Choosing where to stay in New Orleans will help make your visit stress-free. Book a room in a New Orleans hotel with this guide to the city’s neighborhoods.
Fronting the Mississippi River, the French Quarter is packed with colorful townhouses adorned with wrought-iron balconies. Elegant Creole restaurants and rollicking bars and clubs make it the place to head after dark. In the busy upper French Quarter street musicians and painters create a lively, lazy vibe in Jackson Square. Nearby, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas celebrates the marine life from the Mississippi. A few blocks further is Bourbon Street, famed as the party hub of New Orleans’ nightlife. From St Ann to Esplanade Avenue, the district becomes more residential and peaceful. Stately 19th-century buildings house history museums like the Herman-Grima House. Smaller museums like Germaine Wells Mardi Gras Museum highlight the city’s fondness for celebration.
Across Canal Street from the French Quarter is the quieter Central Business and Warehouse District. High-rise luxury chain hotels and smaller boutique hotels occupy the maze-like streets, together with some of the city’s grandest restaurants like Emeril Lagasse’s and August. Art lovers linger in the Julia Street galleries or the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Toward the river you can try your luck at Harrah’s Casino or indulge in some shopping at Riverwalk Marketplace.
Upriver from Downtown, St Charles Avenue winds its way up to First Street, the heart of the refined and residential Garden District. Blocks of palatial Greek- columned mansions hide lush gardens and courtyards behind wrought-iron gates. Many of the founding families of these mansions rest in the lavish vaults and tombs of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. The grande dame of New Orleans dining, Commander’s Palace, serves sumptuous dishes for the well-heeled, while over on Magazine Street, locals browse the antique shops in nearby Audubon Park. Catfish splash in the calm lagoons as families picnic in the grounds.
Suburban Metairie is close to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Lake Ponchartrain City Park is the main draw, its moss-draped trees and sleepy lagoons providing a peaceful afternoon respite. The New Orleans Museum of Art and the New Orleans Botanical Garden sit at the main entrance to the park. Outside the city, the Great River Road takes you past a string of plantation homes. Further out are a smattering of tiny villages amid the swamps and bayous of Cajun Country, where you can dance at a lively zydeco music brunch or get out on the water on a swamp tour.