New Orleans Travel Guide: French Quarter And More

New Orleans Travel Guide: French Quarter And More

Get to know the jazz city of New Orleans in this travel guide that covers the French Quarter and more. New Orleans, also known as the “Big Easy,” is a vibrant city located in the southern state of Louisiana.

Exploring NOLA

The city is renowned for its rich history, unique culture, and delicious cuisine. One of the top attractions is the French Quarter, which is full of beautiful architecture, jazz music, and delicious food. Visitors can also explore the historic Garden District, take a swamp tour, or attend a Mardi Gras parade. There are plenty of museums and galleries to explore, including the National WWII Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art.

With so much to see and do, New Orleans is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of Southern hospitality and culture.

This guide wouldn’t be possible without the input and recommendations that have come from friends, followers on social media. It is always a delight to get input from you all so please- keep it coming! I’ll keep sharing the information so others can explore these places we love to visit. There are plenty of guides coming soon from recent trips, but you can always start here to learn more about my  home town of Atlanta.


New Orleans, Louisiana

The Big easy

First claimed for the French Crown in 1682 by explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the city of La Nouvelle-Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. Located on the slightly elevated banks of the Mississippi River, approximately 95 miles above its mouth, engineers designed a grid of streets with a Place d’Armes, which is now referred to as Jackson Square, and the Vieux Carré, also known as the “Old Square” or the French Quarter. In 1723, the fledgling settlement became the capital of the French Colony of Louisiana. Eventually, on December 20, 1803, as part of the $15 million Louisiana Purchase, Napoleon sold the entire colony, including New Orleans, to the United States.

Although no longer a French colony, New Orleans has retained the Francophile customs, language, religion, and social strata that its residents once held dear. The Creoles, who are the locally born descendants of early inhabitants, many with French heritage, established a sophisticated and cosmopolitan society that distinguished itself from nearly every other American city. Even today, remnants of French colonial times can be found throughout the city, from the streets of the French Quarter, to the Creole cottages of the Faubourg Marigny, to the Old Ursuline Convent and the former Charity Hospital.

Exploring NOLA

Laissez les bon temps rouler

-The Marigny and Bywater-

Marigny and Bywater offer a unique blend of historical charm and contemporary bohemian spirit, attracting visitors from all over the world. The Music Box Village, an event venue and art installation located in Bywater, is a prime example of the thriving counterculture in the area. Meanwhile, Crescent Park offers breathtaking views of the Mississippi River at sunset. For the ultimate experience, make your way to Bud Rip’s, a modern hangout that has revitalized a classic neighborhood dive.

-The French Quarter-

The French Quarter, the original city of New Orleans built by French colonists, is a must-visit location. It began as an outpost at Jackson Square, which still stands today as a hub of activity for artists, musicians, street performers and anyone who loves the lively atmosphere of New Orleans. The Cabildo and Presbytère museums nearby provide a glimpse into the city’s rich history, while The Historic New Orleans Collection, just a short stroll away, offers a fascinating window into the past of a city that recently marked its tricentennial.

Next take a stroll through Chartres or Royal Street, where you’ll see rows of stunning Caribbean-style townhouses adorned with classic wrought iron balconies that have long captivated visitors. Even in the midst of the bustling tourist district, the magic is palpable. For an authentic New Orleans experience, visit the city’s legendary establishments like Galatoire’s, where you can enjoy traditional Creole cuisine, or Cafe du Monde, famous for its delectable beignets topped with powdered sugar.

-Esplanade Ridge and Faubourg St John-

Looking for a peaceful place to visit in New Orleans? Look no further than the areas surrounding Fortier Park, which boasts an assortment of restaurants and bars. One of the most popular spots in this area is Canseco’s, a nearby grocery store, and Cafe Degas, an elegant French restaurant with romantic string lights. Take a stroll down Esplanade Avenue to find the vibrant, rainbow-colored houses and the renowned eatery, Liuzza’s by the Track. Both Cafe Degas and Liuzza’s are favorites among locals, offering a range of classic dishes, such as yellowfin tuna, salad nicoise, and barbeque shrimp smothered in garlic butter.

-The Garden District and Lower Garden District-

The Garden District is a sophisticated neighborhood, exuding elegance without being ostentatious. It’s a great spot for a leisurely stroll while admiring the stunning architecture. Despite the name, which might suggest a green landscape, it actually refers to the fact that the area was developed from the gardens of grand plantation mansions from the 1800s.

Dining at Commander’s Palace is a quintessential New Orleans experience. This iconic Creole restaurant is renowned for its classic dishes, refined atmosphere, and 25-cent martinis. It’s a perfect representation of the city’s love affair with glamour and good food. Meanwhile, the Lower Garden District – which is further downriver – is home to Magazine Street, a shopper’s paradise. With a vast array of independent shops, it’s the ultimate destination for retail therapy.

For a taste of the district’s trendy side, head to Hotel St. Vincent. This historic building is now a hip hotel that hosts an array of art nights and shows. The art deco-meets-Mardi Gras decor adds to the overall charm of the venue. If you’re looking for a place to stay, it’s a definite option worth considering.

-Uptown and Riverbend-

A Neighborhood with Many Faces
Uptown New Orleans is a direction, as well as a neighborhood, encompassing a range of places. This diverse area features some key landmarks such as Tulane and Loyola universities. Expect to encounter student-friendly businesses and residential blocks that blend academia and families.

While Audubon Park is a natural starting point for exploration, with its beautiful mansions and lovely biking and walking trail, Uptown is more about strolling around and shopping, particularly on Magazine Street. The St Charles Streetcar offers a leisurely option to take in the area.

The Riverbend neighborhood, though geographically part of Uptown, has its own unique character. It has a distinctive Southern charm blended seamlessly with the feel of a well-preserved European city. The area has a diverse mix of teachers, professionals, families, and students. Maple and Oak Streets are lined with restaurants, shops, including the charming Blue Cypress Books, and coffee houses.

-Central Business District and Warehouse District-

Adjacent to each other, the Warehouse District and Central Business District (CBD) are brimming with flashy new condos, office high rises and a plethora of restaurants. At first glance, the area may feel less authentically “New Orleans” than other parts of town due to the steel and glass structures, but its cultural resources are undeniably unique to this location.

The Warehouse District and CBD boast a number of outstanding museums, including the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, which is a well-curated regional arts institution, and the Contemporary Arts Center, which showcases some of the most exciting new art in the city. Restaurants like Cochon offer traditional New Orleans and Cajun cuisine with contemporary twists, while Compere Lapin and Carmo serve up dishes rooted in the diverse tropical culinary scene that characterizes the city.

Dining In New Orleans

Home of the po' boy | flavorful of cajun cuisine

-Best Po’ boys-



Yesterday & Today

Museums to visit

-The French Quarter-

The French Quarter is New Orleans’ historic heart. It was founded in 1718, making it the oldest section of the city. It’s famous for its large colourful buildings and lively atmosphere.  

-Jackson Square-

Jackson Square holds great historical significance in the US. It’s the site of the Louisiana Purchases, where the state became a United States territory in 1803.  

-The Carousel Bar & Lounge-

The Carousel Bar & Lounge is definitely one of the most interesting places to grab a drink in the city. It opened in 1949 and is located in Hotel Monteleone, which overlooks the lively Royal Street in the French Quarter.  

-Preservation Hall-

Preservation Hall venue presents intimate, acoustic New Orleans Jazz concerts over 360 nights a year featuring ensembles from a current collective of 50+ local master practitioners. 

– St. Louis Cathedral-

St. Louis Cathedral holds the title of the oldest cathedral in continuous use in the US. It was founded in 1720 and dedicated to the sainted King of France, Louis IX. 

Summer packing for New Orleans

NOLA in the summer time is hot. Like real hot, so be prepared by staying hydrated and wearing clothes that’ll help keep you cool(er). Look for natural fibers and materials like cotton or linen, and loose fitting tops that button up. I’ve included a linen ankle pant that looks great with flats or sneakers for all day walking to dinner at any of the restaurants. Take at least one dress that will offer breezy comfortability as well, and get ready to enjoy all that New Orleans has to offer. If the heat is too much this time of year, use this guide to explore the city later on. It has tons of great food recs and museums for couples, families, and solo wanderers.

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