Guide would be incomplete if I didn’t touch on some of the incredible nature destinations you can explore while in the area. While the places I will mention both require some form of transportation, there are often shuttle busses and renting a car for one day can be easy.
Walk Next To Alligators in Barataria Preserve
If you’ve ever wanted to get close and personal to the wildlife that lives in the swamplands of Louisiana, then this park is definitely for you. Barataria Preserve is part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve and is worth the car rental to get there. The wooden plank path takes you through marshy swampland with no barriers between you and the alligators, snakes, and other critters that call the swamp home.
Visit | 6588 Barataria Boulevard, Marrero, Louisiana 70072
Experience The Marshy Swampland Close Up On A Swamp Tour
If you’re looking for an adventure, I highly recommend going on a swamp tour. We booked a 2-hour tour through Cajun Encounters which is based out of Honey Island Swamp. We opted for the pickup service which had several French Quarter locations.
Our small, flat-bottomed boat zoomed through the open swamp land taking us back to a more secluded space where we got an up-close and personal experience with some wildlife as we navigated through the trees and moss. Our guide was knowledgeable and entertaining and made the trip enjoyable. We saw alligators, turtles, snakes, and my favorite: wild boar! We went in late February and the alligators were mostly still dormant coming out of the cold winter months but we lucked out and saw several of them out and about.
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Hey! I’m glad you made it through my New Orleans Travel Guide! I wanted to let you know that I am just touching the surface of this amazing city. This post is full of my opinions on things to experience in several popular New Orleans neighborhoods.
I encourage you to talk to the locals, explore, and visit that bar that intrigues you. Use my guide as a starting point for your own adventure. I’d love to hear from you if my travel guide has been helpful or if you feel I missed calling out somewhere that is a must-visit destination. Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading.
I strive to share as accurate information as possible in my travel guides. If you’ve come across a typo or if I’ve accidentally misrepresented something please kindly let me know and I will adjust.