New Orleans/French Quarter
The French Quarter is the oldest and most famous and visited neighborhood of New Orleans. It was laid out in French and Spanish colonial times in the 18th century. While it has many hotels, restaurants, and businesses catering to visitors, it is best appreciated when you recall that it is still a functioning mixed-use residential/commercial neighborhood where locals live.
The French Quarter or "Vieux Carré" ("old square" in French) stretches along the Mississippi River from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue (13 blocks long) and back from the Mississippi to Rampart Street (6 blocks wide).
"The Quarter" is compact. One can spend an enjoyable vacation here without leaving it for several days. If the French Quarter is your headquarters, consider leaving your car behind and not bothering to rent one if your health permits a few blocks walk. Parking is difficult, expensive, or both. Occasional trips to other parts of town can be made by streetcar or cab. The neighborhood is pedestrian friendly. Take care walking at night, particularly on dark or deserted streets. If you've been drinking, a cab is advisable.
The "Upper Quarter" (between Canal Street and Jackson Square) is the area most patronized by visitors, but the "Lower Quarter" (between Jackson Square and Esplanade Avenue) also has shops and restaurants sprinkled amongst the residences.
Get in, get around
Take the streetcar in if you're in Uptown or Mid City. Driving in on Interstate 10, take the Orleans Avenue or Vieux Carré exit. Once you're in the Quarter, it's best seen on foot. If you do drive within the Quarter, expect it to be SLOW, and watch for the pedestrians and bikes. The Quarter is very doable on a bike, but again be especially alert.
The Quarter is wider (from Canal to Esplanade) than it is deep (from the River to Rampart). Bourbon and Royal Streets (see below) are the main avenues running through the width of the French Quarter; sections are often closed off to motor vehicles. Parallel Chartres Street is often a better option for pedestrians actually heading somewhere when Royal and Bourbon are jammed with visitors. The heart of the Quarter is Jackson Square, listed below.
- Bourbon Street. Some 8 blocks of Bourbon from Canal Street down are given over to catering to the hard drinking tourists. If getting drunk with other tourists is the goal of your vacation, this is the place for you. Even otherwise, this notorious strip of tourist traps is worth at least a quick look for its gaudy sleaziness. Bourbon has not only countless bars but also many fine restaurants featuring delicious local cuisine for people who want to experience the local foods.
- Royal Street. Strolling Royal Street by day is as essential a New Orleans experience as Bourbon Street by night. 1 block away in distance, a world in attitude. There are art galleries, upscale antique stores, landmark hotels and interesting specialty shops. Lots of temptations for those with money, but is also fun window shopping for those not spending a dime.
- Jackson Square. The old town square, often live music is going on here, as well as street corner painters and tarot readers. Around the square are:
- Cabildo, 701 Chartres St (between St Peter St and Pirate Alley), ☎ +1 504 568-6968, toll-free: +1-800-568-6968. Tu-Su 10AM-4:30PM. Colonial city hall, now a museum; Louisiana Purchase agreements transferring the city from France to the USA were signed here. $6 adults, $5 students/seniors/military, free for children 12 and under.
- Presbytere, 751 Chartres St (between Pere Antoine Alley and St Ann St), ☎ +1 504 568-6968, toll-free: +1-800-568-6968. Tu-Su 10AM-4:30PM. Colonial church offices, now another museum, including a New Orleans Mardi Gras display. $6 adults, $5 students/seniors/military, free for children 12 and under.
- St. Louis Cathedral, 615 Pere Antoine Alley (front entrance on Chartres St between Pirate and Pere Antoine Alleys), ☎ +1 504 525-9585. The cathedral is open for self-guided tours daily from the end of morning mass until 4PM; see website for mass times. A symbol of New Orleans, this is the oldest Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States and has a giant statue of the Virgin Mary with her arms extended gracing the middle of the courtyard. Free.
- Pontalba Buildings (along St Peter and St Ann Sts facing Jackson Square). 4 story brick apartment buildings have specialty shops, restaurants, and a tourist information office on the ground floors.
- Moon Walk. A brick walking path along the Mississippi River across Decatur Street from Jackson Square. The curious name comes from its dedication to former New Orleans mayor Moon Landrieu.
- Chartres Street. Parallels Bourbon and Royal Streets, one block closer to the river than Royal. While less famous with visitors, those who enjoy historic architecture will find the city's greatest concentration of preserved colonial era buildings along Chartres, along with early 19th century town-houses. Plus it passes through Jackson Square. A pleasant walk with local shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars scattered along the street.
- Old French Market, bound by Ursulines Ave, N Peters St, Barracks St, and French Market Pl (main market entrances along Ursulines Ave and Barracks St), ☎ +1 504 522-2621. While souvenirs for visitors have taken over a good bit of the space at this 250+ year old market, there are still vendors selling fresh produce as in days of old. On weekends a much larger number of vendors set up here, with handicrafts and flea market type goods.
- Lower Decatur Street. Right around the corner from the historic US Mint, and the French Market. A French Quarter neighborhood with shops, dining, and entertainment. Late at night the bars really hop with local color.
- New Orleans Jazz Park Visitor's Center & Headquarters, 916 N Peters St (between Dumaine and St Philip Sts). Often has live music, lectures, and gives music history related walking tours. Many events are free; those that aren't are a bargain.
- Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve, 419 Decatur St (between Conti and St Louis Sts). Headquarters for National Park that includes several historic sites in and near New Orleans. Has a small museum and visitor's center. Show up by 9AM to get a place on the informative free walking tour of the French Quarter.
- Historic New Orleans Collection, 533 Royal St (between St Louis and Toulouse Sts), ☎ +1 504 523-4662. Tu-Sa 9:30AM-4:30PM, Su 10:30AM-4:30PM. Museum with changing exhibits of local history. Also has a research center nearby on Chartres Street. Free.
- Old U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Ave (between Peters and Decatur Sts), ☎ +1 504 568-6968, toll-free: +1-800-568-6968. Tu-Su 10AM-4:30PM. Coins haven't been minted in New Orleans for decades, so the building is now a museum, with the minting process downstairs and the world's top exhibit on New Orleans jazz upstairs. $6 adults, $5 students/seniors/military, free for children 12 and under.
- Old Ursuline Convent, 1100 Chartres St (at Ursulines Ave), ☎ +1 504 529-3040. M-Sa 10AM-4PM. Completed in 1752, open for tours. $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 students, free for children under 6.
- Pharmacy Museum, 514 Chartres St (between St Louis and Toulouse Sts), ☎ +1 504 565-8027. W-F 10AM-1PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. See and learn about medical practices of the mid 19th century. Calling ahead to verify hours is recommended. $5 adults, $4 students/seniors, free for children under 6.
- Cigar Factory New Orleans & Museum, 415 Decatur St (between Conti and St Louis Sts), ☎ +1 504 568-1003. 10AM-10PM daily. History and tradition of one of New Orleans' oldest traditions -- cigar rolling! Watch the masters at work daily in the only operating cigar factory since the 50's. Free.
- Musee Conti Wax Museum, 917 Conti St (between Burgundy and Dauphine Sts), ☎ +1 504 525-2605. M,F-Sa 10AM-4PM. Experience more than 300 years of history, legend and scandal with the 154 life-size figures displayed in historically accurate settings. $7 adults, $6.25 seniors, $6 children.
Some elegant old homes which are now museums:
- 1850s House, 523 St Ann St (in the lower Pontalba Building between Chartres and Decatur Sts), ☎ +1 504 568-6968. Tu-Su 10AM-4:30PM. $3 adults, $2 students/seniors/military, free for children 12 and under.
- Beauregard-Keyes House, 1113 Chartres St (at Ursulines Ave), ☎ +1 504 523-7257. M-Sa 10AM-3PM. $10 adults, $9 students/seniors, $4 children 6-12, free for children under 6.
- Hermann-Grima House, 820 St Louis St (between Dauphine and Bourbon Sts), ☎ +1 504 525-5661. M-Tu,Th-F 10AM-2PM, Sa noon-3PM. 1830s mansion. $10 adults, $8 students/seniors/children 8-18/AAA members, free for children under 8. Joint admission with the Gallier House $18 adults, $15 students/seniors/children 8-18/AAA members.
- Gallier House, 1132 Royal St (between Ursulines Ave and Governor Nicholls St), ☎ +1 504 525-5661. M,F 10AM-2PM, Sa noon-3PM. Home of famous local 19th century architect. $10 adults, $8 students/seniors/children 8-18/AAA members, free for children under 8. Joint admission with the Hermann-Grima House $18 adults, $15 students/seniors/children 8-18/AAA members.
- Madame John's Legacy, 632 Dumaine St (between Royal and Chartres Sts), ☎ +1 504 568-6968, toll-free: +1-800-568-6968. Tu-Su 10AM-4:30PM. 18th century Creole home. Free.
- Williams Residence, 718 Toulouse St (between Bourbon and Royal Sts; entrance at 533 Royal St). Tu-Sa 10AM-3PM, Su 11AM-3PM. $5.
Stroll the streets, look at the architecture, shops, and people. Hear live music in the street, in restaurants, and music venues.
- Carriage rides. Mule-drawn carriages have driven tourists around the Quarter since the gasoline rationing of the 1940s. Carriage drivers are licensed tour guides and give tourists a full blown tour consisting of a mix of history, architecture, restaurants & stories, though some drivers have been known to spin stories that are more colorful than factual. Available to tourists is a 30 minute tour of the French Quarter, hour tour of the St. Louis No.1 Cemetery/French Quarter combo, hour and one half or two hour Garden District tour, or any combination thereof. Carriage drivers also do bar-hopping tours, shopping by carriage, Marigny tours & ghost tours. There are several options from group rates 6-8 people to private tours for 1-4 people. Things have changed quite a bit in the carriage industry in the past 7 years! Drivers are more customer service oriented & courteous.
- Street entertainers. Performing for tips from tourists, varying greatly in talent. The still mime-ers are a sight to see, they stand still alone or with a partner and when you give them a tip they will move very slowly in tandem, like a robot. There are excellent musicians who enjoy keeping up their chops out of doors. There are also hacks with little talent other than scamming money. Beware of the Got-yo-shoes-ers; these are scammers who go up to tourists saying "I bet you I know whe' you got yo' shoes!". If they succeed in getting the tourist to take the bet, the answer is "You got yo' shoes on yo' feet!" They usually have a large and threatening looking friend or someone who looks like they just smoked too much crack nearby to make sure bets are paid. You will almost always encounter one of these burnt out hustlers, when they do just politely reply: "They are on my feet" and they will know the jig is up.
- Walking tours. Plentiful but often pricey. Most cost $10-$20 per person, but there are a couple of good, free walking tours. Or you can simply walk and see all of the landmarks since most are labeled and you can go in and read about it yourself. Park rangers from the Jean Lafitte National Park (see above) offer a free walking tour of the French Quarter that is very informative. Space is very limited, and spots on the tour are only given out on the day of the tour at 9AM. You should try to show up at least half an hour early to reserve a spot. You'll learn the real history of New Orleans, which is often as colorful as the tall stories.
- Aquarium of the Americas, 1 Canal St. Only aquarium in New Orleans and conveniently located in the French Quarter. Features aquarium, and an IMAX theatre. 10a-5p daily.
- Audubon Insectarium, 423 Canal St. In the historic Old Customs House Building. The Audubon Institute, which also runs the nearby Aquarium and the Zoo up in the Audubon District, opened the Insectarium in 2008. 10a-5p daily.
- Bourbon Street. Upper Bourbon has been given over to catering to hard drinking out of towners, and this part of the street has a number of music venues (not named here) whose owners make their money off them, with loud mediocre bands hired cheaply. None the less, despite what some say it is still possible to find New Orleans jazz on Bourbon Street.
- Fritzels, 733 Bourbon St (between Orleans and St Ann Sts), ☎ +1 504 561-0432. Good house bands in the evenings, and is often the venue for out of town and international musicians versed in the New Orleans style to play.
- Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse, 300 Bourbon St (at Bienville St in the Royal Sonesta Hotel).
- Maison Bourbon, 641 Bourbon St (at St Peter St), ☎ +1 504 522-8818. Sometimes does (though as often doesn't) have decent bands, as many good local Dixieland players for the moment lacking a better gig often wind up here. As the doors are open to the street, you can listen a bit from outside, judge for yourself whether they have a band you'd enjoy on a given day, and walk on by or go on in as appropriate.
- Margaritaville, 1104 Decatur St (near the French Market). Don't waste away, Jimmy Buffett fans! Some of the finest musicians in New Orleans that don't play stereotypical New Orleans music (Dixieland jazz or R&B covers) play there and they don't play Jimmy Buffett covers.
- New Orleans Jazz Park, 916 N Peters St (actually in). Often has free live music weekend afternoons and sometimes other times.
- Preservation Hall, 726 St Peter St (between Bourbon and Royal Sts). Traditional Dixie jazz that you'll pay $40 a concert anywhere else. Here for only $8. Talk about atmosphere! Listen to real jazz and nothing else (no booze, no bathrooms). You'll have to stand in line, and it's cheap. Music starts at 8PM and runs until midnight. The band plays several 30 minute sets and your ticket is valid all night.
- Palm Court Cafe, 1204 Decatur St. Those who prefer their old style New Orleans jazz in a somewhat more upscale atmosphere where dinner and drinks are served should be sure to visit this place in the lower Quarter. Some of the same musicians who play Preservation Hall play here on other nights, along with other top local classic style jazz greats. The owner's husband runs the Jazzology record company, featuring the world's largest independent label catalogue of trad jazz, so you can pick up CDs by your favorites from Bunk Johnson to current Dixielanders while you're here.
- Art or high-end antiques on Royal Street.
- Tacky t-shirts and souvenirs on Bourbon Street.
- There are several good used book stores on Chartres, Royal, Pirates' Alley, and elsewhere in the Quarter.
- Santa's Quarters, 1025 Decatur St (between St Philip St and Ursulines Ave), ☎ +1 504 581-5820, toll-free: +1-888-334-7527. 10AM-6PM daily. If you're looking for Christmas decorations, this is the place. They have thousands of ornaments including New Orleans and Mardi Gras themed.
- Acme Oyster House, 724 Iberville St (between Bourbon and Royal Sts), ☎ +1 504 522-5973. Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM. No ambiance, but good, oysters and other southern delights. Be ready to wait in line. Great food, Great price. 1/2 dozen chargrilled oysters for $9.99 simply can't be beat, especially since Louisiana oysters are far superior in size to those from anyplace else. For an entertaining and social experience, sit at the bar, where you can talk to the oyster shuckers about the celebrities and pro athletes who they have recently seen in the restaurant.
- Angeli on Decatur, 1141 Decatur St (at Governor Nicholls St), ☎ +1 504 566-0077. Su-Th 11AM-2AM, F-Sa 11AM-4AM.
- Bennachin, 1212 Royal St (between Governor Nicholls and Barracks Sts), ☎ +1 504 522-1230. Su-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM. African food. Good lunch specials. Many vegetarian and vegan options.
- Cafe Envie, 1241 Decatur St (at Barracks St), ☎ +1 504 524-3689. Su-Th 7AM-midnight, F-Sa 7AM-1AM. Sandwiches, salads, omelets, quiches. Wireless internet access.
- Central Grocery, 923 Decatur St (between Dumaine and St Philip Sts), ☎ +1 504 523-1620. Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM. Old Italian-American grocery sandwich shop, famous for their enormous muffuletta sandwiches originated by this family in 1910. One is enough to feed four hungry people! Order 1/2 to start for 2 people!
- Clover Grill, 900 Bourbon St (at Dumaine St), ☎ +1 504 598-1010. 24 hours daily. Good eggs, burgers, and such. Heavily (though not exclusively) gay clientele. They cook your burger under a hubcap!
- Coop's Place, 1109 Decatur St (between Ursulines Ave and Governor Nicholls St), ☎ +1 504 525-9053. Su-Th 11AM-3AM, F-Sa 11AM-4AM. You can get good Cajun food at a really good price here. Locals favorite. Best fried chicken in the city! Patrons must be 21 or older to enter due to the presence of video poker machines. $10-15.
- Cooyon's Cajun Cooking. 1100 North Peters (in the historic New Orleans French Market). Authentic Acadian Cajun foods and real Cajun personality. Burger, boudin, hogs head cheese and cracklins.
- Felipe's Taquería, 301 N Peters St (at Bienville St), ☎ +1 504 267-4406. Su-Tu 11AM-midnight, W-Th 11AM-1AM, F-Sa 11AM-3AM.
- Felix's Restaurant & Oyster Bar, 739 Iberville St (at Bourbon St), ☎ +1 504 522-4440. M-Th 10AM-11PM, F-Su 10AM-1AM. The Acme's traditional competition and usually a shorter wait, too. A very good oyster bar with other traditional cajun fare.
- Jimani, 141 Chartres St (at Iberville St), ☎ +1 504 524-0493. When you want a great roast beef sandwich at 2 in the morning.
- Johnny's Po-Boys, 511 St Louis St (between Chartres and Decatur Sts), ☎ +1 504 524-8129. M-Th 8AM-3PM, F-Su 8AM-4:30PM. Lunch counter with some eat-in tables; one of the largest po-boy menus around. Excellent breakfast biscuit sandwich!
- Mona Lisa's, 1212 Royal St (between Governor Nicholls and Barracks Sts), ☎ +1 504 522-6746. M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Su 11AM-10PM. Italian and pizza.
- Port of Call, 838 Esplanade Ave (at Dauphine St), ☎ +1 504 523-0120. Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa 11AM-1AM. Awesome, huge burgers and loaded baked potatoes. Potent drinks, parrot-head juke box. Lil slice of paradise.
- Yo Mama's Bar and Grill, 727 St Peter St (between Bourbon and Royal Sts), ☎ +1 504 522-1125. M-F 11AM-3AM, Sa-Su 10AM-3AM. Limited but high quality grill menu, including 14 types of burgers.
Breakfast & Snacks
- Cafe du Monde, 800 Decatur St (at St Ann St), ☎ +1 504 525-4544. 24 hours daily. Serves coffee and beignets, across Decatur from Jackson Square. A local landmark since the 19th century.
- CC's Community Coffee (Upper Quarter), 505 Decatur St (at St Louis St), ☎ +1 504 962-5603. 7AM-6PM daily. The upper French Quarter branch of a small local chain. Great iced coffee drinks for hot days.
- CC's Community Coffee (Lower Quarter), 941 Royal St (at St Philip St), ☎ +1 504 581-6996. 7AM-9PM daily. The lower French Quarter branch of a small local chain. Great iced coffee drinks for hot days.
- Croissant d'Or, 617 Ursulines Ave (between Royal and Chartres Sts), ☎ +1 504 524-4663. W-M 6AM-3PM. French pastries and light breakfasts & lunch.
- Bayona, 430 Dauphine St (between Conti and St Louis Sts), ☎ +1 504 525-4455. M-Tu 6PM-11PM, W-Sa 11:30AM-2PM and 6PM-11PM. Incredible French/Euro/NOLA food by esteemed chef, Susan Spicer. Fabulous wine selections. Many locals' favorite. Must RSVP.
- French Market Restaurant and Bar, 1001 Decatur St (at St Philip St), ☎ +1 504 525-7879. Serves boiled crawfish and other down-home delicacies. Happy hour M-F 3PM-5PM with raw oysters $.50 each. Has both downstairs restaurant and balcony seating upstairs.
- El Gato Negro, 81 French Market Pl (between Governor Nicholls and Barracks Sts), ☎ +1 504 525-9752. M-F 11AM-10PM, Sa-Su 9AM-10PM. A local favorite for Mexican. Breakfast available on the weekends.
- Green Goddess, 307 Exchange Pl (just down from Bienville St), ☎ +1 504 301-3347. W-Su 11AM-9PM. Small restaurant tucked away on a side street serving creative dishes. Opened in 2009 and quickly became a favorite with local foodies. A few years later it's certainly been "discovered"; try to go there sometime other than the busiest days and not during the busiest dinner hours to avoid long waits for a table.
- Gumbo Shop, 630 St Peter St (between Royal and Chartres Sts), ☎ +1 504 525-1486. 11AM-10:30PM daily. An institution for gumbos and similar traditional Louisiana dishes.
- Italian Barrel, 430 Barracks St (Near the river end of Barracks, by the French Market), ☎ +1 504 569-0198. 11AM-10PM daily. Good Northern Italian cuisine in a city where Southern Italian is dominant. Small place; either make reservations or try to catch them off peak hours.
- JägerHaus, 833 Conti St (at Dauphine St), ☎ +1 504 525-9200. 8AM-10PM daily. German, lunch and dinner. Extensive menu of Bavarian and Bohemian cuisine.
- Louisiana Pizza Kitchen, 95 French Market Pl (at Barracks St), ☎ +1 504 522-9500. 11AM-10PM daily. Upscale pizzeria in the French Market.
- Mr. B's Bistro, 201 Royal St (at Iberville St), ☎ +1 504 523-2078. M-Sa 11:30AM-9PM, Su 10:30AM-9PM.
- Remoulade, 309 Bourbon St (at Bienville St), ☎ +1 504 523-0377. 11:30AM-midnight daily. A casual spin-off of Arnaud's where you can try their famous Caesar salad dressing and the eponymous remoulade without wearing a jacket and tie. Same shrimp remoulade and gumbo as the main restaurant for a lower price.
- Stanley, 547 St Ann St (at Chartres St), ☎ +1 504 587-0093. 7AM-10PM daily. Good casual food. Some visitors may remember them on Decatur Street years ago; here at their new location on Jackson Square they added a soda fountain.
- Sylvain, 625 Chartres (just up from Jackson Square), ☎ +1 504 265-8123. Opened in 2010; quality food and drink in a beautiful old Spanish Colonial era building.
- Tujague's, 823 Decatur St (at Madison Ave), ☎ +1 504 525-8676. 5PM-10PM daily. Pronounced "two jacks"; despite the weird spelling, it's been here since 1856 so they must be doing something right. The locals swear by it.
- Antoine's, 713 St Louis St (between Bourbon and Royal Sts), ☎ +1 504 581-4422. M-Sa 11:30AM-2PM and 5:30PM-9PM, Su 11AM-2PM. Antoine's lays claim to being the oldest same family owned restaurant in the country. Opening in 1840, this French Creole restaurant is where oysters rockefeller was invented in the 1890s -- and the only restaurant where the original authentic oysters rockefeller can be eaten, as the recipe is a closely guarded secret. Your waiter is your guide here; treat them well and ask their recommendations. Before dining, ask your server for a tour of the historic restaurant. There are over fifteen separate dining rooms, all of which reek of tradition and are steeped in history. Make sure to take a peek down the vast and cavernous wine cellar, which can take the breath away from a true wine lover. Antoine's has recently opened a beautiful new bar. Step off of St. Louis and step into history.
- Arnaud's, 813 Bienville St (between Dauphine and Bourbon Sts), ☎ +1 504 523-5433. M-Th 6PM-10PM, F-Sa 6PM-10:30PM, Su 10AM-2:30PM and 6PM-10PM. Another of the great old French Quarter classics.
- Brennan's, 417 Royal St (between Conti and St Louis Sts), ☎ +1 504 525-9711. M-F 9AM-1PM and 6PM-9PM, Sa-Su 9AM-2PM and 6PM-9PM. One of the famous local traditions; fine Creole cuisine, known for their gourmet breakfasts. Ask to sit in the courtyard, on the balcony, or in one of the upstairs rooms. Be sure to try the Bananas Foster, which was invented here. Great for upscale New Orleans breakfast.
- Court of Two Sisters, 613 Royal St (between Toulouse and St Peter Sts), ☎ +1 504 522-7261. 9AM-3PM and 5:30PM-10PM daily. A place for daily brunch (with a live jazz combo) and post-night out hangover cures; beautiful courtyard.
- Galatoire's, 209 Bourbon St (between Iberville and Bienville Sts), ☎ +1 504 525-2021. Tu-Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su noon-10PM. Classic Creole on Bourbon Street. Despite being in the tourist strip of Bourbon Street, locals do eat here. For the true experience, wait in line for the downstairs dining room (reservations can be made for the upstairs room, but locals don't eat there), and refuse the menu when you're seated. Let your waiter know your tastes and let him feed you.
- K-Paul's, 416 Chartres St (between Conti and St Louis Sts), ☎ +1 504 524-7394. M-W 5:30PM-10PM, Th-Sa 11AM-2PM and 5:30PM-10PM. Chef Paul Prudhomme's place; this is the restaurant that taught New Orleans and the world not to sneer at the Cajun food of rural Southwest Louisiana. Does not take reservations. Not a major dress code kind of place.
- NOLA, 534 St Louis St (between Chartres and Decatur Sts), ☎ +1 504 522-6652. M-W 6PM-10PM, Th-Su 11:30AM-2PM and 6PM-10PM. Very good, run by chef Emeril Lagasse, not quite as pricey as his namesake restaurant in the Central Business District, and not as severe a dress code.
The French Quarter has a wide variety of bars for all sorts of tastes. The legal drinking age is 21, sometimes though not always strictly enforced. If you are over 18 but under 21, you generally won't have much problem in New Orleans. Just play your cards right, act like an adult, drink responsibly and you'll have a good time. Don't argue with bartenders, liquor store owners or police officers unless you want to spend the night in OPP (Orleans Parish Prison) -- not pleasant. Rule of thumb for anyone wanting to party in Louisiana, regardless of age, don't drink and drive -- those staying in the Quarter will find bars within an easy walk, and others can take a cab.
- Aunt Tiki's, 1207 Decatur. Punk version of a tiki bar on Lower Decatur
- The Bombay Club, 830 Conti St (at Dauphine St), ☎ +1 504 586-0972, toll-free: +1-800-699-7711. High end cocktails with a dress code.
- Cafe Lafitte in Exile, 901 Bourbon St (at Dumaine St), ☎ +1 504 522-8397. 24 hours daily. Claims to be the USA's oldest gay bar ("in exile" since the original Lafitte's (see below) went straight back in the Eisenhower Administration). Everyone welcome.
- Carousel Bar, 214 Royal (Inside the Monteleone Hotel). Renowned for generations for the slowly rotating "Carousel" section; also has non-rotating seating.
- Crescent City Brewhouse, 527 Decatur St (between St Louis and Toulouse Sts), ☎ +1 504 522-0571. Microbrewery, also serves food.
- The Dungeon, 734 Toulouse St (at Bourbon St), ☎ +1 504 523-5530. Two dark gothic bars (having split up some ten years ago) open at midnight. The "Original Dungeon" has a bit more cooler atmosphere, but fewer patrons, since it's a little harder to find--down an alley next to "Front of the Dungeon." The Front of the Dungeon's bathroom is a hoot, hidden behind a secret door in the bookcases, and with a toilet so bad as to be borderline unapproachable.
- Fritzels, 733 Bourbon St (between Orleans and St Ann Sts), ☎ +1 504 561-0432. Best known as a trad jazz venue, but also has a bar with good draft German beer even when there isn't live music.
- Johnny White's Pub and Grill and Hole in the Wall, 718-720 Bourbon St (at Orleans St), ☎ +1 504 524-4909. 24 hours daily. Down home bar. This location has a restaurant upstairs in addition to the bar. Just around the corner on St Peter is Johnny White's Bar—which is a bar only.
- Kerry Irish Pub, 331 Decatur St (at Conti St), ☎ +1 504 286-5862.
- Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, 941 Bourbon St (at St Phillip St), ☎ +1 504 593-9761. Piano bar towards the end of the touristy part of Bourbon Street, lit entirely by candlelight. Supposedly once the in-town headquarters of pirate & smuggler Jean Lafitte, many colorful stories are told about this location. They pour great Hurricanes.
- Le Roundup, 819 St Louis St (between Dauphine and Bourbon Sts), ☎ +1 504 561-8340. The ultimate dive bar, home to transsexuals, hookers, transsexual hookers, cowboys, and Quarter eccentrics.
- Molly's at the Market, 1107 Decatur St (at Ursulines Ave), ☎ +1 504 525-5169. A great Irish/Quarterpunk bar, long a favorite of bohemian locals.
- Molly's On Toulouse (Molly's Irish Pub), 732 Toulouse St (at Bourbon St), ☎ +1 504 568-1915. A local Irish pub with a pool table & the best juke box in the French Quarter. Irish Car Bombs are $5.50! Great selection of Irish Whiskeys.
- Napoleon House, 500 Chartres St (at St Louis St), ☎ +1 504 524-9752. The place to go if you like the thought of good drinks in a 200+ year old building whose owners are proud that the interior hasn't been repainted since World War I, with classical music playing over the sound system. Napoleon never made it here, as he died before the local plan to rescue him from exile and start his empire afresh in Louisiana could be carried out. Napoleon House also serves good sandwiches and a limited food menu, with service at a speed somewhere between leisurely and glacial-- don't stop here if you're in a hurry to be somewhere else.
- Oz, 800 Bourbon St (at St Ann St), ☎ +1 504 593-9491. Loud hip gay disco.
- Parade (Bourbon Pub), 801 Bourbon St (at St Ann St), ☎ +1 504 529-2107. New Orleans' largest gay nightclub since 1974.
- Pat O'Brien's, 718 St Peter St (between Bourbon and Royal Sts), ☎ +1 504 525-4823, toll-free: +1-800-597-4823. Famous for strong Hurricanes, Mint Juleps, TNTs, Purple People Eaters; popular tourist hangout for a reason. Has been trendy for generations. Has an impressive fire/water fountain and patio.
- Tropical Isle, 600 Bourbon St (at Toulouse St), ☎ +1 504 523-1927. Home of the Hand Grenade, "New Orleans's Most Powerful Drink" is a staple of Bourbon Street decadence. Definitely a must-try.
Places within the French Quarter or just outside of it on Canal Street are the most centrally located, and also cost more than rooms in other parts of town. Those wishing a fuller immersion in the city may wish to go ahead and pay extra for a location from which they can find many days of things to do with no need of a car or transit.
- Andrew Jackson Hotel, 919 Royal St (between Dumaine and St Philip Sts), ☎ +1 504 561-5881, toll-free: +1-800-654-0224. Enjoy and relax in one of the rooms and suites overlooking the tropical courtyard. Is also one of the oldest hotels in the French Quarter.
- The Astor Crowne Plaza, 739 Canal St (at Bourbon St), ☎ +1 504 962-0500, toll-free: +1-888-696-4806, fax: +1 504 962-0503.
- Bienville House, 320 Decatur St (between Bienville and Conti Sts), ☎ +1 504 529-2345, toll-free: +1-800-535-9603, fax: +1 504 525-6079. Lovely courtyard, pool and balconies
- Bourbon Orleans, 717 Orleans St (between Bourbon and Royal Sts), ☎ +1 504 523-2222, fax: +1 504 571-4666. Built in 1817 in the heart of the French Quarter.
- Chateau Dupre Hotel, 131 Decatur St (between Canal and Iberville Sts), ☎ +1 504 569-0600, toll-free: +1-888-538-5666. This 80-year old inn offers a complimentary continental breakfast in its elegant lobby.
- Cornstalk Hotel, 915 Royal St (between Dumaine and St Philip Sts), ☎ +1 504 523-1515, toll-free: +1-800-759-6112, e-mail: email@example.com.
- Dauphine Orleans Hotel, 415 Dauphine St (between Conti and St Louis Sts), ☎ +1 504 586-1800, toll-free: +1-800-521-7111, fax: +1 504 586-1409. An unforgettable hotel in the heart of the French Quarter. Its historic townhouse walls and a palm-filled courtyard surround you with luxury in a bed-and-breakfast atmosphere.
- Historic French Market Inn, 501 Decatur St (at St Louis St), ☎ +1 504 561-5621, toll-free: +1-888-538-5651. Great location with reasonable rates, it's known for its courtyard atmosphere.
- Iberville Suites, 910 Iberville St (between Burgundy and Dauphine Sts), ☎ +1 504 523-2400, toll-free: +1-866-229-4351, fax: +1 504 524-1321. Caters to business, leisure, family, and is also gay/lesbian friendly. Spacious suites with huge bed, kitchen, large bathroom, living room with fold out, and 2 TVs. Valet parking, free bell-hop, lots of amenities, and free breakfast. They also feature fantastic massages at their spa.
- Inn on Bourbon, 541 Bourbon St (at Toulouse St), ☎ +1 504 524-7611, toll-free: +1-800-535-7891, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A beautiful historic hotel located on the site of the old French Opera House. Notable for its balconies overlooking Bourbon and Toulouse Streets and a beautiful courtyard with pool.
- Holiday Inn Chateau LeMoyne, 301 Dauphine St (at Bienville St), ☎ +1 504 581-1303, fax: +1 504 523-5709. An historic hotel occupying what were originally four separate 19th century townhomes.
- Lafitte Guest House, 1003 Bourbon St (at St Philip St), ☎ +1 504 581-2678. A boutique hotel located in the residential area of Bourbon Street. Visitors will enjoy the sights and sounds of Bourbon Street as well as a retreat into their own personal French Quarter home.
- Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St (at Iberville St), ☎ +1 504 523-3341, toll-free: +1-866-338-4684, fax: +1 504 528-1019. Located in an elegant early-20th century sky-scraper (the only one within the confines of the Quarter itself, just constructed just before large new constructions were prohibited here) has long been one of the top upscale Quarter hotels. The hotel includes a rooftop heated pool with views of the skyline and an award-winning restaurant, the Hunt Room Grill. $175-$350.
- Omni Royal Orleans, 621 St Louis St (between Royal and Chartres Sts), ☎ +1 504 529-5333, toll-free: +1-888-444-6664, fax: +1 504 529-7089. The Omni Royal Orleans has been a recipient of the AAA four-diamond award for the past 27 years.
- Royal Barracks Guest House, 717 Barracks St (between Bourbon and Royal Sts), ☎ +1 504 529-7269, toll-free: +1-866-630-7781, fax: +1 504 529-7298. Every room features a queen size bed, private bath and fireplace, and private entrance to the courtyard.
- The Saint Louis Hotel, 730 Bienville St (between Bourbon and Royal Sts), ☎ +1 504 581-7300, toll-free: +1-800-535-9111. Luxurious furnishings, with a beautiful courtyard.
- Hotel St. Pierre, 911 Burgundy St (between Dumaine and St Philip Sts), ☎ +1 504 524-4401, toll-free: +1-800-225-4040. Embodies the architecture and ambiance of the 18th Century French Quarter.
- Ursuline Guest House, 708 Ursuline Ave (between Bourbon and Royal Sts), ☎ +1 504 525-8509, toll-free: +1-800-654-2351. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Ursuline Guest House offers 13 guest rooms, each with private bath, ceiling fan, air conditioning/heating, cable television and wireless Internet access. $69-$235.
- Maison Dupuy, 1001 Toulouse St (at Burgundy St), ☎ +1 504 586-8000, toll-free: +1-800-535-9177, fax: +1 504 525-5334. This hotel has a beautiful courtyard with a real New Orleans atmosphere; renovated historic homes surround what is now the courtyard with a fountain and pool.
- Hotel Royal, 1006 Royal St (at St Philip St), ☎ +1 504 524-3900, toll-free: +1-888-776-3901, fax: +1 504 558-0566. Located on the finest shopping street in the French Quarter, this hotel has a European feeling complemented by authentic laced iron balconies, high ceilings with fans, and enclosed courtyards with fountains.
- French Quarter Landmark Hotel (Best Western), 920 N Rampart St (between Dumaine and St Philip Sts), ☎ +1 504 524-3333, fax: +1 504 523-5431. Feel the atmosphere of the French Quarter when you step inside The Landmark. Within walking distance of the hotel, explore the historic, artistic and eclectic charms around you.
- Hotel Le Marais, 717 Conti St (between Bourbon and Royal Sts), ☎ +1 504 525-2300, toll-free: +1-800-935-8740. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. The Hotel Le Marais has a heated saltwater courtyard pool and breakfast area.
- Place D'Armes, 625 St Anne St., toll-free: +1-800-366-2743. Beautiful historic hotel in the quarter. They have interior rooms (no windows) that are a great bargain to stay in an incredible space.
- Hotel Maison de Ville, 727 Rue Toulouse (Between Bourbon and Royal Streets), ☎ +1 504-324-4888. Is one of the most historic hotels in the Quarter, everyone from Tennessee Williams to Audobon has spent time there.
- IHSP French Quarter House (Hostel), 914 N. Rampart, ☎ +1 504 493 0310, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 3:00pm, check-out: 11:00am. The only budget hostel located directly within the French Quarter. $18 dorm bed, $55 private.
Bed and Breakfasts
- Biscuit Palace, 730 Dumaine St (between Bourbon and Royal Sts), ☎ +1 504 525-9949. Gay-friendly bed and breakfast in the center of the Quarter.
- French Quarter Guest Houses, toll-free: +1-800-535-7815. Includes the Inn on St. Peter, the Inn on St. Ann, the Inn on Urselines. Meticulously restored suites and rooms in different locations in the gay part of the Quarter. Gay-friendly accommodations and crowd.
- Hotel Masion de Ville, 727 Toulouse St (between Bourbon and Royal Sts), ☎ +1 504 324-4888. Is one of the most historic hotels in the Quarter, everyone from Tennessee Williams to Audobon has spent time there.
- Cafes including CC's and Envie (listed above at eat) have free wi-fi for customers
Walk across Canal Street and you're in the Central Business District. Take the red Canal Streetcar line to the attractions of Mid-City, or the green St. Charles Streetcar line to Uptown and Carrollton. The ferry at the foot of Canal Street (free for pedestrians, $1 for cars) will take you across the Mississippi to the Algiers neighborhood, and give you a scenic budget mini-cruise of the River in the process.
Just "below" (down river) from the French Quarter is the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, across Esplanade Avenue, with hip music joints and restaurants. A little further downriver and you are in the Bywater, a funky neighborhood with genuine corner bars, great restaurants and a friendly atmosphere.
Inland or "back" (away from the Mississippi River) from the Quarter is the Tremé neighborhood.