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7 Best New Orleans Areas: Where to Stay & Coolest Hotels (2022)

where to stay in new orleans
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New Orleans is known for its incredible Creole cuisine, distinctive music scene, interesting and unique dialects and its many lively annual festivals. Over the years, I’ve taken several trips to The Big Easy, and each time I saw the city through new lenses. Back in college, I was intrigued by the streetcars and beignets. Later in life, the mardi gras theme drew me back and the nightlife just came alive like nothing I’ve experienced before! And traveling there once I’d established my family…well, the history and deep jazz roots captured my attention. There’s so much to do and see, and no matter what vibe you’re looking for, you’ll find it in New Orleans. This article will lay out all the popular places to stay and things to do in the genre that is right for you.

Don’t forget that I’m putting suggestions at the bottom of the page about what to wear, top restaurants, packing advice, and other tips when visiting NOLA!

Where to Stay in New Orleans – Locals Guide

  • Treme, Arts District, Marigny

    Popular Areas to Stay for Rich Culture & Jazz

    Why it’s great: The Arts District and surrounding areas are deep in the heart of Jazz land; you simply couldn’t escape the culture of the south if you wanted to! The Jazz historical park not only provides a timeline of interesting facts, but often pop up bands and musicians will be playing in and around the park. It also hosts the Jazz Heritage Festival every October; an event that brings together music lovers from far and wide.

    Jazz isn’t the only thing you’ll be entranced by… the museums, street painters, and cajun/creole food hot spots will catch your attention, too. Make sure to spend some time on Frenchman Street, in the Marigny area. There are about 3 street blocks that are hopping all evening long, every night (most lively on Fridays and Saturdays, though). It’s common for crowds to gather for many impromptu curbside concerts on Frenchmen Street.

    Keep in mind: The evenings in these areas are very lively! Music will be playing well into the night. If you’re wanting to slumber early, it’s best to find lodgings a few blocks away. Or bring earplugs!

    Our Favorite Hotels for Culture and Jazz

    • Luxury:

      The Royal Frenchmen Hotel and Bar is an elegant four-star hotel located in the hip Marigny neighborhood. For jazz lovers like myself, the live performances are a great way to experience the music of New Orleans and listen to the renowned local ensembles and singer-songwriters. Grab a drink at the sleek hotel bar and sit back and enjoy the music before heading out to explore the rest of the music scene in the Arts District.

    • Mid Range:

      The upscale Cambria Hotel has one of the best locations for exploring NOLA’s art scene. You’ll be close to galleries, museums, and music clubs galore, perfect for an art-filled stay in New Orleans. You can get a taste of local creole cuisine at the hotel’s full-service restaurant. Be sure to try southern staples like the shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes. You haven’t fully experienced New Orleans until you try the food!

    • Budget:

      A historic New Orleans home turned cozy inn, the Loookout Inn is a quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of downtown NOLA. Located 2 miles from the lively French Quarter, the inn is far enough removed from the action if you’re looking for a calm and quiet place to stay, but still close enough that you can easily immerse yourself in the music scene whenever you want.

       

  • 2. Where to Stay With Families and Kids

    Metairie, Mid-City

    Where to Stay With Families and Kids

    Why it’s great: It can be daunting to visit a new area with little ones in tow. Choosing the right neighborhood is a must, and if you’re going to New Orleans, I suggest staying in either the Metairie area, or Mid-City. There are so many options for families in those areas, and the lake shore is right there, as well. If you stay in Metairie, going to the city park is a must. It’s just a couple blocks south of the Lakeshore/Lake Vista area, and provides something for all ages. You could spend all day in the city park and not see everything, because it has so much to see. If you have kids under the age of about 8, make sure to go to Storyland before you leave New Orleans. Magic awaits!

    Another great reason to be in the Metairie or Mid-City area if you’re traveling as a family, is because of the close proximity to the riverwalk, children’s museums, the zoo, and of course, the swamp tours. There are many swamp tours to choose from, and all of them will get you up close and personal with a toothy croc.

    Keep in mind: In the summer months, the humidity can really get to some people (and children), especially in the Mid-City area, so close to Lake Pontchartrain. Also, in the Metairie area and surrounding neighborhoods, there are many train tracks that can hold you up while on your way somewhere (if a train happens past). It’s great that the kids love to see and hear the trains, but adults…not so much. So plan a few minutes ahead if you have a reservation to be somewhere, just in case you get caught waiting for a passing train.

    Our Favorite Hotels for Families and Kids

    • Luxury:

      When traveling as a family, I know that a little extra space goes a long way. The Marriott Metairie gives our family enough space so it doesn’t feel like we’re living on top of each other- I highly recommend considering the presidential suite! The hotel restaurant serves up tasty southern classics and has something for everyone in the family, even the picky eaters, so you can get great food from the comfort of the hotel without having to get the whole family ready to go out.

    • Mid Range:

      Perfect for those traveling with kiddos, this hotel is located close to the Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium and even comes with a free YMCA pass. The bustling French Quarter is a reasonable distance away so that you’re close enough to the visit during the day, but far enough away to escape the rowdy nighttime crowds. You’re still near great restaurants and the famous Cafe du Monde. Their famous beignets were a huge hit with our little ones!

    • Budget:

      Kids will have a blast playing in the outdoor pool and parents will equally enjoy relaxing in one of the lounge chairs while the kiddos entertain themselves. Not everything in New Orleans is family-friendly, but this hotel is close to shopping malls and parks that the whole family can enjoy. If you want to take the family to the heart of the action, the French Quarter is only a short drive away.

  • 3. Best Areas to Stay Without a Car

    Marigny, Lafitte

    Best Areas to Stay Without a Car

    Why it’s great: There’s a lot of reasons you may not be interested in renting a car when you travel: expenses, traffic, not being familiar with the streets, parking restrictions. All of those come in to play in New Orleans. Most people don’t know that hotels in the downtown area and surrounding areas charge an average of $40 a night to park at the property. That really adds up! Not to mention that because of the limited parking available at all, many hotels have to valet the cars to lots nearby. So tips can add up, as well. Avoid the fees and the traffic of New Orleans, and opt to stay in one of the many walkable areas. If you find yourself wanting to pop into the Jazz areas a couple neighborhoods away, or visiting other attractions outside the downtown areas, then uber and lyft are certainly available. For a lighter fare, though, you can ride the streetcars (only $1.25!) or the very reputable bus system.

    Keep in mind: Some things can get pricey to do, such as swamp and plantation tours. Scheduled hotel transportation there can run $30-$40 per person; Ubers expensive and hard to get on the return. Hotel concierge can be helpful in planning outings and getting the right transportation.

    Our Favorite Places to Stay Without a Car

    • Luxury:

      The Ritz-Carlton is located right near the action of the French Quarter. Each room comes with a plush bathrobe and slippers, designer toiletries, and a fully-stocked mini bar. Venture outside your room and relax in the extensive spa and fitness center. Dine at the upscale hotel bistro and try flavorful Cajun and Caribbean cuisine. You can even experience live New Orleans jazz music Wednesday to Saturday nights without even having to leave the hotel. When you’re ready to venture out, you’re just steps away from all of the best things to see and do in New Orleans.

    • Mid Range:

      You can’t beat the central location of the Hotel Provincial. It’s in the heart of the French Quarter and has great amenities like a courtyard pool, an on-site restaurant, and bar. Located in the best-rated area of New Orleans, this hotel is within walking distance to all of the must-see attractions. You won’t have to go far to find great entertainment and rich southern food.

    • Budget:

      Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun. This eclectic hotel is situated downtown New Orleans in the lively French Quarter. You’ll be within walking distance to NOLA’s famous nightlife on Bourbon Street, jazz bars, and renowned restaurants. The modern bedrooms are equipped with all you’ll need for a comfortable stay.

  • 4. Best Area to Stay in the French Quarter

    Bourbon Street

    Best Area to Stay in the French Quarter

    Why it’s great: Bourbon Street is where all the action is, so if you’re looking to dive right into the pulse of Louisiana, head right for this area! There’s a little bit for everyone in your group: bars, music, dancing, games, history, oddities. Bourbon street (or nearby streets) are very walkable, and on busy nights, many roads are closed to cars so that people can walk up and down the street freely. Tours are available so that you can learn the history of New Orleans, or even take a Ghost or Voodoo tour for something different.

    During the day time, after eating a beignet near Jackson square, try riding the Steamboat Natchez, in which you’ll also get a good dose of history and see the sites as you venture down the Mississippi river. A favorite restaurant of ours is the Gumbo Shop, about a block east of Bourbon street. The chicken gumbo is worth waiting in line for. Another place that should be mentioned is Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo. Chances are, you’ll pass it while strolling along Bourbon Street. Don’t skip it! The French Quarter has a magical feeling when the sun sets, which is when the liveliness begins. Stay here if you want to be part of that energizing craziness that defines the French Quarter.

    Keep in mind: Many people choose to partake in a decent amount of alcohol at night in the French Quarter. Be aware of your surroundings and keep your personal belongings close to you, so you won’t be catching the attention of pickpocketers. Another thing to be aware of is the street performers; you’ll want to have some small bills for tip money (if you’re so inclined). Also, be aware that by staying close to the action, you’ll hear all the action. Bring earplugs with you for a good night’s rest.

    Our Hotel Picks for the French Quarter

    • Luxury:

      Relish in 5-star luxury at The Roosevelt in downtown New Orleans. Experience the city from above at the hotel’s fabulous rooftop bar. Indulge in a bit of self-care at the hotel spa and salon or get some vitamin D by the outdoor pool. Enjoy exquisite food at the onsite restaurant and live jazz on select nights. The Roosevelt is close to the best the French Quarter has to offer but is a welcome respite from the crowded city streets.

    • Mid Range:

      We love a JW Marriott. There’s a standard that you can expect when staying here. They know how to deliver and the New Orleans location is no exception. The outdoor pool is a blast for the kids and the cocktail lounge and sun terrace is perfect for adults. Expect to eat well with the free breakfast buffet and the mouth-watering onsite Brazilian steakhouse.

    • Budget:

      This budget option within walking distance to the French Quarter makes it easy to be close to the best of New Orleans while not breaking the bank. If you want to venture further than your legs can take you, the hotel offers bike and car hires to help you explore further. When you feel like relaxing at the hotel, be sure to check out the rooftop pool and marvel at the architectural detail of this gorgeous hotel.

  • 5. Budget Areas to stay in New Orleans that are Safe

    Garden District, UpTown

    Budget Areas to stay in New Orleans that are Safe

    Why it’s great: If you’re looking to see New Orleans on a dime, that will take some creativity and solid advice! The Quisby is a great choice. It’s kind of like a mixture between a hostel and a hotel. If you’re traveling alone, this is definitely a cheaper option than most places, and has many of the amenities you’d like from a hotel. The Indigo is going to run you a little higher in price, but the location it has on the street car line will make up for it. They often run specials during the off season (August and September), so if you’re flexible with the dates, that can help save some cash, too. Another good choice is the Prytania, which includes breakfast in the price. All of the mentioned places are close enough to popular attractions to make it worth it to stay there, plus if you stay in the Garden District, it will be quieter in the evening.

    Keep in mind: These areas are further away from some of the popular things, so plan for a little transportation time here and there. If you plan to drive into the French Quarter, you’ll pay an arm and a leg for parking. Consider taking a street car or bus to get to Jackson’s Square, Cafe du Monde, or Canal Street. You’ll only pay $1.25 each direction!

    New Orlean's Coolest Budget Hotels

    • Budget:

      The Quisby is a great budget option that doesn’t skimp on design or location. It’s a safe and easy one-mile walk to the French Quarter. This hostel offers shared rooms that sleep between four and six people. Make friends with your fellow travelers over drinks at the on-site bar and easily walk to a bar or club in the French Quarter when you’re ready to go out for the night.

    • Budget:

      Stay in the upscale Garden District without breaking the bank. Hotel Indigo has bright and comfortable accommodations at a reasonable price. It’s in a central location that’s perfect for exploring the best of New Orleans and is even pet-friendly!

    • Budget:

      This rustic hotel gives serious cozy inn vibes and the landscaped courtyard is the perfect place to sit and enjoy breakfast. Located between the Garden District and the French Quarter, this hotel is has a nice central location to explore all of the different parts of New Orleans.

  • 6. Top Areas to Stay During Mardi Gras

    French Quarter, Downtown, Mid-City

    Top Areas to Stay During Mardi Gras

    Why it’s great: The heartbeat of Mardi Gras is definitely felt in the French Quarter, but also the surrounding neighborhoods. If you want to participate in the wild activities and late nights, staying in the French Quarter on Bourbon Street, Canal Street, or any of the connecting streets in that area is your best bet for a fun time. You’ll avoid traffic and parking issues by just staying right there, and EVERY street participates, so there’s plenty of fun to be had no matter which street you walk down. Mardi Gras is a time for extra celebration and late-night festivities that go above and beyond the normal for the French Quarter. There are a lot of yummy options, but one of our favorites is NOLA Poboys. You definitely need to stop there at least once during your stay…I wouldn’t be surprised if you go back again before the end! It’s a popular place that will give you a taste of the south.

    Keep in mind: Traveling to New Orleans during Mardi Gras is definitely a blast, but comes with a few things to consider, as well. For one, the prices for accommodations and rental cars go up substantially, and they also sell out months in advance for the most popular lodgings. It can get pretty wild, so if you’re only looking for that vibe in smaller doses, stay somewhere on the outskirts, like Metairie, so you can have some quieter moments, too.

    Our Favorite Hotels in the Mardi Gras District

    • Luxury:

      This grand hotel has everything you’d expect from The Westin. Within walking distance to NOLA’s main attractions like Canal Street, Bourbon Street, and Cafe du Monde, you’ll be in the heart of New Orleans. Staying in the hotel is an experience in itself. Enjoy the elegant bar and lounge before a night out. Dine in at the delicious hotel restaurant or have room service come to your room anytime, 24 hours a day.

    • Mid Range:

      The elegant, exposed brick walls in the rooms of the French Market Inn will transport you back in time. The central courtyard has an outdoor pool and is perfect for relaxing and cooling off after a day of exploring. If you want to immerse yourself in all things New Orleans, then this is the place. This hotel, constructed in a historical building in 1722, has New Orleans vibes across every balcony, bedroom, and courtyard.

    • Budget:

      The Wyndham lets you stay in the heart of the French Quarter without blowing your budget. It offers great amenities like an indoor pool and fitness center. This simple hotel has everything you need to have a comfortable stay. You’ll be close to all of the action so you won’t miss a thing!

  • 7. Best Places to Stay in the Garden District

    Uptown, Central City

    Best Places to Stay in the Garden District

    Why it’s great: The Audubon Zoo and Park are a draw for tourists who don’t want to be directly downtown in the hustle and bustle of New Orleans. If you stay in Uptown, visit a spot the locals like to keep to themselves: The Fly. It’s a waterfront area tucked behind the zoo, that has a more relaxed atmosphere and nice scenery. Another spot to check out is Paradigm Gardens, which is a farmer’s market that also hosts music events (of course, it’s New Orleans!). The Lafayette Cemetery is a popular historical attraction, so see about getting a tour if you’re interested (it’s the only way you can go in). St Charles Avenue will keep you busy during the daytime.

    Keep in mind: May can be a really busy time, due to having two large university campuses nearby who will be hosting graduation. Likewise, early August can see some heavier traffic too, as students start the new semester and family members come into town to see their college kids off. Be sure to tour Tulane in the off season, though; it’s a beautiful campus! Also, some parts of Central City are wonderful during the daytime, but get a little shady in the evening. Consider staying in UpTown if you’re going to be doing more of a night scene.

    Our Favorite Garden District Hotels

    • Luxury:

      Rated as one of the top one hundred hotels in the world, the Pontchartrain Hotel is an incredible getaway in the heart of downtown New Orleans. This full-service luxury hotel has everything you need for the perfect New Orleans experience. With a rooftop bar and lounge, four restaurants, and stunning city views, a stay at the Pontchartrain Hotel is a dreamy retreat.

    • Mid Range:

      This adorable bed and breakfast will make you feel right at home in New Orleans’ Garden District. The historic building turned B&B is perfect walking distance to all of the top sights and best restaurants. The balconies, four-poster bed, and the in-room fireplace make for an exceptionally charming stay.

    • Budget:

      This affordable but stylish hotel offers bright and stylish rooms and a central location in the Lower Garden District. If you love to explore on foot, then this boutique hotel is in the ideal location. There’s a courtyard perfect for relaxing after a long day exploring the city. It’s also far enough removed from the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter so you can enjoy a quiet stay.

Best Hostels in New Orleans

  • If you’re traveling alone, you may not want the expenditure of a typical hotel room. You may also be interested in meeting other travelers! Or, maybe you’re traveling as a couple, but want to save some money on lodging so that you can go wild on the excursions. Whatever the reason, looking into the New Orleans hostels is worth your energy–there are some really great options close to all the action. One of my favorites is Madame Isabelle’s house. It’s historic (built in 1831), clean, beautifully decorated, and has both private and dorm style rooms for super reasonable prices. There’s even a zen garden in the back!

    In Mid-City, there’s another great, affordable hostel that’s just a street car ride away from the French Quarter or the Garden District. It’s called India House Backpacker’s Hostel, and it’s super popular and highly rated. Parking is free there (a rare gem) and it has a pool for use in the warmer months. There are also private and dorm style accommodations. The central lounging rooms are very inviting and comfortable.

    If you’re staying for a while and your trip’s cost is adding up, or you’re traveling alone, or just want to save money….whatever the reason, check out the hostels mentioned above. The hostels in NOLA are as unique and vibrant as the people who live there, and you’ll feel like part of the community instantly!

    Our Recommended Hostels in New Orleans

    • Best Location:

      Located in a modernized historic building on New Orlean’s famous Canal Street, this award-winning hostel is a beautiful place to stay during your trip to New Orleans. It’s just across the street from the French Quarter and all of the most exciting things to see and do in New Orleans. When you’re not out exploring, this comfortable and spacious hostel is the perfect home away from home. Make new friends and play a round of pool, whip up a home-cooked meal in the expansive kitchen, or relax in a comfortable armchair in the lounge.

    • Best Party Hostel:

      In Mid-City, there’s another great, affordable hostel that’s just a street car ride away from the French Quarter or the Garden District. It’s called India House Backpacker’s Hostel, and it’s super popular and highly rated. Parking is free there (a rare gem) and it has a pool for use in the warmer months. There are also private and dorm-style accommodations. The central lounging rooms are very inviting and comfortable. Be sure to check out their events like pub crawls, pool parties, and movie nights.

    • Best for Solo Travelers:

      You never really travel alone when you backpack and stay in hostels. There are so many interesting people to meet when staying in hostels. This hostel is perfect for making friends while you’re on the road. They organize tons of free activities and nightly parties that make it the perfect place for socializing. It’s known for being clean, fun, and for its awesome outdoor courtyard!

Where NOT to Stay in New Orleans

New Orleans has some pretty amazing, festive, and culturally rich areas. However, along side that sit some less desirable areas to stay in when you’re traveling. The main streets to avoid is the St Claude area. It sits just around the river’s bend to the east of the French Quarter, and although you might think it’s close enough to be a great option for lodging, it’s too sketchy at night to recommend. Another area to avoid would be just to the northeast of St. Claude, the Florida area. The streets just aren’t safe at night or during the day even, so steer clear of those two areas altogether.

The St. Claude and Florida areas are to be avoided, but please also note that in the French Quarter and Garden District, you’ll find some folks trying to play tricks on you. For instance, they may come up to you and tell you they can guess your shoe size or where your shoes were made. Believe it or not, that’s a super common scenario! They’ll hound you for money and not leave your side if you entertain their advances. They may also try to sell you various metals that they pass off as gold and silver. While these aren’t particularly dangerous activities, they can be alarming or annoying and happen in many neighborhoods in New Orleans. Be smart, be prepared, and hide your valuables, so that you can ‘live it up’ in New Orleans and have great memories to share when you return home.

What to Bring to New Orleans

If you’ve never been to the southern states, you may be surprised to find out that the weather can be very hot and humid, or that at certain times of the year, it rains often and the winds kick up. When heading to the Big Easy, we’ve found that these items below are some non-negotiables to bring along on our trip. If you’d like a more extensive list, check out the packing lists we have for so many destinations around the world. You might just find something you haven’t thought of, that saves the day once you’re there!

  • 1. Neck Wallet

    When you’re in a place as crowded as NOLA (the common abbreviation for New Orleans), you’ll want to keep your valuables secure and in one spot. Use this neck wallet to store your cash, credit cards, ID, and phone. You wear it conveniently under your clothes so that you can enjoy the livelihood around you without worrying about losing your important items.

  • 2. Comfy Shoes

    No matter what you’re doing in NOLA…walking around the French Quarter, watching musicians, going to museums, walking along the Mississippi… you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet. Make sure to wear a comfortable pair of shoes that will hold up for all the activity. These sneakers have great reviews and are very colorfully festive; just like New Orleans!

  • 3. Packing Cubes

    You won’t want to be dragging excessive luggage around the airport or the cobblestone streets of NOLA. Stay organized and avoid overpacking by using these super helpful packing cubes. There’s a variety of colors you can choose from, which can help color code what belongs to different family members! The cubes come in different sizes to suit your needs, and it’s easy to find everything in your suitcase, even when it’s been shuffled around on the airplane. This is a must have for travel anywhere!

  • 4. Lipstick-sized Portable Charger

    When you leave your hotel, it’s hard to say when (or if) you’ll be able to find an outlet if you should need it. You might rely on your phone for navigation and certainly for taking some great vacation photos. Maybe even to pick up an Uber! For those moments that you really need to charge your camera or phone, having a small charger like this one will be a lifesaver.

  • 5. Cooling Towel

    New Orleans is infamous for its hot and humid weather. It can be unbearable at times which is why it’s important to be prepared. My all-time favorite item to take with me to really hot places is a cooling towel. These towels work like magic. All you do is soak the towel, wring it out, and it instantly becomes icy cold. Up to 20 degrees cooler than the air temperature to be exact! They’re compact, portable, and odor-resistant. I never take on the heat without one.

  • 6. Travel Insurance for New Orleans

    Having travel insurance can make a huge difference in case everything doesn’t go according to plan on your trip to New Orleans. If you aren’t sure what type of plan best suits you, we always recommend going to TravelInsurance.com where you can shop and compare plans from top companies to find the one that’s best for you and your travel plans.

  • 7. VPN

    A virtual private network (VPN) is another useful tool to help you and your private information stay safe while on the road. Whenever you connect to public wifi in hotels, restaurants, or cafes, you’re potentially putting your digital information at risk of being hacked since anyone can connect to these networks. With a VPN like Nord VPN, you can connect to these public wifi networks without having to worry about potential hackers stealing your passwords or banking information.

FAQs about New Orleans

  • 1. When to Visit New Orleans

    The most popular thing that will draw you to New Orleans is Mardi Gras. Of course, that will fall in February or March, depending on when Fat Tuesday is that particular year. Luckily, the weather in February and March is relatively nice, although chilly and sometimes windy. If you’re trying to avoid the humidity, but don’t want to be caught in the hustle and bustle of Mardi Gras, head to New Orleans in November. By then hurricane season will be over, and the humidity will also have dropped.

    Summer is a fantastic time to visit if you can handle the heat. It’s hotter than most people are used to, but the outdoor activities surrounding the lake, river, and swamps are at their most fun for animal watching, fishing, and sunshine. Festivals and outdoor markets will pop up more often starting in May because of the good weather and also following graduations of the major universities.

  • 2. What to Do in New Orleans

    It may sound a little form fitted, but you really should consider doing one of the many tours available in the New Orleans area. There’s everything from bayou tours, walking tours, historical tours, voodoo tours, and haunted tours. I’ve been on several, and they always entertain! If you like Jazz, there are museums and bands to see. If you are into the food, there are amazing restaurants to try (and review!).

    If you have transportation, you can also go to one of the nearby Plantations (roughly 45 min out of the city) to see the history of long ago. Also on the outskirts is the Tabasco factory, which is an interesting place to visit and buy souvenirs. Mississippi boat rides are popular, and you can climb aboard near Jackson’s square. Karaoke in the evening might be your thing, or maybe you’ll want to stop to get your palm read or talk to one of the many local psychics. Whatever you’re in the mood for, New Orleans has it covered. See the concierge at the hotel to book events or to get advice.

  • 3. Favorite Restaurants in New Orleans

    Ahhhh, the food! Just thinking about some of our favorite restaurants is making me want to book another trip to NOLA. If I could, I’d stop first at NOLA PoBoy, to get the shrimp p’boy with the killer sauce. I’ll have to save room for Gumbo in the evening at the Gumbo Shop, which is fancier and the chicken gumbo is do die for. They’ll offer me some dynamite pie and ice cream for dessert, but I’ll have to pass because I’m so stuffed, because I would also have stopped at Cafe du monde earlier in the day! If I go anywhere near Treme on my trip, I’ll have to stop at Willie Mae’s for the fried chicken and bread pudding.

  • 4. What to Wear in New Orleans

    From May through September, it’s quite unlikely you’ll want any sort of jacket or hoodie. But the gulf can bring in some breeze and cooler air from Oct to April. You don’t need to dress for the arctic, but a nice long coat or lightly lined jacket will come in handy. If you plan to be out late at night (I wouldn’t be surprised!), take along a hat and even a light scarf; you’ll thank me later! Bright colors are the vibe all over New Orleans….purples, yellows, green…. so if you want to blend in and celebrate the local style, think ahead when packing. Remember to avoid bringing jewelry or flashy items that may make you a target for pickpocketers.

  • 5. Fun Seasonal Events in New Orleans

    There’s a few things that really stand out in New Orleans. Of course, the primary event you think of is Mardi Gras. Who wouldn’t; it’s a huge to-do and everyone goes a little bit overboard for the massive celebration! Sometimes it falls in March, sometimes in February, so check a calendar carefully when you’re planning your trip! Other festivals to consider visiting for are: the St. Patrick’s day Parade on the Irish Channel (Garden District–this event goes on for a solid week!), Summer Fest in July (food, drinks, games, and music!), Jazz Fest (usually the last weekend in April, in Mid-City), and lastly…. if you really like to kick off the New Year right, you can be near Jackson’s Square for Dic Clark’s New Year’s Eve televized event. If you plan it right, you can visit for the St. Patrick shindig as well as Mardi Gras in one shot, depending on the dates that year!

  • 6. Local Knowledge for New Orleans

    Not far from Treme/Lafitte, is the area called Crescent. They have some great farmers markets that remind me of Seattle and Portland, generally held on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays. This is a great place to find locally made sauces, jams, sweets, and everything in between.

    One thing to be aware of when you’re walking around the French Quarter, is that you’ll see lots of signs for beignets, and you may think you’ve found the beignets everyone has been talking about. However, the REAL destination you’ll want for authentic beignets and pictures of your travels is at Cafe Du Monde, near Jackson square. The building is just off the Mississippi, and we like to buy our warm beignets (French donuts) and eat them while watching the boats on the river.

    Are you looking forward to some Lousiana Crawfish? The peak season is May and June, when you’ll find specials at local restaurants and everything will be super fresh. There are even competitions that pop up for crawfish cook-offs.